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  1. #1
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    Notice: This is a discussion thread for comments about the SitePoint article, Introducing Joomla.
    __________

    It would have been useful (for me anyway) to do a comparison between Joomla and Drupal. I'm at that stage now - I would have dived in a long time ago, but still can't make up my mind.

    Joomla - Easy to use, looks good, doesnt create the most 'elegant' code

    Drupal - Slight learning curve to begin with, doesnt look as good as Joomla, code created is more elegant...

    I'm stuck - any suggestions??

  2. #2
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    Drupal is pretty much useless if you want "normal" users to update your site imho...

    joomla is better but has it's quircks.. just use what suits you best :)

  3. #3
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    @pug2112. Not sure what you mean by 'elegant' code. Most of the criticisms of Joomla reflect on versions more than a year old. The new version of Joomla (1.5 series) can produce completely compliant, tableless code.
    Last edited by dmwalk; Feb 21, 2009 at 06:21.

  4. #4
    Rick
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    Joomla allows for "template overrides" which allow you to control exactly how the core markup comes out...so it has flexibility for any user.

  5. #5
    brian teeman
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    There is an html error in the first of your "useful links"

  6. #6
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    >>> Joomla allows for "template overrides" which allow you to control exactly how the core markup comes out...so it has flexibility for any user.

    Except when you want to control the menu's XHTML, from my experience you are stuck with wha Joomla gives you.

    I am also willing to bet there is XHTML somewhere in the codebase where it shouldn't be, echo'ing error messages, who knows.

    The codebase is complex, confusing and over engineered at almost every angle.

    The docs are mediocre at best and the community is mostly designers with very few who really understand the core of the system and how things tick.

    The user interface is equally complex, which is a result of the implementors trying to put to much control in the administrators hands (ie: module positioning).

    I have used Joomla on a few projects in the last 1-2 years and each time I regret the choice even more. Sadly it still lets me complete most projects faster than the alternatives, such as using ZF, Cake or CI.

    It's not really a CMS so much as it is an entire including the kitchen sinks, lighthing, fixtures, wiring, speaker system, etc all tightly coupled and and not very cohesive. :)

    Cheers,
    Alex

  7. #7
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    The clients who I've introduced to Drupal hate it. Neither do they like Joomla - too many features that overwhelm the average user who just wants to edit content and drop images into their web pages. That's why I've created my own system that seems to meet the needs of 80% or more of my clients.

    It would be nice if Joomla had a "simple" profile that displayed a very scaled down set of admin controls. Or, a configuration page that allows you to display what controls you want to be available.
    My website: www.sitehatchery.com

    Recent Article: Dynamic CSS

  8. #8
    AL
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    I've used Joomla a number of times and I have to say code wise it is probably the worst. It amazes me why it is so succesfull! Just look at the code, the hundreds of files, the awkwardness of the class structures.

  9. #9
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    @PCSpectra and @sitehatchery
    It's quite obvious both of you have not even a rudimentary understanding of Joomla, so your comments have no basis in facts, even in versions of Joomla 2 years old, let alone the current 1.5.9 version.

    Joomla has frontend and backend access, with various levels for both. You can give a client only frontend access and assign that access as author, editor or publisher. With backend administrative access, you can assign manager, administrator or super administrator. The options available for each level are different. Version 1.6 which is nearing completion will have a much finer control of user access levels. The editor, which the client interacts with the most, can be completely customized, as to what functions are allowed. If you want even more control, you can even customize the administrative template.

    Menus can be output in a variety of styles. The most standard compliant is simply a flat unordered list with enough css hooks to style any way you like.

    Obviously, any CMS takes some effort to learn and master and the same is true of Joomla. Joomla has an incredible community and the power of the CMS is currently second to none. When 1.6 comes out later this year, I believe that Joomla will be the best general purpose CMS available for designers. Personally, I have chosen to master Joomla, rather than work with a variety of CMSs, as I have found that there is virtually no project it can't handle.

  10. #10
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    dmwalk, my comment is an echo of three of my clients, recently (two within the last 5 months).

    In one instance, I installed Joomla and built a custom template around it. I also modified the core files in several locations to make it behave the way the client wanted. At about 80% completion, the client began trying to put content in. Though I trained the client, he was completely overwhelmed and didn't see how he was going to easily manage his frequent updates with the complicated interface.

    Now, you've got to understand, I don't think it's complicated - but I'm a professional programmer. However, I am constantly looking through the eyes of my customers. So, in this particular case, I saw it in the customer's best interest to build something much easier. So, though 80% finished with building his site, I -- upon my own initiative -- built a simple content management system.

    I've used this content management system on many websites, and have found the niche of simplicity is an enormous selling point. Joomla! just doesn't fit the bill for these clients. So instead of forcing some program on them (the non-technical type) that they don't like, I've listened to them and created something that they can manage. That's good business. And besides, it cuts down on training tremendously.
    My website: www.sitehatchery.com

    Recent Article: Dynamic CSS

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by PCSpectra View Post
    Except when you want to control the menu's XHTML, from my experience you are stuck with wha Joomla gives you.
    You can do it if you know what you are doing, but granted, it's not easy. There are a lot of third party menu modules that give you other capabilities. Even so, the 80/20 rule applies and sometimes no automated system gives you the complete control of an each-page-engineered site - but then the article was about the Joomla CMS, not doing static HTML sites.

    Quote Originally Posted by PCSpectra View Post
    I am also willing to bet there is XHTML somewhere in the codebase where it shouldn't be, echo'ing error messages, who knows.
    All of the error pages and error message styling can be overriden. Obviously we have no control over true PHP error messages

    Quote Originally Posted by PCSpectra View Post
    The codebase is complex, confusing and over engineered at almost every angle.
    I hear this a lot. Apart from some really old areas of the code base, it's simply not true. Can you give me an example?

    Quote Originally Posted by PCSpectra View Post
    The docs are mediocre at best and the community is mostly designers with very few who really understand the core of the system and how things tick.
    I'd argue that is the case for anything. There are a handful of in-demand super experts in the world, but then they've taken the time to pull things apart. You get out of something what you invest in it.

    Quote Originally Posted by PCSpectra View Post
    The user interface is equally complex, which is a result of the implementors trying to put to much control in the administrators hands (ie: module positioning).
    That's the point with Joomla. If you don't want the site admins to have control over the site - don't use Joomla

    Quote Originally Posted by PCSpectra View Post
    I have used Joomla on a few projects in the last 1-2 years and each time I regret the choice even more. Sadly it still lets me complete most projects faster than the alternatives, such as using ZF, Cake or CI.
    I think we have an apples and oranges problem here. Those are "frameworks" not CMS's. Joomla also has a "framework" in version 1.5. You build CMS's on top of frameworks. Now I will say that the docs for the Joomla Framework are pathetic in comparison to Zend and Cake - but I'm trying to remedy that.

    Quote Originally Posted by PCSpectra View Post
    It's not really a CMS so much as it is an entire including the kitchen sinks, lighthing, fixtures, wiring, speaker system, etc all tightly coupled and and not very cohesive.
    Joomla includes "a lot". There is a lot of power available out of the box (and I would argue more cohesive and less tightly coupled than most bespoke systems). I understand it's not for every project nor every client (in fact, some clients should not even have a license to drive a computer, let alone a web site). But Joomla is a CMS by definition. Whether you like it or hate it, the fact is (apart from Wordpress) it is the most popular in the world so as an implementer it is wise to try to understand it.

    Thanks for your comments though. Appreciate your time.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pug2112 View Post
    It would have been useful (for me anyway) to do a comparison between Joomla and Drupal. I'm at that stage now - I would have dived in a long time ago, but still can't make up my mind.
    I don't know Drupal well enough to comment on it, other than I have borrow ideas from how they solve technical coding issues. I also haven't taken the time to invest in learning the art of drupal (sounds like a good name for a web site, hehe) so any complaints I have about Drupal are because I'm ignorant about how to use it properly. That said, I do know that choosing *either* Joomla *or* Drupal will give you a solid web site. Both have their strengths and weaknesses but, ultimately, it takes time to invest in one or the other.

    Thanks for your comments.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sitehatchery View Post
    It would be nice if Joomla had a "simple" profile that displayed a very scaled down set of admin controls (there are some technical reasons why it's particularly difficult at the moment). Or, a configuration page that allows you to display what controls you want to be available.
    That is actually a great suggestion. Hopefully we'll be in a position in version 1.6 to provide fully "skinable" administrator templates. I'd personally love to do an Admin template that was suitable for pre-schoolers to create web sites. We aren't there just yet, but we are getting close.

  14. #14
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    I used to use Mambo (joomla before the nasty split). I then moved across to joomla like everyone else. But the much-touted improvements never came along. Joomla 1.5 took so long to deliver that it just wasn't funny!!!! And then, when it did come along, it wasn't that special.

    In fact, by the time joomla 1.5 was delivered, there were far better open source options available.

    Just my opinion - but Joomla is very much a "has been" piece of software...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by hairybob View Post
    In fact, by the time joomla 1.5 was delivered, there were far better open source options available.
    Probably right. Which ones did you have in mind that were around at the beginning of 2008?
    Andrew Eddie - Joomla Development Coordinator
    <><
    www.theartofjoomla.com - Professional Developer Documentation
    jxtended.com - Quality Joomla Extensions

  16. #16
    Monopaul
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    Some that were available: Drupal, harder to set up, but way more flexible due to custom content types, i.e., you don't need a module for every piece of information that you want to manage with your CMS.

    Textpattern, perhaps too simple for some uses. Then, not Opensource, but not that expensive either: Expression Engine.

  17. #17
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    I'm not sure why we even have a discussion about this. Joomla is the worst CMS available.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by XLCowBoy View Post
    I'm not sure why we even have a discussion about this. Joomla is the worst CMS available.
    Your opinion. Fact is, Joomla is the most popular CMS in the world http://www.google.com/trends?q=jooml...pal,+wordpress.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmwalk View Post
    Fact is, Joomla is the most popular CMS in the world ...
    Trends can be deceiving. The best data that we have is that Wordpress has 3.5 times the public facing implementations of Joomla (but that changes dramatically if you look at unique IP's), and Drupal has about half that of Joomla. We think Joomla powers around 0.8% of the internet (so if you know what the total number of sites is, you can work out the approximate number).

    While there is certainly a large camp of Joomla, shall I say, dislikers, the data just doesn't support that it's as bad as many people make out. If you are a web-based business looking to settle on a CMS, you simply have to look at any or all of WordPress, Joomla and Drupal simply because of the market dominance of those three. Each of these projects has sufficient critical mass to support a very large base of commercial support and development around them.

    As an individual you don't have to like it, but you can't ignore the fact that probably tens of millions of people do use the thing. That's why we are having this discussion
    Andrew Eddie - Joomla Development Coordinator
    <><
    www.theartofjoomla.com - Professional Developer Documentation
    jxtended.com - Quality Joomla Extensions

  20. #20
    Chris Gill
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    I find it very strange that people feel the need to take such extreme positions on these questions. People like me, trying to see a way through the jungle of CMS options, need clear, calm explanations of the weaknesses of the different systems, not aggressive and unsupported assertions.

    I'm logging my own path through this jungle at cms-frameworksDOTevaluatedDOTorgDOTuk - though I'm still in the early stages.

    Chris

  21. #21
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    After spending years developing my own CMS (with a lot of work left to be done), I'm loathe to change. However, I heard so much good news about WordPress, I finally decided to give it a try. I'm now planning on integrating it into my CMS/websites.

    In the meantime, I've been seeing frequent mention of Joomla in my job searches. My perception is that it's in greater demand as a job skill than Drupal. So I'm thinking of giving Joomla a spin, then figuring out if I want to convert one or more of my sites to Joomla.

    I'm toying with the idea of creating a website that combines Joomla and WordPress. To put it another way, it would probably be a Joomla site with a specific section/channel (e.g. MySite/Blog) reserved for WordPress. Is this commonly done? Is it easy to do?

    One thing that bummed me out about WordPress is the discovery that it can't handle URL's with upper case letters. I have several websites with URL's that look like this: MySite/World/Spain. I'm not keen on the idea of converting them all to MySite/World/spain.

    I assume Joomla can spit out URL's with capital letters, similar to Wikipedia, right?

    Thanks for the informative article.


  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by AL View Post
    I've used Joomla a number of times and I have to say code wise it is probably the worst. It amazes me why it is so succesfull! Just look at the code, the hundreds of files, the awkwardness of the class structures.
    The hundreds of files is actually really smart, it's what all the serious frameworks do (just look at Zend, Cake, even the Java language itself). Joomla 1.0 (and Mambo before it) had "less" files but they were all "bigger". That means on every page load you were including a lot of bloat that you didn't need. Joomla uses the principle of "lazy loading" which means that it only loads the code it actually needs to run. PHP caching systems love this (MemCache, APC, etc). So, while there may be hundreds of files in the framework, maybe only 50 or 60 are loaded on any one pass. The number of files has absolutely no bearing on the quality of the coding. However, less files could equate to worse performance.

    The class structures (of Version 1.5) are also organised into packages, similar to the way Java does it. If you don't get Object Oriented design then you probably won't get Joomla (that doesn't mean it's bad code).

    Most components have gone from a half dozen files in version 1.0 to possibly 50 in version 1.5. While this seems backwards it makes sense when you consider maintaining one 20,000 line monster file verses an average file length of a few hundred lines. I can go deeper into why this is significant if you want.

    That Joomla has too many files and poor class structure is another complaint I've heard often, but I think this mostly comes from very inexperienced developers. It's almost never backed up with solid examples of what files aren't necessary or examples of where the class structures are deficient.

    While there are certainly some badly coded extensions out there, the fact that the third-party extension and template market is so prolific flies in the face of this argument. Joomla has it's quirks, but it is a solid platform on which to write web applications that are extremely flexible and maintainable.
    Andrew Eddie - Joomla Development Coordinator
    <><
    www.theartofjoomla.com - Professional Developer Documentation
    jxtended.com - Quality Joomla Extensions

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by geosite View Post
    One thing that bummed me out about WordPress is the discovery that it can't handle URL's with upper case letters. I have several websites with URL's that look like this: MySite/World/Spain. I'm not keen on the idea of converting them all to MySite/World/spain.

    I assume Joomla can spit out URL's with capital letters, similar to Wikipedia, right?
    I thought you could but I just tried it and you can't. There's no technical reason for it so I'll raise it as a bug for you and hopefully we can get it fixed in the next version for you.
    Andrew Eddie - Joomla Development Coordinator
    <><
    www.theartofjoomla.com - Professional Developer Documentation
    jxtended.com - Quality Joomla Extensions

  24. #24
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Gill View Post
    I find it very strange that people feel the need to take such extreme positions on these questions. People like me, trying to see a way through the jungle of CMS options, need clear, calm explanations of the weaknesses of the different systems, not aggressive and unsupported assertions.
    I agree. I'm only too happy to respectfully go head-to-head on a feature shoot out, but vague comments are hard to counter.

    On your search to find a CMS - I share your pain. It's bad enough evaluating addons "within" a selected CMS, let alone trying to pick one again.

    Have a look at php DOT opensourcecms DOT com/scripts/show DOT php?catid=1&cat=CMS%20/%20Portals (sorry for the DOT's, too much of a site newbie to be allowed to post URL's *sigh*). Order them by User Rating Best-to-worst. That should at least be able to give you a quick feel for what each is like.

    Do check out Drupal, Joomla and WordPress (although WP is not yet as flexible as the other two).

    I didn't mind the initial feel of CMSMadeSimple. It seems to have a lot of intuitive elements about it.

    MiaCMS and Exlis come from Mambo stock (as did Joomla, but we are the team that brought Mambo to it's original glory anyway) - I still think Joomla made some key improvements that these guys didn't follow but that's just my opinion. I'd only consider MiaCMS the only other successful continuation of the old Mambo project that has a viable future, apart from Joomla that is.

    MODx looks stunningly sexy but I'd be concerned about how it scales for a really large sites (like thousands of articles).

    SilverStripe looks really interesting. It seems to more of a "Page Management System" which is where we are wanting to head with Joomla. Scaling, to me, would still be a concern. The image manager is certainly impressive if nothing else. All good - lot's of great ideas to cheat off

    Hope that helps some. If you want to know more about Joomla's good and bad side (honestly, they all have a bad side despite our best efforts to cover it up), let me know. I'll try to help where I can.
    Andrew Eddie - Joomla Development Coordinator
    <><
    www.theartofjoomla.com - Professional Developer Documentation
    jxtended.com - Quality Joomla Extensions

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew.eddie View Post

    Do check out Drupal, Joomla and WordPress (although WP is not yet as flexible as the other two).

    I didn't mind the initial feel of CMSMadeSimple. It seems to have a lot of intuitive elements about it.

    MODx looks stunningly sexy but I'd be concerned about how it scales for a really large sites (like thousands of articles).

    SilverStripe looks really interesting. It seems to more of a "Page Management System" which is where we are wanting to head with Joomla. Scaling, to me, would still be a concern. The image manager is certainly impressive if nothing else. All good - lot's of great ideas to cheat off
    Thanks Andrew.

    All of these systems are on my agenda, as you'll know if you have been to my blog at cms-frameworks DOT evaluated DOT org DOT UK - although current favourite is ExpressionEngine.

    I'm particularly interested in what you say about scaling, because it's difficult for someone in my position to establish how a system will handle thousands of pages or thousands of visitors. What lies behind your worries about MODx and SilverStripe, and why do you not have those worries about CMSMS (or Joomla, for that matter)?

    best

    Chris


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