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Joomla in the Spotlight

Joomla in the Spotlight
Our project has certainly been in the spotlight recently! On November 7, Packt announced Joomla won the 2011 award for Best Open Source CMS. This is the third time since 2006 that Joomla has won this award. Then on November 27, Water and Stone published their 2011 Open Source CMS Market Share Report. Some parts of this report weren't exactly positive when mentioning Joomla. Here are some thoughts about these two recent items.

Keeping things in perspective

Every contributing member of the Joomla community should feel justifiably proud that our project won the 2011 Packt award for the Best Open Source CMS, as well as two other times since 2006. No we're not perfect, yes there are areas we can improve in, but these awards also show that we're doing a lot of things right!

One of the things that strikes me the strongest when I read the 2011 Water and Stone Open Source CMS Market Share report is what it doesn't say. By that I mean the report doesn't really highlight that Joomla continues to maintain its strong position in the open source CMS market despite the significant organizational and resource advantages that both WordPress and Drupal enjoy compared to Joomla. Consider that those other two projects both have much more support from commercial businesses than Joomla does. Consider also that those other two projects also both employ paid staff and developers, while Joomla currently relies totally on volunteers for those roles. When you take all of that into consideration, I think it is nothing short of amazing how well Joomla's market share compares to both WordPress and Drupal. And that is another point that every contributing member of the Joomla community should feel justifiably proud of!

Some strengths and weaknesses of the Water and Stone reports

What I like about the Water and Stone Open Source CMS Market Share Reports is that you can compare different CMS' side by side using the same metrics. What I don't like about the reports is that because anyone can fill out the survey, those responses aren't necessarily an accurate reflection of the complete marketplace. Also, there are issues with the accuracy of at least some of the data they use. To Water and Stone's credit, they try to point out those issues, at least in the areas that they are aware of. But at a minimum, the 2011 Water and Stone report doesn't take into account some of the causal factors that likely had an impact on some of Joomla's less than positive metrics. And the reality is that other CMS' can probably say the same thing about their less than positive metrics. So even though there is a lot of useful information in the 2011 Water and Stone Report, I think it's a mistake to take everything in it at face value.

How much improvement, and how much fun?

The 2011 Water and Stone Report suggests some areas where Joomla can improve, such as adoption, abandonment, and brand sentiment. The good news is that steps had already been taken to help us improve in each of those areas long before the Water and Stone report was published. For example, a User Experience team has formed, and plans have been made and work has started to build a stronger Communications team that will send out more strong positive messages about Joomla. Other initiatives are also underway that will help strengthen Joomla in these as well as other areas.

So to me, the question is not if we will get better in those areas, but rather what level of improvement are we going to be satisfied with? And another question is how much fun do we want to have along the way?

Addressing a paradox

Effective organizations try to emphasize their strengths and eliminate their weaknesses. I think one of Joomla's fundamental paradoxes is that our biggest strength is also sometimes our biggest weakness. Our global community of volunteer contributors produces, extends, and supports world class software for the millions of users who have chosen Joomla for their CMS. But sometimes we end up working against each other, and when that happens it draws time and energy away from making contributions, and it can also take away the fun of contributing.

If we want our project to truly reach its potential while also allowing contributors to have as much fun as possible along the way, we need to have a culture that is focused on both attracting and keeping a large and diverse group of volunteer contributors. Our award winning codebase is a great foundation for attracting those volunteer contributors. To keep them, everyone in our community needs to continually commit to supporting a culture where we treat each other respectfully and do our best to work together effectively. If we can consistently do that, then I believe our project and our community will continue to grow and thrive, and our shared journey together will also be a lot more fun!

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