Joomla!™ User Group Milton Keynes
Value through Open Source Software
Open Source Software can provide a business solution just like commercial software but with some advantages and some constraints. The biggest differentiator to any Open Source offering is the availability of the code and the contribution one can make to such code. Commercial offerings can offer source code but future direction and ownership is in the hands of the licence holders.
One of the major constraints within many organisations is the lack of developer skills. Any offering will have to be complete as a framework but permit modular functionality to be added in with ease. The level of novice contribution can still be potentially significant through testing and messages within forums. Smaller components can be modified and presented back to the community for consideration and perhaps inclusion into the core community offering. In this way the direction and features of the existing open source project can be modified.
The investment of time to understand the complete application programming interface of any system should not be underestimated but the same is true of source code from commercial offerings.
The business decision is to select a software solution which delivers:
- The highest website value
- Minimises the developer effort
- Brings the smallest project risk
- Flexibility for future options of change
- Search engine compatibility
Joomla offers the above and, in addition, it can be extended into e-Commerce via VirtueMart.
The VirtueMart is an Open Source eCommerce offering which sits on top of Joomla.
VirtueMart is a continuation of Joomla's principles because it uses the API (Application Programming Interface) of Joomla. VirtueMart carries this advantage to protect a website owner from areas of change which will be outside of their control. What do I mean by this 'outside of my control', consider:
Control of e-Commerce Risk of Change
The very moment your website becomes an e-Commerce site it is open to external risks of change, the:
- merchant account needs to change in future?
- gateway provider insists upon higher security levels when taking end-customer card details
- protocols of payment card detail submission change over time
Unless you have experience in this market then you want to keep clear of having to update configurations and source code in e-Commerce. VirtualMart has an API interface into its payment module. You get the latest update and that is it. You simply choose and configure a new payment provider if you wish to commercially move to a new merchant account. Joomla with VirtualMart offers future flexibility and reduced risk over an important area of external change.