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.
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.