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TYPO3 versus other CMS platforms is a constant discussion. This week, in Twitter discussions, the question was again asked: “Why is TYPO3 the CMS of choice in Europe and Drupal more popular in the US (for open source solutions – I have previously covered why no company ever should waste their money on a propritary CMS). The first reason is that TYPO3 was developed in Europe and first took hold there. US CMS developers were/are slow to take it up. Drupal was also developed by a European, but has a larger US presence.

I know what my opinion is, TYPO3 is superior, I came to that conclusion after months of research. I decided to take a look at what others have said. Joomla, WordPress, and other platforms are always discussed, as well as TYPO3 and Drupal. Joomla and WordPress are great for certain situations, but not for complete enterprise level content management.

I did a google search on TYPO3 / Drupal comparisons and I was actually surprised at what I found on a random basis. While not scientific, this was a random sample that eliminated sites run by official Drupal / TYPO3 organizations.

A few quotes:

from Typo3 vs Drupal

Along the way, I discovered Typo3 – a very powerful and interesting content management system. Typo3 looks like it can do just about anything, and looks extremely flexible. I spent quite a bit of time with it.The problem with Typo3 is that it is very difficult to set up. The main problem are the templates – very powerful, but they are not based on any standard such as HTML or PHP etc. The developers have invented their own system, and you have to learn it from scratch. This is no trivial proposition, even for people who are good at this sort of thing and very tech-savvy.

Does Typo3 have place in the online world? It certainly does – it allows you do to do just about anything you could possibly imagine with a content management system. If there is a CMS out there with a feature, Typo3 probably has it too.

Unless you need a very specialized installation for a large organization, you are probably better with Drupal. Between the two, I recommend Typo3 only if Drupal does not meet your must-have requirements, or if you really like fiddling with esoteric systems. If you choose Typo3, you will certainly have a great site, as long as you put in the long hours and hard work to learn it properly.

A comment on the above post:

Hi guys, I used to love drupal I spend over 2 years using it, until I found TYPO3, with all the respect Drupal is great but when we are talking about enterprise solution, where you have a distribute content generation proccess, with a lot roles and access control policies, when you have to set up workflows for many sections on your site (or sites, Intranet, extranet, etc) then I think Drupal it’s not enough. Maybe installing a lot of modules of drupal and even modifying it to feet your needs you could set up these requierements, but then who is the one who “is very difficult to set up”? So if you have e scenario like i describe above, I truly recomend TYPO3.

TYPO3 vs Drupal CMS

In our opinion, TYPO3 CMS appears to be the most appropriate system for complex websites, because the system is able to maintain an overview at all times. The management of several language versions, for example, remains very clear.TYPO3 includes a multitude of advanced features that are often indispensable for larger organisations, such as workflow management and draft workspaces. Mia offers thorough training courses for TYPO3 users, and these are necessary in order to learn to manage all the applications.

Drupal CMS started as a community platform. Therefore, the core system contains a whole range of community features like creating profiles, social tagging, etc.

In Drupal CMS, the website is always modified via frontend editing. Drupal frequently operates in a self-explanatory manner, and therefore appears to be more accessible for the user. We would therefore recommend this system for simpler websites with a lower update frequency. Drupal is nevertheless able to provide an answer to any requirement that the client may have.

There are many more similar examples, but this post is already way too long. There are two major conclusions I derive from this sample of reviews:

1. For do-it-yourselfers without extensive technical knowledge, don’t use TYPO3. Drupal probably isn’t appropriate, either. WordPress or Joomla is the way to go. Just realize that if you grow out of one of these platforms you are looking at completely replacing your system or doing extensive and expensive customizations. Both TYPO3 and Drupal are quite scalable, although TYPO3 is more so.

2. A huge porportion of the complaints about TYPO3 is the learning curve. I am not as technically inclined as many, so I felt the pain, too, and still do. If you have complex web site needs, any platform is going to have a big learning curve. This is not a reason to reject TYPO3 or embrace another system like Drupal. Yet, this is probably the most common reason I see for not using it.

TYPO3 is an enterprise level solution and requires enterprise level expertise to get a complete site going. That is what Acqal does. Users don’t see this, with some training, required with any system, even WordPress, TYPO3 is a pleasure to use.

A lot of people who choose Drupal over TYPO3 do not understand TYPO3, that is very clear when reading many of blog posts, articles, etc. They think Drupal is easier so it must be better. It ignores the capability of TYPO3. This hurts TYPO3 market penetration in the US, no doubt. One of Acqal’s missions is to help change some of these invalid attitudes.

Originally posted March 14, 2009

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  • Nice to find some thing like that! We are serving with TYPO3 since a long time and really we never looked back for some different or alternate solution. I can say TYPO3 is a ‘frame work’.

  • Great article Virgil. I hadn’t seen a couple of these quotes yet. Thank you for sharing.

    Don’t forget to Digg the article.

  • Agreed on using the right tool for the job. Use WordPress is you’re only going to be blogging, TYPO3 is overkill.

    I helped a friend recently migrate to WordPress from a custom static and SSI website. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it in TYPO3. See http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/.

    On the enterprise CMS and WCM talk back, Virgil’s on it at http://aihr.us.