Review: "Why Joomla still matters and the benefits of its use!"
2.5 and 3.4.3
AdminExile, Admintools, Akeeba Backup, AG Google Analytics, AllVideos, AnimateIt!, AutoFBook, BT Shortcode, NoNumber Better Preview, NoNumber Cache Cleaner, Contact Enhanced, EXTplorer, FreeSlider SP1, FaviCon, JCE Editor, JCK Editor, JCH Optimize, JoomGallery, Joomdle, JoomlaShine PageBuilder, JoomlaShine Uniform, JomSocial, Jtouch25 - Mobile Template, Jumpmenu, JV Social Publish, Fabrik, KAZAAM!, Komento, RocketTheme Templates, NoNumber Modules Anywhere, OSYouTube, PHOCA Download Component, PHOCA PhotoGallery Component, SecurityCheck, Shape5 Templates, YooTheme Templates, NoNumber Sourcerer, Zapp Calendar
Overall Satisfaction with Joomla!
From 2011-2013, as the Web Master for the City of Pomona I personally built a 300+ page website for a city government with little to no budget. The old website was antiquated and didn't allow for the easy and quick editing and dissemination of important information for the public citizens to obtain. After implementing Joomla, the City of Pomona’s website now has these features:
- Each department has its own individual folder to store its data in.
- The web administrator can Create users and groups and then assign them specific rights according to the built-in Access Control List (ACL) features of the new CMS system.
- Specific users with specific rights can sign-in to the website from the Front-End and edit/update content.
- When the web administrator posts new articles to the front page news section, it is also posted to the City’s FaceBook Page automatically with a Social Network AutoPoster.
- Specific users with specific rights can access, edit, and update the City’s Calendar, directly through the front end.
- The website features a contact manger that lists the pictures, phone numbers, email addresses, and fax numbers of the city’s departments, council members and the mayor.
- Utilizing the Joomla Content Editor (JCE) Component, when standard users sign into the website to edit or update, it’s easy for them to get work done because the JCE is incredibly user friendly and very similar to Microsoft Word.
There are many more beneficial features that are too numerous to list.
- Joomla has a Built in Media Manager that allows you to create your own folder, name it whatever you like, and then configure the settings of your Media Manager to redirect to the new folder. Then, after that is complete, you can create other folders inside of the “Main Media” folder in a proper organized hierarchical manner.
- Joomla’s Menu Manager is extensive and configurable. Joomla allows for an Unlimited amount of Links to have in your Unlimited amount of Menus.
- No Separate “Page” and Separate “Post.” There’s only one type: “Article.” ALL “Pages” are “Articles.” All “Posts” are “Articles.”
- Joomla has Unlimited Custom Module Management – Joomla gives you the ability to create your entire website out of Modules or simply create and manage as many modules as you want. You could put them anywhere you want, in any place, on any page you want. You can even put Modules into the Menu Items.
- Joomla has a Built-in Access Control List (ACL). This allows you to create Specific Groups and then you can add Specific Users to those groups and manage with a fine granular approach, which group can access which individual part or element in the website.
- Joomla lets you Sign-in to the website from the Front-End and edit/update content in Articles and Modules.
- With Joomla there is one central place for installing Templates, Components, Plugins, or Modules: the Extension Manager
- Joomla has built in Cache Control. This gives your site a quicker response to requests, if nothing has been change to an article or other element.
- Joomla has a built in Contact Manager that includes Google’s new reCAPTCHA v2. This is the modern version that helps to block spam and other malicious submissions.
- Joomla has built in Global Check in for items. Useful if you want to quickly return articles and release them from users editing it.
- Joomla has a built in Language Manager. Very useful for International Websites or websites that welcome people who speak different languages.
- Joomla is compatible with Microsoft Windows SQL Server and Microsoft Windows IIS Server so it could be seamlessly used in a Microsoft Environment. Most corporations run on Windows Networks with Windows Servers.
- Joomla has a built in Authentication – LDAP plugin that synchronizes with Microsoft Windows Server’s Active Directory so you can just use your standard A.D. Login to sign in to Joomla on your organization’s Intranet Website. Implementing a Joomla based "Intranet" is a great low cost solution.
- Joomla has built in Nested Categories. This provides for a more organized hierarchical atmosphere.
- Joomla has built in Revision Control. In case something goes wrong in an article, you could revert back to a previous version.
- Joomla has built in Tag Management. Tags help users to find articles pertaining to specific subject matters.
- Joomla has built in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) settings on important parts of the Website including: Articles and Menus. This is where you can insert keywords and metadata. This helps with search engines.
- Joomla has Search Engine Friendly (SEF) URL abilities that use Apache Mod_Re-Write. Instead of the user trying to read "?=itemid1" they will easily read "about" or "services" in the url of their web browser.
- For Developers and Software Engineers:
- Joomla is Object-Oriented Designed - Unlike Joomla's main competitors: Drupal and WordPress, Joomla, is an Object Oriented Designed (OOD) CMS. Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) takes the view that what we really care about are the "objects" we want to manipulate rather than the logic required to manipulate them. One of the principal advantages of object-oriented programming techniques over procedural programming techniques is that they enable programmers to create modules that do not need to be changed when a new type of object is added. A programmer can simply create a new object that inherits many of its features from existing objects. This makes object-oriented programs easier to modify.
- For Developers and Software Engineers:
- Joomla is MVC - Also unlike Joomla's competitors, Joomla's architecture is MVC. Model–View–Controller (MVC) is a software architectural pattern for implementing user interfaces. It divides a given software application into three interconnected parts, so as to separate internal representations of information from the ways that information is presented to or accepted from the user.
- Joomla is SLOWER than its competitors. Although, with the implementation of new Solid State Device Hard Drives in Modern Website Host Servers, the slowness is becoming less noticeable.
- The Image Editing abilities of the built in Media Manager are USELESS. WordPress is much better at built-in Image Editing.
- The ability to either turn off or turn on, Automatic Menu Item Creation does NOT exist. WordPress is much better at that.
- Sometimes, it seems like Joomla or its database becomes confused and\or Cache Build Up becomes a problem, and then the cache has to be cleaned out.
- There is no built-in Automatic Cache Cleaning at configurable intervals.
- The updating and upgrading process is easier than it ever has been, but it’s still not as flawless and as easygoing as WordPress.
- NO Automatic Update abilities for Components, Modules, or Plugins.
- Joomla is NOT nearly as popular or as used as WordPress.
- Joomla lacks a comprehensive Preview ability. And there really isn't a good plugin for it. WordPress's Preview ability is far superior to both Joomla and Drupal.
- As far as overall business objectives, because of the ease of use of DIY websites now like: 1&1, SquareSpace, Shopify, Weebly, etc., business has not been good. But when it comes to implementing it into an organization, it has greatly and significantly reduced government business process congestion and optimized the way a government body can quickly deliver information to its citizens at an extremely low cost.
Before I settled in on using Joomla for the City of Pomona, I experimented with WordPress and Drupal, as being the right fit for the new website. Each time I went through the analysis, research and development, both WordPress and Drupal, came up short for quickly delivering a robust extendable and easy to use solution that had to be in place immediately.
Here's some frustrations that I encountered with WordPress and Drupal:
- WordPress limits the number of links you could have in the Main Menu.
- WordPress's Menu Manager is lacking many features that are standard in Joomla's.
- WordPress has a useless Media Manager that does not allow for Folder Creation or custom built Hierarchical structures that reflect real life departments and organizations.
- WordPress lacks the ACL that Joomla has.
- Drupal also has a useless Media Manager that does not allow for Folder Creation or custom built Hierarchical structures that reflect real life departments and organizations.
- Drupal was a time consuming headache that always had a dramatic problem popup every step of the way when trying to build the website, and frequently the whole operation would just implode.
- Drupal wasted months of time because of its incompatibilities.
- Drupal lacks the ACL that Joomla has.
- Both Drupal and WordPress are NOT MVC or OOD.
Joomla! is very suitable and the best choice for medium to large sized organizations. For example a city government, county government, state government, a high school, college or university, a police department or a fire department. I do use Joomla! for small, medium, or large organizations or projects, but for some people it might be overkill. Just like any other piece of software, the developer and the administrator need to know how to use it.
I think a great use of Joomla! would be in the education sector. Joomla! has a wealth of Components, Modules, and Plugins.
Two of my favorites that I have been working with currently are:
1. Joomla’s: JomSocial http://www.jomsocial.com
2. Qontori Pte Ltd’s: Joomdle http://www.joomdle.com
The really awesome part about both is that Moodle and JomSocial can interconnect with each other providing an even more useful experience for students and staff in an Online Learning Environment.
In conclusion, I have had a great experience using Joomla and I will continue to use and implement it whenever I can.
Joomla Feature Ratings
Users and Roles
When I worked at the City of Pomona, I built the Public Internet Website, and the Internal Intranet Website for them, and there are about 20 users who use it. It has greatly de-congested Government Business Processes.
Support Headcount Required
An average user who is familiar with Microsoft Word could use Joomla well.
Business Processes Supported
- The City Calendar needs to be updated.
- Water and Utility rates need to be updated on the Water Dept section.
- Planning needs to upload a PDF to the site so the public could get to it for downloading purposes.
- Before I implemented Joomla in the City of Pomona, one particular dept had to print up thousands of pages and fax them over to other agencies that they work with. Now, they can simply list them on the website for the other agency to download.
- City of Pomona has been able to submit one post to its news section of its front page, and then it automatically posts to the City's FaceBook page.
- Citizens are able to subscribe to not only the RSS feed but also to the Calendar for updates of events.
Future Planned Uses
- You can use Joomla as an Intranet.
- With the right component (JomSocial), you can create your own Private Social Network similar to FaceBook.
- You could incorporate the Online Learning Management System: Moodle into your Joomla and into your JomSocial together.
- With the Component Fabrik, you can build Software Applications with Joomla.
Likelihood to Renew
Evaluating Joomla and Competitors
- Product Features
- Product Usability
- Product Reputation
Evaluation Lessons Learned
Implementation Details / Implementation Partner
- Implemented in-house
Phase Two was to copy all of the data from the older website, which was still up and running and publicly accessible a that time, into the new one and configure all the plugins.
Phase Three was to go live with the new site by putting it on the root of the "public_html" folder and replacing the old one in the Host.
Change Management Lessons
- Bad low quality Web Host.
- No budget for a better Template.
- At that particular time, Joomla was jumping to different versions. This was a headache, but understandable because of its growing pains. Joomla is no longer going through those growing pains.
Joomla Customer Support Pros and Cons
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Exceptional Examples of Joomla Support
Usability Pros and Cons
Like to use
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
Lots to learn
- Adding a new Category.
- Adding a new Article.
- Adding a new Menu Item.
- Implementing Title Meta Tags
- Implementing Keyword Meta Tags
- Implementing Description Meta Tags