Well the big news in the open-source CMS community this week is the announcement that Joomla 1.5 is finally stable. It took 2.5 years to get it there, but the wait was well worth it.
Joomla, for those that don’t know, is an open-source Content Management System (CMS) used in the construction of dynamic, database driven Web sites. Through the separation of code from design elements, and design elements from content, Joomla (all CMS-based sites, really) allows for faster and cheaper construction of Web sites and much easier expansion and maintenance.
Joomla’s original codebase (the 1.0.x series) is a fork from the once-popular, but now somewhat forgotten, Mambo CMS. Not long after the fork the Joomla community began to see the limitations of the Mambo code, and thus initiated a massive redesign of the entire Joomla framework – enter Joomla 1.5.
Though we try to pick the CMS that best suits our clients projects, Joomla is hands down Dao By Design’s CMS of choice. Since last Autumn, when Joomla announced J!1.5 Release Candidate 3, we’ve been creating sites on the Joomla 1.5 and couldn’t be happier with the product.
The developers have done some amazing work with streamlining the code, adding functions, and increasing the dynamic nature of the beast. A few of Joomla 1.5’s new features:
- A slicker and smarter Administration panel
- Much improved language support
- An easier to use content editor and management system
- True tableless layouts, and completely customizable templates
- Inherent Search Engine Friendly (SEF) URLs
- A more logical and standards compliant developer API
There are still a few bumps in the road ahead – namely that due to the massive changes between J!1.0.x and J!1.5, migration is anything but simple. The Joomla developer community has stated, however, that over the coming weeks they’ll be working hard on making this transition as smooth as possible for users.
Also, there’s still a bit of a waiting game for extension developers to catch up and release new versions of their various components, modules and plugins – they can hardly be blamed for waiting this long though, as J!1.5’s beta stage seemed like it might never end, and with core code changes happening often, investing the time in upgrading their extensions only to have to do it again every few weeks was not feasible.
All-in-all, in my opinion, Joomla 1.5 looks great, works much smoother, and is a lot easier to build on than both its precursors and its contemporaries.