Monday, April 27, 2015

WordPress...What is it? Do I need it?

Those looking for a website today seem to be focused on WordPress. But what is WordPress, do you need it, and does it truly fit the model of what you're wanting to get out of your website? There may also be those who have heard of Joomla!, Drupal, and some other popular CMS's out there today.
There is so much information available on the internet today about the most popular content management systems, WordPress and Joomla. There are others, but these are the two (2) "big" ones.
First of all, what is a CMS? In 1985 Amway came out with their CMS-1000 vacuum, but that's not what we're looking for, so what is a content management system? From Wikipedia: "A Content Management System (CMS) is a computer application that allows publishing, editing and modifying content, organizing, deleting as well as maintenance from a central interface. Such systems of content management provide procedures to manage workflow in a collaborative environment." In my opinion, this is a pretty broad definition, but it is a common definition. Really, based on this definition, you could almost call any web based website builder a CMS, as it has a single interface, allows publishing, editing modifying organizing, and deleting from a central interface (the web building portal).
Perhaps the most important thing to be mindful of about Joomla! is that it is not WordPress. There are a number of similarities between the two systems: both are written in PHP and run on a typical LAMP system. Both have a robust extension and theming system, and both can be deployed from various web hosting providers, such as Stallion Online Services. That is where the similarities end.


"WordPress was born out of a desire for an elegant, well-architectured personal publishing system". "WordPress started as just a blogging system, but has evolved to be used as full content management system and so much more through the thousands of plugins and widgets and themes, WordPress is limited only by your imagination. (And tech chops.)" (
That really sums it up right there: "WordPress started as just a blogging system, but has evolved to be used as a full content management system". This would be like saying this house that I'm in started out as just a small cabin, but has evolved into this giant mansion we're in today. The big question is: what is the underlying foundation? Is it a foundation for a mansion, or a foundation for a cabin? It doesn't matter if the structure has been expanded, what is the underlying foundation? Obviously, the foundation is for a cabin, unless you destroyed all that you had, and started all over from scratch.
With WordPress, you start with something that is designed for blogging, then through a process of evolution, you now have a content management system. So, you build something for blogging (the foundation), then through various plugins and widgets you can expand the system from a blogging system to a content management system, sitting on a foundation for a blogging system? Isn't this like having the cabin, and expanding the cabin to be a mansion, but on the cabin foundation?
Let's look at this another way. In 1983 Microsoft released Word version 1.0. Microsoft Word was released as a program for writing pages of text, with an occasional picture here or there. Wait a second, isn't that similar to a blog, except that it wasn't posted on the internet? Over the years, Microsoft has evolved into the version of Word we have today. Granted, Microsoft Word today can do so much more than it's predecessor, and with the addition of various plugins, it can be a very powerful piece of software. But, what is the underlying foundation? Oh yeah, word processor. Anyone that has used Word knows that you can do some spreadsheets and graphs within Word, but if you really need something complex, you need something like Excel or PowerPoint. You build what you need in Excel, then pull it into Word, but that's adding something that isn't part of the designed package.
To put this into some perspective: WordPress is Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Word only. No Excel, PowerPoint, Access Database, or anything like that. Just like with Word, you can change the look, layout, and functionality with various plugins, widgets, and themes.


Joomla started in 2005 as a content management system, and has evolved into a system that governments, corporations, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, personal home pages, and many others are using. The Joomla development team didn't think on the side of lets make a basic foundation, then build upon and expand that foundation. They instead had their goal and vision set to create a large, full featured platform from the get-go.
Joomla is actually not just a CMS, but is two parts: 1) the Joomla framework, and 2) the Joomla CMS. The Joomla framework is the foundation for the Joomla CMS. As the Joomla development team adds new features and functionality, they first add it to the foundation, the Joomla framework, then they add the changes to the CMS. This is different from WordPress as these are two separate pieces of software code, where WordPress has all their programming code in one place.
Joomla's addons to the CMS are called extensions, which are made up of components, modules, and plugins. What are these? Let's look at something like a download management system. The component is the main program, where you create the categories, upload and categorize the files, set the display, and much more. A module would be similar to a widget, where you could display something specific in a module, such as popular downloads. A plugin adds additional functionality, such as the ability to integrate your downloads with the Smart Search feature in Joomla, which is a powerful search engine within Joomla.
A good way to look at Joomla is looking back at our Microsoft Word example for WordPress. Joomla is the entire Office 365 platform. Built upon that platform is Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and other programs. Joomla is that type of system; you have the core system, Joomla, upon with you can easily install additional programs to suit your needs.
Joomla uses a much more powerful and robust system for managing users, permissions, group membership, and much more, allowing Joomla to be the proper solution for business. There are currently over 3,200 government sites, and thousands upon thousands of corporations, small and medium businesses, and hobbyists using Joomla!. Make the change to the leading platform for dynamic web content, and the first commercial CMS to be fully mobile, today.

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