Will Wordpress jam Drupal with Thelonius

Wordpress is not just a blogging platform. It is, in fact, a full-fledged content management system, a CMS. It has been given awards as a CMS, and beaten Drupal in that category.

Wordpress 3.0, dubbed Thelonius, is now available for download, filled with new features and bug fixes, including a merger of its single-user and multi-user versions.

A blog post at the site says the team is taking some time off to focus on other areas of the Wordpress experience, like forums, themes and plugins.

The team said there were over 10.9 million downloads of Wordpress 2.9. It's released under Version 2.0 of the GPL.

Reaction has been enthusiastic. Bloggers, rejoice says Technorati, and DesignTaxi calls it a fine blogging service, while HTML Goodies hails the delivery of the new content management system.

Therein hangs our tail.

Wordpress is known as a first-class blogging platform. It's the platform we use here at ZDNet. I have grown accustomed to its face, and most bloggers I know say it puts other blog publishing platforms, like Movable Type (which I also use) in the shade.

But Wordpress is not just a blogging platform. It is, in fact, a full-fledged content management system, a CMS. It has been given awards as a CMS, and beaten Drupal in that category.

Yet that's not the way the market sees it. Blogging and content management have different markets. Blogging is well-understood by publishers and design houses. CMSs are the property of enterprises and communities.

This doesn't mean the two types of software are unrelated. I have long believed that the failure of the 2004 Howard Dean campaign had less to do with the scream and more to do with the failure to upgrade from a blogging platform to a full CMS. That failure cost Iowa, and the dispiriting Iowa loss caused the scream.

The two blogger-consultants who recommended the upgrade to the Dean campaign were Jerome Armstrong, who now helms MyDD.com, and Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos. Both were engaged in such an upgrade when they made the recommendation. Kos now has the left's largest online community and SB Nation, a competitive sports site.

The point is non-political. The market sees a CMS as big boy software, a blogging platform as mere publishing.

Since the launch of its commercial arm, Acquia, Drupal has solidified its niche in the CMS space. Wordpress, meanwhile, has stuck to its knitting, hence commentaries like this one in FastCompany, 6 reasons small businesses need Wordpress.

CBS, which owns ZDNet, is not a small company. We depend on Wordpress. How about a story about 6 reasons big companies need Wordpress, with examples?

I think Matt Mullenweg's team might be well advised to spend less time working on the software, working in their business, and more time working on their business, seeking a way past Drupal. Mobile platforms represent a new opportunity to shake things up, but it won't happen unless y'all make the competition explicit.

What open source needs right now is a good old-fashioned marketing war. Wordpress vs. Drupal, Wordpress.com vs. Acquia.

I'll get the popcorn.

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