Open Source Communities: Drupal vs Wordpress vs Joomla

drupal vs wordpress vs joomla open source cms

I spend an awful lot of my time in the Drupal community contributing however I can... whether that's with modules, or UI mockups, or just being available to help however I can, I do my best to available to help others in the community.  I don't say this to pat myself on the back because there are plenty of others in the Drupal community who do the same (and more).  I say this to illustrate some of the very evident differences between our community and others "like" us.

There's been quite a bit of conversation going on about how we might be able to help people contribute to Drupal more readily and more easily.  To help facilitate this conversation I spent last Friday spending a huge portion of my day in both the Joomla! and WordPress irc channels and I was amazed by some of the difference that were evident between our communities.  Drupal's IRC channel has kind of a bad wrap for being unfriendly to newbies, however after spending Friday in Joomla's channel I can tell you with some authority that even if our channel may not be "as" friendly as we'd like some times, at least people respond.  The Joomla channel had virtually no "experts" in it that were willing to respond to even the simplest of queries concerning their product.  I literally spent probably 5-6 hours in that channel looking for an "expert" who could answer my questions on how people contribute to their community... and I got nothing.  Likewise, after searching their main site for quite some time I can say it is my opinion that is just as badly organized (or worse) than is, and again, I could find no information on contributing to their community (specifically a theme).  On top of all of that they appear to have a bot in their channel that actually abuses you when possible, and while that was an amusing diversion, it didn't seem particularly helpful...

WordPress was another experience all together.  Their IRC channel is alive and well, although not as active as our own (at least on the day I was there both #wordpress and #joomla had less than half what #drupal had).  I think the most amazing thing to me was the lack of documentation on their product.  I'm obviously very spoiled since I'm used to for all my documentation needs for any given function within Drupal.  This is WordPress's solution... (or lack thereof)   What you'll find is that most of the functions in red simply have nothing associated with them... which would be more than a little annoying when trying to develop a new module (plugin) and trying to conform to their existing API.

At the end of the day I chose to write this all up, mostly because I see people arguing back and forth about how much better x is than Drupal... be it Joomla, WordPress, Expression Engine, or whatever... and I've used all these products and in some cases tried to participate in their communities, and after all of this, I can say with some authority that Drupal was the absolute right choice for us as a company, for myself as a developer, and I'd highly suggest it to anyone looking to build a serious website.

If you've had experience in any of these (or other) Content Management Platforms, I'd love to hear your feedback.