For the past week, I’ve been messing around with Joomla, a mature and robust CMS. I’ve installed and played about with Joomla on and off for the past couple of years. During this time, only one thing has put me off Joomla: it feels very complicated.
I consider myself competent when it comes to online publishing platforms, which is what Joomla is essentially. However, when it comes to the administration interface I always felt lost. A default Joomla installation has six administration menu groups and roughly 50 child menu items. Add a few more components and modules and you’d end up with over 100 administration pages.
Once you get pass the initial setup and understanding key Joomla terms and concepts, you’ll end up with a powerful, robust and customizable CMS.
There are some things I love about Joomla:
- Massive pool of developers
- An abundance of modules, components, plugins and language support files
- A polished admin interface (which may take some time to get accustomed to)
- Decent documentation
- The whole package feels very integrated, unlike many similar open source projects
Of course there are also some disadvantages that I find worth highlighting:
- Many decent looking themes are commercially licensed. However, I’m disclaiming that this is a subjective disadvantage. In fact, for talented web designers this can be a very big advantage!
- There are two active branch of Joomla that is currently being developed; namely 1.0 and 1.5. This can cause some confusion and compatibility issues when installing modules, components or plugins
- Looks overwhelming and complicated, especially to those who are new to web based publishing platforms
- May be overkill for smaller projects
Joomla may or may not be the ideal solution for your online publishing needs. However, the only way to find out is to give it a try. Installation may be overwhelming to people who never installed a PHP application before. However, most decent web hosting companies provide one-click installs for Joomla.
So would I recommend Joomla? If you have minimal web publishing experience but need a robust platform that can handle massive online data categories, then yes. Be warned though that the first few days (probably even weeks) might be spent just to familiarize yourself with Joomla and setting up third party components to implement your web site.
Have you used Joomla before? Do you live and breathe Joomla? I’d love to hear your opinion on this CMS.