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Going direct to heaven, going direct the other way

I think I’ve just about had it with Joomla

Over the weekend I tried to implement a basic custon fields solution for Joomla. There a indeed a few add-ons for custom fields (k2 for example, or jSeblods Content Creation Kit) but they all do way more than I need/want, plus I don’t think they are good enough, interface-wise, for technically inexperienced users.

I just wanted to add a few text fields to an article , depending on the selected category , and have a simple plugin to format them in the frontend.  How difficult coud that be? – after all, the necessary infrastructure of events and hooks and triggers is already in place. Or so I thought.

Okay, so it was my own fault, I could have read the documentation more carefully; instead I had read some forum discussions where people made the same wrong assumptions as I did, namely that an onSave event would allow me  to do something as soon as an article is saved.

It doesn’t. About the only thing it does is to return a small string of javascript that is somehow needed to store the contents of the WYSIWYG editor field, and it’s useless for anything else. There is no hook or event that allows any interaction with content data when it’s saved.  Which made me think.

I started using Joomla – well, actually I started with Mambo 4.5.  Then I waited a year or so for the new and improved version (whatever it was to be called), instead Joomla forked of the Mambo project, and I switched.  Then I waited for what felt like another two years for Joomla 1.5.x and while I read about the new Codebase with MVC and everything that tied up the developers time for years I have to say I simply do not see where all the effort went. When I look at what I actually can do with the system Joomla is still stone age technology; pretty much all I can do is publish simple articles, provided they don’t need to look particularly nice and one category per article is enough and I don’t need proper user management or workflow or revisions and I can do without comments and trackbacks and all the other newfangled stuff on my “blog” (a misnomer if I’ve ever heard one)  layout.

Yes, there are extensions, but Drupal with CCK and the views module could propably replace two-thirds of all Joomla extensions, plus you can do everything via a common interface instead of a plethora of home-grown component interfaces.

So, Joomla was nice as long as there weren’t better alternatives, but when I look at the pace of development it’s always too little, too late. I will watch Joomla so I can maintain my module and retain a level of expertise for those clients who insist on Joomla (if any), but I won’t use it anymore if I can help it and I will not even try to develop any other extensions – why would I, when other systems do anything I need right out of the box.

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    Johann Georg Elser (4 January 1903 – 9 April 1945)

    4 Comments

    1. I disagree with you when it comes to Drupal – I think CCK and views together work much better than comparable modules in Joomla (views is hard to use, but it’s not something that is exposed to the people who enter content, so that’s okay with me). I tried both of jseblods CCKs and I think especially the small CCK is a clever piece of programming – but it jumps a hurdle that shouldn’t be even there.

      And I want to be clear that I don’t want to discourage people from using Joomla – it’s at least a stable and easy-to-use system and works well for most websites, it’s just that I get more complex jobs these days and I find it a lot harder than necessary to develop the functions I need (whereas in other systems they are alreay present).

    2. joe

      Hi,
      I agree with you, but jseblod have two CCK and one is the Little CCK with the WYDIWYS Editor. It’s very simple because you must only create a simple file (template) with your fields and the WYDIWYS Editor detect them automatically. 5 min to add some fields to a Joomla articles. You can too use it in description Joomla categorie and other Joomla extension like Docman. But it’s true this only for content view.
      I use jseblod CCK. It is for me the best solution to do great content types on Joomla and display them in content view (one content or in a content list) and in form view (back office or front office). Content view and form view have too automatic template (win a lot of time). For this part jseblod CCK is more powerfull than Drupal (it have too import/export with Content Pack).
      About Drupal CCK, the basic system is too simple and the view concept a little hard to use. Field type are insufficient for all needs. I wait a more powerfull tool for Joomla to manage content list, but you are right currently there is none and it is really a big problem.

    3. I haven’t look much into 1.6 (yet), but after reading an article on the roadmap I can at least say that the developers have very different ideas of what constitutes a feature than I have. “Refactor user management”, refactor “Parameters”, “refactor JError”, ‘Finish MVC-ing the Administrator components’…. rewriting code to do the same thing as before (albeit more efficiently) is not the same as adding features. So what we will get after at least four more Beta-versions is user management and comments, and I’m not sure that’s worth waiting for.

    4. Very interesting, I’m not a programmer but sometimes assembly site for certain customers, so, I can not be as deep in criticizing joomla.

      Seeing the point you make about Joomla developers, and the pace of development.

      Joomla 1.6 Everyone in the community are saying, this is the best thing that came to the community.

      Joomla 1.6 brings major changes, I stopped working on my spanish website. I am awaiting the first test version to see what is in reality.

      And I have felt exactly that. Compared with others. Joomla has brought applications development, little and too late.

      It’s like being in a constant change which changes only a little and a little more.

      I will love to read your opinion on Joomla 1.6, of course, as a programmer.

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