Joomla vs WordPress

First look – Admin

WordPress

Login Detail

WordPress frontend/backend uses a single login. This is a horrible practice in my point of view as you cannot login as a user in the front end and admin in the backend simultaneously to test out different user roles (more or on this later). That basically means a logout of the frontend logs you out automatically from the backend and hence you cannot see what your users are seeing while still being logged in to the backend. Half an hour of google and reading a ton of articles and forums came out empty (maybe I am not that great at searching, and somebody knows how to do this). This does have it’s advantages as you can edit posts and other areas of WordPress by using the options available on the admin bar at the frontend. But the problem is you can’t separate an admin(one who has access to the backend) with a user (front end restrictions). There are plugins available, but nothing out of the box. WordPress I guess was not meant to be a CMS and due it’s popularity as a blogging solution, it eventually transformed into a CMS – albeit a very limited one without plugins.

wp-front-edit

See that neat little bar at the top, and some other options like edit…well, that only happens if you are logged in. WordPress is very friend as it greets you like a cowboy. Howdy!

So let’s login

WordPress logs in using a login form attached to a link in the Meta widget, or any other widget or menu as per your theme and desire. I did try to find a login form like Joomla’s login module, but couldn’t find any easily installed plugin. The login page is very basic with Username, Password, and remember me. In case you don’t know your password, there is a “forgot password” link as well.

wp-login

Admin Dashboard

WordPress’ Administrator Dashboard is where you do all your customization, write posts and pages, upload pictures etc. It has the same top menu bar as in the frontend as well as a left menu with the right side holding the content pertaining to the menu item. So clicking on Posts- Add new post, will display a post editing window with a right sidebar that has additional options like category, publish/save draft, tags and more depending on the option(s) of the menu item. The interface is clean, but as you add more and more plugins, the menu gets cluttered quickly. This will not bother most as the menus are collapsible as well as the sidebar itself.

The Dashboard front page includes links to common tasks like “Add new post”, manage widgets, customize the site, as well as give statistics on the number of posts comments and pages among other things.

As the heart of WordPress is the posts, a quick draft is also displayed.

wp-dashboard

Joomla

Login Detail

Joomla’s login form is built into a module, this makes it really easy to login (to the front end). In order to login to the backend, one has to go to a separate directory. This model is phenomenally useful as one can test the roles and group restrictions and privileges without logging out of the backend (which you can then easily tweak the settings as required and see the results by refreshing. If you login with your admin on the frontend, you will be greeted with the ever friendly – Warning Username and password do not match or you do not have an account yet.

j-login

So let’s login

Just like in WordPress (and countless other sites and frameworks – I mean really, how many different fields can you have in a login form) there is a Username and Password field denoted by a user icon and a lock icon with a large Log in button also with a lock. Notice how there is no “forgot password” or any other clutter. To be honest, I am not sure why that’s the case. Anyway…

wp-login-2

Admin Dashboard

Joomla uses the term “Control Panel” rather than Dashboard, I would think this in line with most software companies like Microsoft and Linux. The Control Panel is very different from WordPress dashboard. There is no sidebar with collapsible menu items. The Joomla way is to use dropdown menus with submenus (admin bar), you can think of it like Windows start menu items except at the top instead of the bottom (yeah, I know..poor example).

The Control Panel front page itself would list popular and recent articles (considering these will be the ones that most authors/editors would interested in. It also lists the currently logged on user and a information box for receiving post-installation messages. On the left side would be some links for common tasks like “add a new article” or the various different extension managers (more on this later) and also whether all extensions and Joomla itself is updated. The interface is clean and navigation is easy. Any new extensions do not clutter up the admin bar at the top unless its an extension that changes the core of Joomla – like Community Builder. This can be removed by going to the extensions’ setting most of the time anyway.

j-dashboard

Note: Once you go to another section in the Admin site, the left common links are replaced by links related to the section you are currently on.

Note: Unlike common drop downs, the admin bar will not drop down on hover, but only when clicked. This is fine, as once clicked, the hover drop down comes into effect until it gets rolled up by clicking out of the menu bar area or selecting a link.

My Thoughts

Both interfaces serve the purpose of making menu items easily accessible. I cannot say one is better than the other. I will give the slight advantage to WordPress as it does look nicer and more modern but that in itself should not get any points, as both are as much functional.