Let me share a few good reasons why I think you should consider using Joomla! CMS for your web development platform.  If you want to download a pdf version of this to show your boss or share with a friend click here.

Rapid web site development:
Joomla is easy to use and deploy for non-technical users. Easy to install templates with sample content and clear directions can help you get started and on the right track in minutes. Existing site configurations can be easily cloned for backup or replication.

Thousands of extension and integrations: Joomla! CMS offers over 7000 extensions and is supported by one of the largest global development communities. You can focus on developing a great web site and user experience without having to recreate well understood features available elsewhere.

Modular and extensible architecture: Joomla! CMS is open source which allows limitless opportunity to extend features and functionality. Joomla! is build using a MVC framework on top of a LAMP-based architecture. This offers developers and designers the flexibility to cost effectively deliver a wide range of site requirements. It also allows portal stakeholders to future proof their business with the ability to extend capabilities and respond faster to their user base.

Social publishing and community building: Joomla! Offers capabilities to leverage the latest social media sharing technologies to deliver robust platforms with wiki’s, blogs, articles, forums, powerful social networks, bookmarking, RSS fees, business listings, document management, CRM, ERP & LMS integrations and much more.

World class UI (user Interface) and design experiences: The Joomla! CMS has one of the largest portfolios of customizable feature rich templates available on the web. These world class designs are built for customizing your layouts and implementing your branding strategies at a fraction of the cost. You can save time and money through a streamlined design process and the framework has limitless flexibility to implement unique creative design strategies.

Multi-sites, profiles, replication and backups: Numerous options are available for implementing complex content management and user profile strategies. Multi sites can be managed through single admin panel cloud based hosting solutions or from component based user synchronization. Sites can easily be backed up or cloned for relocation or replication.

Thriving global development community: The global development community for Joomla! CMS is one of the largest open source communities in the world. With third party contributors there are currently over 7000 extensions in an ever growing collection. Commercial support firms are readily available at reasonable competitive rates, Open forums and extensive free training resources are readily available to make an easy point of entry.

Reduced software acquisition costs: Joomla! CMS takes GNU/Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Your web developers can access source code to accomplish the support needs of virtually any web based requirement. This offers scalability, and flexibility to extend the capabilities of your web tools over time. Leveraging prebuilt a combination of free and commercial 3rd party extensions can even further the capabilities of your web platform at a fraction of the potential development costs.

Secure, extensible and dependable: Joomla! CMS uses one of the most secure user authentication and authorization systems. With hacking up over 600% in 2010 security is a top priority for any web site. Because Joomla! CMS has one of the most aggressive development communities on the internet and is used on over 2.6% of all web sites worldwide, security monitoring and resolution is unmatched. Patches and updates are presented in real time on active forums and RSS feeds. Extended security systems such as Secure Live and regular server auditing services help make Joomla! One of the most secure web platforms available.

Fun and easy to use: Once you experience working with Joomla! CMS you cannot help but to be addicted to the infectious nature of all that you can do with these tools. The more you learn the more you are amazed at the possibilities of what you can create online. Joomla! is very easy to use, offers limitless configuration options and has  powerful tools for creating rich user experiences and managing your business online.

 

Joomla vs Drupal or wordpress ComparisonRecently we were asked to bid on a new learning management portal since we have had a lot of experience with these types of sites.  The client was expecting to do this in Drupal since they had familiarity with that CMS system. Our core team focuses on Joomla but we brought on a couple new folks that have done a lot with Drupal so I started looking around and reviewing the specs and comparing features etc. and slogging through the forums. We have been working with several LMS systems for Joomla for several years now so I just took for granted that there were equivalents out there for Drupal but I was vastly mistaken.

It is not blatantly obvious to me now that one of the areas where Joomla! CMS really “Shines” in comparison to Drupal or Wordpress is with learning communities since there are no legitimate comprehensive LMS solutions out there for Drupal like there are for Joomla! CMS.

We have had great luck with three key LMS components for Joomla! CMS:

Joomla LMS is by far the most comprehensive with the most in depth feature set but Joomlearn Silver Edition and Connect LMS have their merits for simple sites. Joomlearn offers ecommerce but is not SCORM Compliant where Connect LMS is SCORM Compliant but does not have ecommerce. Joomla LMS offers both ecommerce and SCORM compliance as well as learning paths and a lot better student tracking. In addition Joomla LMS offers a web conferencing solution for virtual classroom sessions.

We did a few comparisons a few months back between learning management systems in the market place and found that a Joomla! CMS with a Joomla LMS installation was very competitive with the even some of the larger and more popular LMS’s but when you combined this with the versatility of the Joomla! CMS platform and the social networking and community building tools in extensions like JomSocial there really is not other system that offers features and flexibility even close.

Joomla! CMS is now commanding 2.6 percent of all web sites built on the web and has the largest global development community supporting the project. At CNP Integrations we are adding value with vast expertise not only in this platform but also in curriculum design, interactive content development and technical support.

It is exciting to be on the right train with the right people and to have solutions that cost significantly less than any remotely competitive options.

Of course Drupal like Joomla! CMS is open source and you can custom code anything you wish. Needles to say thought the next LMS RFP I see that asks for Drupal… well I wish them luck. Joomla! CMS with the right LMS extension (Especially Joomla LMS) is miles ahead and will give you a much better value.

Related Articles:

ConnectLMS offers lightweight option for SCORM compliance

Learning Management with Joomla LMS - Joomla! CMS Extension overview

Learning Management Systems using Joomla! CMS

Learning Management With Joomla Offers Opportunity

I have watched my son’s fascination with Lego’s grow over the past year and I remember back when I was a kid and how much I loved them too (I confess I still enjoy helping my son). Back then we only had a few types of Lego’s but managed to build many things that let our imaginations wonder. Today they have much more refined building blocks and a much more sophisticated collection of worlds you can explore. They even have digital games and animated films etc. around this whole culture of building blocks. Essentially it has grown into a whole new dimension much like technology has evolved.

When I found Joomla CMS, 5+ years ago they were cutting a new pathway that started a global initiative unmatched in the current webosphere. A collaborative open source culture has emerged with Joomla! CMS now used on over 2.6% of all web sites on the internet. Joomla CMS has evolved as a platform and now has well over 7000 extensions  or what I refer to as “building blocks” for creating just about anything you can imagine for the web.  One of the great things I like about Joomla is that it is actually as fun as Lego’s not only for geeks like me that like to build cool stuff and integrate interactive webs of passing and associating data relationships but it is easy to understand and use for the non technical users as well.

I remember in the Joomla 1.0 days there were fewer components and goodies and they were not as refined but since Joomla 1.5 this has grown to be a powerful collection of tools on top of a stable and secure environment (When you keep up with your upgrades). With Joomla 1.6 this promises to only get better in so many ways. When Joomla CMS is compared to Drupal, Wordpress and other CMS systems you cannot match the depth of the community supporting Joomla! CMS nor the magnitude of building blocks and template designs available for this exciting technology platform.

One of the key things that helps us bridge meaningful customer relationships by supporting Joomla! CMS is that we can help empower our clients to get the most out of presenting and managing their content and add value by providing ongoing support and security for them as they run their businesses online.

We are kind of like the folks that put together the Lego kits with all of the right pieces for the environment you want to build and the roadmap or diagram, if you will, to build it and manage it efficiently. The rest is up to your creativity and imagination and the more you learn about how to use these tools the more you can do with them. Hey, if you need a new building block to fit into your plan we can build it but if not we help you work with what is out there to fulfill your creative inspirations on the web and to get the best possible value from your investment. Best of all in the grown up world  Joomla!CMS is a big bag of great fun for everyone and a serious platform for interacting with social communities, ecommerce, learning management and a host of other tools to effectively do business online.

Joomla Design ServicesOne of the first steps in any web development project is design. Since design is more than just the graphics or a functionality spec you must take a well rounded approach if you plan to be successful with your web project. It is also the information architecture and matching the end business goals with the right technology solutions.

It is often that the actual business goals and intended audience are not fully considered upfront with a cohesive strategy. This is usually because of two reasons; one, that the there is no research available and you are going off instinct or experience, or two, that it is simply just overlooked.

Every good strategy needs good tactics for execution if it is going to become successful

It is very important to do what is referred to as a “needs analysis” or Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (S.W.O.T) business assessment for your web project up front. Kind of like a business plan for your web project. This should be detailed and based on available research. Keep in mind though that business plans are roadmaps not absolutes since you have to adapt to the market place as well as the ever changing social and technology trends. It is a good idea to consider a content management platform that will not only meet your specific needs now but as far in the future as you can realistically predict.

Branding meets the user experience

Once you have this in mind there is the whole branding and identity aspects of your project which get into how you will present this to your intended audience in a way that will generate the expected response. I spent much of my early career as a musician working in pit orchestras for musical theater and the best shows always took total control over the audience’s emotional experience. This would drive the audience to feel the full range of their emotions and imagination in a way that would surprise and exceed their expectations. If you can hold this type of emotion in your hands throughout the visitors interaction with your site and brand then you are on a path for predictable success. To achieve this every aspect of the site has to be in alignment. Such as; graphics, messaging, choice of colors, navigation, performance etc.

Compelling Content is Key

To compound the process of “getting it right” you have to think of the marketing in a way that meets the standards of web marketing. You will need to make sure the keywords and naming conventions used through out your site are search engine friendly and that your content continues to offer fresh compelling information that will drive traffic and good rankings with Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. In fact articles similar to this are the type of communication that can boost traffic by sharing honest perspective to help your potential customers find greater value in what you are offering. Some folks do this through blogs while others post newsworthy articles combined with syndication and link backs this will add to the potential you have for building a successful exchange with your visitors.

Just remember the saying “Content is King” and that making it easy for your visitors to find what they are looking for in a compelling way will make a world of difference in the end results. Matching this quality content with a well thought out business strategy will help you not only meet and exceed your business goals but the expectations of your visitors.

CNP Integrations provides technical support, development and consulting through a value building methodology to help small businesses achieve superior results with web technologies.

Rule number one for inserting content in to a browser based html editor for Joomla is:

#1. If you are copying content from MS Word Use the “paste from word” feature.

Since it is common practice to write articles in MS Word and then put them into Joomla CMS after they have been reviewed and approved, this is by far the most common mistake that can cause havoc to content in any Joomla! CMS portal.

While it is well documented and most of the WYSIWYG editors have a 'paste from word' option in their selection of tools, so many content developers continue to make the same mistake of not using this option to strip out the extraneous code Microsoft inserts when pasted into a browser based html editor. We have found that training to content contributors early in the development process can and will save everyone a lot of frustration and time.

To help offer a resource for using Joomla tools in the most effective way possible, we reinforce these concepts in some free training videos in our JDS training center.

One of the things that bugs me the most about browser based editors is simply the common term "What you see is what you get" (WYSIWYG) since it is a bit of a stretch of the truth sometimes. I think what it should be is "What you see on the front end is what you might get". Many of the common editors are subject to the impact of template developer's implementation of CSS and this means often you can see things a little different in the back end when you are inputting content and you always have to verify your front end content is displaying the way you are intending it to.

Over all we have had the best luck with the FREE JCE editor but there are others that can expand the browser based content management process. It is a good idea to read the reviews and compare them with the types of content you will be managing most frequently.

Joomla Content Management Tip: Use the apply button so you do not have to re load the article page to edit it if you need to make adjustments and then toggle between a front end browser window and your back end editor window. This saves you a considerable amount of time reloading pages in your browser

Joomla Content Management Tip: To get the most out of displaying your content there are some other simple techniques I recommend; Such as adding a 12-15 pixel spacing around images and a '0' boarder value can also go a long way for improving the look of your image content.

Joomla Content Management Tip: I have also found that pre-sizing your images to between 150 x 150 up to say 300 x 300 ish is a good idea where ever possible since uniform graphics looks so much better to the end user browsing a sight. Keeping your images sized write will also make them clearer and load faster.

Overall Joomla CMS offers a great process for non-technical users to effectively manage content and the add-on editors are pretty good but you have to follow a couple simple workflow techniques and best practices to get the most out of this system and to maintain a professional look for your site.

Reminder: Do not forget rule number 1