Drupal vs WordPress MU

Now that I’m back from the training that Seth and I went to in RI last week and have had a couple of days to get slapped around by my email for having left, I’m trying to get a first site up and running with Drupal. I’m not going to say that it’s not going well, but it’s sure not coming easy.

I think the really easy thing to do would be to install WordPress MU (multi-user). I love WordPress. A lot. My blog is hosted by wordpress. The church site I help with is done in wordpress. A lot of what I do is Wordpres-inspired. It is beautiful, simple and has a lot of features. The WordPress development community has done a fantastic job of balancing features with usability, going so far as to hire Jeffrey Zeldman to design the latest administration interface. WordPress is pretty flexible and has a lot of beautiful themes available for it. If somebody were to ask me what they should use for their own blog, I would without hesitation tell them wordpress.

Unfortunately, if I have learned anything during my now 10 years at Lincoln Public Schools, it is that you can never ever predict what your users (I hate that term but lack for something better) will want to do with the solution you provide. Some say they want a podcast, then upload a single file from an assembly with no intention of ever uploading another file. Some say they want to upload an image, then upload a 2500 pixel wide image right on to the home page. Some say that they want a blog (but not on the home page). They say they want one thing, intended something else and end up with something in between and it’s not their job to fit into my view of the world but rather mine to provide a solution that can support theirs.

Given this environment, without a distict-wide intiative on blogging where all involved know what to expect and how to utilize the tool, I have to select a tool that can provide sites as varied as the people publishing to them.

Enter drupal.

While parts of it are amazing and almost magical, compared to wordpress it is a major hassle to setup. Yet, I feel strongly that the payoff at the end will be much larger and it will provide us a web publishing platform for years to come to replace Manila and while it may not be the first-class client that wordpress is, I think that it is at the top of the second-class heap. That doesn’t sound like much of a complement, but I’d rather get one solution that fit many needs then install many solutions that each service one niche.

Here’s hoping that all goes well.

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