Archive for June, 2009

Share presentations for visibility on SlideShare

YouTube is certainly well known for the success it has shown with marketers. Another effective tool is SlideShare. SlideShare offers the ability to post a presentation that others can view, share and comment upon just as you would a video on YouTube. There are a number of similar services, but SlideShare appears to have a solid user base.

Easy to use and requiring nothing more than a PowerPoint deck, SlideShare is easy to test out for marketing and communications campaigns.

What makes this really easy is a nice Microsoft PowerPoint plug-in. This allows you to work with the SlideShare features and post to the site right from within PowerPoint. Get it here.

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Drupal vs. WordPress

Let me start with a note on my bias – I love WordPress. This said, I have tried not to let it color this post that attempts to highlight when and where to choose between WordPress and Drupal. No matter, I look forward to some solid comments from all sides on these ramblings.

This evaluation really comes down to a definition of the task you desire. I have found that WordPress is the ideal selection for any blog. I have also found it to be an excellent choice for a small to medium Web site. Why? In two words, elegant simplicity.

On the setup side, WordPress is so simply to install, create themes, add enhancements that it is easy to get an excellent site up and running in a very short time. Then on the administration side, the user experience is an excellent one for those who are not familiar with technology. I have been able to bring luddites up to speed in WordPress post, page and comment management in mere minutes.

Drupal I have found to be more suitable to larger Web sites that require a greater level of development for custom applications, multiple themes, multiple languages and other aspects you would expect of a full bore content management system. For a blog or small Web site I find it to be overkill and adds a level of complication that adds too great an expense to sites that so not require custom applications.

This difference is apparent in the extensions to WordPress and Drupal. Drupal features a large set of modules to extend features. WordPress appears to offer many more. The difference comes not just in volume, but types. Drupal has a set that is clearly more technical in nature than WordPress. Also, a good number of the modules are seen as jumping off points for custom development. This is far different from the WordPress plug-ins that are targeted to the Web site maintainer who has little if any programming knowledge.

And this comes to the real difference I see with these two platforms. Drupal is clearly targeted first and foremost to code lovers and developers. This is readily apparent in the language used on the Drupal site, its blog postings and in general. Development discussions on the site are highly technical and constantly refer to a mix of PHO, JavaScript and JQuery as minimal requirements for Drupal development.

WordPress on the other hand has a greater balance between the average Joe that wants to have a blog/site and the developer. Surfing to wordpress.org you find that this is tailored much more to the layman than Drupal.org. WordPress also has a broad commercial path to get started via wordpress.com. Then when you do dive into development, you find that with minimal PHP skills you can customize and modify themes.

I find that this separate target of hard core a developer (Drupal) to the general population (WordPress) is clearly evident in area of theme management. In Drupal, the themes are all managed external to the Drupal interface. You compile and create the various layouts on the backend (as you do in WordPress) and then must manage these from the back end. In WordPress, you have access to theme templates form within the interface for modifications. This distinction is key. There are two levels of expectations here. In Drupal there is the expectations that the framework will usually require far more coding and management than should be permitted via the interface. WordPress on the other hand considers the possibility of editing templates to be something that should be permitted to the administrations right from its graphical shell.

Again, this comes back to suitability of task. I would not want a large scale site with numerous complex templates to be accessible by any old administrator – hence Drupal. However, if I have a small site where the admin, maintainer and developer are likely the same person and the theme is straight forward then the interface access is reasonable.

Here are some other side-by-side comparison.

Editing Interface

I hate the Drupal editing interface. The listing of pages without any management options means it takes me a long time to find and then adjust content. The content listing and editing options in WordPress are simply far more elegant than anything offered in the Drupal core or via any add on modules I have found. For this interface reason along I prefer WordPress.

Comments

WordPress has focused for years on its comment moderation capabilities. They are top notch. Drupal’s are rudimentary at best. Having now used both, I would have to eliminate Drupal as a blogging option for a site that expected high comment volume. Drupal is a fine technical solution. Drupal is simply not up to the task when it comes to the associated workflow.

Simplicity of Free Themes and Theme Design

WordPress and Drupal take a few minutes to install. Getting started with adding a free theme for WordPress takes a few minutes to find tens of thousands of items to get started. Drupal then takes quite a bit to customize even free themes. This difference real comes to the forefront with my experimentations. I can transfer an existing site with drop down menus and a couple of area designs to WordPress in half a day. The same effort took me (and an experienced Drupal developer) a week.

Media Library

WordPress offers a simple but elegant media library. And a couple of plug-ins really push it to an even better solution. Drupal’s media management is barebones. Media is considered a node or content element just like any other item such as a page or post. This is excellent when you want to develop a larger application on top of the framework. However, it falls short for a simple site.

Plug-Ins

WordPress offers not just one plug-in for everything imaginable – there must be three or four. The modules that extend Drupal are simply not as varied and there are less options for each task. More to the point, adding, testing and tweaking just seems to be so much faster and easier in WordPress than the developer focused interface offered via Drupal.

Here are some other articles for thought

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