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Drupal vs. Enonic XP

What are the similarities and differences between the content management systems Drupal and Enonic XP? In this comparison we take a closer look.

If you’re considering a new CMS and have stumbled upon the platforms Drupal and Enonic XP, you might have wondered what the differences are. In this article we’ll provide a comparison between the two.

Quick Drupal facts

Drupal is a free and open-source content management framework written in PHP. The standard release—called Drupal core—contains user account registration and maintenance, menu management, RSS feeds, taxonomy, page layout customization, and system administration.

What the system lacks in functionality in its core, it can expand upon with a vast library of modules—offering almost any function imaginable. It is also possible to use Drupal for developing web applications, and it is possible to use Drupal as a headless solution, based on a component you must run separately.

Quick Enonic XP facts

Enonic XP is a free and open-source web application platform based on JavaScript and Elasticsearch. XP can be used to build progressive web applications, complex websites, or web-based APIs. The embedded CMS contains a visual drag and drop editor, a landing page editor, support for multi-site and multi-language, media and structured content, advanced image editing, responsive user interface, permissions and roles management, revision and version control, and bulk publishing.

Enonic XP uses an application framework for coding server logic with JavaScript, and has no need for SQL as it ships with an integrated content repository. Furthermore, the CMS is fully decoupled, meaning developers can create traditional websites and landing pages, or use XP in headless mode out of the box for loading editorial content onto any device or client. Having these options in one system is often referred to as hybrid CMS.

Drupal pros and cons

Drupal is well-known and has a large community of active developers. It is used by several large websites, including Entertainment Weekly, The City of London, the Australian Government, Tesla, and Verizon. It’s free, many people know how to use it, it has fairly good documentation, and it offers more advanced CMS features than e.g. WordPress.

While Drupal does have over 42,000 modules to enrich, expand, and enhance its functionality, the modules can create dependencies to themes and to each other. This might pose a challenge when handling scores of modules in the long run, which all need to be carefully updated and verified in order to maintain compatibility with the Drupal core, theme, and other modules.

As Drupal is used by more developers and websites than Enonic XP (around 2% of all websites run on Drupal), it has also gathered a larger amount of criticism. Stack Overflow’s Developer Survey 2018 ranks Drupal as the second most dreaded platform in the world, with 70.4% of the respondents giving the platform a thumb down.

Seasoned developer Ben Sinclair has made a comprehensive list of Drupal disadvantages, including slow performance, confusing user interface, database storage logic, excessive use of modules to enable functionalities, caching, and many other technical issues.

Wikipedia has collected criticism of Drupal too, citing issues with usability, learning curve, backward compatibility, performance, scalability, ineffective search, outdated modules, and more.

Enonic XP pros and cons

While Enonic XP has a smaller market share than Drupal, it is used by major Norwegian organizations, like Norway Post, the insurance companies Gjensidige and Storebrand, the national lottery Norsk Tipping, the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration, and the Norwegian national football league for men. XP is free and open-source, easy to use, highly stable, and features a fast search function.

The Enonic XP core is Java, but the developers build applications and websites using JavaScript. Enonic has focused on making a flexible platform where solutions can be prototyped fast, enabling faster deployment to the market. Also, the apps available through Enonic Market all work independently of each other and don’t create any dependencies, ensuring flexibility with safety and stability.

The disadvantages of Enonic XP include a “too clean” user interface, as Mike Johnston of CMS Critic calls out for more help and support options within the dashboard. Verified user reviews at miss a migration tool for migrating sites to XP. Another disadvantage of Enonic XP contra Drupal is a smaller user base and fewer third-party integrations.

It is also worth mentioning that Enonic XP is designed for professional development and continuous delivery from the ground up, and is not meant for non-technical people to set up and maintain (but non-techies can certainly use the CMS part without any trouble). Enonic XP involves less configuration to get started—this is not usually the case for Drupal.

Comparison between Drupal and Enonic XP


Drupal 8

Enonic XP

Coding language



Database requirements

Yes (supports MariaDB, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, Percona Server, PostgreSQL, SQLite)

None, embedded NoSQL



GPLv3 with linking exception and commercial license for paying customers

Integrated search

No, third party

Yes, based on Elasticsearch


Yes, with an extra component

Yes, based on GraphQL

Flexible content types



WYSIWYG page editor



Responsive UI



Image editor


Yes, including focal point

Customizable templates



SEO management

Yes, third party

Yes, app from Enonic Market

Version control



Video content

Yes, embedding

Yes, embedding


Runs anywhere, marketplace, several vendors, most servers and OS

Run anywhere, Enonic Cloud, three tiers (developer, professional, enterprise), GCP Marketplace

Support plans

Third party (Mainly Acquia)

Yes, by vendor

Free support

Forum, Slack

Forum, Slack





Yes, third party

Yes, by vendor


Yes, modules

Yes, apps from Enonic Market

Example: Publishing a blog post in Drupal

You publish blog posts in Drupal through the content option in the top menu, which leads you to a page where you can add or edit existing content. The content are added through a series of forms, as well as specific settings on the right hand side. Saving, publishing, previewing, and more is available:

Blog publishing in Drupal 8 with keyboard and mouse.

Example: Publishing a blog post in Enonic XP

In Enonic XP you navigate through the content tree list to decide where a piece of content will be placed in the hierarchy—before you proceed to create it. When choosing a designated spot for e.g. the content type “blog posts” is prevalent, you’ll automatically get a suggestion to pick a blog post when creating a new content. Once inside the blog post, you can navigate through fields systematically, before saving, previewing, and finally publishing the blog post:

Blog publishing in Enonic XP exclusively with keyboard shortcuts.

What CMS should you choose?

Whether you choose Drupal or Enonic XP depends on what CMS you feel most comfortable with as a web editor, but it also depends on what your developers think is the most feasible, stable, and future-oriented web platform.

Download a head-to-head comparison from SoftwareReviews:

Enonic vs. Drupal head-to-head report from SoftwareReviews

Drupal has an advantage with a lot of custom modules, but the core might not be the optimal choice for delivering the next generation of digital experiences across devices and channels. As stated on Quora, Enonic XP was designed from scratch in 2015 by a team with over a decade of web content management experience, aimed at being a flexible and smart solution for creating progressive web apps, complex websites, or APIs.

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