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Zikula vs Drupal  Bottom

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  • Hello everyone;

    I am looking for information comparing Zikula and Drupal. Two organizations will be working on a single project, different organizational cultures, histories, developers. I'm Zikula, he's Drupal. Neither of us knows much about the other's tools. Naturally I want to use the best tool for the job, not start a religious war. I'd be interested in significant and factual differences between the two. I suspect they both will have advantages and disadvantages. Considering things like features, security model, module design, flexibility, etc.

    Any helpful would be appreciated.
  • Well, i've made a superficial comparision between both, but having no experience with the Drupal stuff i don't know where i can be wrong. Looking the core and some modules code and exploring the features my opinions are:

    Project focuses:
    Zikula is focused on quality and security while Drupal is focused on performance. I don't know how to eval the projects maturity, but what i see in the zkCore is very clear and nice, and that level needs time.

    Code quality:
    Drupal's performance focus has it disadvantages here, some pieces of code reminds me to PHP-Nuke, and i don't know how they separate the presentation layer of the business logic. There must be a way, but i don't know how the Drupa'ls code is easy maintain.

    Backward compatibility:
    The worst point of Drupal. Too many core changes per version brokes a lot of stuff. I have read a lot of complains about this. You know, Zikula is too clear with upgrade paths and that's a big guarantee.

    Permissions system:
    Zikula is far more robust in this aspect. Rules and levels are far more granular than Drupal's checkboxes. A developer may be able to design a nice set of access sets probably.

    i don't know the recent code of Drupal, but it they don't separate the logic of the presentation, customize is a hard thing... i love the lot of possibilities that Zikula offers, even when sometimes their affects the performance. We just need a better cache system and we'll rule.

    The O.O. stuff in Zikula 2.0 will be awesome and clean. Drupal doesn't introduces O.O. because their performance focus i guess, i don't know if they'll be forced to use the PHP 5 advantages later...

    well, that's what i can say ATM
    it would be cool to discuss this with a Drupal dev
    try to tell us in detail what he thinks about this points please icon_wink

    - Mateo T. -
    Mis principios... son mis fines
  • I have try out Drupal for little time, but in many aspects it was result to me not so practic to be managed/modified. What i like in Zikula (and i specially search in a CMS) of course is the easy way that you can add code features, without limitations and in short steps.
    Smarty is another strong and good point in favour of Zikula.
    If i can say there is a defect: modules and blocks have differents languages files that need to be translated one by one if the default language isn't English, like some other thing in this kind of structure. Lot of work to costumize as you like an entire site. But, maybe it is good thing about performance (only strict needed code is processed on request), and to have a deep, precise costumization.
    It is not a good observation? Maybe a Drupal user will have to say something about Zikula? Don't know, but i have choose Zikula :)

    axew3 temp home
  • The best tool is the one you can work with best. I can work best with Zikula. Which somehow makes Zikula the best tool.

    best regards from Kiel, sailing city

    Steffen Voss

    Member of the Zikula Steering Committee
    Read The Zikulan's Blog "If you want people to RTFM, make a better FM!"
  • "Customization:
    i don't know the recent code of Drupal, but it they don't separate the logic of the presentation, customize is a hard thing... i love the lot of possibilities that Zikula offers, even when sometimes their affects the performance. We just need a better cache system and we'll rule."

    Are you saying the HTML is bound up in the programming code? No "theme", per se?

    I like the way you think, Steffan.
  • Hi,

    inspired by your post I've just taken a quick look at drupal 6.8, specifically at the code structure. I don't know anything about using dupal in a day-to-day environment (it may be excellent for running your site straight out of the box, but that is not what I'm talking about here), but after looking at the code I think I can safely say that Zikula is miles ahead of drupal.

    Drupal seems to be written in the kind of code that Zikula (back then PostNuke) had about 3-4 years ago.
    1) There is no templating system. PHP and HTML are mixed throughout the output-generation code.
    2) there is no database abstraction layer (ie: queries are constructed manually and thus hardcoded into the code)
    3) there doesn't seem to be much in terms of generic system code that can be reused by a module.

    Contrast this to Zikula:
    1) we have a templating system which allows you to override things specific to your site, keeping your customizations nicely separated from the default system files, making maintenance and upgrades a breeze.
    2) we have a DB abstraction layer which generates SQL for an object-relational mapping, meaning that you don't have to construct manual SQL anymore. This greatly eases maintenance and makes DB-portability quite easy and allows you to fix problems (or extend functionality) in a single API-file in the system rather than manually having to fix queries scattered all over the codebase.
    3) we have extensive system libraries which means that you get to re-use much already existing functionality without having to write your own code. This aids development, maintenance and customization as well as ensuring that any core changes can be captured by the existing API, providing good backwards compatibility.
    4) our permission system is somewhat complex but very flexible and can be adapted to just about any scenario. I don't know of another open-source CMS which has this

    All in all, for a complex site which needs to be customized or extended, as is often required in a professional setting, I believe that the Zikula approach is much more manageable and efficient (from a development point of view). However, I should state that I am biased as I am a core developer and do professional Zikula projects for a living.

    Like I said, this is a comparison based upon code structure, not functionality. If drupal works for you, great. However it has the type of code that Zikula has long since left behind and that I would not want to go back to.

  • Thanks Robert, exactly what I was looking for. Good ammo should I need it.

    BTW, VideoKid has something for you ;)
  • sorry this is just a test post to reproduce an Ajax bug that have come out yesterday while posting in this forum.

    ... so here we have some necessary to compare:



    axew3 temp home
  • I'm currently on PN.764 contemplating the move to Zikula having started using PN back in 2005 and written my own modules; i.e. I've invested substantially in PN.

    I must admit the feature set of Drupal is very enticing and with the biggest complaint about my site being speed, I think I'll have a play with Drupal at the very least. Drupal 6 seems to have a wealth of ready to go modules. My biggest headache with Zikula is the apparent lack of ready modules. It's all very well have a slick core, but not much good with no modules because without them you have no site! I might be wrong here, but when I look for ecommerce, user/group profiles and other key things for my site they're either not there, not Z1 compatible, very old or simply thin on functionality.

    I'll report back when I've had a chance to compare.
  • Hello everyone!

    Two modules makes Drupal the best CMS in the OS world. It's CCK and Views. Does Zikula offers similar features?
  • What do those modules do?
  • from a cursory glance, it appears that Pagesetter/Pagemaster would be the most similar, but since I have used NONE of the Drupal modules nor Pagemaster/Pagesetter, I am merely guessing.

    As an aside, finding info about those modules on the Drupal site is WAY to difficult.
  • I think that Pagesetter/Pagemaster plus the Core features does Zikula the best icon_wink

    - Mateo T. -
    Mis principios... son mis fines
  • Simply put:

    The combination of pagesetter/pgCalendar/pgArchive/pgForms and knowledge of Smarty means that really, there's nothing that one can't achieve with Zikula.

    From hyper-personalized content management and delivery to web applications, with Zikula as a base (the amazing API, Smarty, permissions...) and the aforementioned modules the limits are only self-imposed.

    I love telling clients to give me their absolute dreams for their site without any limitations and using the above to give them what they want and more!


    Burnham Racing
    Illinois Cycling Association
  • In practical use, I find the categories of Zikula far more intuitive than the Drupal node system. I used the 5.2&3 versions of Drupal and was unimpressed with the performance then, how it has improved since I don't know. The out of the box Experience to me was not really any more work for either, IMHO. I was able to modify a drupal theme with no real difficulty, but that was as far as I wanted to go with it.

    The one aspect of drupal that looked interesting to me was the built in "Directory" client/server function that has promise for community social interactions. Zikula uses OpenID for similar functionality on just the login, and I think drupal can use OpenID now too. The instant social promise of drupal is really just mystique/hype and superficial; any CMS/Platform is as much work and development to make connections. Making those connections in Zikula to other systems, now and in the near future, seems to me to be a little more easy and robust.

    If it has any weight, Leo Laporte (of the Popular Podcast TWiT) made the comment of Drupal in his Nationally Syndicated Radio Broadcast "The Tech Guy", also carried live via the internet at, that Drupal required Both "an Engineer and a Graphic Designer/UI Designer" (the show notes for his radio show where he made the comment paraphrases the two duties as "an expert") - to that I would add a Content Managing Editor, that fully understands the nodal structure from the engineer's perspective, to have good day-to-day control! - It is MY(Paul Stewart's) impression that as the owner of a Drupal site, Leo Laporte is not going to continue it's use, he likes to do things himself - he will probably switch to SquareSpace -

    edited by: TakeIT2, Jun 22, 2009 - 03:56 PM

    "...Humor, ITs just a state of mind"
    TakeIT2.CoM :: Open Destination site is a perfect example of why doctors do not operate on them self :)

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