Joomla! Open-Source CMS

The Challenge

In the early years of web content management, software packages like Microsoft FrontPage and Macromedia Contribute seemed the ideal solution for deploying a website without the cost of professional designers and programmers. Indeed I specialised in turnkey deployments based on those products, pioneering commercial work in FrontPage.

But the later versions of FrontPage degenerated into "bloatware", with niche features that frustrated non-experts. And standalone WYSIWYG web editors in general lacked capacity for content management. As sites grew quickly beyond a few pages maintained by one person, those off-the-shelf solutions could not keep up.

The Solution

joomla logoAll content management systems (CMS) take content stored in a database and display it in dynamically generated web pages via templates. Their user interfaces let content creators focus on adding and editing items visually without worrying about HTML code or other programming. Commercial systems from major vendors like Interwoven, Red Dot, Vignette and Documentum, though, can cost thousands of dollars to deploy and maintain.

There is, however, an active community of innovative open-source software developers supporting products like Joomla!. Based on the PHP scripting language and the mySQL database standard, these CMS options are freely downloadable and can be supported on most commercial webhosting services.

The Results

Previously with FrontPage and Contribute, my clients merely loaded and edited pages on their sites. Joomla! and similar products such as Drupal offer greater capabilities for professional site management: they permit management of multiple content owners, integrate features like automatic newsfeeds, event calendars and email newsletter subscriptions, and control the lifecyle of site documents all without any programming knowledge. And because the whole site design is based upon templating, site owners can alter the menus and even the entire look and feel on the fly.

Notable Joomla! CMS deployments I have undertaken include Canada Company: Many Ways to Serve and the Chelsea Supporters Club Vancouver.

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