Detailed comparison of Concrete5 and Joomla/Drupal

Afternoon all. This post is not intended to start a flame war but to help give comparisons to clients and to designers wanting this type of information.

Does anyone have or know of a link that has done a detailed comparison of Concrete5 vs Joomla/Drupal? This is to include front end and back end and possibly reviews by both clients and developers OFF the Concrete5 website.


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Adreco replied on at Permalink Reply
Google is a wonderful resource :)
Didn't drill down but came up with a number of results... of more recent articles and

I'm sure there's lots out there with interesting viewpoints. Anyone else?
frz replied on at Permalink Best Answer Reply
Sadly those are both really old articles, and only partially accurate.
For example, as we commented to the first one, there's a very very
easy way to add the contact form the author wanted. The second one
seems to give choose Joomla simply because paid add-ons turn him off,
yet plenty of paid add-ons exist for Joomla too.

The truth of the matter is all three of these platforms are very
mature with active communities behind them. All three have strengths
and weaknesses, and you're not likely going to find a easy comparison
chart that makes the choice obvious, or a single shop that has an un
biased view between all of them.. Once you've grown comfortable with
one tool, the pain of picking up a new one can be a big turn off..

That all being said, here's how I see it, perhaps others can chime in:

Wordpress - If you just want a blog, you should use wordpress. There's
a lot of blogging add-ons for concrete5, and to be frank you really
don't need any of them to make something that looks like a blog in
your site. Regardless, concrete5 was designed to be more of a flexible
building material first. Wordpress's whole model is to be in the
content/media business with and ad based revenue.
They're eager to make wordpress easy for anyone to use to create that
highly topical content that makes them money. Totally not what we do.
If it's just a blog, check out wordpress, or perhaps tumblr - that's
what they do and they do it well.

Joomla! - concrete5 was actually designed in 2003 after a horrific
experience with Joomla's older brother Mambo, so ya know... However,
my sense is if you want to run an online community there's more stuff
pre configured out of the box to do that in Joomla than there is in
concrete5. Of course you can build anything with concrete5, and there
is a really nice infrastructure for members profiles and whatnot
buried in there, but Mambo was a community news site app (Ala
SlashDot) and I believe there's still some of that spirit in the
underlying architecture.

Drupal - I have come to see Drupal as more of a application
development framework than a CMS, and I believe drupal experts might
be okay with that. If you're building an app that happens to be a
website, but content management is more of an afterthought, you might
look at Drupal as a development framework along side Zend, Cake,
Symphony etc.

concrete5 - If there's a lot of different types of content involved,
and you don't want all site managers to go through lengthy training,
concrete5 is a great choice. Everything we do at concrete5 is about
creating a balance between the expert developers who make a site, and
the non-expert owners who have to live with it. We see that "home
builder/home owner" dichotomy as the fundamental challenge with the
web design business, and so at a higher level thats the problem we're
trying to solve.

There's plenty of other differences of course. Wordpress and Drupal
both have sister companies that have raised a lot of VC money that one
day they'll have to pay back. Joomla! has a revolving core team and is
very very community driven after some political nightmares around
Mambo. We're self funded and profitable, less than a dozen guys in a
room in Portland Oregon who manage the core. We push our marketplace
as a safe highly moderated place that is an important part of our
revenue streams, the other guys leave their add-on environment a bit
more wild west-ish... etc

Hope that helps. Anyone else have thoughts or corrections? Its been a
long time since I actually did anything with these competing products
so please feel free to correct my highly biased prospective. ;)
best wishes

Franz Maruna
RadiantWeb replied on at Permalink Reply
I don't agree with your assessment of C5 and blogging. C5 is great for bloging. And I also don't agree with your assessment that "frankly, you really don't need any of those addons".

I understand your point, that yes, if you know exactly what you're doing in C5, and you have the time on your can forgo these addons.

But for people that either dont' have the time, or don't have the know do need these addons to have a viable blog. And although you have spent zero time even looking at any of the blog packages in your own marketplace, they do great things with C5, and come very close to wordpress blogging in many regards. exempt the antiquated trackback get everything you need.

I don't like seeing the CEO of C5 effectively diminishing the value of hard working devs. that's never going to sit well. ScottC's blog is great and so is ProBlog and even ComposerBLog.

Instead of making an unfounded claims about products you've probably never even demo'd...please elaborate after actually having used products in your OWN marketplace, what exactly makes those so inadequate for you?

And dont' expect people with great passion for their products not to be defensive when the CEO basically says - " dont' need that".

frz replied on at Permalink Reply

In no way did I intend to suggest that your collection of blogging
solutions were anything less than well built. I know you'd like to see
me plug your blogging add-ons more than I do, but I'm disappointed to
see your so frustrated on it that you'd make digs about how I spend my
time. Obviously I care a lot about concrete5 too.

Regardless, the point I am making is simple:

Wordpress and Tumblr are in the content aggregation business. They are
eager to have people with highly specialized interests write a lot of
searchable words on topics. They can put ads in-line with that
content, or they can pull that content into the search interfaces on
their home pages, with ads, and make a lot of money. Same deal with
Pinterest. All of this stuff is super awesome. They are building
communities around content interests. They've raised many millions of
dollars with this as a goal. At no point to you hear the dev teams
behind wordpress and tumblr looking at extending their systems to be
flexible robust CMS frameworks. They're in the media business.

Pingbacks/trackbacks/the whole comment system is very important. When
I watch my wife blog (with Wordpress) a lot of time is spent in her
dashboard looking at other similar blogs who have mentioned her blog
in a post. She'll wander around the blogging ecosystem finding content
that interests her, and connecting it in posts. It's really pretty
cool, but it's the ecosystem that the value comes from, not the tool.

If we wanted to solve that problem, you'd see us offer free hosting, a
search interface across all the sites we host, and have concrete5
pre-configured to be a blog in the first place. The very fact that you
(as an individual) have three different competing blogging solutions
in the marketplace and there are others as well confirms my point. You
certainly can make a blog with concrete5, but really it was designed
to be something much more flexible. I'm not trying to say that the
bloging solutions for concrete5 are hacks or aren't worth using. I'm
just saying that concrete5 was designed to be something much more
flexible than that.

It's not a feature issue, it's an issue of the ecosystem. Your
blogging add ons could toast bread and sing dixie, if someone says
"all I want to do is spout off about politics/sewing/music/etc and
have people make comments" what possible value will they have in going
with concrete5? They're going to have to find hosting, find a theme,
choose from an array of competing blogging add-ons and THEN they'll
have their own lonely site in some corner of the internet. Conversely
they could just goto and setup a blog in a minute or
less that is part of a network of 16 million other blogs and will be
almost guaranteed traffic on day 2.

When I see a corporate client that needs a site with many page types
and they think their CEO is ALSO going to blog, I'm always eager to
point out we have several different solutions they can use, and I
point out that ProBlog is popular. If your going to start with a blog
but before long have a design centric retail experience next to it,
that'd be a great reason for using one of your blogging add-ons and
concrete5 too.

Seriously dude, every time I open my mouth I'm not trying to piss you
personally off. The post was about how these different systems are
positioned and my point was simple: Wordpress was designed from the
bottom up to be a blog. concrete5 was designed from the bottom up to
be a flexible building material for a wide variety of websites. I find
it bewildering that people would use Wordpress as anything more than a
blog. I'm not going to sit here and tell someone with a genuine
interest that we're just better than everyone and the best at
everything. It's simply not true, and what you say "No" to in life is

So again, I maintain:
If all you want to do is blog, go blog with Wordpress or Tumblr.
There's millions of people doing the exact same thing with you, and
you're going to see huge benefits from that community.

If you need a website that does a bunch of stuff, and part of it is a
blog, concrete5 is an awesome choice and ChadStrat gives amazing
support on all of his add-ons - so go enjoy.

Does that help clarify? I'd really like to see this thread stay
focused on how the big 3 (Wordpress/Drupal/Joomla) are positioned
against concrete5, but I don't want you walking away believing I don't
care about you or the great work all of our add-on developers in the
marketplace are doing.

best wishes

Franz Maruna
jordanlev replied on at Permalink Reply
I don't know of extensive comparisons other than the ones @Adreco linked to. But in my experience (I've built fairly substantial sites in most of the PHP CMS's), Concrete5 is ideal for a "page-based site". This is pretty similar to @Franz's take on it, but my own interpretation is this:

* Drupal is ridiculously complicated. Even people who love Drupal and use it for everything will admit that it has "a steep learning curve" -- which to me means "difficult to use and configure". Also, Drupal is trying to be all things to all people, it's not specifically for building straight-up websites but rather tries to be a foundation for many different kinds of applications. If you need a complex application, it might fit the bill (doesn't do it for me personally, but might for you).

* Joomla -- Joomla is probably closest to what C5 tries to be, but it's much older and has an absolutely horrendous user interface. A lot of my clients have said they want to use C5 because of the terrible experiences with trying to manage a complex site with Joomla -- it's admin interface is just a complete mess.

* Concrete5 -- to me, the best thing about concrete5 is that you as the designer are able to easily "design the editing experience" as much as the front-end viewing experience. The in-context editing is much easier for laypeople to intuitively figure out than the usual back-end admin dashboard interface. On top of that, the fact that each block has a custom editing interface designed specifically for the kind of content it displays is critical. Contrast to Wordpress, for example, where you basically have one big WYSIWYG editor for the entire contents of the page -- this works great for a blog post that only has rich text and image content on pages -- but falls apart when you have a more complex layout. I created the Designer Content addon to push this even further -- as a designer you can custom craft the editing of a block so it's easy for a user to enter content but you can assure your complex design is maintained on the page. Also, things like the ability to create custom templates for the autonav and page list blocks further make it easy for users to edit content (assuming you as the designer have set things up properly for them).

So in my opinion if you're building a marketing site or an informational site (company brochure, portfolio, basic product catalog, etc.), C5 is a no-brainer. The key difference is that you want different things on different pages to be laid out different. If every page looks exactly the same than Wordpress is probably a better fit -- but this is a rare use case I've found (even if the site starts out that way it always over time requires modifications for certain pages). If on the other hand you're building a complex application with more functionality than just displaying information to people, then the choice becomes less clear -- C5 can still fit the bill for a lot of that, but you might want to consider a lower-level framework such as Kohana or Cake or Symfony or CodeIgniter (or Rails or Django).

Just my 2 cents.

jordanlev replied on at Permalink Reply
Adreco replied on at Permalink Reply
Hey Bill,
I should have added to my earlier post that although I've read several comparisons, it usually requires reading responses to find out what was overlooked or misunderstood (usually about C5).

I like Joomla :}
It gained me a new client today that was so frustrated with trying to launch their online business site with Joomla they called me for a quote (everything they needed to do was pretty straightforward and easy to understand with C5... yea!)

To be totally fair (and because I'm a little lazy?) I keep up on and recommend Concrete for my clients, and honestly refer people to another developer if C5 is not a good fit.
bcarone replied on at Permalink Reply
Hi Guys

Thanks so much for your comments thus far. Franz thanks for taking the time in your schedule. Adreco, Chad, Jordan...DITTO.

I have had to constantly do comparisons for people and obtain information for them mainly because they are ignorant on searching for information that isn't part of their realm of comfort. Tech stuff scares them and confuses them. The mainstream media touts Drupal and Joomla consistently and little is known to businesses about C5. When I demo the user interface, the ability of in-line editing and image changes (either in a banner or image gallery) they freak out because of how easy it is.

Now I am not dev like some of you guys but I have shown products in the marketplace to potential clients and they are amazed at what is available and how the PRB works. These things I believe are what is going to make C5 stand out as time progresses. Our community works together.

I agree with Franz that sometimes some of us get our panties in a wad but I truely believe that we all seem to work together well (albeit folks being all over the world). It amazes people that are not tech savvy on Concrete5's ease of development and theme design/modification. I am currently working with some marketing companies that have only used Drupal and the designers are freaking out over how fast you can make a theme for Concrete5 and have it essentially work with little knowledge of PHP.

The biggest issue I see with the growth of Concrete5 is TIME. Those of us trying to get people to overcome the thought of "ANOTHER CMS" and it will probably be a resource hog to just take a look at Concrete5 has been the biggest hurdle for me. Here on the east coast of the states, its slow but steady. One of the departments at UNC chose C5 and that site is on the Showcase page. I am currently trying to get the university I am attending to allow the designers in their newest degree path to design the new web site for that school using Concrete5. Hopefully I can convince them.

Anyway, as the weekend progresses and into next week, since there is no new industry comparisons, other folks here that have had successful discussions with client to use Concrete5 and how they convinced them, will post to this thread.

Thanks again for the comments.
frz replied on at Permalink Reply
I think the #1 thing we can all do is just create content. Part of the appeal behind the big three is you can put "how do I... with drupal" into google and find thousands of articles and posts across thousands of sites.

Sure we can improve our own documentation, and some time is being set aside for that now. Theres a natural tendency all developers have towards building solution machines instead of just doing the grunt work. We're totally guilty of this sin, we built this very functional community and then never bother to spend 5 minutes assigning badges by hand. The gut response from any developer is "lets build some more automated triggers" when in reality 5 minutes a day of hands on work would solve the problem in a better, more organic way.

I'm trying to reposition our support team with this understanding now. There's no sense building this amazing destination if we don't spend time cleaning it up and adding some stuff to look at. Just last week we decided the support team would do a daily pass on the PRB to improve the pace of back and forth. Were reorganizing the addon and theme landing pages every week from now on. Were going to start writing round ups and more case studies/how tos. The list goes on and on. I'm sure we will drop the ball or forget things as we go, but were trying to be more of a media company and less just a software shop.

This is something I think we can all help with. Having many voices explaining how the solve problems is far better than one. There's nothing getting in anyone's way today. If you know drupal and conrete5, write an intro to concrete5 guide for drupal developers. It would be tremendously valuable to us, and will certainly help position you as an expert as we continue to grow.

Best wishes,
12345j replied on at Permalink Reply
frz replied on at Permalink Reply
These are nice articles. Of course I have to point out that any of the
more advanced things Phil points out you can do with Drupal you can
also do with concrete5 (like changing theme based on the user object,
etc) but I'm sure general awareness of how to approach more
complicated problems like that will work its way into the common
know-how of the internet in time..

Great stuff. Thx for the post 12345j

best wishes

Franz Maruna
thephilm replied on at Permalink Reply
In regards to my blog post above, Franz is right. I wrote that article after only a few months experience with Concrete5.
Inspired by this post, I've started a new blog post.

What I've found in the last year (and especially being incredibly frustrated last week trying to do a minor change to a Drupal site) is that Concrete5 has the most straightforward approach to theming, content creation and overriding core functions.

Hopefully as I wrap my blog article up, it will give a good overview as to the differences between each system.
- Phil