Monthly Archives: May 2010

The Cons of Using Joomla!

Cons of Joomla

The more extensions you install, the more plugins you activate, the more Joomla! become bloated.

If you need a lot of functions and eye-candy on your site, try something else.

Also, extensions do not always get along with each other well. One extension that uses a certain

library might not work if another one with similar functions is already published. Some may even

break your site when activated and you’ll have to dig through Google quite a bit to fix some of

them.

You depend on other people’s work. While this might sound pleasing, when you need something

fixed by the developer and he tells you he does not have the time or will to do it, you have to

look for alternatives.

But then again, this goes for all open-source CMS systems.

Security can also be of concern with Joomla!. Some people say that the CMS is a real security

risk, but this becomes fact only when you don’t know your limits with installing untested, 3rd

party extensions.

Due to the fact that Joomla! is so complex, several small problems may arise, from file

permission troubles to rogue plugins that consume CPU cycles (happened to me once).

Last but not least, just as with every new thing you encounter, Joomla! requires learning,

adaptation and time. The administrative backend might scare you at first and the more extensions

you add the more variables you have to take into account.

Final words

Joomla! is a grandiose project. When a bunch of ex-Mambo developers decided to start a new CMS

derived from Mambo, they never thought their work would be such a success. There are literally

hundreds of thousands of sites running on Joomla! and some of them look so professional that

only a look at the page code reveals they are running an open-source CMS.

The only way to understand Joomla!’s power is to try it, even if for just a few hours. You will

either love it or feel it’s too much for your needs.

The Pros of Using Joomla!

Joomla! is a content management system you can use to build websites faster than you ever

imagined.  For those of you who have not heard of Joomla!, it is a content management system that allows

one to build a complex web portal without the need of advanced web programming knowledge. You

download it, install it, add a template then enrich the CMS with extensions. This way you can

transform your site into a webshop, link directory, photo gallery and pretty much anything you set your mind to.

But like any other CMS, Joomla! is not perfect. When should you use Joomla!

You should try Joomla! when you don’t want to spend money on a web design company. Joomla! is

open-source and freely downloadable. You should use it if you want to finish quickly with the

structure of the site and if you want a quick way to add content to it. The Joomla! backend

allows you to insert text and images just as you would if you were using – say – Microsoft Word

or OpenOffice.org.

When you should not use Joomla!

It would be advisable to turn to an in-house solution if you plan to make it big with your site.

If you expect to get hundreds of thousands of visitors per day (not just wish you would but

actually get them) try writing your own site or pay someone to do it for you.

Joomla! is very easy to set up. All you need is a host with a decent LAMP server (Linux, Apache,

MySQL and PHP). Windows will do too, as will any other UNIX-based operating system
, just as long as it runs PHP, a web server and MySQL or PostgreSQL.

Installing templates takes about 10 seconds and is all done by using the backend. You select the

template archive, click upload, activate the new template. That’s all there is to it.

There are more than 4.000 extensions that bring new functionality to a Joomla! website. Tens of

galleries, hundreds of image manipulation modules and plugins, forum bridges, text editors,

polls, video plugins and many, many more. There’s a 95% chance you’ll find what you’re looking

for.

Some extensions and plugins you can buy but the vast majority is also open-source. This means

that if something doesn’t look or act the way you want it to, you can modify it’s source without

asking for permission from no one.

Whenever there’s a security exploit discovered, the patches issued by the Joomla! developers are

made public in record time. It is also pretty easy to strengthen and harden the CMS by using

security checkpoints in the backend via .htaccess files and reading the Joomla! security

advisories.

The Joomla! Forums  are abundant with advice and as long as you keep on-topic and ask the right

question giving as many details as possible, the users will help your fix problems you may

encounter. Just be sure to search the topics to see if someone else might have had the same

issue as you before posting.

Joomla can be made fast via caching extensions, turning SEF URLs on and off is fairly easy and

the commercial templates offered by some sites are so eye-pleasing that they practically turn

you into a zombie reaching for his wallet.