FarCry CMS vs. Drupal CMS

Someone recently posted on the [FarCry-User] mailing list asking questions about comparing the open source CMS Drupal (which runs in PHP) to the open source CMS product FarCry (which runs on ColdFusion). Of course there are differences in platform support and price when it comes to comparing PHP and ColdFusion, but that was not his question.

Cenk writes:

I am just trying to create a website for one of our customer with FarCry for latest 2 weeks. But today one of our developers used Drupal and created same site within some hours with lots of extra features. Now I need some tips to explain situation to our boss here. What would you suggest to me as argue tips? :)

Although I haven’t used Drupal I have heard great things about it. So I just took a quick peek at their features page to do a quick comparison. At first glance it does have a couple more features built-in. I see a polling tool, blog, threaded comments, and module plugin capabilities.

Drupal Features FarCry is Missing

I'll try to break these down. If I missed something its not because I am dismissing them on purpose, rather it would be my unfamiliarity with the Drupal CMS system (note to self: I should check it out someday. It really does look like a nice product).


There was a tutorial put out by Daemon on plugging in a flash-based polling tool into FarCry a few years ago. I'm not sure what happened to it. Needless to say, it should be easy enough to build one from scratch. But alas, Drupal has one up on FarCry here.


FarCry does not come with a built-in blog. It has been a request in the past by a few people, but please keep in mind that FarCry is aimed at the Enterprise market (which generally doesn't care for blogging on their corporate website). As for building one (a blog) it should be fairly simple. Drupal says that it can syndicate content from its blog module. FarCry has one up there in that it can syndicate any content object built in the FarCry framework (which should make it fairly easy to build a blog library in FarCry). Still, being that the blog is built into Drupal they have a leg up.

Threaded comments

Not sure what to say. I mean, with FarCry a tool like that should take about 5 minutes to build. I've never seen it requested before, but could see it being useful on the right website.

Module Plugin Capabilities

Although this has always been a feature in FarCry (called "custom types") FarCry 4.0 makes it even easier now. FarCry 4.0 (when released) will have a new feature called shared libraries. It's essentially an easy way to share and deploy custom types among FarCry projects (much like modules).

FarCry Features Drupal is Missing

Now let's point out some things that FarCry "might" have some advantages over Drupal (I say "might" because I am not familiar enough with Drupal and may be making assumptions).

Database Support:

Drupal says it supports MySQL and PostgreSQL. FarCry supports both of those plus 2 more (MSSQL and Oracle) covering more of the Enterprise market.


Because FarCry runs on ColdFusion (and takes advantage of Verity) it has tools built right into FarCry that allow you to start searching your new custom type within seconds. Drupal's feature page isn't clear what it uses. It says that it is "indexed and searchable" which could mean many different things (like indexing DB columns and then doing simple LIKE searches in SQL). I'm hoping its something decent like Lucene (or better).

Module/Custom Type Build Times:

One of the great Features of FarCry (especially in FarCry 4.0) is how quickly you can make custom types (or modules). With the introduction of new wizards, formtools, and even scafolding in FarCry 4.0 we can now build custom types (modules) in a matter of minutes. You want to deploy a new custom type (module) on a page quickly? Try FarCry's built-in rules and containers in design mode. I have no idea how long it would take to design a module in Drupal (a lack of reading their docs on my part).

Module/Custom Type Deploy Times

Again, I have no idea how long it takes to deploy a module in Drupal (I'm assuming they have some neat tool to do it quickly). FarCry has a feature under the COAPI management tools to deploy a custom type (module) in one click (not too shabby).

The List Goes On

There are many more features built into FarCry that are not listed on the Drupal feature page (like XML export of any content type, or built in image manipulation like thumbnails, a media library, and more). But like the current FarCry site the features page is possibly out of date, so I would hate to make assumptions.

In all reality it looks like the FarCry CMS website needs some content updating :) (especially an updated feature list page). And once FarCry 4.0 is released Geoff promises to open up a shared library resource section on the FarCry CMS website where people can share libraries (modules/plugins) like drupal, Typo3, and other successful CMS systems have done in the past (and hopefully have a social rating system where people can vote on libraries and post comments... one can only hope :)).

Drupal looks like a promising product. If you're locked into use PHP I'd definitely consider it as a possible choice for a CMS. But if ColdFusion is still on the table, don't dismiss it as a contender just because it's missing a polling tool and a built-in blog (unless if that’s what you're specifically in the market for). Those features are great markets for non-corporate environments, but alas it may be something we need to consider releasing as a pre-packaged library in FarCry to appease the masses.

Please Comment

As always feel free to post comments, but please keep the flame wars to another website. This blog post wasn't meant to say one product is better than the other. Both products are great open source CMS products that fill different (and similar) needs. I'll apologize ahead of time and say that if I said anything that sounded offensive to the Drupal CMS product it was unintentional and I still believe it is a good product worth looking into.

Comments (Comment Moderation is enabled. Your comment will not appear until approved.)
Coder's Gravatar hoping that farcry will be in the future usable in shared hosting !!!!!!
#1 by Coder | 12/29/06 10:25 AM
Cenk's Gravatar I have never asked a comparison. But without knowing anything and without trying it, you did a comparison. This is not the way of explanation.

The problem is not the features. The problem is "Usability" and "Plug & Play" capability.
#2 by Cenk | 12/29/06 10:57 AM
Jeff Coughlin's Gravatar Cenk,

>> The problem is not the features. The problem is "Usability" and "Plug & Play" capability.

Lol. Then why did you ask specifically about "features"? You said that one of your developers had used Drupal to develop the site with "lots of extra features" and that you wanted "some tips to explain [the] situation to [your] boss".

Now you're asking about "Usability" and "Plug & Play" (something you did not ask about the first time).

Are you sure this time? :)
#3 by Jeff Coughlin | 12/29/06 1:24 PM
Howard Fore's Gravatar By trade I'm a Coldfusion programmer. But when I need a site up quick with a lot of features, I turn to Drupal. The core platform isn't bad on its own, but Drupal really shines in the support the community has given it through the modules that are available. 9 times out of 10, they just work, no tweaking needed. You drop the module file in the module directory, enable it (two clicks) in the Admin interface, and there's no step 3!
#4 by Howard Fore | 12/29/06 8:04 PM
Jeff Coughlin's Gravatar Howard,

That sounds great. It reminds me of when I used to use Typo3 a few years ago (I believe they called it an extension manager). Thanks for the feedback!
#5 by Jeff Coughlin | 12/29/06 8:29 PM
Jay Greer's Gravatar CODER:

See this blog post for using FarCry in a shared hosting environment;
#6 by Jay Greer | 12/30/06 12:43 PM
Emanuel Costa's Gravatar I always recommend to compare CMS'.
#7 by Emanuel Costa | 1/1/07 7:42 PM
Coder's Gravatar i was thinking in particular to crystaltech , the hosting i use: From the ex ceo of crystaltech tim uzzanti: Farcry requires that a /farcry mapping be defined and there can only be one of those per server. Because of issues with supporting it, we no longer allow new Farcry installations. If the developers of Farcry ever change the requirement for the mapping, or Adobe changes ColdFusion so that you can have multiple mappings of the same name on a server we will certainly reevaluate this "...<br>
For the link, Yes ai knew that link, having seen it othe cfframerkorks mailing lit from geoff bowers in person : but he dont seem to recommandate that route, he says : "For those that like living dangerously, Rob Rusher posted advice on
changing the /farcry mapping for shared hosts -- something he's got
going personally at

Hosted FarCry CMS"

I was hoping that with the 4 version that could change for farcry in shared hosting :-(
#8 by Coder | 1/2/07 7:07 AM
Tigger's Gravatar FarCry is crap.

The install is crap.

The interface is crap.

The content locking drives me absolutely spare (I'm sick and tired of clients calling to ask why they cannot edit content items)

Only one site instance per base web directory... that's a serious limitation.

It is very extenisble, but you need a degree in FarCry to be able to hack things up quickly... in the end it's faster to build an isolated applicaiton and link into the page id.

I built my own CMS because of the pain experienced with FarCry.... if mother is the necessity of invention then FarCry is one big Mother.
#9 by Tigger | 5/3/07 3:04 AM
Jeff Coughlin's Gravatar I'm sorry you feel that way. Constructive criticism is one thing, but bashing a product is another. I would have been more than happy to help resolve any issues you had (be it a problem with the framework, or a lack of understanding), but it would appear your frustration has lead you to an unprofessional level of distaste. Good luck in your custom CMS solution.
#10 by Jeff Coughlin | 5/3/07 7:44 AM
Matt B's Gravatar I have been using Drupal for a few weeks now and I can say with certainty that the entire Drupal world, from install to support to modules to themes and everything in between is MUCH easier to navigate. Oh, and I know zip about PHP.

I suspect Farcry is a much better product than it appears to be, but it is let down by all the auxillary trips through hell required to do anything with it.

If I were to boil the comparison down, I would say that Farcry is for the Enterprise, Drupal is for anything smaller. I'm pretty sure Drupal does cannot integrate with AD, LDAP etc for authentication, and I'm also pretty sure Drupal has no workflows. For the enterprise I work for, that's a show-stopper. So no Drupal here. However, when I want a quick, solid, feature-rich website that allows a handful of users to edit without the requirement for approvals etc, Drupal is king.
#11 by Matt B | 5/16/07 9:32 PM
Richard's Gravatar Jeff,

thanks for the comparison and information - I'm applying for a job that uses Farcry as their current CMS and the information here was good to read, both positive and negative.

The CMS-Matrix page was a valuable link, as my current knowledge is with MicroSoft CMS, and the info on that page gave me a good comparison to where I am now.

Good luck with the project!!


#12 by Richard | 5/16/07 11:16 PM
Jeff Coughlin's Gravatar Matt,

Drupal definitely has a large selection of add-ons (modules, etc), where at the moment FarCry has very few (until version 4.0 is marketed as final release). We are, however, working on a new website where people will be able to easily share plugins and have better tutorials, how-tos, and a cleaner API (among other things).

I agree that in FarCry 2.x it was a difficult learning curve, however with 4.0 we've taken away most of those pains and now you can design working code in minutes rather than hours (there are a few code examples already in the online wiki).

FarCry's current audience does tend to lean in the enterprise market and that was its original target audience, but we've been looking to change that. Features like workflow (where you must request approval) are now optional by content type (including custom types) with a simple setting by the developer. So if all you want is "a quick, solid, feature-rich website that allows a handful of users to edit without the requirement for approvals etc" then perhaps Drupal isn't the only king (as you suggested). In fact there are probably 50+ other CMS packages that can solve your needs.


I haven't used Microsoft CMS... I'll have to check that out someday. As for CMS-Matrix (thanks for the link. I haven't seen that site in a couple years and forgot about it) it appears they have FarCry 2.3 in their DB (we are currently on version 4.0). I like the CMS-Matrix website. It cuts out the bull and gives you simple non-biased comparisons.
#13 by Jeff Coughlin | 5/17/07 9:45 AM
Matt B's Gravatar ThaThanks Jeff, you're right, there is no shortage of CMS, but I would maintain through my own research and experience, you get a lot of goodness out of Drupal for not a lot of time and effort.

That being said, I'm excited by the direction FarCry is headed. I think you could do a better job than Drupal of culling crap from the contributors and keeping modules libraries lean and compatible.

Just last night I visited a friend who is all over FarCry and he helped me understand a few fundamentals. Now I’m looking forward to getting into it more.

All the best, Matt
#14 by Matt B | 5/17/07 7:25 PM
Ola Muldal's Gravatar I thought I'd just mention that Drupal has module for LDAP/Active Directories
#15 by Ola Muldal | 10/28/07 7:11 PM
Jeff Coughlin's Gravatar Just an update for some people who may be interested. FarCry 5.0 is due out any day now (currently in Release Candidate). Among its many new features, FarCry 5 can now run on a shared host environment with its support for no Coldfusion mapping.

You can see a few more details at the following blog post:
#16 by Jeff Coughlin | 4/30/08 10:49 PM
Dave Chakrabarti's Gravatar Interesting discussion; I had a potential client call today about possibly migrating from FarCry to Drupal.

I've worked with Drupal as a consultant for a couple of years now, and LDAP support has definitely been around for a while :) It's also capable of some interesting multisite (multiple, discrete websites running from one installed codebase) configurations, and very fine-grained access control. Not knowing much about FarCry, it's difficult to compare the two more meaningfully, though Drupal's ability to run sophisticated sites on $6/month hosting is potentially a differentiating feature.

I can definitely vouch for it's relevance to the enterprise market, however. Pop Sci, (for Chicago Public Radio), NowPublic, Sony BMG, MTV, IBM, and a ton of other very high-profile enterprise sites are built on Drupal. Drupal also *seems* to have a much larger developer community and (as a result) a faster growth rate, but I'm just guessing there, since I haven't seen hard numbers for FarCry. There were 1k+ attendees at DrupalCon Boston, and ~500ish at DrupalCon Szeged (obscure college town in Hungary); what's the FarCry community like in terms of size and growth?
#17 by Dave Chakrabarti | 9/30/08 5:49 PM
Jeff Coughlin's Gravatar @Dave, The FarCry community is much smaller than Drupal. No question there. This post was from a couple years ago. A lot has changed in FarCry since then. Now in release 5.0 (and soon 5.1) there is a blog plugin available for download as well as other plugins. True, Drupal does has far more plugins than FarCry, but one of the things that bothers me about Drupal's plugin repository is that more than 90% of them are useless (that's not a fault of the product).

In the end I'd go with whichever software you like best. Like Drupal, PHP has a larger community than ColdFusion and if that's what you're after, then go for it. Me - I prefer quality over quantity (I'm joking :) ...both platforms are great and I don't care for software pissing matches).
#18 by Jeff Coughlin | 9/30/08 7:34 PM
Josh's Gravatar Great article.

I have built several pages in Joomla, but I have never used Drupal. When I set out on the net to find an open source CMS, the amount of information and resources on the Joomla site really impressed me,
it just seemed like they had it all together.

I am fairly new to ColdFusion, just cutting my teeth on CF8, but already I am completely infatuated with it. I used it for work to create a charting and input system for lab results,
and plugged it into our SharePoint site, I was very pleased with the end result. So when I started maintaining sites for my own customers for a monthly fee I decided it was time to build my own site again.
Right off the bat I knew I wanted to go with CF, I'm not just looking for an electronic bilboard, I want an intercative site that will be utilized by customers. So while looking for an open source CMS based on ColdFusion,
I came across FarCry. I have got all the files installed but have yet to run the configuration, because I have been too busy with the projects that pay, but also I have hit a bump with registering the CF data source,
I have a ticket in with my host's support center. (Let's just you get what you pay for when it comes to hosting.)

Rambelings aside (or above as the case may be), do you happen to know of any other site examples I can view that were built using the FarCry CMS?
Aside from the two currently on the FarCry Core page? (And your's I am assuming.)

#19 by Josh | 3/16/09 8:03 AM

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