Everyone lately seems very smitten with OpenSource software. I understand the lure, it’s free and your support comes from the people who use and mantain it, not from the most holy of holies, the programmer.
I recently became one half of the Online Community Development Officer and, as such, have been having a bit of a look at OpenSource Content Management Systems (CMS). We are planning to use Joomla!.
Joomla is supposedly great. It does everything from a to z and will even wash the dishes (ha!). In reality I’m finding some quite critical flaws in it. The biggest flaw for me is it’s un-Unicodeness. I don’t know to what level of compliance it currently has, but it’s not 100%. I read somewhere that the next version will be fully compliant but, well, I’m not using that one! It’s not even doing some Vietnamese characters correctly. Liên lạc ended up as Li?n lạc. Also, the ạ went odd, in the title bar of the page it displays with the coding instead of the character.
Another bad thing is the difficulty in actually putting content into it. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m used to a different system that has a tree structure, but it’s quite difficult for the novice to just enter the stuff they need…and why do they need different terminology to everyone else???
The good things though are very good. I am very easily able install new components that have been designed by others. I even created my own component by following the steps (so now my webpage searches my library catalogue directly). And there are a LOT of components out there that I can download, sometimes I think a few too many (because I don’t really know what is good and what isn’t). So now I have a website with Google maps, LibraryThing things and an events calendar. A pity it’s still in super-beta (alpha?) so I can’t show you all…and I’m pretty proud that it translates three words on the site into Vietnamese (hey, I’m getting there).
Hope this doesn’t bore you too much until next week! I’ll try and be less technical then.