When developing a website, there are a number of platforms that a developer can take advantage of; depending on their own level of skill.
WordPress, Joomla, Drupla, Dreamweaver – or developing from scratch with something like PHP coding – to name but a few.
I use WordPress (WP) for this site and it has been a reliable and well supported platform to date, perfect for the beginner to amateur user. Its great for blogging sites with a multitude of free and professional themes and plugins to realise your website dreams.
So about a year ago, when I wanted to launch a new non-blogging site, I looked around for other alternatives. – and Joomla (JM) came up on my radar.
JM is a platform, similar to WP in terms of plugins and themes but with a much more rough and ready menu feel and the capability to develop it further and create more complex websites.
By the way, the following is my experience of using Joomla factored in against a pretty intermediate web programming knowledge. So make of it what you will.
For instance, I wanted a static homepage with dynamic tables on it and on the preceding pages that followed, different tables again, instead of a standard blog roll.
It took some more practicing though, to get the hang of it but JM could do it with some PHP coding.
So after a few false starts, including – my server providers ‘one click’ Joomla installs, being a big pile of non-working poo. I managed to manually install JM and create a website.
And this is where I hit the wall with JM and I discovered the hard way about how rubbish it really is.
With WP, everything is developed initially as freeware, with some stuff being professional and costing cash but generally a free version – with less options is offered.
Like the excellent Weaver II theme, which had a PRO paid version but the free one is still pretty good! I use this for this website).
The problem with JM is, it has an already established market place for non-free JM themes, plugins and other developments. The free stuff, I found – unfortunately; not to be very good at all.
The paid JM stuff? Didn’t feel comfortable purchasing it, as alot of it seemed to be by less than reputable looking fly-by-night sites, some didn’t even have a comprehensive grasp of English on their sites, so could I hand over money, or trust the quality of their coding? Or, their aftersale support?
With WordPress though, you download it through a Plugin interface through the site backend menu and it comes with star reviews and WP guarantees for either quality and/or safety. There a definite “try before you buy” ethic going on with it.
Anyway, this was only one small problem of the overall JM package but attempting to balance the correct file permissions, so that my JM site security wasn’t more holier – or more protected than Fort Knox was pretty difficult. It meant that installing and uploading themes and plugins was either difficult or non-existent.
Its still a common problem and debate rages on the JM forums, about the best balance of permissions; short of setting and resetting the permissions everytime you upload – which is a complete pain in the arse. I didn’t find a definitive answer to that one.
The final straw for Joomla was when it went down with a PHP corruption and I had to drag it offline and attempt to recover it.
I tried the free JM AKEEBA Backup tool and despite a days worth of tinkering, I couldn’t get it to reinstall a backed up site.
WP on the other hand has an excellent free backup plugin called WPBackup, which works really easily (and quickly) – as I have used it when I accidentally deleted some WP files.
Also, WP has pretty good mobile/tablet apps to edit or view stats on your site. JM? Well it has an app called J Mobile but its pretty poor, as I have tried it and it isn’t very usable. And guess what? It was another crappy free version of a professional app.
I’m not against JM Web Developers making money on their wares but they have to be good and exercise some kind of quality control. Its a bit like the Apple and Samsung App Market scenario.
So after a years worth of hassle with JM, I decided to dump it and go back to good ole sturdy WP. And guess what? I can do the same dynamic tables thing in WP, with a bit of fiddling.
The moral of this story is; its WordPress all the way for us – average ability web developers. It so much better, secure and user-friendly than Joomla – it hurts.
Joomla fans might argue that the point of Joomla is as a base platform to code more complex websites – but if you’re that good at coding you’d be better going a bit further and learning PHP and coding your own sites, from scratch.
Winner : WordPress.