Drupal or ExpressionEngine?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by cloud, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. cloud macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2002
    Location:
    The Matrix
    #1
    Good afternoon folks.

    I will be redesigning a college website and intranet. I hear a lot of good stuff about ExpressionEngine and I'd rather learn that than Drupal, but I also want to pick one that I could use for freelance work for other clients.

    ExpressionEngine costs $249 a license, while Drupal is free. I don't want to have to pay out of my pocket for each EE license, though I'm not sure if the client would want to pay for my services AND for EE. It seems like it'd be like asking them to "pay for Photoshop for me to make them a logo."

    Which route would you go? I plan on learning one of these CMS starting next month. Anyone has experience with EE? I know that Drupal is more popular, but I don't like the steep learning curve. Thanks for your time and help. :eek:

    :apple:
     
  2. design-is macrumors 65816

    design-is

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    London / U.K.
    #2
    I've not used it myself - but have heard it is a professional product worth every penny of that license fee.

    With regards to paying for your time and the license, they only need to know they are paying for your services. Have you told them you will provide an itemized bill? Are you confident you can turn out a quality product?

    Also, do they know about Drupal and that its free? Do they understand that EE is a superior product? You can teach them about these things if not / if you wish.

    Overall, if they are happy with the site, you should have no problem getting them to pay for it :)

    Not sure I've been much help, but there's my thoughts for this evening!

    /Doug
     
  3. cloud thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2002
    Location:
    The Matrix
    #3
    Thanks Doug.

    Well, I haven't started freelancing...yet. I'm a webmaster at a college currently. I want to do some freelance next year, after I learn either Drupal or EE.

    I guess I might use EE, since it looks much easier.

    :apple:
     
  4. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #4
    I can't speak for your institution, but I can give you some insight into my experiences designing sites for several universities.

    Platform is actually a key selling point in web development, so don't try to hide it. Clients want to know that the system they use is robust, secure, has longevity and (often) is used by the competition too.

    Customers need to feel comfortable that the platform they invest in is going to serve their needs for a while and allow then to add the interactive features that they may need in the future.

    At the university level, they also want to know that if there is a problem with the website, there is someone they can call to fix it! So, picking a platform that has a wide range of developers working with it is key.

    Add all that together and you start to see the reason why most institutions go with a commercial CMS system. My recent university client spent more than $100,000 on commercial CMS software. That cost sits on top of the money they then had to pay for information architecture, design, and development. Most larger clients expect to see some software line items in your quote, so I would not worry about that issue. A $250 license fee is nothing.

    That said, I am seeing my institution -- and many others -- start to really show interest in open source. Part of this is the economy, but part of it is that the open source concept shares many of the same goals as education. So, I am hearing more and more interest in open source CMSs like Drupal (which -- feature for feature -- is a much stronger package than the $100,000 commercial CMS that was purchased).

    I do a good chunk of my web development work in Drupal, and love its flexibility, extensibility and community. There does come a time on certain projects, where I feel like we are modifying the Drupal engine too much. For these sites I would suggest not ExpressionEngine, but CodeIgniter, also from Ellis Labs.

    So, while Drupal may have a bit more of a learning curve than EE, it has been worth it for me. As I got better and better at hacking Drupal PHP, the CodeIgniter framework started making more and more sense... for certain projects...
     
  5. itsbarry macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    #5
    My problem with Drupal is...it seems that you have to be well versed in PHP. CodeIgniter has been integrated into ExpressionEngine 2.0, which supposed to be released in a few months. With Drupal, I don't want to feel like I have to "hack" it to get it to do something simple. The main reason why EE seems useful is that I hear that it's very flexible and much easier to use. I hear that Drupal is VERY powerful with lots of options, but is much harder to use. Also, getting help with Drupal will mainly be from its community, but it is quite large. EE has paid staff for support, but has a small community.

    I'd hate to learn EE and the company goes out of business lol. But I guess that's just the nature of the game.
     
  6. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #6
    In my opinion (please keep this in mind) becoming well-versed in PHP is really important. Then you are not tied to any specific framework or CMS... so don't avoid it... dive right in!
     
  7. cloud thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2002
    Location:
    The Matrix
    #7
    I plan on learning PHP starting in January. I definitely don't want to leave that behind. :eek:

    I think that I might go ahead with ExpressionEngine. Drupal is more widely used, but so is Windows... :rolleyes:

    :apple:
     
  8. TheInfrequent1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2009
    #8
    Hehe, wonderful way of putting it :D

    I've not used either, but in my reading I hear that EE is really rather brilliant... I can't wait to try it myself one day! I think I'll download the 'Core' version and have a fiddle.

    :)
     
  9. tominated macrumors 68000

    tominated

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2006
    Location:
    Queensland, Australia
    #9
    I've used expression engine for a website before (personal site, so it was free), and it was fantastic. The learning curve was a bit steep, though.
     

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