What is Joomla and Should I Use it For My Website Content Management System?


What is Joomla?

Joomla is an open-source Content Management System (CMS). It is also a powerful application framework, which means it is designed so many different website capabilities can be added by using "extensions" or mini-applications. Joomla's roots go back to 2000 and Joomla has emerged in the last few years as one the most popular open-source CMS applications being used, and boasts having over 200,000 community users and contributors. Joomla uses PHP and mySQL and is extremely versatile. It is more than simply popular-it just works well and a volunteer community keeps making it better and better.

How Does Joomla Work?

Like all Content Management Systems, Joomla uses a database to contain all the website's content or text, then combines the text with a website template design in order to create website pages.

An Adminstrator page allows the website administrator to log in and have control over the entire website, for creating menu structures, adding extensions, new pages. Joomla allows you to assign different users different levels of capabilities. For instance, you may need to have a few people writing content for the website, but not able to publish the content. Other staff can have the ability to edit and publish. This approach is great for organizations where you need many contributors, but you need to keep strict control over the website's content.

Built-in User Registration

One of Joomla's most powerful features is that it can register users and give approved users access to website menus and pages not visible to the general public. The user registration and user login system can be used for giving your employees access to employee-only pages, or giving your customers access to customer-only pages, or sales representatives access to their own area – or all of the above.

You can also easily email all registered users, so keeping groups of people using your website informed is easy to do. If you do not need user registration, you can easily disable this feature.

How is Joomla Being Used?

  • For corporate websites and portals
  • For corporate intranets and extranets
  • For community-based portals
  • For small business websites
  • For E-commerce websites
  • For online magazines, newspapers
  • For online publishing
  • For Government applications
  • For personal websites
  • For school and church websites

Why is Joomla so Versatile?

Because Joomla is open-source, there are thousands of "extensions" or small mini-components available. These extensions are created by individual programmers and some commercial software companies, which work within the Joomla! framework to give your website many different capabilities-from social networking to ecommerce and more.

Joomla is like having a modular house design. If you need another room for your house, you just add another room module. With Joomla, if you need an event registration page and database capture, you can simply add an event "extension" to the website.

Who can Install and Use Joomla?

You do not have to be a "techie" to install and use Joomla, but you should have a working knowledge of how to set up a database on a web server and how to install and configure a web-based application. Joomla can be installed on any server that supports PHP and mySQL.

Most Joomla installations will require some website customization to add a color scheme to the website template and to add your branding to the website. Because of all the many things Joomla can do from the start, often a great deal of time is needed to configure the website and turn off or disable features not needed.

Editing and Publishing Made Easy

Where Joomla really shines is once it is installed and configured. You and your staff can easily edit website content, upload photographs and create new pages, all without having to know HTML.

If you have a large website with information that changes quickly or news that needs to be added daily, Joomla is a great CMS.

Joomla has many extensions for managing news articles, and can automatically rotate new content into pages or areas of pages you designate. You can also set the date to automatically publish or expire articles or content within the website.

Joomal features include:

  • Search by keyword and advanced search capability
  • Registration system for users with different menus for different groups
  • Users can be assigned editing and publishing privileges
  • Entirely web-based administration system
  • Uses PHP and mySQL
  • Open source code
  • Over 3,800 extensions to provide many exciting website features

Getting Familiar With Joomla

The joomla.org website offers you quite a lot of information about Joomla, including an online demo, forums and documentation. There are links to actual websites using Joomla on the joomla.org website which will show you how different Joomla can be made to look and how it is being used.

Is Joomla Right for Your Website?

Given how versatile Joomla, and the number of Extensions available to give the content management system so many additional features, the answer is yes. Keep in mind that Joomla is free, but there are some licensing restrictions, so be sure to read the fine print. While most of the over 3,800 extensions are free to download and use, some extensions are not free, and individual extension support can vary from minimal to extremely good and everything else in between.

Lastly, because there are so many extensions, plan on spending a lot of time reviewing, downloading, installing and testing extensions.


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