How does Defacto compare to Drupal?

At Nomensa, we have worked with many Open Source CMSs, including Drupal, Joomla and Wordpress. Given our focus on accessibility, only CMSs which provide good control over the output (and therefore have control over the accessibility) would be considered, and Wordpress and Drupal stand out in this respect.

Drupal can in some ways can be considered a framework, in that it is built to allow people to extend the functionality with modules. In practice, you have to use several modules to create a working site, and more modules to extend the administration area.

We seriously considered using Drupal as our CMS of choice, rather than creating our own. However, two factors prevented us:

  1. The Administrative interface is not friendly for non-techies. The have been gradual improvements over the years (I've tried each version since 4.5 in 2005). However, as someone who worked on Drupal's UX pointed out, there is a fundamental problem with making Drupal easy to use for non-technical authors. It is unlikely to make much progress until that is solved.
  2. The combination of needing 3rd party modules and needing to apply regular security updates was off-putting for managing dozens of websites. The 3rd party modules are of varying quality, so some would need updating anyway, and then having to apply constant security patches which would undo your changes could become a constant drain on our resources.

In comparison, Defacto is based on a lower-level framework (Django), where we could easily create our own interface from scratch. See the Technology page for details. Due to Django being a lower-level framework, updates are unlikely to break anything. Over a two year period we've gone from version 1.0 to 1.2 with no issues. There is also an excellent comparison of Django and Drupal, which goes into much more depth.

If you are (or have) an internal team, Drupal could be an excellent choice. You can build up knowledge of Drupal over time, and applying updates on one or two sites is not nearly so problematic. However, if you are getting an external company to implement a site on Drupal, make sure you have a good support contract in place.

In terms of features, you can create almost anything you'd like in both Drupal and Defacto, it's not really a features game any more.

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