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  1. #1
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    Joomla - a CMS worth using?

    Anyone got an opinion about using the free Joomla for small to medium not-for-profit websites? Is it easy to use or do you need to be a developer for example? What is support like?

    http://www.joomla.org/content/view/12/26/

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy conradical's Avatar
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    You don't have to be a developer to use Joomla. It does take a bit of time getting to understand it and after that it can be a powerful tool.

    Joomla itself does not provide direct support, but there are the forums for that.

    You can expand your joomla site to suit your needs and change the look.. etc.. on the whole, it is well worth the little time taken to learn how it functions.

    Installation and set up is easy. Just check with your hosting company if it meets the requirements. Especially with Joomla 1.1.1

  3. #3
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    can it be used by someone with no knowledge of HTML?

    I ask cause it look like I am going to loose some business to Joomla.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy conradical's Avatar
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    Yeah, once set up any body can add content, delete pages and other general maintenance without knowing HTML. Complete WYSIWYG editing.

    I;ve set up a few Joomla sites for small non-profit organisations and the office administrators who have no idea about anything about HTML and other web stuff maintains the site pretty well, changing content, uploading pictures, podcasting.. sending out newsletters.. all that stuff!

  5. #5
    SitePoint Guru Lars-Christian's Avatar
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    Yeah, it is definately more or less hassle free to setup, even if you have little to no HTML knowledge. Compare it to for instance Drupal, which is one of the most usable options, I'd say it is much more intuitive and easy-to-understand from an administrator's point of view.

    Plus they have a much larger community for themes, which is always a plus if your knowledge of HTML is limited.

  6. #6
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    I love Joomla! I have two sites now that I used Joomla! for and it's so easy to add content, menus etc. throughout the site without having to modify endless HTML pages. If you don't know how to setup a MySQL database or have a basic understanding of how to transfer files and set things up on your hosting service, you might find it a little tricky to setup initially. But once it's set up, it's so simple to manage your site.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Addict StuckRUs's Avatar
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    For the non-tech I would say it's unlikely they'll get it set up without a fair bit of help unless they have a host with Fantastico which does it all for you.

    Once it is set up, with the help of the Joomla forums, most reasonably savvy people can run and maintain it themselves although they might have a problem with upgrades.

    I use it on 3 client sites and it works fine. They maintain the whole thing, I just apply fixes and upgrades.
    SMILE! everyone will wonder what you're up to.
    Site - under construction - again

  8. #8
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    For me... I prefer Drupal. Both work pretty much the same really, except that Joomla is more suitable for a publishing environment such as newspapers websites, etc... Drupal is more community focused which is great!

  9. #9
    SitePoint Guru Lars-Christian's Avatar
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    I agree that Drupal is more community focused, but unfortunately from what I saw when I installed it and worked with it, it was very hard to work with, and had a very steep learning curve. For instance, the way to setup your content and configure your menus accordingly was very counter-intuitive.

    When done right though, Drupal is an excellent tool for any community based website, and it knocks the socks off of Joomla in that department, no doubt about it.

  10. #10
    Visit docquesting.com docquesting's Avatar
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    I have been trying to get used to Joomla. Perhaps it is just me but it seems to be kind of difficult to get used to. Other than the other comments about the wide range of uses seems to be true.

  11. #11
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    As already mentioned by StuckRUs, Joomla is easy to set up with Fantastico.

    And it is really easy to use for the administrator(s). I have been working with several CMS like Drupal, Typo3, Mambo (from which Joomla split up) and Macromedia Contribute and started converting all sites to Joomla.

    My clients don't have any knowledge of HTML or CSS, but are able to manage their sites themselves. Once set up, they don't need my support any more.

    Also, Joomla 1.5 is coming soon and will have many improvements.

    Support through the forums (there are several) is also quite good.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuckRUs View Post
    Funless they have a host with Fantastico which does it all for you.
    Who or what are Fantasico?

    many thanks!

  13. #13
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  14. #14
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    As I mentioned earlier, I like Joomla! and find it pretty easy to manage my sites, but I am a software engineer so I'm sure I know a lot of tech stuff that I take for granted. I also prefer the old fashioned HTML page sites because it's much easier to have full control over your SEO content. Joomla! is somewhat limited unless you start playing around in their PHP files.

  15. #15
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    a nice tool!

  16. #16
    SitePoint Addict StuckRUs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Sky View Post
    Who or what are Fantasico?

    many thanks!
    The Wiki link given above explains the what. There are downsides to it but the upsides, for the novice anyway, far outweigh them.

    As far as whether your host has it, several of mine and my client's hosts do. It's usually listed as an option in Cpanel but not as Fantastico. It's Advanced Scripts, or Free scripts or something. Click on it and it takes you to a list of all the Open Source stuff they have installed and up the top it says Fantastico.

    To install, you pick the script, hit the install button, fill in boxes, usually folder name, admin name and password and then it installs it, gives you the access links and the option of an email with all the details.

    My problem with it is that it tracks upgrades and warns you if they're not done. Sometimes, especially if it's a script without a templating system, you don't want to just hit the update button as it overwrites all your hard work, so you install the fixes yourself. Fantastico then thinks your version is out of date which can get darned annoying.
    SMILE! everyone will wonder what you're up to.
    Site - under construction - again

  17. #17
    SitePoint Guru Lars-Christian's Avatar
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    The only thing I've ever used Fantastico for is installing WordPress, and then only to save some time with the install. After I have it installed, I've always just upgraded manually, so I guess that I'm not really the typical target-user for Fantastico though.

    The problems pointed out by StuckRUs could really become a hassle in the cases specified where all your hard work is overwritten. Goes to show how important backups of your work is

  18. #18
    Non-Member garyedwardjohnst's Avatar
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    This is coming from a novice at web design.

    Joomla! is the firefox of web development. It allows me to create sites, I never dreamed possible. I struggled with traditional html for a long time and never got the results I did with Joomla!.

    As far as its customization, create your own template if you want complete control over its appearance. And as for its functionality, the thousands of extensions and growing daily, makes just about anything possible. Oh and if it doesn't have the functionality you're looking for, you can write it yourself.

    Joomla! is turning everyone into an awesome web designer, watch out I think our jobs may be at risk.

  19. #19
    [Biped] LJK's Avatar
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    Hi -
    I've been learning J! for the past few days &
    have some initial impressions:

    - too bad about the tables for layout
    - harder to control content than for static pages
    - some things aren't explained very well:
    menu-making, modules, what's displayed when & where, etc.

    BUT it could just be newbie whining...

    El
    F-Fox 2.0 :: WIN :: el design :: US

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by LJK View Post
    - too bad about the tables for layout
    wot tables for layouts??? You dare to mention such a thing on Sitepoint???

    ha ha!

  21. #21
    SitePoint Addict irkyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by easttech View Post
    As I mentioned earlier, I like Joomla! and find it pretty easy to manage my sites, but I am a software engineer so I'm sure I know a lot of tech stuff that I take for granted. I also prefer the old fashioned HTML page sites because it's much easier to have full control over your SEO content. Joomla! is somewhat limited unless you start playing around in their PHP files.
    I agree Joomla is cool! Easy, handy and simply great!

  22. #22
    SitePoint Guru SG1's Avatar
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    joomla or oscommerce

    I've got a friend who runs a site that sells golf vacation packages. people will browse for various vacation packages and then book the package that is best for them. Obviously, this has some ecommerce like functionality to it. his goals are to also have a CMS whereby he can upload new content to the site.

    I hear great things about Joomla as a CMS. I've never used osCommerce but hear good things about them as an ecommerce CMS.

    So my question is which CMS is better suited for this? We'll have to go through a complete redesign and bring over the database functionality of the current site to the new redesign as well.

    I'd appreciate any thoughts from other web designers here.



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