Bryan Ruby


Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

Joomla

Joomla 3.7 Offers Seven Significant Improvements

Joomla 3.7

A more feature rich Joomla! has just been released.

This week, the Joomla! Project announced the release of Joomla 3.7. This new release in the Joomla! 3 series features over 700 improvements to the popular content management system, including many features which "make administration of Joomla! Web sites easier and more feature-rich, as well as several security updates". The following are the seven biggest new feature improvements I found in Joomla 3.7.

1) Custom Fields

Administrators now have the ability to add Custom Fields to their articles, users, and contacts. Extension developers can also use this feature within their own custom Joomla! Extensions. With Custom Fields, there are now 15 different field types that can be utilized to structure more complex content entry systems which in-turn allows content authors to easily enter their data in a standard manner and display it consistently for site visitors.

2) Multilingual Associations Component

The Multilingual Associations Component allows administrators and authors to easily translate content from one single, unified interface. 

3) Improved Workflow

A category, article, or menu item can now all be created in one step from within the menu manager.

4) New Backend Menu Manager

Intended for sites where multiple people are accessing the Backend/Admin-side of the site is the ability to easily manage the admin menu with the new Backend Menu Manager. Now one can can create custom menus for the Backend just like you can for the Frontend. This feature allows site administrators to control which users can see what admin menu options

5) TinyMCE Improvements

More can now be done with the included rich-text editor including new buttons to easily add menu links and contacts.

Joomla! allows you to go your own way with Joomla Framework 1.0 Bryan Ruby Fri, 12/13/2013 - 03:29

A couple years ago, if you would have asked me what I thought about Joomla! I would have told you I think they've lost their way. Their community of developers seemed to be searching on how best to innovate and take risks with a well established stable content management system. I feared that the open source group was stuck looking back and that all we could expect was dull incremental changes to their CMS. Despite the fear, I knew better. Open source communities have a way of reevaluating their priorities and creating spectacular results where you least expect them to do so.

In the second half of 2012, we started seeing something "new" from Joomla! As they started to embrace displaying and managing content on mobile devices, they also embraced the idea that not all core development has to be confined "in-house". With Joomla 3.0 they became the first major CMS that included the Twitter Bootstrap framework to help make their CMS better in the mobile arena. This week, Joomla! has turned the tables and now offers the opportunity for you to allow their framework to make your own web applications better. With Joomla Framework 1.0, Joomla! has proven that they're much more than content management but also a platform for developers to spread their wings.

The Joomla Framework is a new PHP framework (a collection of software libraries/packages) for writing web and command line applications in PHP, without the features and corresponding overhead found in the Joomla! CMS. It provides a structurally sound foundation that can be adapted and extended. This new initiative enables developers to more easily combine features from the Joomla Framework with features from other open source frameworks as they custom-build their own app or CMS.

The Best Drupal and Joomla Comparison of 2013 Bryan Ruby Mon, 03/04/2013 - 00:15

Sitting on my desktop the past few weeks has been an eBook from the Aluent Group, Drupal and Joomla!: A Comparison of Project Processes and Costs. I probably would have not read this eBook if it wasn't for an acquaintance of mine, Justin Kerr, letting me know that he was a co-author of the book. I'm lucky to have read the book because I think Justin Kerr as well as co-authors Robert Nowak and Jet Pixel have hit a home run in their review and comparison of Drupal and Joomla.

Writing a comparison of any two content management systems can be challenging. This is especially true when the CMSs in the comparison are open source and each CMS has a legion of followers ready to pounce on anything you write that they perceive as false. For the reviewer, there is probably no better two open source CMSs to compare that can provide so much reward or risk than Drupal and Joomla. If you're lucky, have your facts in order, and the mood is just right then you too can take the Internet by storm just like I did in 2006. Don't do your homework and you will fail a miserable writers death. 

Drupal and Joomla!: A Comparison of Project Processes and Costs is probably one of the most well-written comparisons between the two CMS platforms that I've read in a very long time. The authors' intended audience for this comparison include system implementers, IT department heads, creative agency owners, multimedia department leads and Web site stakeholders who are faced with a choice between Drupal and Joomla. In this free eBook the comparison made is between Drupal 7 and Joomla 2.5 with the most significant metric used in this book being cost not in terms of money but in hours to accomplish the various tasks.

Open Source CMS, Market Share Report, and White Elephants

Last weekend, digital agency water&stone, released their 2011 Open Source CMS Market Share Report. I consider this report one of the few non-bias and detailed surveys that come across my desk each year. The report isn't perfect, but the report does help give a good snapshot on the state of who's who in the world of open source content management systems.

You are most definitely going to want to take a look at the details in the report. The findings in this year’s report were based on a survey of more than 2,500 CMS users and additional research into a wide variety of measures of market share and brand strength. I'm still combing through the survey and taking note of the interesting individual nuggets of information that can be found in the results of the survey.

WaterandStone's 2011 Open Source CMS Markert Share ReportNot surprisingly, the report confirms the ranking position of open source's three most dominate Web content management systems in the market. The press release itself summarizes the results this way:

PHP-based systems WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal continue to dominate the web content management space. But, while the Big Three remain unchanged from last year, the Report concludes that WordPress retains a clear lead in the face of decreasing competition from Joomla!.

The decreasing competition from Joomla! can be seen most noticeably in the decrease of installations reported by the survey respondents in 2011 compared to 2010. The survey does note that this dramatic drop is likely due to the Joomla! community aggressively promoting the survey last year. This year, the promotion efforts were not coordinated and less influential. I only point this out because this is an example of where the report isn't "perfect" via inconsistencies in the yearly survey sample introducing  a margin of error in the trend comparisons. 

Alledia updates their Drupal and Joomla comparison

In the world of open source CMS there is no comparison more attention getting than an article comparing Drupal and Joomla!. Probably, the granddaddy Drupal vs Joomla! comparisons of them all was posted over three years ago by the Joomla SEO company, Alledia. I extended the discussion Alledia started with my own comparison between Drupal and Joomla. My article evidently struck a chord in late 2006 and currently is approaching near 200,000 reads.

Good comparisons between Drupal and Joomla! are popular because quality comparisons between the two applications are rare. It's very difficult to have passion for one CMS, be well informed on both CMS, and in the end be non-bias in your comparison. In the three years since I wrote my article, I've only come across three additional comparisons between Drupal and Joomla! that I thought worthy to bookmark.

I haven't updated my own article comparing Drupal and Joomla because I have developed a bias opinion over the years that I can't overcome. Both are good applications in their own right, but in the end I almost always recommend Drupal over Joomla!. That's why I'm glad to see Alledia update their own comparison between these popular CMS with "Joomla and Drupal - Which One is Right for You? Version 2".

The Dangers of Reviewing Open Source CMS

The April issue of Adobe Edge contains the article, Review of open source content management systems. The article provides an overview of what the author describes as "five of the top open source software (OSS) solutions". The five open source CMS included in the author's list are CMS Made Simple, Drupal, Joomla!, WordPress, and XOOPS. After reading the article, I found myself wondering how we "reviewers" can actually improve our reviews of open source CMS. More importantly, I've come to the realization that I can no longer claim to be non-biased in which CMS I believe is the best out there.

The author does a fine job in the article describing the similarities and differences between the CMS being reviewed. However, one of the issues I have in this article and many others I've read that review CMS is the big jumps in the conclusion:

Drupal, Joomla!, and XOOPS are best for building an e-commerce site because all three offer:

  • Inventory management
  • Support for third-party payment processing mechanisms (such as PayPal)
  • Modules for shipping and sales tax calculators
  • Shopping cart functionality

While it is true that Drupal, Joomla! and XOOPS can do e-commerce, none of these CMS can do that straight out of the box. I can just imagine a shop owner or design company trying Drupal, Joomla!, or XOOPS for the very first time and wondering, "how the heck do I get a shopping-cart into the CMS?". While the author does hint in the article that third-party modules are needed to make the e-commerce work, I think the author would have been better off better explaining that "some work is required" to get those features into the CMS.

Drupal and Joomla comparison

On a recent visit to Drupal's forum I found another post with both Joomla and Drupal in the subject line. Making comparisons between Joomla and Drupal are very common these days as they are currently considered the top two open source content management systems (CMS) out there. The forum post written by Steve Burge contains a link that takes you to a comparison table he did between Joomla and Drupal. While the table may not give the full picture of each CMS, I'm convinced that Burge tried to be as non-bias as he possibly could in his comparison.

There is something interesting about the table posted at Burge's site. Specifically, take a look at which elements according to Burge each CMS excels in and which elements each CMS fails. Did you notice a particular pattern in where each CMS is considered to have failed? If not, perhaps you didn't see the excerpt I posted earlier from Gadgetopia's Deane Barker, titled Architecture and Functionality in Content Management.

Let me be more specific. In the table Drupal fails on such elements as Shopping Carts, Event Calendars, Document Management, and Themes. The majority of these items are functions or features which are considered lacking in the Drupal CMS. Regarding the other CMS, Joomla fails to deliver in such elements as user permission, content management, multi-site management, and standard's compliance. Joomla fails in elements that are more architecture centric.