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.
All of the error pages and error message styling can be overriden. Obviously we have no control over true PHP error messages
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?
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.
That's the point with Joomla. If you don't want the site admins to have control over the site - don't use Joomla
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.
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.