The Ultimate Showdown is Underway!

by George DeMet


Yesterday, I released the project specification and design concepts for the Ultimate Showdown of Content Management System Destiny panel project that I'll be presenting at South by Southwest Interactive in just one month.

For those who might not have read or remember my last post on it, the project is essentially an "Iron Chef"-style competition pitting three teams of all-star Web developers from the Drupal, Joomla! and WordPress communities against each other to develop the same Web site in each of their chosen open source content management platforms.

Each team will have just 100 hours to build a generalized site that includes a variety of Web-based social networking tools targeted toward use by community leadership programs. We've been working with community leadership leaders and consultants to develop the outline for a platform that can be made freely available to the public for organizations and communities to download and customize for use with their own programs. In this way, the work done by all three teams will continue to live on (and hopefully be extended) long after SXSW is over.

The three teams are being led by Colleen Carroll (Drupal), Arno Zijlstra (Joomla!), and Matt Mullenweg (WordPress), who will also be panelists for the SXSW presentation. Other participants include Drupal team members Jeff Eaton, Larry Garfield, and John Wilkins, and Joomla! team members Ryan Ozimek, Amy Stephen, and Alex Kempens. Tiffany Farriss has also been assisting with the project specification/requirements, and the site's design concepts were developed by renowned interactive designer Mark Boulton, author of the recently published "Five Simple Steps: A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web".

Once all the teams have finished building their sites, we'll turn them over to Mark Boulton, who will evaluate how well each team articulated the design concept, as well as to our community leadership consultant, who will evaluate how easy each site is to use. We will also be testing the sites for things like validation, page weight, number of lines of custom code, etc. These results will be presented at SXSW, and then the audience will get to offer their opinion on which site is the overall winner.

Whose CMS shall reign supreme? We'll find out on March 16, but one thing is already certain: free and open source content management solutions like Drupal, Joomla!, and WordPress (as well as Alfresco, TYPO3, Moveable Type, Plone, and others) are already winners for the millions of people who rely on them to run their Web sites every single day.


This is so cool, such an awesome idea I really wish I could be there participating. Good luck to the teams and I'm looking forward to the results! Can I expect any play-by-play reporting? Maybe a hashtag to follow?

One of the requirements for teams is to log all of their work in a transparent way. So we may see IRC logs, video diaries, issue queues… The method of recording their progress is up to each team.