Sunday, July 20, 2008

Drupal & Joomla to your Rescue !!

Have you ever felt that the process of making a web site tedious, time-consuming and lengthy process and spent more time than is actually needed ??

Or have you ever felt the need to build an interactive website really fast, may be for a semester project ??

If yes, then Content Management Systems (CMS) like Drupal & Joomla! are exactly what you need. This is not to say that only in these CMS would work only in these situations. They can be used by experts as well as novices to build rich-featured, reliable, easily administered websites by providing them an extremely flexible and highly configurable environment to operate in.

Let's see what is a CMS ?
CMS stands for Content Management System. It can be seen as a software package that can be used by individual or community of users to easily publish, manage and organize a wide variety of content on your website.
CMS eases the process of building websites by being flexible in nature and providing the developer with high degree of configuration and customization.
Also using CMS, one need not be proficient in scripting languages like PHP, however basic knowledge would help.

Well known CMS like Drupal & Joomla! basically need Apache Web Server, MySQL database, and PHP to work on, so you basically need LAMP(Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack whereas with Windows, you need a WAMP(Windows, Apache, MySQL, PHP) server. You can download the WAMP server here.

So before you start using any one of them, make sure that your web server is properly installed.
For windows, you need to perform the following steps:
  • Install the WAMP server on your local machine.
  • Download Drupal or Joomla! dump from their respective sites and depending on whether you use localhost or remote web server, you need to unzip files from the dump to a correct location.
For localhost development, all that is needed is to copy paste Drupal's or Joomla's files to a folder on your WAMP server i.e. make a folder in www in your WAMP server and place all the files there. Then run in a web browser, http://localhost/name_of_folder and follow the installation instructions

For remote web server, an extra step is that you need to FTP these files to the server using any FTP client like FileZilla and then follow the installation instructions.

Drupal eases your installation task by providing you with a videocast on how to install and configure your CMS, that is really really useful for novices like me. :-)
Joomla! also provides you with detailed installation instructions that helps you with any issue that you might get into.

Having being used both of them, i can say that Drupal is much more extensive in terms of features and functionality that it provides to the developer. May be because it is in existence for a longer time than Joomla!. But, it also makes Drupal user-interface more overwhelming (not complicated though) and sometimes frustating for the newbie. But one should devote some more time in understanding the basics, its architecture and workflow.

This is not to say that Joomla! is not good. On the other hand, i would recommend students to begin with Joomla! and then slowly graduate to Drupal But still i found it pretty easy to set permissions in Drupal than in Joomla!. There are several tutorials on both of them and I'm not really an expert to compare the two. The bottom-line is that both are useful and extensible in their own right.

Using a CMS, you can easily make website for your school/college clubs or alumni portal providing features like discussion forums, creating polls and voting on them, giving each user a facility to create and manage their own blog using a blogging API, creating, editing and managing articles, stories, pages as well as commenting on other's posts, uploading files onto the server and much more. It provides a plethora of options to the administrator as well and helps him/her to have total control on the flow, thus making your website secure, reliable and safe.

With Drupal and Joomla! being open-source, they are backed by a huge community of users and developers who continuously keep on developing new innovative modules and themes which can be downloaded as such (free of cost, obviously) and used within your website. Thus, they make your website easily extensible and flexible in nature.

Thus anyone, who is interested in creating websites on-the-go can definitely give these frameworks a try and end up learning quite a lot.

There is so much more to share about these exciting systems, but I think I have already written a pretty long blog, so will continue sometime later...

1 comment:

Abhishek Khanna said...

anyone wanna knw more abt jooma cn contact me.. i made 3 websites on tht.. its great!