A question was asked on LinkedIn regarding these three CMS systems. Although I answered it there, I thought a longer post was warranted.
I probably have the most experience using DotNetNuke. I’ve built several sites using DotNetNuke, I’ve installed it on my own servers and have even attempted to build a module for it.
DotNetNuke (DNN) is incredibly powerful, but it’s also easy to use (once it’s installed). The best thing about DNN is that the administration of the site is completely integrated into the site itself. You can be viewing a page, click a button to edit it and have the change online immediately. With both Joomla and WordPress you’ll have to go to a separate Admin area to do that.
DNN has a wide variety of free and commercial modules available for it. Frankly, whenever I needed to do something that wasn’t built it, I found a module already existed.
There is a significant downside to DNN, though: it requires Windows. DNN is built using the .NET framework and it must be hosted on a Windows server. It also uses SQL Server, which also obviously require Windows. This may not be a problem for internal use, after all pretty much every company has a Windows server running somewhere. And you can use the free versions of SQL Server. But if you want to host your CMS elsewhere, you’ll have fewer options than you would with Joomla or WordPress. Most (all?) of the low-cost hosting services use Linux. There are some low-cost providers that host DNN (such as WebHost4Life), but I’ve found their performance to be terrible.
By far the best DNN hosting provider that I’ve worked with is PowerDNN, but they are expensive (plans start at $20/month and go up from there).
The other downside is that DNN sites seem to work best in Internet Explorer. That has been improving lately, but I’ve still run across some things that just don’t work right in Firefox or Safari.
Joomla websites can look really nice, but I found that the administration of them takes a little getting use to. You need to go to a completely separate area to administer the web site and things don’t seem to be as organized as they could be.
But overall, I’m impressed with the new versions of Joomla and will be investigating it more in 2009.
This blog run ons WordPress (not the hosted WordPress.com) as does RBDevZone. Originally, RBDevZone was actually built using DNN (running on WebHost4Life). But I found the performance to be so bad, that I had to come up with another solution. I first investigated Joomla, but at the time it was incredibly slow and I found it too difficult to use. So I ended up switching to WordPress. This worked out well since RBDevZone has since evolved into more of a blog about all things REALbasic and no longer needed a true CMS.
WordPress is fast (it’s written in PHP and uses MySQL). It’s easy to use. It’s also pretty easy to customize themes and even the code. But it’s hardly a CMS. If you truly need a CMS, I would not recommend it. But I think it makes a great blogging engine.
Which to Use?
All things considered, I still prefer to use DotNetNuke. It’s CMS capabilities are not matched by the other two. Joomla has improved a lot in the last year or so and I have high hopes for it. After all, I’m a cross-platform developer so I don’t like choosing a CMS solution that really works best on Windows.
I don’t consider WordPress to be a CMS engine. If your CMS needs are light then maybe you can get away with it, but it’s really for blogs.