I’ve recently been looking into open source content management systems (CMS) like Joomla and Drupal as potential frameworks for a new version of CTEL’s website. I checked into Drupal after learning on Tim Lauer’s blog that it was being used to power his school’s website. We’re looking to move our registration for workshops online, and while we could write a custom application, Drupal (which also led to an exploration of Joomla) seemed to provide a great framework for a website, along with event management. Joomla bubbled up to the top, but only because it seems to have more options for events than Drupal, for the time being. We’ll still have to do some custom coding to get the registration application the way we want it, but we’re moving ahead with Joomla based on events and some of the following features (to name just a few):
- Built in Search
- Print and PDF maker
- Contact Management
- RSS Feeds
- Most Popular
- User Management
- Usage Statistics
- Events Management
- Content Management – Edit in Place, Setting View and Expiration Dates, etc.
It took a little while, but once the concepts of module, component, section, category, etc. took hold, I was able to throw together a robust website very quickly. I experimented with Joomla locally with a WAMP installation and pretty minimal setup. My next step is to turn a small application I wrote to capture faculty availability times into a Joomla component and hook into their user API. Look for changes on the CTEL site in the next couple of months. Open source rocks! Here are some other plugins from Joomla that I’m checking out now.
- DocMan – document management
- Generic Form Creator
- Newsletter Creation / Management – Manage subscriptions, etc.
- Google Maps Integration / Plot Visitor Geographic Distribution on Google Maps
- Folksonomy tags
- Dropdown menus
- Surveys (Joomla SurveyForce)
- Template Builder for Dreamweaver
I think it’s probably prudent for us to wait for Joomla 1.5′s release before we unveil the site, but it looks like that’s coming very soon.