10 August

Why Joomla!?



In recent years, Nightflare Web Design (aka Russ and Corinne) has migrated our more complex sites to the power and performance of Joomla! At this point, we are big fans of this cool new web interface. 

Joomla! is best understood as a way of organizing your website using a technology that is highly fluid and versatile. It's a bit like running Windows XP or a Mac OS on your website and just as you run software on your home computer, likewise Joomla! runs programs (called Modules and Components) on your website. These programs comprise all that cool stuff that you see on this website. The fancy term for these kinds of products is CMS--"Content Management System".

So, what kinds of programs/modules can you run? Well, here are some examples: RSVP software, Calendar software, Comments software, polls, cool links to Facebook + Twitter etcetera, running ads, newsflash, audio management, download management, etc. Look to the left on this page, that cool date display, the ability to rate this page, the number of page views, all that is a Joomla! component running. Likewise, on the right hand side of this page--that little info about us, the tag cloud, those are also modules running. If you look at the bottom, there are various suggested links and a chance to make comments yourself. Those links are created automatically and dynamically. Assuming we keep publishing articles on this site, those suggestions will change. The comments feature allows you to make comments and us to moderate them. It's very cool. 

Okay, so perhaps you're saying that all of these features can be achieved using various other web programming technologies. Well, indeed they can. The difference is that Joomla! is something **you** can do! What's more most of these are free--they are designed by open source programmers around the world. Thus, it doesn't take a mountain of cash to create an impressive, powerful site. Just look at this site. It's a classic Joomla! site.

Now, as far as our site goes, it's essentially a template. That means that someone else has done the heavy lifting and we've configured it to reflect our tastes. Most of the time, we start with a basic template and then configure from there--this saves you time and money and get's us started off in a way that reflects your tastes from the start. And don't worry about them looking like lots of other sites, the reality is that by the time we're done configuring the site, it will probably be quite different than the original. Though I should say that using a template is not to say that it's as simple as point and click (in truth, Joomla! is still very complex) but none-the-less, these templates are available for free (or very low costs) and they get you up and running relatively painlessly.

I should also mention, that the power of Joomla! is speed and flexibility--but don't take this to mean that it's fast and easy to setup. Actually, I'd say that the initial roll out is much, much longer than our non-Joomla! roll outs. (To give you an idea of comparisons, this Joomla! site took about 20 hours to launch, Taylor Flooring took about 10 hours, Bartlet Baptist took about 25 hours and Grace Tabernacle took well over 100 hours to launch. Conversely, ShoreSingles was up and running in about 2 hours). The difference is that once the site is up and running, it can be configured and modified much, much easier than the HTML counterpart. Likewise, because Joomla! sites are based on templates and an ever-increasing pool of modules, they are constantly being upgraded and remain current and fresh. On the other hand, HTML sites get old the day they are launched. There are very few major sites still running straight HTML these days.

One last point: I've already mentioned that Joomla! is a CMS technology. It is true that there are other CMS technologies out there as well--Drupal, Osmos, etc. The difference is that Joomla! is free and very, very popular. Again, the power of Joomla! is it's software modules that you can download and install on your site. Currently there are thousands of free modules available, and dozens, nay hundreds are being created every week. It would seem that there is a race to produce the best, most popular CMS out there (kind of like VHS versus Betamax 25 years ago). While there are many worthy competitors, in our humble opinion, Joomla! is winning the race--not so much because it's better (Drupal, Osmos and the others have excellent features, and some are way cooler than Joomla!) but it seems that in the nearly two years we've been working with Joomla!, it continues to outpace it's competitors in overall market share and continuing adaptability.
Last modified on Wednesday, 11 August 2010 06:54
Russ Brewer

Russ Brewer

Rescued from the domain of darkness, transferred to the kingdom of the Son. Undershepherd of Grace. Husband of Corinne. Father of three. Chew-toy to Zeke...

Website: www.thegracetabernacle.org E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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