You’ll love Joomla! CMS because it is a great open source and free CMS with lots of features, stable releases, and it comes with a huge supporting community. Don’t get us wrong, we love Joomla CMS too and truly believe that this open source application is a big head start for any content based website. But since we used Joomla on many advanced Web 2.0 websites, we have found its limits, and sometimes struggled with those limits to a point of considering other systems or even using a framework instead. Let’s look closer at the missing features:
1. Directory or node base category structure
This is one of the biggest pain points with using Joomla or trying to explain how to use Joomla to new users. Joomla places all content items within sections and categories. Before Joomla 1.5, all content items were required to be in one of these sections and categories. In other words, the system was limited to a two level categorization and the categorization was enforced. In Joomla 1.5, it is not a requirement, however, if you wish to categorize the content items you must use this archaic system.
So, what’s missing? It needs a node based categorization. Similar to any folder structure out there in any operating system. You can create folders with content items in them and you have a nice flexible and fully comprehensible system. No more workarounds. This will then boost the use of any dynamic plugins that can rely on the folder structure for certain features. A great example is a News & Events section that is needed for almost every serious website: with flexible node system you can create a news folder and an events folder and place your articles there. If in the future you wish to add sub categories to your news – no problem! (with the current and the old system – you’ll have to rethink once you get to a certain depth level).
2. A Real Authorship Path and Publication Mechanism
Yes, it is true that users have multiple levels right out of the box in Joomla. But it lacks any sort of a mechanism that controls the workflow of the content item. Ideally, you will have one user that will add new content items and another that will have to approve before it goes live in a specific section. The publisher user will have the rights to publish only in his/her sections, etc. This is a basic feature in many enterprise content management systems.
3. Content Articles Versioning
In Joomla, once you made the change and hit that save button – there is no way to go back in time and undo your changes. Ideally, Joomla will save every instance of the content item and keep track of its versions. How it does it is not important, whether it uses SVN like versioning which efficiently saves only the diff values, or if it actually saves the entire content item every time a revision is made does not matter. The feature that is missing is the versioning itself.
4. Built In Separation Between ‘Live’ and ‘Staging’ Environments
For businesses that value their websites and understand the sensitivity of them, we always recommend setting up a staging environment. This is where all users, developers, and designers can see the latest revisions before it goes live. It provides another stage of error handling instead of working a fire drill on a regular basis. Many enterprise content management systems have this option as a built-in mechanism. From the same admin panel or work area, the admin presses a button and the latest version of the site is then ‘pushed’ live. We currently have linux scripts that do the job but there is no way for a non-developer to handle this case. Ideally, this needs to be from the admin panel of Joomla.
5. Document Management System (File Manager)
So, we all know that Joomla’s File Manager or ‘Media’ manager is a bit lacking. It has the basic functionality that assists with uploading files, moving, deleting them – but that’s it. A DMS (Document Management System) allows each user to manage their own document area, which in turn allows better handling of uploading and using files with drag and drop controls, and improved management interface for admins that can more easily handle large amount of folders and files.
Joomla CMS is a great open source CMS, no doubt. However, if the above five missing features are added, it will make it easier for us to be able to offer this CMS to the enterprise. For now, the commercial CMS spectrum is what we got to work with for enterprise level content management systems.
Content Management Systems, Joomla, Web Development