"Count what is countable. Measure what is measureable. What is not measureable, make measureable." -- Galileo

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Drupal -- Plone -- DotNetNuke

I've been playing around with a logo for the blog and came up with this. It also might be useful for the Plone Metrics and Statistics group over at OpenPlans. It does occur to me that its a repurposing in part of the Plone logo, so I should check with the Plone Foundation about the proper way to handle this.

Today's topic is the Packt Publishing Awards now that the overall winners have been announced. Something doesn't seem quite right. The logic of the matter goes like this:
  1. In the non-PHP category Plone was first, dotCMS was second, and DotNetNuke was third. Thus, Plone ranks higher than DotNetNuke.
  2. In the PHP category, its Drupal > Joomla! > CMS Made Simple.
  3. In the overall category, it turned out Drupal > Joomla! > DotNetNuke.
Hmm? Recall that Plone was a finalist in the overal category. Since from (1) above Plone ranked higher than DotNetNuke, one could infer that it should be somewhere to the left of DotNetNuke in (3). The question becomes, where did Plone end up in the overall category and why was it not ranked higher than DotNetNuke? Or put another way, why didn't DotNetNuke beat Plone for the non-PHP title?


From the inconsistency in the results, we can't compare Plone with Drupal and Joomla!. How can Plone be ranked simultaneously both higher and lower than DotNetNuke?

The answer may lie in the fact that the Packt voting process separates the votes for each category. I would suggest that DotNetNuke fans voted well in the overall category and then forgot to punch in also for the non-PHP category. Does this mean DotNetNuke voters haven't noticed that their favorite CMS isn't PHP based? Or perhaps Plonistas only voted in the non-PHP category and didn't go to the overall section.

But then there's another factor at work here: Packt judges used an undisclosed method in addition to the popular vote to rank the contenders. I have no idea how number of Packt titles (Drupal 9, Joomla 9, DotNetNuke 3, Plone 3), sales figures, and so on might influence the judges. One might expect that the Packt Awards are foremost meant to benefit Packt by selling more books. In the absence of a public, objective methodology and with the inconsistent ranking of Plone and DotNetNuke, one can only guess.

Whatever the actual phenomenon, it points out that one can take these kinds of popularity contests only so far. Yes, we can now market Plone as the top non-PHP CMS for 2008 and that has a certain cachet. And I'll admit I was thrilled to see Tuesday's result roll in.

But deep down, it isn't popularity that should guide your software choices. True, highly popular systems will likely have more consultants, a larger professional base, and possibly a longer useful life. But that doesn't guarantee that the popular use-case is going to match your use-case. Other requirements need to be factored in--your internal support capabilities, deployment platform, user environment, security, overall goals, and many other needs.

In my case, our predisposition for Python and the need for a secure system were the key factors that drove us to Plone. The National Vulnerability Database lists ten records for Plone over the last three years. Drupal shows 158 records; Joomla! 265. Or put another way, "...it's striking that three [Drupal, Joomla!, Wordpress] of the Top Ten contenders on IBM's security worry-list have PHP in common. You can read whatever you want to into that, I suppose." (Kas Thomas, 8/2008)

For me, that's the end of the voting.

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