What is Joomla and Should You Use It?

JoomlaWhen it comes to building a new website, there are any number of ways to do so. You could use WordPress, Drupal, Dreamweaver, hand coding and of course Joomla. It’s in essence a program which is designed to help you quickly build a website from scratch without having to do all the hand coding that used to be required of building a website.

A Content Management System

Similarly to WordPress, which most of us are familiar with, Joomla is a content management system or CMS. For those who don’t understand the term, CMS basically means a way to display information on a website.

This information could be a blog, such as this one, which is based on WordPress (Joomla is capable of creating blogs as well), it could be a shopping cart system (ala Amazon.com), although WordPress is just as capable of creating a shopping cart as Joomla is. It could also be a user editable database, similar to Wikipedia.

Pretty much any website which you can think of has some kind of content management system, though some are still hand coded or coded with a program such as Dreamweaver. So, what does this mean in the grand scheme of things? What about Joomla? What’s it useful for?

Great for Developers

I have to admit to never having personally used Joomla to create websites, so I can’t really say that I understand how the software actually works. Therefore, whatever I can offer here is based on what I’ve been able to research elsewhere about using Joomla.

The first thing I’ve learned is that Joomla is much more flexible than WordPress is when it comes to doing some under the hood work. The software allows you to make many more changes under the hood than you might be able to do if you were to use WordPress.

Of course, Dreamweaver or hand coding would create the ultimate developer’s site, but Joomla allows for easier development work than Dreamweaver does.

Easily Customizable

Joomla is also extremely easy to customize in much the same way that WordPress is customizable. You can add new themes to completely change the design of your websites in much the same way as you can do with WordPress. Trying to do that with hand coding or Dreamweaver requires a great deal of additional work.

Easily Add Extensions As Well

Again, similarly to WordPress, there are lots of plugins and extensions which can be added into Joomla and which will allow you to add additional functionality. While the list of potential extensions doesn’t seem to be quite as extensive as those for WordPress, it does point out that Joomla is easier to use than other programs for creating a website.

Bottom Line

If you are a website developer, you’ll probably want to use Joomla. If you need to create a shopping cart website rather than a blog style site, you may also want to use Joomla. However, if you are a newbie who doesn’t know much about creating websites, then you may want to stick with WordPress since it’s reputed to be by far the easiest thing to use.

4 thoughts on “What is Joomla and Should You Use It?

  1. Joomla is certainly not for the faint of heart. It has it’s place, but for the majority of web designers wordpress is far easier and managable. Unless you are building a major portal with advanced modules and applications, stick with wordpress. For ecommerce, I wouldn’t consider joomla, magento all the way.

  2. A good suggestion, though I think Joomla has much more to offer in the way of plugins and features.

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