May 20, 2014

Joomla vs. WordPress Part III

In Part I of this series, we got a basic introduction to open source and a basic introduction to Joomla and WordPress. In Part II we saw the main tenants of Joomla and WordPress. Now in Part III, we will see how to develop sites in WordPress and Joomla, focusing on what main ingredients are required for both.

For this example, imagine that you are developing a website for a restaurant, and the page requirements are as follows:

  • Restaurant Photo Gallery
  • Front Page Image Slider
  • Online Ordering Form
  • Random Recipes
  • Restaurant Static Pages
  • Contact Us Form

Now we will see how to develop this site in Joomla and then in WordPress. In this post we will not discuss how the extensions are installed in either CMS; we will instead see the bigger picture of how components/blocks are attached and how the websites work.

Also, it should be noted that not all restaurant websites would necessarily contain these specific pages. This is just an example to explain how to choose different extensions for different tasks.

Restaurant site in Joomla:

Restaurant photo gallery: For photo galleries, Joomla doesn’t have any built in components or modules. To achieve this functionality, we need to install a third party extension. Some famous photo gallery extensions include Phoca Gallery, Ignite Gallery and many more. If you need to show the gallery on a separate page, then it is recommended that you install a component for a photo gallery.

Front page image slider: For home page image sliders, it is best to use Nivo Slider Pro or the Code 7 responsive slider. I suggest that you use image slider as a module, so you can show the image slider in a specific location on the home page.

Online ordering form: For an online ordering form, I would recommend that you use the ChronoForms extension. ChronoForms is very powerful, and you can use it to create as many forms as you need by dragging and dropping different form input items.

Random recipes: If you want to show random recipes somewhere on the home page, then you should create recipes as an article. For that you need to create an article category for recipes, and assign that category to the article. You also need to install the Random Article module in Joomla, and assign the article category to that module.

Restaurant static pages: For static pages it is recommended that you use the content/article manager for articles and assign them to a menu item. You can even assign a single article to different menu items, unlike in WordPress, where content articles are used for different static pages.

Contact Us Form: Joomla already has a built-in contact form component available for contact form information. You simply need to create a contact from the admin section and then create the contact form page type in menu items. After that, you just need to assign the already created contact information to it.

Restaurant site in WordPress:

Restaurant photo gallery: Image galleries are a great way to share groups of pictures on your WordPress site. The Create Gallery feature of the WordPress media uploader allows you to add a simple image gallery to pages or posts on your site.

WordPress has a plethora of plugins to display photo galleries. The most famous are NextGEN Gallery, WP Photo Album Plus and Easy Image Gallery. All of these have multiple options and are very easy to handle. NextGEN Gallery also offers many add-ons.

Front page image slider: There are a number of exquisite sliders in WordPress. You can choose the one that suits you most, but Nivo slider, RoyalSlider, TheThe Image Slider, and WP Flip Image are good options.

There are also sliders, like SuperSlider and Responsive Slider, that have a responsive feature.

Online ordering form: Gravity Forms is the best option to handle orders. It offers a multipurpose form and is widely used.

Random recipes: We can display any post type in random order, so we can keep recipes in the post and add a WordPress query or widget to display it on the page. We can also use Shortcode in our content editor to handle it more easily.

Restaurant static pages: Building pages is the easiest task in WordPress. Simply go to the page menu and add as many as you want. You can also add custom fields to pages to divide content into parts. Even users with little web experience will be able to add a WordPress page.

Contact us form: Gravity Forms is the best WordPress form option. No one can beat it. Building simple and complex forms alike is a piece of cake with this easy to use form editor. You can even make long forms easier to use by breaking them up into multiple pages, complete with a progress bar.

Though Gravity Forms is probably the best bet for this page, Contact Form 7 is another easy to use option available in WordPress. 

Another useful tool in WordPress is the Responsive Contact Form, a simple plugin that generates a responsive contact form on your website or blog.

Joomla and WordPress are both good CMS with different pros and cons. If you are not very technical and looking for an easy to use CMS then I would recommend going with WordPress. WordPress is good for small to medium level projects. If you want a CMS that has modules and components separately, better theme development and an MVC based architecture then I would recommend Joomla. Joomla is good for medium to portal level projects.

According to the author, the best extensions and plugins to date have been utilized for this example. However, you may find some more useful or powerful options for your Joomla or WordPress website.


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