Joomla Makes Web Development Easy/Extensible. Sort of.
Feb 28, 2009
Joomla has been my Content Management System (CMS) of choice for about two, two and a half years now. I've used it from everything from creating my blog and portfolio site, to building online communities, and even for student organizations and businesses. Needless to say, I've become pretty familiar with this CMS and I've built up somewhat of a love-hate relationship with it as well.
If you aren't familiar with Content Management systems, they basically allow you an easy way to create very large websites. For example, Lunch.com here runs on some sort of a CMS - although I haven't a clue which one, or if it is one they've built themselves. Blogs run on them as well - Wordpress, for example, is a CMS. They allow you to, essentially, enter in content, decide where and how you want to display it, and it will take care of the rest. Joomla does this well, but certainly does have problems.
Joomla is, in a word, clunky. When diving into the backend administration, you'll quickly learn that everything is run by a collection of modules, components, and plugins. It will take some doing to learn what does what, and even when you're familiar with the system, it can still be a pain at times to navigate around the backend and change things. Basically, it is the polar opposite of Wordpress, which is extremely easy to use in most ways.
However, it is also hugely more powerful than Wordpress too. While Joomla has usability problems, without question, it is also extremely extensible. It was built in the same way Firefox, the Mozilla browser, is. Users can create their own extensions, which provide new and (often) useful features, allowing Joomla to become usable for just about any project you could dream up. I've yet to find something that it really can't be made to do. The community built around Joomla is also quite large, which ensures that you will find a huge repository of extensions to meet your needs.
This is also good, because Joomla itself, while more powerful than other CMSs on the market, really doesn't have a whole lot of features. One of the most notable examples is how it is poorly designed for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Luckily, there are plugins that remedy this problem.
If you are a supporter of Open Source Software, you can also chalk up an extra point for Joomla, as it is Open Source and it is free software - the latter of which is basically a bonus to everyone.
While it does certainly have problems, Joomla is pretty powerful, and if you're willing to learn the interface and become accustomed to working with it, you'll find a pretty powerful package that is capable of doing, basically, whatever you want.
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About the reviewer
Sean Bulger (Arrakiv)
Feb 26, 2009
Aug 11, 2010 10:59 PM UTC