There are a huge amount content management systems available to web developers and business owners. WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are three of the most popular CMS's owing partly to the fact that they are free and open source.
This article will concentrate on the virtues of Joomla and the reasons why we use it to develop the majority of our websites.
Joomla started life as a fork of another CMS called Mambo. In August 2005 the Joomla parent company was established (opensourcematters.org) and Joomla was effectively born. Since then there have been major changes and improvement of the software culminating in the current version 3.3.1. As of February 2014 Joomla had reached the milestone of 50 million downloads.
What is Joomla?
Joomla is a PHP based content management system that utilises the modal view controller (MVC) architectural pattern which basically means the core 'number crunching' is kept separate from what the user sees. This means that what the user views can be easily created, modified and manipulated without changing the way that the software operates.
The main part of a Joomla website (the bit the user sees) is the template. Templates can be bought online quite cheaply and installed into your Joomla website. The problem with buying a template online is that several other companies are likely to have the same template so your website is not unique and you have little scope for change. At Betton Design we never buy templates and pass them off as our own work. We design and create all of our templates from scratch meaning that you always get a bespoke website. More information on templates can be found here.
Joomla is free and open source and like with most popular open source software there is a vibrant community of business owners, web designers, web developers and other interested parties. The main community portal is the Joomla forum located at forum.joomla.org. This forum is well frequented by Joomla experts who are all too willing to answer questions and lend a hand.
The Joomla website also has extensive documentation which is a great source for reference when developing for Joomla.
Joomla is almost infinitely customisable and with the use of extensions you can get your website to do almost anything. The main Joomla extension directory is located at extensions.joomla.org. Here you can find various free and paid for extensions that can do anything from add a slideshow to a whole shopping cart.
Whilst Joomla extensions are great they also have to be vetted. How do you know which image gallery is best for your website for example? The Joomla extension directory operates a review and reporting system which does help you make your decision. Over the years we at Betton Design have garnered a vast knowledge of what extension is right for the job and as such we can make an informed decision on your behalf. In addition to this we also develop our our Joomla extensions which strictly follow Joomla's rules and guidelines ensuring that they integrate perfectly with the Joomla core. Because we are able to build these extensions we can easily modify them for our individual customer needs.
How Flexible is Joomla?
You only have to look at the plethora of websites built using Joomla to get an idea of it's flexibility. Almost any part of it is customisable so not only can the look of your website be unique but also the functionality.
Why do we use Joomla?
For all of the above reasons and more!
Over the years we have built many websites using Joomla so we have a pretty good knowledge of how it works and how to get the most out of it. One of the big plus points for us (and ultimately for our customers) is the extendibility of Joomla. For example; if you want to build a shopping cart you could use a dedicated shopping cart CMS such as OpenCart. OpenCart would do the job perfectly but where it would fall down is when it comes to all the other parts of your website such as static pages or a blog. With Joomla you could add a shopping cart meaning that you have a full blown e-commerce system as well as a powerful content managed website all in one tidy package.
When you commission a website from Betton Design the main part of the cost is creating the template. The template dictates how your website looks and as a result is extremely important. Despite the template taking up most of the budget it is relatively cheap. What I mean by this is that Joomla makes it straight forward for us to create bespoke templates. Some other content management systems have incredibly complicated templating systems which would really push up the cost of creating a bespoke website. Joomla has features such as Twitter Bootstrap, Micro Data and template overrides built in meaning that we don't have to add them manually, saving time and cost.
The very fact that all of our websites are unique means that we can run into unique problems, this is where the Joomla community comes in. We can call on a number of experts to help overcome development obstacles. The Joomla community has an "all in it together" attitude which helps developers to build better websites and increase the appeal of Joomla.
Whilst no one content management system can tick all boxes we think that Joomla comes pretty close. This is why we use Joomla.
One last point that I must make is that if we still haven't convinced you and you would like us to build your website using another content management system then that is not a problem. We have a wide and varied skill set which means that you will always get the website that you want.
1. [As of July 2014]↩
2. [As of July 2012]↩
Betton Design Limited is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Joomla Project or Open Source Matters. The Joomla logo is used under a limited license granted by Open Source Matters the trademark holder in the United States and other countries.