Amazee Labs has been contributing to Drupal since the very early days of the project. Our contributions range from writing patches and maintaining modules, through to contributing to new releases and that’s why we’re proud to be one of the most experienced Drupal development agencies in the world. With our ongoing mission to build out a future proof Web Development stack, we have in recent years moulded our technology stack from several key components, some of which go beyond Drupal.
What is the Amazee Labs Open Source Tech Stack?
The majority of the technology in our stack is open source.
As information and content have become some of the most valuable resources for many of our customers, we believe that the technology supporting your business’ digital presence is not just providing a virtual brochure, as was the case in the early WordPress vs. Drupal days. Your CMS is now a content vault and distribution system for your communications team.
Drupal is at the foundation of most of our enterprise projects. Drupal is further integrated with an open-source search engine to support dynamic and fast content search systems. Additionally, by using Gatsby (a Progressive Web App generator which is lighting fast) as a front-end layer, we dissolve the traditional dependencies between content management and content presentation, giving you the freedom to have interfaces that speak to your specific audience. The same CMS that drives your website, can also drive content for your mobile app, your voice interface (EG: IVR), or your e-commerce site.
The hosting layer in our stack is run by our sister company amazee.io. Their open-source, cloud-native application delivery platform – Lagoon, which is entirely open source – powers thousands of websites in the UK, Europe, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. The list of locations is growing all the time.
What is WordPress?
It is estimated that 35% to 45% of the websites in the world use WordPress as a CMS, so chances are low that you don’t have some idea about WordPress. As above, WordPress and Drupal have a similar historical story. Both CMSs started off on the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack, and to this day both still rely on PHP as the coding language under the hood.
WordPress started off as a blogging platform for the non-technically inclined. It was designed to be easy to install, easy to use, and easy to extend. Importantly, it was designed to be easy to personalize the presentation layer through the use of themes.
Points of comparison
Enterprise CMS focus
Whereas WordPress was initially a blogging platform, Drupal started out with the different ambitions of being a messaging board. These simple but important differences in the early targets of the platforms set them on different courses.
Messaging platforms don’t just communicate information in a single direction as blogging platforms are designed to do, but rather they are designed to store information in a structured way, as well as to make it searchable.
While both platforms used PHP, and both platforms continue to grow and are extended, Drupal has always had a more “engineered” approach to its development. This is not to suggest that WordPress is somehow badly designed - both platforms have had their architectural and security problems - but rather to suggest that Drupal started out with a focus on being a web application, whereas WordPress has always spoken to bloggers and consequently smaller businesses.
Perhaps this can be best seen in the present, where WordPress runs at least a third of the world’s websites including personal blogs, small and micro company websites, whereas Drupal continues to gain market share of the enterprise CMS market.
Both Drupal and WordPress are free and open-source tools. Additionally, for both tools, there are significant numbers of agencies and developers skilled in adopting, designing, developing and maintaining Drupal and WordPress. Vendor lock-in is of minimal concern for these platforms.
For most enterprise decisions, WordPress will attract a lower upfront investment, and might on the face of it look cheaper than Drupal. However, securing and maintaining an enterprise-scale WordPress CMS can be way more costly in the long run. This is even more prevalent if you factor in the cost of security breaches, which are a deeper concern for WordPress installations.
Security & Maintenance
WordPress has traditionally had a bad wrap when it comes to security. In truth, both Drupal and WordPress have fairly similar approaches to security. Both projects have a community and corporate-funded independent security team. Both teams work tirelessly to keep the core of the projects secure and up to date, but a few things do stack up against WordPress when it comes to security.
As we’ve already discussed, WordPress powers a huge number of the world’s websites. This increases the WordPress attack surface significantly. Many WordPress installers are focused on getting websites running, and neglect three very important considerations. 1) The security of the installation, 2) the security of the plugins used to extend the WordPress core, and 3) the maintainability of the infrastructure and the software. In short, there are many opportunities for bad actors to take advantage of misconfigured or insecure sites, as well as the many corners that webshops cut in order to compete solely on price. While this doesn’t speak to Drupal’s strength, it doesn’t play well for WordPress’s reputation in the enterprise space specifically.
At Amazee Labs, our architecture, ecosystem, and involvement in the open-source community is geared to approaching both the underlying infrastructure – as well as extending the Drupal core – from an engineering perspective. Our stacks strength lies not only in the core software but also in the way that we select and develop modules to extend the core Open Source components within the stack.
There are at least two user types of any CMS, there are your users that consume your content, and there are the all-important administrators and editors. Both Drupal and WordPress have worked hard to increase the usability of their editorial experiences because a significant amount of time and money goes into writing and managing content in CMS platforms.
WordPress historically held the title for the “easy to use” CMS. However, in recent years the editorial experience in Drupal has grown from strength to strength. Amazee Labs prides itself on our ability to create not only beautiful web experiences but also beautiful web experiences that make content management easy.
For simpler use cases, using Drupal’s Gutenberg module, content editing in Drupal can now be configured to be much closer to WordPress, essentially closing the gap between the two platforms.
For more complex use cases, Amazee Labs has created a completely new WYSIWYG editor interface and open-sourced it to the community. This editor makes it easier for editors to create flexible page structures while being bound to modular templates and strict corporate design policies. As this content is stored in a highly structured way, this implementation is perfect for a headless-Drupal setup, where a decoupled front-end site reads content via an API.
Development, customisation, and extensions
The primary way most developers approach WordPress customisation and extension is to add plugins to WordPress or to customise the theme.
At Amazee Labs, we take an enterprise approach where we separate the modelling of content (which happens within Drupal) from the presentation of the content to the user. The majority of content models can be captured by using Drupal and a selected set of modules, and we shift all of the user experience customisations to the Gatsby front-end layer. While both Drupal and Wordpress can expose their content models to Gatsby for presentation to an end-user, we believe that Drupal is much better suited for this purpose, and is, therefore, the better choice for the majority of enterprise customers looking for an open-source CMS.
Why are enterprises choosing our Open Source Stack?
We hope by now, the answer is obvious! While WordPress is a great platform for blogs, microsites, and smaller company sites, Drupal is a better choice for large enterprises who wish to use an open-source CMS and to retain their data. Additionally, our open source stack Gatsby component provides a highly customisable and enterprise-ready front-end framework to go along with an enterprise-grade CMS.
Our Open Source Stack lets Enterprises have not only the digital platform they need but the digital platform they want, all at a price that their procurement teams love!
But don’t take our word for it
Would you like to see our Open Source Stack in action?
Reach out to us today to arrange a demo and take our stack for a spin!