In the past year there have been countless articles predicting the fall of Joomla!. These blog posts have focused on the market share Joomla! has lost over the past five years to WordPress. Most of the articles cite Google Trends as the evidence that Joomla! is on its last leg and the death of Joomla! is imminent. While the data from Google can be disturbing to the developers and users of Joomla!, the death of Joomla! is far from the truth. As with anything you read on the internet, you need to do some fact checking to get to the truth. We set out to investigate some of the harshest critics claims:
Joomla releases and updates are poor because of volunteers:
Joomla! is the world’s only 100% volunteer CMS - there is no paid staff for Joomla!. This has defined Joomla! since day one and has created one of the world’s largest CMS communities. 2016 has been a very active year for Joomla! with two major version releases - 3.5 and 3.6 and a possible third, 3.7 before the years end. If you have a problem with the release schedule then you can volunteer to make it better. This is why volunteers are great - They make the project stronger!
Joomla’s marketing is pathetic:
Joomla! has never had an aggressive marketing campaign, but neither have any of the other top open source CMS’s. Joomla! does have over 193 worldwide user groups that meet regularly and promote the CMS. Joomla! also hosts an annual World Conference that focuses on world-wide coverage. In the past three years, the World Conference has been in the USA, Mexico and India and in November 2016 the World Conference will be hosted in Canada. In 2016 Joomla! branched out and started promoting itself at several PHP conferences and Hostingcon Global with a fully volunteer staffed expo booth.
GLP License leads to piracy:
While Joomla 1.5 and 2.5 did have some issues, the 3.0 series has addressed all the past issues and the security strike team has been on top of the game rolling out all security patches within 72 hours of discovery. Hosting companies agree, Joomla! has been and still is one of the most secure open source CMS's.
One Click Upgrade:
The backward compatibly issue of Joomla 1.5 > 2.5 was a serious wake up call to the project. While the 2.5 > 3x series was not just one click and does require a few documented extra steps, Joomla! has vowed to be as backward compatible as possible in its future releases. One thing to keep in mind is that in order to implement new technology change must happen.
Ease of use:
One thing that has plagued the CMS is the ease of use compared to WordPress. This is a serious misconception. Joomla! started as a CMS, whereas WordPress started as a Blog. In fact, WordPress is still just an extendable blog platform — not a full feature CMS. Of course, Joomla can be more complicated to learn, but that is part of what makes it a true CMS. In 2015 Joomla! assembled a UX working group and has already started rolling out UX updates with Joomla 3.6. Later this year, Joomla! in a partnership with OSTraining will provide free online training videos that will help novice users learn Joomla! in a matter of hours. This partnership should make Joomla! easier to understand and help to attract new users.
WordPress is better than Joomla:
This in itself can be attributed to front end users. It is estimated that 70% of WordPress users never touch a line of code. Ask most PHP programmers and they will tell you that WordPress is a complete mess of code as a CMS. Joomla! has a robust API and uses the MVC standard favored by PHP developers. Ray Selby has a perfect analogy:
"Saying that WordPress is better than Joomla! because 25 times as many sites use it is like saying that VW Golfs are better than Maseratis because more people drive them. So what? Actually, it's like saying that cars are better than trucks, Windows is better than Linux or oranges are better than apples. They are different tools for different purposes."
Using terms like fall, dead or death attached to Joomla might as well go for all CMS’s, as the market share shrinks for sites actually needing a full CMS. The advancements of online webbuilders have definitely made a huge impact on static based sites and will continue to push the limits of publishing a website with no training. Of course, there will still be a need for custom programmed sites and CMS’s - this is where Joomla and other CMS’s like Drupal and WordPress will continue to succeed.
The latest Joomla! release - version 3.6 is out now and contains over 400 updates and features.