Why We Went With Joomla Most of The Time
July 08, 2015
Why We Went With Joomla Most of The Time
Score 8 out of 10
- JCE, sh404SEF, XMap, RSForm Pro, ACL Manager, Chrono Forms, JEvents, All Videos, Simple Image Gallery Pro, Community Builder, JComments, JomSocial, JCal Pro
Overall Satisfaction with Joomla!
We implemented various CMS platforms for various size non-profit enterprises (small 1-10 employees to 100-1000 employee ranges). Some of them would select Joomla (others Drupal, WordPress, etc.) based on their specific needs/intentions for their web presence needs and requirements and expected use cases. Ultimately the decision was on the client as to which CMS they would choose/go with, but we'd make strong recommendations according to their needs.
- No CMS is perfect for 100% of a clients needs. Usually the base CMS get's 70-80% of the requirements out of the way with just a base install. Then there is another 10-15% that is covered by a standard set of extensions/modules that you would typically install for almost every client (SEO optimization, ACL/permission levels, etc.). The remaining 5-20% is usually custom module work (either building out a custom version of existing modules/extensions/components, or building a new one from scratch). The extensibility and ease of developing components/modules for Joomla is one thing it does very well.
- We used Joomla for a majority of our clients solutions because of their preference in the administrative interface for Joomla. Obviously administrative interfaces are something that can be customized/skinned/themed in most CMS's, but the native back-end interface was always more intuitive than Drupal (where a non-technical end-user always had a hard time telling if they were logged-in or not, and where the WordPress admin area was always very blog/post centric). Joomla was almost always the top choice for non-blog specific web platforms.
- The Joomla community was always the most helpful and responsive (WordPress maybe slightly greater, but most of the WordPress community at the time was focusing on themes/skins and less on the development of feature/functionality heavy plug-ins). Much of our work on Joomla went into making the modules/components available look good/consistent with our site designs, which was an easier feat then building out actual functionality/features that were missing from the communities of other CMS's.
- Updating was never as seamless/easy as it seems to be with Wordpress. Obviously we accounted for this with our own workflow/methods, but I remember whenever we did WordPress updates it always seemed a breeze compared to the time/energy involved with a Joomla update/upgrade.
- For a while (I think this has changed some) Joomla left itself open to attacks when administrators were not as well versed as they should be. There were developer additions that did security checks/audits for you, but the CMS was the subject of a lot of attacks when left in the hands of our clients for a long time (who had changed permissions to make editing easier/convenient). Ideally the CMS would have been more restrictive on some of these things to prevent easy abuse. Obviously this is more the fault of the misinformed/human then the CMS, but it could have been more dummy-proof.
- No native versioning. There are some community extensions that add this functionality, but they pale in comparison to the versioning plugins of other CMS's (WordPress specifically). Again this was some time ago and in our experience, it could have changed by now.
- Anecdotally we've received a lot of feedback from clients about how easy it is to manage/user over their previous web CMS/platform (it's all relative, we know). By and large though we don't get too many questions about how to do various things after the initial training is over. The admin interface lends itself to admins/employees exploring new areas with quite a bit of confidence because of the uniformity in design, and consistent look-feel.
- Of course having many clients on the same CMS allows us to notify/roll-out updates to their CMS or the modules consistently. This isn't specific to Joomla, but because so many were on Joomla, when there was a security update for an extension we used in a majority of the implementations we had done for clients, we could easily notify them all of the update, and if their site was vulnerable/required it.
Again, this was largely our clients decision, and a majority of the time based on our specific target audiences needs, Joomla was the best choice. If you were building a web solution that was primarily a blog, I'd likely recommend WordPress. If you were working with a very small team to manage a very few pages (like a brochure-site) I'd recommend CMSMS or TinyCMS. If you were familiar with Drupal or your in-house engineers had more experience with Drupal I'd recommend that. From a development perspective, Drupal has a much steeper learning curve, but is also likely the most powerful in the hands of someone capable of using it to it's full potential.
If you are primarily running a blog with some supplementary pages/content I'd recommend going with WordPress still. I know this is an outdated approach, and that WordPress has been modified to handle being a more traditional web CMS much better, but it was still designed with blog intent and still excels at what it was originally designed for. Specifically if you are working or implementing a CMS for non-technical users who like everything relegated to its own 'section' or 'area' on the admin side, the way Joomla is organized makes a lot of sense to those types of clients. From an IA standpoint it's more of CMS for a 'website'.