The Joomla! Community Magazine™

Website Case Study: Joomla! Powers the CMS Expo

Written by | Sunday, 01 May 2011 00:00 | Published in 2011 May
The CMS Expo is one of the only conferences in the world that brings together many of today's top Content Management Systems under one roof. With more than 60 professional speakers and over 100 learning sessions scheduled over the 3-day event, May 2-4, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois, you can find information and training from some of the CMS industry's top professionals without sitting through an infomercial or someone selling their services on stage. John and Linda Coonan are the event organizers and are avid Joomla! Community members themselves, through their work with the Chicago Joomla! Users Group and their annual CMSExpo Conference each year. We had the chance to sit down with John Coonen and ask him about the Joomla! powered CMS Expo website.
CMS Expo Joomla! Powered Website CMS Expo Joomla! Powered Website

Basic Overview

Company Name: CMS Expo
Live website URL: http://cmsexpo.net

Developer:
The CMS Association Inc.
Developer URL: http://cmsexpo.net
Development Time: 6 Months
Category: Business B2B

Developer Bio: The organization's mission is to foster the growth of the CMS Community.

Development Team

Linda Coonen - Content creation, producer, organizer & logistics
Josh Miller - Site Development and administration
John Coonen - Site Design, event marketing, content curator

What are some of the challenges you face?

Unlike events of the past decade, in which organizers oftentimes recycled old information and provided slight "refreshes" of previous learning sessions and events, CMS Expo needs to totally overhaul their site and their program annually, with a fresh, relevant approach.

So what's the solution?

Being an event CENTERED around CMSes, we've had quite a bit of exposure (pardon the pun;) to CMSes other than Joomla! The reason we started with Joomla! was simple: CMS Expo's roots! CMS Expo started out almost five years ago as "JoomlaExpo." The primary purpose was to showcase Joomla! We expanded this to grow the the overall market.

The reasons we have stayed with Joomla are the following:

  1. Ease of use - We are primarily users, not developers. We like the ease of being totally self-sufficient when it comes to building, maintaining, expanding (or contracting), and creating content within Joomla! CMS. It is software that "gets out of the way" for writers and designers alike. We love that.
  2. Huge support network! OK, we *can* be self-sufficient, however, we push the edge of the tech envelope with this event, so we need the help of many 3rd Party Developers to help us with needs for e-commerce, design, CCK needs, and more.
  3. Joomla! has an incredible community of friends and business connections! It's a mutual win-win for us and for the Joomla! community to use Joomla!
“The reason we started with Joomla! was simple: CMS Expo's roots! CMS Expo started out almost 5 years ago as JoomlaExpo. The primary purpose was to showcase Joomla! We expanded this to grow the the overall market.”

Joomla! Extensions Used

Custom Joomla! Solutions

  • Custom Template Development by Josh Miller
  • Animated "Clicker" by Josh Miller, Crew Designs
  • Social Slider by Josh Miller, Crew Designs
  • Custom design work also by Robert Nowak
  • Custom development work by Josh Miller
  • Custom development work by Robert Nowak
  • Custom server security work by Tom Canavan
  • Custom e-commerce by Robert Nowak

Final Thoughts

Over 1000 pages of new content must be created every year. This year, we closed in on 1,200 pages. Joomla! tackled it like a champ.

This project is a year-long passion. Every year, we've learned how to tackle the project to streamline the massive amount of web-related work. Here's what we learned this year, with respect to Joomla!:

  • We learned to trust CORE Joomla! to handle more, natively, such as ALL of our blogging and SEF URL creation; we decided to drop MyBlog, in favor of native Joomla!
  • We discovered a lightweight CCK component called Form2Content, which is great, as it creates NATIVE Joomla! articles for us to modify, once it's formatted, as we wish within the CCK. That CCK has been a God-send for us.
  • We incorporated video into our site for the first time!
  • We started using an excellent new template framework, called T3.
  • We added JomSocial as a way for event attendees to connect with fellow attendees before, during, and after CMS Expo.

It's a lot of fun to look around at all the other top-tier tech conference sites, and know that ours, using Joomla!, gives us a distinct competitive advantage from a productivity and creative standpoint; but ALSO from the standpoint of being able to turn to dozens of developers to help us try new things and push the limits online like NO other conference does.

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Robert Vining

Robert Vining

An avid Joomla! supporter, Robert Vining offers custom joomla web design through his website Roberts Web Design, creates cool SobiPro templates at Sobi Templates, and hosts a weekly Joomla podcast on the JoomStew Radio Show about the community happenings in and around Joomla!