Lots of you out there on the interweb have Joomla sites. Back at the turn of the millenium, there weren’t many usable content management systems out there so I built my own. However as time progressed, lots more came on the scene. One in particular that lots of people were raving about was Joomla.
As an experienced PHP developer, and seeing as Joomla is written in PHP, I decided to acquaint myself with it to see what all the fuss was about. I was also looking for a CMS (Content Management System) I could offer to my clients, one they could actually use to manage their own websites, that had more flexibility and options than the one I developed myself.
Joomla is much harder for “normal” people to use
I’m a big believer in the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) principle in design. There is no point in making a site for someone with all the bells and whistles and then have to update it yourself because your client can’t figure out how to use it. As the saying goes “Why keep a dog and bark yourself?”
Every component and module you install has a different way of being edited and updated. You might have to go into “Components”, “Modules”, “Articles” or even the template itself to change certain aspects of the site.
The interface will be different for each one too. Just because you click on “Images” in one component to edit an image on your front page doesn’t mean you will do the same for another image in your portfolio for example.
I have often spent half an hour or more on a client’s Joomla install that I haven’t seen before looking for the component or module to actually change something. This never happens in WordPress.
Search Engine Optimisation is easy with WordPress
WordPress is set up out of the box to be SEO friendly. This means your site will be found easier with a WordPress install than Joomla.
Joomla is much harder to secure for Joe Soap
I know people are going to jump down my throat here and say “but you just have to apply the patches” etc etc. That’s easy to say if you’re a developer, but often smaller sites are built with the idea that the client can just maintain them with minimal interference from the developer after launch. WordPress just gives you the “Recycle” link on your page and it will apply all the necessary updates. Even updating to a newer version of WordPress is a breeze – just click the “Recycle” link (see it below).
Of course it’s possible that a particular update breaks something. That’s why you should always take a backup before updating your plugins. There are plenty of good backup plugins available for WordPress to take the pain out of doing this.
Different versions of Joomla are completely incompatible
If you currently have a Joomla 1.5 site, you will know what I mean. I think it’s a complete failure of the Joomla community not to have an easy transition from Joomla 1.5 to 2.5. Ok, the core system is easily upgraded, but anything else, especially the templates and any 3rd party components are a disaster. Worse, Joomla 1.5 is no longer supported and it is completely insecure. We are now recommending anyone with Joomla 1.5 sites to convert them to their WordPress equivalents, as “upgrading” to Joomla 2.5 is equivalent to building the site again from scratch in terms of the work involved. If you’re going to do that, why not move everything to a better and easier to use system?
Joomla is not any more “powerful” than WordPress
This may have been true 2-3 years ago but not anymore.
People often assume because something is hard to use it must be better than something that is easy to use. This is absolute rubbish. One of the hardest things to achieve with software is to make it “simple” – especially if the thing you are writing software for is complex. There is a nice graphic from Eric Burke below illustrating this. Which of the three apps is the most powerful?
The WordPress team has taken this strategy to heart. You want to edit a page? Click “Edit Page” on the top of the page. You want to work with your menus? Click “Menus”. You want to change your site’s appearance? Click “Appearance”. Try that in Joomla !!!!
Joomla is “powerful” in the sense that it allows the developers of 3rd party components far too much freedom.
Warning – techie bit …. feel free to skip …
I have had a look at the source code of both and Joomla SUCKS bigtime. There is code in the html template, the way classes are instantiated statically all the time is bizarre (using the :: notation … why???) , and the MVC paradigm is “recommended” – either enforce it or drop it!!! This guy explains much better than I can.
One of my mates helps to build WordPress
Ok, ok, maybe this isn’t a good reason … but having worked with Donncha O’Caoimh for years and knowing his ability and mindset gives me great confidence in WordPress !