How does PyroCMS stack up against WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal?

Mon, 04/22/2013 - 00:00 -- admin

PyroCMS is an awesome, open-source CMS (it says so on their website, so it has to be true right?).  I’ve been working with Pyro for the last week and a half and I feel like I have a decent understanding of how this system ranks up against the big three (WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal).  I will be walking you through some of Pyro’s high and low points, and finishing up this post with an overall rating of Pyro.

Access Control Lists

Access Control Lists are handled fairly well by Pyro.  By Access Control Lists, I mean how the system handles users and user permissions.  Pyro follows in Drupal’s footsteps in this area; there are only two default user types, Administrators and Users.  Compared to WordPress, which has more user groups included in it’s core installation, Pyro might initially seem lacking.  The great thing about Pyro and user types is that you have the freedom to completely design your own user “group”, which means you get to decide exactly what permissions are assigned to your new “group”.  This functionality comes with the Pyro core, and brings the system back up close to the big three’s standards in terms of Access Control Lists.

Localization

Pyro does a great job of providing localization support.  This means that the system allows an administrator to change the language of the site, the site’s currency, the public languages available on the site, and date format of blog posts.  Users can have different languages assigned to them as well, along with different WYSIWYG editors.  These options are similar to what WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal offer.

Availability of plugins

Extending the core of a content management system allows developers to build extra functionality into their sites.  This is where Pyro falls quite a bit short of the larger CMS’s.  Pyro is built on a great PHP framework called CodeIgniter, so I don’t necessarily think it’s because Pyro is a “bad” CMS, but rather because it is much newer.  WordPress and Joomla have gigantic communities that have written tens of thousands of plugins, and it’s hard for a newer CMS to be compared to those numbers.  Pyro has about 100 modules/plugins available from their official store, so there is some additional functionality there it’s just not comparable to the other systems.

Usability of interface

One of the high points of Pyro’s system as a whole is its interface.  I was able to create users, pages, blog posts, reorder navigation, and customize profile settings all within the first ten minutes of installing.  The interface is designed to be extremely light and simple; I was reminded of WordPress’s admin console when working with Pyro’s control panel.  One global navigation across the top of the control panel organizes pieces of the interface into chunks that are related to each other.  Combine that with the AJAX calls I outlined in my previous blog post, and you have yourself an extremely useful interface.

Built-in analytics

One of the things Pyro promises with every install is an included analytics dashboard.

I could not for the life of me find this dashboard anywhere within my Pyro installation.  It looks like a great feature, and if anyone knows how to access it I would like to know!  WordPress.com offers built-in analytics, but WordPress installations outside their .com along with Joomla and Drupal offer very little analytics information.  This is probably because there are plugins for Google Analytics for each of the large CMS’s, and Google Analytics is the best web/SEO monitoring application out there.  I’m knocking Pyro in this category only because I was not able to find the analytics section that they said was part of the system.

Overall

PyroCMS is an extremely well-designed content management system that is easy to pick up and use.  It offers great flexibility in terms of user groups/permissions, as well as localization support.  Where Pyro falls short is in its library of plugins/modules/themes compared to the larger CMS’s.  This is understandable with Pyro being much newer than WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, but it is an important point because there are simply many less extensions to the framework available.  People who want functionality that is not available in the Pyro core install will most likely have to write that functionality themselves.  Taking into consideration the positives I outlined regarding Pyro in my last blog post, I think PyroCMS is comparable to the big three in terms of usability and design, but not comparable in terms of extendability.  I would score Pyro as a 7 out of 10.