Redaxo Impressions

Today at work I had my first contact with Redaxo, a German contact management system written in PHP and based on MySQL. I’ve heard of it before but never used it, there always seemed to exist better solutions - Drupal for example. But the company I work for already committed itself to Redaxo for this client. So no chance to work with Drupal this time - a pity.

But new experience with other solutions is a great thing. I thought Redaxo had its right to exist: its very small.

Here I don’t mean the filesize or whatever - I mean the size of the admin panel to begin with. It has not that many features. It’s very easy to understand. The average John Doe which is not that websavvy wont be confused by a multitude of choices. And I think I got to know pretty much all of Redaxo in just a few hours — which I can’t say about the steep learning curve of Drupal. And since the website of this client will be small I first thought Redaxo will do quite good.

The deeper I dug into Redaxo the more annoyed I got by its shortcomings though: There are modules and addons with which you can do pretty much all you need. But not one module I used was ready out of the box. Always I had to do adjustments. Drupal does much better here. And what you can do with overloading in Drupal is millions of light years ahead of what Redaxo is able to do. Oh and the developers of Redaxo really should take a look at Drupals documentation! After some searching on the official website I stuck to grep -R "function XXX" . for Api references…

That and all those simple and minor bugs / feature omissions add up. I can create a site tree with unlimited depth — but the navigation only displays two levels by default?! How do I get a search mechanism onto the page? Alright - implement an addon, write a module and change the templates. In Drupal? Just a few clicks…

Multi-language sites are possible with Redaxo, quite easy so. But this simpleness show through - you’ll have to create language aware modules, addons and templates yourself.

And why the hell do I have to use a simple textarea for template and module development? Copy’n’Paste for every change I make to my favorite editor (which would be Quanta, Kate or KWrite)? You are kidding, right? And though the “development” addon sounded good, I couldn’t get it to work with either of the stable Redaxo releases (3.2.x or 4.0.1). To have to work without tabs, auto-indentation, syntaxhighlighting etc. etc. etc. is a pain in the ass™. It really steals a lot of my productivity.

I could go on about UTF8 support, lack of addons, etc. - but lets stop here. I really hope that my boss will take into account what I’ve told him about Drupal: Once you’ve got your feet wet and yourself acquainted with its way of thinking it’s a fresh breeze compared to Redaxo.

To conclude: Everyone who ponders wether to use Redaxo or Drupal - go for Drupal. The size of the community alone should be able to speak for itself.


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