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.

Joomla! content management system

3 thoughts on “Joomla! content management system

  • February 6, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Very interesting. I’m also planning to use Joomla for our little library website.
    I’ve been searching on the Joomla Extensions Directory a component that let users search the library catalog directly but didn’t find any.
    Are you using a form generator to doing this?

  • February 7, 2008 at 1:27 am

    Hi Al,
    I’d have responded direct but clicking on your name didn’t do anything!
    I actually designed the library catalogue search form myself and uploaded it as a Joomla Component.
    My ILS (Amlib) allows me to embed a search box into a website using a set of html code. I followed the instructions on the Joomla site for making a ‘hello world’ application and then added my search box code. Worked quite well in 1.0.13…not so well in 1.5 but I’m working on that!
    http://help.joomla.org/content/view/775/60/ contains the hello world instructions for 1.0.13.

  • February 7, 2008 at 6:42 am

    Thanks a lot Chris ! I will give a try to this. First I was thinking to use something like “Logos Query Manager” or “Database Query” (Jommla extensions), but maybe there’ll be no need.
    Greetings form Switzerland


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