Developing using Joomla

A few companies use me to outsource their web development work. I usually use my own content management system, which no matter what the client wants, I know I can build it around their needs.

I’ve recently taken on a new client. Her business coach has said she may want to look into getting me to use Joomla to build website for her clients. He says it’ll keep costs low because it’s free.

She’s now telling me we should consider using Joomla to develop site, again in the hope that she’s cheap enough for her clients.

Now, I’m not saying Joomla isn’t great, but I just don’t feel comfortable using it. I’ve not used it for almost 8 years (it was mambo at the time), so I’m really out of touch in terms of creating templates and custom modules etc. I’m also not too keen on the possibility that the CMS could restrict the site (especially design and functionality wise).

I don’t know if I’m just being petty about it. But as a programmer, I feel I’d be lowering my standards to use (perfectly good) free software, which I imagine as someone who advertises that does bespoke work, having this kind of work in my portfolio isn’t really going to help me is it?

Anyway, I don’t want to rule using Joomla out, as business is business. What I’m interested in, is how long (in hours) does it usually take to convert a PSD file to HTML, then integrate that into Joomla, including customising the look of any modules etc. I’m trying to determine if the cost to my client would really save her any money.

Thanks in advance

That’s the crux. Yes, CMSs like Joomla may be “free”, but it still takes a lot of work to set up a site with them, which clients don’t often understand. People make the mistake of thinging that “free cms” means “free website”. It will take you extra time to learn a new system, and who is going to pay for that? The cost of a CMS is usually negligible comapared with the cost of designing and building a site.

I’ve decided to leave clients like this by the wayside. In my opinion, you are much better off using the system you are familiar with.

But it’s up to you, of course!

PS I’ve not used Joomla, and have heard lots of bad things about it over the years—like bad underlying code etc. Things seem to have improved, but I’ll never bother with it myself. I’m loving ExpressionEngine, which gives full control of layout and design to the designer.

ralph.m is right. Her business coach has heard Joomla is “free” and “easy to use” therefore = lower cost. Assuming you bid out to your clients, I would bid it 1) build site using the CMS you usually use and 2) build site with Joomla + learning to use Joomla. That should clarify the issues fairly quickly for them.