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

Thursday, December 9, 2010

IdealWare CMS Report

Once again IdealWare has come out with their 2010 annual review of Plone, WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. As last year, they are one of the few software comparisons of any type to have a completely transparent methodology. Not only is the body of the report well balanced and thought out, the detailed system-by-system accounting of the subtopics that make up their category scores makes for very worthwhile reading. Tip o' the hat again.

Also like last year, I'm taking the liberty of translating IdealWare's scoring of  None, Fair, Solid, Excellent into 0, 1, 2, 3.  The result is the following table.

WordPress Joomla 1.6 Drupal Plone
Ease of Hosting and Installation 3 3 3 1
Ease of Setup: Simple Site 3 2 2 1
Ease of Setup: Complex Site 3 3 2 2
Ease of Use: Content Editors 3 2 2 3
Ease of Use: Site Administrator 3 2 2 2
Graphical Flexibility 3 3 3 3
Accessibility and Search Engine Optimization 2 3 1 3
Structural Flexiblity 2 2 3 3
User Roles and Workflow 1 3 2 3
Community/Web 2.0 Functionality 3 2 3 2
Extending and Integrating 3 3 3 3
Security 1 2 2 3
Support/Community Strength 3 3 3 3
2010 33 33 31 32
2009* 29 27 30 29
* In 2009 only 12 categories (instead of 13) were used.

Once again there is only a small spread in the scores, about 6%, well below the 10% of 2009.  All CMS's here are improving quickly.  Reviewers still hold Plone's non-LAMP hosting model against it, giving it a Fair for hosting and installation.  I beg to differ with them about setting up a simple site.  Once the software is installed, Plone's out-of-the-box feature set solves a wide range of CMS use-cases with a minimum of fuss. 

What I stated last year still stands:

"Its always nice to see good scores and the fact that Idealware chose Plone along with only 3 other serious open source systems is high praise in and of itself. Idealware should be complimented for having a transparent methodology, a relatively neutral approach, and giving good press to four worthwhile systems.

"Still, I can't stress enough that your specific, unique requirements must drive your choice for a CMS. Don't let someone else's numbers blind you to what you and your community of users need to accomplish."
I urge those shopping for a CMS to weigh the scores according to your needs and requirements.  If ease of use for content contributors, SEO excellence, and security are key features, Plone clearly comes out ahead.  Go ahead and cut-and-paste my table into a spreadsheet, change the values, play with different weights, and then be sure to take a test drive** before you make a deep and lasting commitment.  Changing CMS in mid-stream is not a simple task--take the long view and get it right the first time. 
** Try a Plone demo site of your own at Six Feet Up or request a free Plone site at Objectis. 

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