Joomla! from a Japanese viewpoint
For six years I have been struggling to make a living out of Joomla! in Japan. Not many web site developers are using Joomla, but are using WordPress instead. There are many reasons for this. Joomla is a very powerful information publishing tool and I believe Joomla is the next generation home page system for those who are unfamiliar with HTML tags and Dreamweaver, and I am one of them.
Joomla has been helping me to achieve what I want to do with its operation because I am capable of the following:
- I understand English and it is not an obstacle to learn Joomla at Joomla.org.
- I have some computer science background and am not new in this field.
- I am in love with Joomla.
However, many newbies in Japan are not like me. They are uncomfortable in understanding English. They do not have computer engineering backgrounds. They do not have many opportunities to get to know Joomla in Japanese.
Japanese web designers are learning WordPress through Japanese books and web sites on WordPress. The Japanese WordPress information is easy to access. WordPress is not as powerful as Joomla is, but for them it is similar to Movable Type and its learning curve is not steep and long.
To expand the Joomla user base in Japan, I think we need to increase the presence of Japanese Joomla web sites and spread the word of how Joomla can meet a Japanese user's needs.
The claims I have encountered from Japanese clients are:
1. Search feature enhancement
Three characters limitation!! Without hacking its core file, I can not fix it.
It would be better if it is customizable in a search module. In Japanese, one Kanji is one character. There are many two Kanji representing one word. Japanese WordPress is handling this issue well.
2. Member registration enhancement
Registration fields are fixed and they can not be added according to site owner's needs. In Joomla 1.7 some improvements are made, but they are fixed and not customizable in adding fields.
3. Templates for Newcomers
I think we need easy, customizable templates for newcomers who are not capable of editing HTML, Java Script, and CSS. WordPress is handling this well by providing selectable templates in its package.
After installing Joomla, the first thing they look for is templates. It may be better for Joomla to provide newcomers with a selection of free customizable templates, or a list of where they can download templates on the Joomla.org site.
Even if one of them are improved, I think Japanese clients and users would be very pleased. There may be other international users sharing my points.