Joomla!™ User Group Milton Keynes
An appraisal and business review of Joomla
One needs to examine any website from the perspective of any longer term maintenance overhead cost you would bear.
The perspective I advocate is a win-win where source development and open source sharing gives back to the community at large. These are my personal opinions but I will be frank and plain talking because I value the following honest understanding:
"The Internet is a gamble or business speculation which has both costs and rewards"
This is perhaps the first honest Internet appraisal you have come across and you may not have experienced this before. The Internet is so super charged with potential prospects and opportunities that little room is left to communicate the truth, the truth you already know deep down but nobody is actually telling you this truth.
My Truthful Joomla Appraisal
Most of the time business people will have a website built for them a few years ago or they will use an 'easy template' and then add their own words and perhaps images. If you are lucky the site looks clean in appearance but it is dated and crippled in several ways:
Few visitors due to having a website that's not SEO ruthless and targeted.
IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THIS WAY - TAKE CONTROL!
Normally, the key problem is with...
"The vehicle that's carrying your words and content is the wrong vehicle!"
Your website is not built upon a content management system. The site is not data driven with online storage of your edit changes and easy online edits. Even if your website were to be re-written, to be data driven (a typical custom programmer approach), it would not encompass all of the features and options you can implement if you had your site converted into a major CMS system.
You note that I say that the vehicle is wrong and not that the wrong content is being carried. I say this because you can always change the content of your pictures and words once you switch to using a proper content management system.
There are three major offerings of CMS systems:
That's a very crude interpretation because you can do almost anything with any of them. It is a matter of undertaking the costs and skills to change or enhance each one of them so that they can do what you want them to do. The one which stands out is Joomla! This is because Joomla fits most business structures and approaches to market. It also needs the least amount of skilled custom work and effort to make it do anything special.
Joomla Content Management System Overview
This is a personal evaluation and analysis of Open Source Content Management System called Joomla in version 1.5.x.
I wanted to answer the question: "What is the Joomla system and what is a good purpose for Joomla?"
Joomla is a Content Management System (CMS) which simply means that the content is stored in a database with an online administration system which is normally called 'the back end' and is not seen by the public. Joomla is delivered as downloadable 'free to use' Open Source software under version two of a licence called GPL.
In truth, Joomla is more than just a CMS...
Joomla On Page SEO
SEO Milton Keynes internet consultants is 'hard sales not delivery'? Try having longer lasting ranking with On Page Joomla SEO for improved off page SEO.
SEO consultants in MK range from good, busy and honest to the risky and time wasting of SEO consultancy. SEO is sold by many sales people holding out a hope of instant internet rewards. Pardon me, we fail to see the point of doing this. On Page Milton Keynes Joomla SEO offers more?
Take a look at this Google request for help from someone selling SEO:
Dose your SEO consultant understand On Page Joomla SEO and the rather good idea to have a quality Joomla website?
Join the MK JUG and get your MK Joomla website optimised by accessing free member advice.
Finding Quality Joomla Component Extensions
How can you judge the real life reliability of a Joomla extension component?
An 'out of the box' Joomla installation, of latest stable and standard Joomla code, will be very solid but as soon as you mix code modules then your installation needs to be re-tested. Joomla is an internally well built system and any rare component problems tend to be easy to identify and resolve. The first form of defence is to avoid such problems by searching for quality components. This is is a simple and easy once you know how.
Firstly the component should be on the Joomla extensions list. To be on this list means that the author's work will be examined for compliance to GPL v2 or above rules. This will ensure that you have the freedom to use the code across any site you wish without licence problems with the author. There still remains the question of 'fitness for purpose' which only you or a Joomla consultant can judge. The author can not know exactly how you intend to use their component code but it should work reasonably 'as described'. So, how can you tell if this is so?
Find out the name of the Joomla component and Google that exact name. It's a cruel and simple test but it sure does work. If the component code is 'plg_happymod' then Google for 'plg_happymod'. If live errors exist then Google will pick up some of these sites and display:
GOOGLE RESULTS WILL SHOW something like...
Small Capacity Bikes
MK MAKINAS - [ Translate this page ]
Atelier Ortega - Page 2
A clear sign of a real problem.
You can still take on the code but you will need to know any fixes and how they are applied or you will need a programmer to fix them.
The code base of Open Source can migrate its licence onto new versions. This is nothing new and has also occurred in proprietary software. The key issue is to know the licence and its implications.
Joomla is moving from 'GNU General Public License v2' to 'GNU General Public License v3' but both licences are still 'Copyleft'. Copyleft places a licence condition stating that derived works must pass on the same licence terms as the original. The move from version two to three applies the added condition which prevents the locking down of the software to its installation. This is called: 'tivoization'.
Essentially the snapshot of code, as it exists now, is version two (or later in most code) but future policy will try to make it exclusively GPL version 3 (or later).
Once any program uses the API of a Joolma GNU v3 application then they are bound by the terms. That means to say all application extensions in Joomla will need to carry licence version 3. To take an example of how this protects your freedom: it would be against the Joomla v3 licence terms for a consultant supplier to limit the running of their application extension so that it would only run on one named website host.
If you wish to develop your own extension to Joomla then you will be bound to pass on the same licence. This does not preclude commercial activities but the activity itself will be to offer added value in the form of support, updates or additional services relating to the provision of the source itself. If an extension is only an adaptation of an existing work then any use is free to distribute it but the licence notes may not be removed. Copyright still exists with the author but they have given up their rights to restrict the distribution of the code itself - it is free in terms of free to use and even redistribute - in this case with the same licence terms.
Historically, the Joomla licence is tied to original code which is GPL not LGPL or Lesser Generla Public Licence. Even the APIs into the core framework are GPL not LGPL see this: Joomla forum discussion. So what does this mean?
A LGPL licence would have permitted the open source to be used in a commercial licence which charged for the works without being required to supply the source code. Click here for a good explanation of Joomla interpretation of licence freedom.
The important point is that the look and feel of the site can be customised to the extent that the copyright notice can be removed from the site but must be kept in the site code which need never be shown in the public face of the website.
Open Source Market Advantage
One of the fine achievements of Open Source is its public access to the build methods of any framework. This has lead to commercial innovations such Artiseer. Such innovations reduce the timescale to develop look and feel themes for content management sites including Drupal and Joomla to name just two.
The fact still remains that even after themes are designed they will normally need tweaking and changes. Older developer design methods will not make this an easy option for novice Drupal developers. It is a matter of how the framework is constructed and if such design patterns within the software are modern and commonly understood by a large number of contributing developers.
In the labour marketplace of developers, selecting from a major open source code base will bring with it distinct advantages with regard having access to skilled developers. This is in contrast to commercial software where the experience of any developer, in the marketplace, may be limited to their previous employer's ability to upgrade their development application version levels or indeed their design practices. Open Source simply lowers the barriers to knowledge and entry.
Project Code Contribution
How can JUG Milton Keynes help you achieve involvement in the Joomla project?
1. We can help you amend Plug-In code and Joomla Extensions
We feed such changes and improvements back to the individual developers if you so wish. This helps the developer improve their extension which can, in turn, improve Joomla as a complete offering.
2. We can help you articulate your needs and concerns
Every aspect of life has its own language and its best methods of communication. Joomla forums are no different to any other single interest group - you need to convey your problems in a manner best suited to gaining understanding and help. We can help you find the best people to help you and help you express yourself to them. I am not saying that you will find a community of Joomla Geeks, far from it, but you will need to be concise in your communication to these helpful but busy people.