Why Freelancers Should Be Flocking To Joomla (From WordPress & Drupal)
Brent Laminack is the leader of the Joomla! User Group Atlanta and runs OpenFaceSystems.com where he provides the back-end technical support that aids creative agencies deliver wonderful solutions to their clients.
What’s Joomla and why should you use it?
Joomla’s one of the big 3 open source content management systems (CMS) in the world, alongside WordPress and Drupal. It’s free to use, improve and share. Let’s look at some reasons for you to consider Joomla.
Joomla is technically superior to WordPress: WordPress’s database looks like it was laid out by an 18-year-old. Oh, wait, it was!! Joomla’s database is much better laid out, which means it doesn’t fall over and die under load the way WordPress is prone to.
Joomla has better graphics than Drupal. Template houses like RocketTheme.com, YooTheme.com, JoomlaShack.com, JoomlaBamboo.com, Shape5.com, Gavick.com and a number of others give reasonably-prices starting points for just about any project you can imagine.
Speaking of templates, Joomla’s page layout paradigm is much more flexible than WordPress, allowing you to use one template for a number of different page layouts by its use of modules, which are similar to WordPress widgets, but better.
Joomla has a more sane development path than WordPress. WordPress keeps backward compatibility forever. If something’s ever worked with WordPress, it always will, even if it’s broken. Joomla gets rid of old, antiquated code by deprecating it over a two-year phase out. WordPress claims about 50,000 plugins because they never get rid of old plugins, because they still work. Even if they’re insecure and otherwise horrid. Joomla purges extensions from their directory that aren’t up-to-date and still has over 7,000 extensions that actually work.
Joomla has a more sane development path than Drupal. Heretofore each major upgrade of Drupal has been completely re-implemented from scratch. This is great for ensuring that you’re always building with the latest and greatest technology, but lousy if you ever have to upgrade a website from one version to the next. Essentially you have to throw your site out and start from scratch. Great for billable hours, if you can ever sell your client on it. The drupal project also discourages competing add-ons. They want one photo carousel, one twitter widget, one facebook plugin, etc. You then get to spend days customizing it to do what the client wants. Again, great for billable hours, horrible for your client. Joomla gives a rich set of different components with different capabilities that are reasonably priced, ready to use. See the Joomla extensions website: extensions.joomla.org.
What we don’t have: huge, corporate backing. Wordpress is run by Automattic, Drupal by Acquia. The direction of development of these platforms is guided by the features these companies need to make money. The direction of Joomla development is guided by the volunteers who use the software and want to make it better.
Another thing we don’t have: a rockstar developer begin-dictator-for-life at the top. WordPress has Matt, Drupal has Dries. Joomla has… you, if you want the job. Seriously, it’s a great community where the sky’s the limit for someone who wants to grow professionally. You can start out documenting or on the bug squad, and work your way up to being on the board of Open Source Matters, Joomla’s governing body. Yes, you can be the rockstar, but you won’t be it for life. We’ll rotate you out and you’ll be too busy with the business you’ve made through your contacts in the Joomla project.
In conclusion: Joomla’s prettier and easier for your end users to use than Drupal, better technically than WordPress, and it using it differentiates you from being just another WordPress shop and participating in the race-to-the-bottom price points that leads to. So come join the community, you’ll be glad you did.