Overall Satisfaction with Joomla!
As a contract-based developer for marketing agencies in the Chicagoland area, it is my job to quickly turn their aesthetic and brand development into viable, interactive web applications. Their clients generally need the following: the ability to log in and make changes themselves after the project is complete, the ability to keep track of users, and the ability to carry out business and communication using their web presence. Joomla makes it possible to check off these goals while still fitting within strict timelines.
- Joomla! makes it easy to create pages and organize menus/navigation on the fly for flat content. An informational website is a synch with the quick CMS workflow for content.
- Customizing or creating custom templates is quite easy with a basic understanding of HTML and CSS. Joomla! is incredibly flexible and customizable if you have the know-how and desire to make it your own, and its templating system is intuitive and not messy or too complicated.
- Having users and keeping track of accounts and security levels is built-in and easy to do. Accounts are accessible and manageable, giving you a lot of control over who accesses and sees what, or who can edit and contribute to the content. Once again, this is a sign of Joomla!'s flexibility and scalability - the tools are there if you need or want them for your project.
- Sometimes you end up locked into screens while editing or viewing settings and/or content. It'd be nice to not have to "cancel" a current action in order to quickly get somewhere else.
- Certain common additions, such as forms, are not included in Joomla out of the box. Contact Forms, for example, should be easy to implement without third party plugins/extensions, but should also be customizable - a drag and drop sort of interface for form creation may be a critical addition to the system, as even the simplest websites generally have at least one.
- Database issues are pretty common with Joomla!, especially when migrating to new servers and/or updating database information. The database connectivity should be streamlined so that developers don't get locked out and forced to edit core or config files manually on the server in order to fix it.
- Clients are able to form and mold their content into exactly what they want without having to run back to the agency or developers. This saves time and money.
- Due to the more integrated connection to their customers, clients are able to improve communication and customer service. They're also able to authenticate their customers more and better know who they're reaching.
- For our work, Joomla! cuts down on time and energy. It speeds up and makes the development and design processes more efficient. Further, the end product is top quality. This is an exponential improvement to our projectflow.
Drupal, compared to Joomla!, is even more customizable and flexible, and is even more modular. Joomla! reels the developer in a bit more and offers a less complicated way to get from start to finish. The outcome, of course, is that Drupal has a steeper learning curve and can take quite awhile to work with - sometimes it's easier to just program the application by hand. Yet comparing the two ultimately comes down to preference. Secondly, WordPress, originally designed strictly for blogging, has evolved into quite an intuitive and useful CMS, blog or not. WordPress has also acquired quite a staggeringly large market of themes and plugins with which you can hack a WordPress installation into practically anything you heart desires. Joomla!, contrarily, is a WordPress on steroids; it's slightly more complicated to learn and navigate, but it's also a much more powerful tool out of the box. WordPress has its place, yet Joomla! is a better option for mid-size applications, as that's what it was originally intended for.
While Joomla! is highly flexible and scalable, projects oftentimes require custom solutions that are either hardcoded or better suited with other CMSs or frameworks (for example, an eCommerce site may need something like BigCommerce, Magento, etc.) So when, then, is Joomla! the solution? Joomla! is great for those mid-sized interactive websites which require users, multidimensional sitemaps (Joomla!'s easy creation and organization of content is great), and client access to the CMS and settings. It's good for the websites that aren't all static content, but also aren't greatly complex and custom. Add some powerful plugins into the mix, and you've got a great solution for those mid-sized projects.
Joomla Feature Ratings
With each new project that lands on my plate, I have to carefully consider the best solution. Joomla! is not always the solution, but that isn't to say I don't frequently take it out of the toolbox. Since the mid-size projects that Joomla! is perfect for are anything but rare, I'm sure I'll be employing Joomla! again relatively soon, and it will be the new-and-improved Joomla! 3 if I have anything to say about it.