Enterprise Software

Review: Joomla! content management system

When you go to look for a content management system (CMS) you will find there are quite a few options available. These options range from overly simple to overly complex - and everything in between. The Joomla! content management system is one of those systems that falls more towards the complex. But with that complexity, comes a feature list that will shock you when you consider the cost.

Requirements

  • PHP 5.2 or greater
  • MySQL 4.1 or greater
  • Apache 2.0 or greater
  • Microsoft IIS 7

Who's it for?

Joomla! is a for any business or enterprise needing a full-fledge, stable, extendable system that will help you to build a powerful Web site. Joomla! is perfect for and enterprise deployment where every piece of content must be well tracked. Joomla! does involve a steeper learning curve than some of the other CMSs, but the payoff is worth it.

What problem does it solve?

Joomla! solves the problem of creating content-rich Web sites and allows for tight management of that content. Where most CMS tools fail to enable managers to organize content down to the most granular level, Joomla! has those features built right in. So content within a Joomla! powered Web site can be finely managed and arranged.

Standout features

  • User management: Users can register and be promoted through nine different user levels each with a different permission set.
  • Media manager: Manage media and configure mime types to handle nearly any type of media.
  • Language manager: International support for multiple world languages and UTF-8 encoding. Joomla! can also support multiple languages at once.
  • Banner management: Easily set up banners to drive traffic and track impressions.
  • Contact management: Help your users find and communicate with one another.
  • Polls: Easy poll management.
  • Search: Internal search engine for users and search statistics for administrators.
  • Web link management: Categorize Web link resources for ease of use.
  • Content management: The heart of Joomla! allows you to organize your content in any way you like.
  • Syndication and news feeds: Add RSS feeds to your site and syndicate your own content to feed to other sites.
  • Menu manager: Organize your menu or add as many menus as you like.
  • Template manager: Use and create templates so page creation fits your precise needs.
  • Integrated help system: Help your users learn the system with an easy to use help system.

What's wrong?

The biggest problem with Joomla! is that the installation can be rather flaky. With the current 1.5.10 release the installation requires a number of workarounds just to get a basic site up and running. This, of course, is an anomaly because Joomla! is usually a snap to install. The next issue would be the learning curve. There is a good deal to learn with Joomla!. If you will be deploying Joomla! for content management purposes, and you have users that tend to need hand-holding, be prepared to earn your keep.

Competitive products:

Bottom line for business

If you need to deploy one of the most powerful content management systems available, and want to do so on a budget, Joomla! is the perfect choice for you. Once installed your users will be able to micro-manage the content on your site and the end results will ease work-flow for your content needs. Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time for installation, training, and roll out.

User rating

Have you encountered the Joomla! content management system? If so, what do you think? Rate the unit and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review of Joomla! in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review above.

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About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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