Andrea was kind enough to take time out of her crazy schedule to share her experiences with Joomla.
How did you find Joomla?
I came to Joomla through trial and error. I needed a platform that could incorporate Moodle, offer easy site administration and function as a showcase for my student's work. After much research and experimentation, Joomla seemed best for my business objectives.
How long ago did you start using Joomla?
In June 2012, I made the decision to scrap my efforts with WordPress and switch to Joomla.
Why did you pick Joomla over another CMS?
My initial research indicated that Joomla was easier to use than Drupal. In addition to Joomla, I also use Moodle. I saw my startup as an opportunity to learn both Joomla and Moodle. I was able to set up the Moodle and the first course almost immediately. This has not been true for the Joomla part of my enterprise. I walked in with research and experimentation in mind but I never realized that the learning curve would be so steep.
I also knew that my site needed strong visual appeal. I am happy to report that my decision to use Joomla was spot on in that aspect. As soon as I started with Joomla, I was blown away by all the design resources that were available.
What was the first real challenge you faced?
At each stage, I was reading as much as I could but most of the documentation I read was out of date. For example, I’d find that the documentation was referring to Joomla 1.5 and I was using 2.5. While this created complications for me, I recognized that rapid evolution was the genius of both Joomla and Open Source.
My second greatest challenge in learning Joomla has been terminology. From my personal background in semantics and linguistics, I sometimes can’t get past the fact that the terms like menu and article are so general and refer to a several different things. This might be a big challenge for other beginners -- the ambiguity of terms. As an educator, I believe that the first step to learning a new subject is to become fluent in the terminology.
How did you overcome this hurdle?
I generally go to the Joomla forums first, then the developers’ forums and documentation. I also consult technical manuals and YouTube tutorials. I also joined the Joomla Users Group. At the meetings, I can listen in on the conversations between capable Joomla practitioners and get a handle on the terminology.
So where are you now in the development process?
I am shooting for a launch date for the administration part of my Joomla website (www.aesage.com) for the first week of January 2013. The first course in the Moodle section will begin on Feb. 15, 2013 and then I’ll be back to building on the Joomla part of the site so that I can publish the first issue of a magazine at the end of March, 2013-- two weeks after the first course ends.
As an educator, do you think this was a good way for you to learn Joomla?
Even at this late date, I’m still learning, still building out, and still “Under Construction”. I am teaching myself by building the website myself. I want to have a good understanding of CMS so that I can develop new course and magazines as quickly as I am able to while I grow my business. I like to tell people that I have to wear many hats as a new business person, but I enjoy research and learning challenges even more.
Now that you've been working with Joomla for a while, what are your impressions?
Is there any one particular aspect of Joomla that you found too confusing?
The over-generalization of essential terms and concepts.
Is there any one aspect of Joomla (including the CMS and the community) that you love?
Its rapid evolution and philosophy of open development.
Do you think that picking Joomla was the right course for your business?
Good question. CEUs anyone?