What Everybody Ought to Know About Joomla!

Joomla! is a popular Content Management System (CMS) with numerous followers. Just like any good system it has it's share of good and bad points.

The Bad

Issue #1: Poor out of the box SEO.

This is likely going to get people riled up but for a system that has as much notoriety and popularity on the market today, it's simply not acceptable to have such poor out of the box SEO. Joomla's URLs, even with their “Search Engine Friendly URLs” option enabled, are still poorly optimized.

Take a look at other products such as Elxis and see the difference. Elxis has incorporated an extreme amount of SEO optimization and is similar in a large number of ways to Joomla!. The difference? Joomla! has the press whereas Elxis does not, even thought it's deserving of it.

Case in point… this patch has been available since January 26, 2008 and has continually been updated for each version which indicates to us that the Joomla! team obviously isn't too concerned with fixing the issue it addresses. This is something that should have been included immediately in the next release.

Issue #2: Vulnerability causing plugins.

There are too many poorly written extensions that can cause massive vulnerabilities in the system. A prime example of this is this forum: http://forum.joomla.org/viewforum.php?f=296&start=0 which has been put in place to specifically address security vulnerabilities brought on by third party extensions. Is this the fault of the system? No. It is however, a concern. Perhaps the change to the JED that is happening in June will help address some of these issues.

Issue #3: Lack of Representation

If we ask you who the person is behind WordPress, you'll likely know that it is Matt Mullenweg. If we ask the same of Drupal, you'll likely know Dries Buytaert is the man. If we ask you who is behind Joomla!, we'll likely get a blank stare.

This may come across as nitpicking to some of you but realize that proper representation can have huge impacts on the success and growth of a product. Matt and Dries combined have done wonderful things for their respective CMS projects whereas if you try to reach someone to comment about Joomla!, you'll have a hard time doing so. Representation is simply poor. Three times, for example, we have attempted to contact members of the Joomla! team for interviews. Have we had any replies? Not one. Yet we've had excellent response from every other CMS project we've reached out to.

In fact, if you are a Press or Marketing person and want to reach that specific area of the Joomla! team.. you will not find a single
link on their About page pointing you in the right direction. Yet, smaller projects with very little notoriety make that effort to at least have an email that is staffed and checked on occassion.

Issue #4: Ease of Use

Joomla! simply isn't an easy system to use. The menus are still complicated and poorly labelled for new users, and publishing a simple article is still harder than it needs to be. Go ahead and install Joomla, you may find it installs fine and then when you go to install a module, plugin or template it will fail. You'll just get a “Warning! Failed to move file.” message. If you don't look under the Help->System Info->Directory Permissions menu you'll never find the solution is a permissions issue. They really need to move this and/or make it more visible.

Issue #5: Component, Modules, Plugins oh my!

Someone please tell us why we need 3 different names for extensions and why we can't simply have them all identified as plugins? We realize they each serve different purposes, but talk about confusing the heck out of a new user. That is all.

The Good

Positive #1: Joomla! has done a wonder for the Open Source CMS community

There is no question that Joomla has given the open source community a huge boost when it comes to notoriety. Joomla! is an enormously popular platform and one of the top searches on Google when it comes to Content Management Systems. Without it, we doubt there would be anywhere near as much activity in the industry.

Positive #2: Best Templates on the ‘Net

There is no doubt that Joomla! has some of the nicest and most attractive and diverse themes available on the net for any content management platform. Don't believe us? Check out some of the beautiful designs by Rockettheme.com or Joomlashack.com

Positive #3: There's money to be made in the Joomla! world.

Due to the extreme size of the community and the number of users actively using Joomla, a good company with solid plugins or themes can easily step in and make some good revenue. Companies that specialize in providing solutions for Joomla! are already seeing the rewards of supporting something with this many followers. Theme clubs do very well and even commercial templates have a large number of sales.

Positive #4: Diversity

Joomla! has one of the most diverse communities with a huge following and tons of user groups in various countries donating their time and efforts to improving the platform. Our hope is that with this huge number of followers, some of the issues we addressed above can be handled and brought to the forefront to improve this system and make it more user friendly.

Positive #5: Award Winning

Joomla! has done well for itself and won many awards since it's formation and continues to gain more and more publicity in the marketplace. Packt Publishing has recognized it numerous times and continues to shed light on this great CMS.


We would like to see Joomla! get to the point of being more user friendly and having a more organized approach to addressing some of these long standing concerns. It's a CMS that is here to stay and has certainly earned it's notoriety but there are still plenty of things that can be done to make it even better.

We're sure there are many people reading this who either agree or disagree. We don't claim to be Joomla! experts but these are concerns we've seen in the system and we'd be happy to hear your solutions.