The Joomla!™ CMS: Small-Friendly
In the early history of the popular web, there was a significant quality gap between the quality of corporate-produced sites (with way too much flash!) and your average small business or community not-for-profit site.
Free, Open-Source Content Management Systems (Joomla!™ and Wordpress among others) changed all of that. Relatively non-technical site administrators became able to create new content, add site features and solve problems much more easily.
The standard internal framework of open-source CMS software platforms also meant that site development and long-term support costs were reduced - allowing smaller, low-revenue organizations to afford professional web development or even create their own web site in-house.
Joomla!™ 1.0, the current version 1.5 and the soon-to-be-released Joomla!™ 1.6 feature are increasingly user-friendly. Small, low-production-value and community-oriented web sites dealing with everything from automobiles to special-needs children have flourished in recent years, thanks to the open-source movement, and end result has been a more open, more democratic web.
Joomla!™ Web Sites: Modular
Want to add more blogging features to Joomla!? No problem.
How about creating a social network? We've got you covered.
As the web becomes ever more oriented towards widgets like Twitter-Feeds and YouTube videos, a new generation of programmers are creating new ways to use and enhance these services through Joomla! The end result: You can do more than ever with your web site.
Editors Note: The popularity of Joomla! Extensions Directory can also be a minor drawback, as lazy or uninformed web developers will tend to try to solve everything with more add-ons, rather than a thoughtful design. However, on balance in web development, it's always good to have more (easy!) options to work with.
Joomla!™ has Good Values
Joomla! was the result of a fork of Mambo by the Joomla! development team on August 17, 2005. At that time, the Mambo name was trademarked by Miro International Pty Ltd, who formed a non-profit foundation with the stated purpose to fund the project and protect it from lawsuits. The Joomla! development team claimed that many of the provisions of the foundation structure went against previous agreements made by the elected Mambo Steering Committee, lacked the necessary consultation with key stake-holders and included provisions that violated core open source values.
In other words, the core programmers and developers at Mambo rebelled, asserting the value of the volunteer community and the critical importance of open-source principles. Essentially a similar version of Mambo, Joomla! 1.0 was announced on September 1st, 2005. Joomla is:
Joomla!'s parent organization Open Source Matters continues their formative tradition in managing the Joomla! project today. From the OSM web site:
The basic idea behind open source is very simple: When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing.
The Joomla!™' Community: Amazing
Joomla!'s volunteer and developer community is nothing short of amazing. While rivalries and politics abound (as with any project), sites like people.joomla.org, All Together as a Whole, and the new Community Magazine are active with questions, ideas and volunteer-led answers.
Further mirroring Joomla!'s community origins, Joomla!'s community forum, documentation wiki and numerous other information sources are active and largely volunteer-producted and run. Even private blogs and web sites like Joomla! Canada, Brian Teeman's Blog and JoomlaBlogger articulate passionate ideas and disagreements about the future of the project.
As opposed to many proprietary and commercial CMS's, there is almost always someone available to volunteer an answer to your Joomla! web site question. All that is asked in return is a good-faith effort to assist someone else in the future.
Joomla!™: A Bright Future
The future of the internet is of course, quite uncertain. The recent and growing ubiquity of mobile, touch-based devices like Apple's iPhone and Google's Android has prompted some to claim that The Web is Dead: Long Live the Internet!
We don't agree with that argument here at CartaNova. The web has always been about solving problems - in communication, in technology and elsewhere - and the web more than anything often adapts faster than the language being used to describe it.
It may be that corporate-locked 'App Stores' will soon be replaced by a mobile-merged web, or maybe even a web of intent. Wherever the technology goes, CartaNova will be there and I suspect that Joomla! will as well.
More immediately, at CartaNova we are currently developing a (free + commercial-customized) plugin for Joomla! that we believe will be a major contributor to both the CMS and the 'free' web. We can't talk too much about how it will work yet, but it's called Sepiida, the proof of concept is working - and I think it will be big.
Summary: We Think that Joomla!™ is Fantastic!
I want to finish this article by saying that for us, Joomla! reflects the best features of the larger world-wide web: Transparency (open source), Community (as realized by the Joomla! project and social networks) and Democracy (small-group and user-friendly design). Now it's just a matter of us getting all of those Joomla!-based sites to run on wind-power. :)
Author's Note: I'm proud to have started developing Joomla!™ web sites in 2005. I volunteer with the Joomla! Forums and Documentation whenever possible, and you can find me at All Together As A Whole and on Twitter for CartaNova Web Design.
As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Joomla! and the web.