The Joomla! Community Magazine™

10 Joomla! Prejudices

Written by | Sunday, 01 April 2012 00:00 | Published in 2012 April
The German <a href="http://www.screengui.de">Screenguide Magazine</a> asked me to respond to 10 Joomla! prejudices. Here my answers:  

1. Joomla! Is only for private sites:

If the statement was 'Joomla! is also for private sites', then I would agree wholeheartedly. In its basic functions, the system is very easy to use. Even with little previous knowledge, you can quickly reach a respectable result. But this does by no means mean that Joomla! is not also suitable for professional use. Even large websites can be easily implemented with Joomla!, provided the developer in question has the required know-how. You can find plenty of examples on the internet.

2. Joomla's architecture is outdated:

Joomla! has always been more than a pure content management system. Deep at its core there is a range of useful functions that makes it easy for programmers to create web applications. With the release of 1.7 in July 2011, it was decided to separate the two development paths of the framework so that now we have effectively two strands within the project: A) Joomla!Platform, B) Joomla!CMS.

The Joomla!Platform can be applied in very diverse fields, ranging from a simple web application to complex applications. These can be eCommerce applications, the development of ERP systems or even the mapping of specific business processes. A new feature is the simpler integration of command line applications. Joomla!CMS on the other hand is responsible for all things requiring good CMS. The whole system is based on objectoriented PHP code. The separation of application logic and representation is achieved through the model/view/controller principle, which gives us particular freedom regarding the design of the HTML output. I really do not know how such an architecture could be considered outdated.

3. Joomla! is insecure and easy to hack:

This prejudice has been floating around for a long time. Joomla! is very easy to install and has relatively few requirements regarding its environment and the person using it. This is why amateurs frequently install it on the many cheap hosting providers out there, often with weak passwords, obsolete extensions and other examples of administrative negligence. If the user then gets caught, he often blames Joomla! and not the security issues on the side of the hosting provider or the user's own negligence.

It is important to distinguish between the Joomla! Core and a Joomla! installation with additional installed extensions. In many cases it is the extensions that open the doors. Joomla! is one of the most widely used CMS in the world and for that reason it is certainly a more likely target for hackers than less widely used systems. If you are interested in this topic, you should definitely visit the Joomla! security website and find out more or http://docs.joomla.org/Category:Security_Checklist.

4. Joomla! websites are marked as malware and are therefore often inaccessible:

I have been working with Joomla! for many years, but this has never happened to me yet. This is probably due to the fact that I very carefully scrutinize the extensions I use.

5. Joomla! modules are often based on layout tables:

This has not been true for many versions now. But there are still some additional modules by third party providers that use tables. In the section on architecture I have already mentioned the MVC principle and its significance for the HTML output. If a module has insufficient output, this can usually be fixed by using template overrides. This does not involve much effort, particularly for modules, as the amount of HTML code that is output is generally limited.

6. Joomla! is too large, too powerful and too sluggish for most applications (“The Word among the CMS”):

According to one prejudice, Joomla! is only for small websites, according to another, it is too large – so which is it? The question about the best CMS cannot be answered, it just depends on what you want to use it for in each case. There are some good Open Source content management systems with different emphases. Which one is the best one to use for a specific project needs to be decided carefully – but many web workers fail to evaluate this issue. For a website with five subpages, Joomla! is certainly oversized.

7. The Joomla! editor is only for use by experts:

The main task of a CMS is to manage content in a structured form and control its output. The WYSIWYG editors are responsible for formatting. Joomla! provides the basis for the technical integration of many different editors, which are integrated into the system as plugins. By default, Joomla! includes Tiny MCE or codemirror, but there are many other editors that can be downloaded as a package, ready to install. For my part, I prefer JCE as it can be configured with fine precision. You can form user groups and permit or forbid them to do the most varied things. Not all users of the system have to be using the same editor, and this applies to all WYSIWYG editors. You can install several editors and assign them to individual users. That way, everyone gets their money's worth.

8. Joomla! is not being developed sufficiently quickly:

In recent months, the release cycle has been a hotly debated topic in the community. There will now be a new major release every six months. Joomla! 2.5 was released as planned in January this year. But remember that some things take their time to really work properly. If things are not moving fast enough for you, you are welcome to join in and take part in the development yourself.

9. Joomla! is not flexible enough:

This is a prejudice that is very vague and that I can only speculate on. A Joomla! article consists of a header, content and a multitude of parameters that govern its representation. But sometimes, users wish for additional fields whose content can be stored and is searchable in the database. This function is unfortunately not yet available in the Joomla!Core. So you need to resort to ContentConstructionsKits, such as K2, Flexicontent or Seblod. We will see if something starts happening in the near future in this respect in the Joomla! Core, and if we perhaps no longer need the additional extenstions in future.

10. The Joomla! rights management is too complicated and not suitable for workflows:

From version 1.6 onwards, Joomla! offers a very finely adjustable rights management. Particularly for very large websites with many editors, very complex tasks can arise in terms of rights management. Here you as administrator will have to carefully consider who is allowed to do what and who is assigned to which group. Joomla! offers many options for this. To use them, you have to familiarize yourself with the Joomla! rights management. This may take some time, but once you have fully grasped it, it generally works quite well. If you would like a more graphic overview of this topic, have a look at the extension ACLManager.

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