Joomla is one of the most innovative and most storied open source projects around. With origins as far back as 2000, Joomla was at the forefront of many innovations in the PHP/MySQL space that includes WordPress, Drupal, Magento and so many others. It remains the second most popular content management system (CMS), behind only WordPress.
Now with the development of Joomla 3, there is even more reason to get to know the service. Joomla 3 is a fascinating evolution, as it was the first CMS to be completely responsive for both visitors and administrators. This is because the Joomla team has adopted the Bootstrap framework and also the LESS preprocessor. The use of Bootstrap and LESS makes Joomla 3 attractive for front-end designers, but it also makes it much easer for developers to create consistent interfaces for their code. Besides, a lot of work has gone into your initial experience with Joomla 3; the installation process is beautifully fast and you’re provided with a variety of sample websites to choose from.
While you’ve almost certainly used Joomla at some point, if you haven’t used it in a while, Joomla 3 provides plenty of reasons to give it a fresh look. It really is possible to get a Joomla 3 website up and running in no time at all – but if you still need more encouragement and convincing, we are going to walk you through just some of the reasons to consider making the jump from WordPress.
Joomla makes it really easy to create multilingual websites, without requiring any add-ons.
You won’t need any complicated add-ons to be able to build multilingual sites with Joomla as during the installation process you have the chance to install other languages in addition to English – in fact, there are over 60 languages for you to choose from, and it’s worth experimenting
Websites can take many different approaches to creating multilingual sites and each approach is better suited to some sites than others. Here’s an overview of how Joomla approaches translation: let’s imagine you have an English and Spanish site. When you write a new article, you can label that article as ‘English’, ‘Spanish’ or ‘All’. If you choose ‘All’, this article will show whether someone is viewing the site in English or Spanish. If you choose ‘English’, you will then have two choices.
You can create a translated version of this article and label it as Spanish. Then all you have to do is click a button to link the two articles together.
Or, the other option is choosing not to translate the article. This is ideal for sites that don’t have exactly the same content available in all languages.
Overall, we’ve had great success with Joomla multilingual sites. They’re increasingly quick to set up, easy to understand and simple to manage.
Rapid application development framework
Joomla has a new rapid application development (RAD) framework built on top of the core code
Joomla has a new rapid application development (RAD) framework built on top of Joomla’s core code. This is incredibly solid work that has been used by a group of extension developers for their own work, before its inclusion in the Joomla core.
There are several major advantages to using this framework rather than interfacing more directly with Joomla. First of all, the RAD framework builds on the Joomla platform instead of simply replacing it, so it’s going to be easy to work with if you have ever written Joomla extensions before. This also means that you can start being productive from the very first day you use it.
Second, when writing extensions for Joomla, the RAD framework will require up to 50 per cent less code. Most of the extensions built with the framework use less than half the files and code that they did previously. On top of that, with an added framework, it’s much easier to maintain both backwards and forwards compatibility for your code.
Finally, the framework adds several important features that would be hard to include in the Joomla codebase itself. The RAD framework relies heavily on DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) principles. It uses both Bootstrap and jQuery and it provides web services, integrated JSON support and is very close to being RESTful.
Install from Web
The Install from Web feature is Joomla’s version of the App Store – lots of features are just a click away
The Install from Web feature is perhaps the most popular new feature in Joomla in recent years. Essentially, the feature is similar to Apple’s App Store and Google Play, but for Joomla extensions instead.
Inside the administrator area of your Joomla site, you can browse for and install any available Joomla extension. There are around 8,000 extensions available, and Install from Web allows you to see descriptions, screenshots, reviews and ratings for all of them. You’ll find dozens of photo galleries, shopping carts, calendars and extra features available for quick installation.
For many years Joomla has cultivated a directory that was called the Joomla Extensions Directory (JED). Every extension that was worth using was included here. It is regularly scanned for problem extensions and the Joomla security team removes any software that has reported, but unpatched, security holes. Joomla Extensions Directory has been leveraged to provide the basis of this Install from Web feature.
In short, if you decide to use Install from Web you know that you’ll be getting software that’s easy to install, has been tested by hundreds of users and has no known security flaws.
Keep on top of all your changes and updates with the invaluable version control feature
Do you work with clumsy people? Are you sometimes clumsy yourself? If you answered ‘Yes’ to either question, then one key Joomla feature is particularly perfect for you.
Versions is a security feature for your content that allows you to keep a copy of your Joomla articles every time you save a change. The Versions button appears in the toolbar at the top of the articles screen. Click the Versions button and you’ll be able to browse and compare all of the saved versions. Every time you save your article, a new version will be accessible via this pop-up window.
This Versions feature is especially easy to browse because of its great visuals. Joomla has a clear colour scheme for changes: text that has been removed is marked in red and text that has been added will be marked in green.
Additionally, Joomla doesn’t just store all of your content, but also the settings for your articles. For example, if you change the author or publication date of an article, Joomla will remember the previous setting and allow you to roll back should you need to.
If you have a large site and are worried about the size of your database with tens of thousands of revisions, Joomla allows you to set a maximum number of versions to be stored.
Joomla is the first CMS to be completely responsive for both visitors and administrators
If you’re reading this magazine, you don’t need us to give you the hard sell regarding the benefits of creating a mobile-friendly website. Thankfully, Joomla 3 makes mobile-friendly easy by being completely responsive by default. It was the first CMS to be completely responsive for both visitors and administrators.
The Joomla frontend uses the Boostrap framework to make responsive design easier. The developers are aware that a lot of people love Bootstrap and, even if you’re not a full-time designer, Bootstrap puts a lot of power at your fingertips. However, you can also skip Bootstrap if you prefer to design with another framework, such as Zurb Foundation for example.
The Joomla administrator area also uses Bootstrap so you can edit your site on the move. Perhaps best of all, the mobile version of the Joomla administrator area isn’t dumbed down – anything you can do on the desktop can be done on your phone or tablet.
However, some important areas are simplified. For example, Joomla relies on the new mobile features in the TinyMCE editor to provide a simple content editing experience. On your desktop, you’ll see 50 to 60 formatting buttons, whereas on your phone, you’ll just see five or six.