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Joomla is hurting itself

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Last month I was asked to oversee a CMS deployment for a small commercial website. The platform chosen was a LAMP stack where the P stood for PHP. When it came to choosing a CMS, I voted for Drupal because I like its flexibility. However the guys who were going to maintain the site were a little too afraid of the Drupal terminology. So we again did an evaluation and chose Joomla. It was a predictable solution, immensely popular, loved and respected, even won the best open-source CMS award. I thought, even if its not the best, how bad can it be right? So I merrily went along the Joomla path.

The first road-block I hit was the use of a decent theme. I can't really make any sort of graphics, so I wanted to choose from the pre-built ones. One of the major problems was that *all* the themes I liked were a bit too expensive. I thought quality comes at a price so I ignored this. I was also disappointed to see a large number of modules and components being commercial which meant they were a strict no-no. I chose Joomla because I thought it'll be a cheap deployment. But I ignored these facets. After all there is no free lunch!

Then came the forums issue. Joomla 1.0.x did not come with a bulletin board system. When I found the JoomlaBoard module, I realised some very critical errors remained and they needed a maintainer of the project. Not a good sign, so I moved along. I stumbled upon (not the service, I really mean the english phrase) Fireboard. Now, one thing you will realise after endless deployments is that you never use a beta module on a production website. So I crossed off Fireboard from the list since they were still in the beta release and I had no idea when they would become stable. After endless searches, one of the site dev's found MamboBoard which is a stable forum module for Mambo but can be used with Joomla. I personally didn't like this fix-it approach but the other guys in the team were really inertial to make the switch. So MamboBoard it was.

Then came the blog issue. We wanted a flexible bloggin module, one that could allow all registered user's to have a personal blog and not be a patch-up 3rd party blog integration. But even this was hard to come by. I couldn't find a single module which would do even 50% of what I was looking for and was not commercial. So among the three pillars of the site - Articles, Forums and Blogs - Joomla let us down in two and majorly. You could argue about the MamboBoard thing, but I just don't like patch-up code meant-for-this-used-for-that approach.

I again urged everyone to move to Drupal. It had all three modules built into its core and was really clean and fast. But you can't really fight ignorance, can you? So finally we all met each other half way with e107. An easy-to-use-like-Joomla CMS with decent stability and some really good modules. The site was done in time and the whole thing went off quite nicely after that. But I was really disappointed in Joomla. They have a great core code. Why can't they include a half-decent blogging system and bulletin board into the core like Drupal. Or have stable modules for it. If I have to deploy a site today I am not going to wait for version 1.5 which promises to be the next-best-thing after sliced bread. Come on Joomla team, you write good code and you're so damn promising, just give me the CMS of my dreams instead of overly commercialised modules and awards.

2 Comments On This Entry

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mel57 Icon

26 September 2007 - 08:27 AM
You should check out PHPfusion is nice and not "bloated" like a lot of cms packages, including Drupal and Joomla. Check it out, I have tried them all, and always come back to phpfusion!

rahulbatra Icon

26 September 2007 - 10:34 PM
Thanks for the lead. Seems pretty nice and tidy till now. Can't wait to tinker with it. :^:
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