Open Source CMS Thoughts

Despite being developers’ favorite CMS whipping boy, WordPress remains the most popular CMS, and it isn’t even close. According to the 2011 Open Source CMS Marketshare Report on CMS Wire, there are over 600,000 downloads of WordPress each month. With its giant install base and continued popularity, WordPress is here to stay. There have been many criticisms of WordPress, but the platform has evolved over the years to address many of their critics’ concerns. It is a good fit for small businesses and bloggers. It has a large, active developer community. There are a vast array of WordPress plugins, widgets and themes available both free and for purchase.

There are reasons not to use WordPress. WordPress is a great solution for smaller clients who have straightforward needs for what they want in a site, but once you get out of that zone, it is time to look into more robust CMS solutions.

Even though I don’t personally know anyone who uses it, the next most popular open source CMS after WordPress is Joomla with 86,000 downloads. Not far behind in 3rd place is Drupal. These 2 CMS solutions are robust, highly configurable and appealing to enterprise, but that comes with the cost of being more difficult to develop and maintain. The Drupal learning curve has become quite infamous.

Here are some nice articles that get into more detail about the differences between WordPress, Drupal and Joomla:

A promising newcomer on the scene is Concrete5. Of all the more well known CMS frameworks, it has seen by far the most rapid increase in adoption rate, and has the highest satisfaction rate among its users. I predict that eventually C5 will overtake Joomla and Drupal as it offers much of the same configurability, and offers the same kind of simplicity that has made WordPress a popular choice for many developers and users.

All that being said, after listening to a Shop Talk Podcast with an interview of Jeffrey Way of Themeforest, I’ve decided to take a try at developing some WordPress themes of my own. Themeforest is a large and popular marketplace for developers and companies to sell different kinds of themes at low prices. WordPress themes have the most sales, so as a developer who needs to have money to put his kids through college, developing for WordPress seems to be the right direction move. As Stephen Colbert likes to say, the market has spoken.

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