Yesterday, Amy Stephen posted a blog post on ATAAW, explaining that Molajo isn’t a Joomla fork, but a distribution. Most of you probably heard of Molajo, and I know some of you have been wondering about something.
What the hell is a distribution?
Some seem to think that a distribution is an “evil” thing. That Joomla distributions will be the very end of Joomla! Well, it’s not. Because I couldn’t find a proper Wikipedia article (the most reliable source of information on the web, right?) my explanation will have to do.
To quote myself: “A distribution uses the original code, makes changes where needed and adds the required features, and then publishes the complete package.”
Now, let’s translate that to Molajo. What will they do? They’ll be using Joomla 1.6 and they’ll be adding features which didn’t make it to J!1.6 (yet). They’ll also be tweaking Joomla 1.6 to make it a more pleasant CMS to use. From what I’ve heard, they’ll add comments, ratings, and WordPress like URL’s. They’re also trying to improve the ACL so it will be easier to use. On top of that, they’ll be replacing the existing templates with new templates. This will all be bundled in a package, which will be known as “Molajo”. You can install this package like you would install Joomla.
The good news? Your “old” templates and extensions will all be 100% compatible. Because deep down, it’s still Joomla 1.6.
Famous “distributions” you might have used.
If you’re a site builder, you might have spent a lot of time building sites on your own computer. Odds are that you’ve been using Mamp (Mac), Wamp (Windows), Xamp (?) or set up Lamp with a few commands (Linux).
When you installed M/W/X/L amp, did you also worry about it being a distribution? No. You thought “hey, this is neat,” and installed it. You installed a distribution of Apache, Mysql and PHP with a few clicks, because someone else created the distribution. A distribution of Apache, MySQL and PHP targeting the users of your OS.
I could now point into the direction of Drupal and explain how they’re offering hundreds of distributions on their site, and how that’s a good thing. But some people seem to be Drupal biased as well, so let’s look at some distributions of Joomla!
Have you ever played around with Virtuemart? Chances are that you have. How did you install Virtuemart? If you started from scratch, there’s a big chance that you used the Virtuemart e-commerce bundle – a distribution of Joomla 1.5 which includes Virtuemart from the start. That’s a distribution, all right, because it’s built on top of Joomla 1.5.x.
Judging on the blog stats, many of you are non-English speaking. If you’re building a Joomla! site, how do you start? Do you start with the “English” version of Joomla and install your languages files later on? Personally, I don’t. The people at Joomlacommunity.eu offer a great Dutch version of Joomla! 1.5 , which I use. When I use their distribution, I don’t have to worry about installing language files. This specific distribution is aimed at Dutch site builders, like myself. I’m sure that similar versions exist for other languages (and if they don’t – what are you waiting for? Get started!)
You’re making distributions yourself, too!
If, at this point, you want to send me an angry e-mail saying “Never, I’m staying loyal to Joomla!” you haven’t read the rest of the post. I can’t blame you, this headline is rather attention grabbing. But if you were to send me such a mail, I’d send you a nice reply:
“Good luck with your stock Joomla site, I’m sure it’ll be very useful…’”
Hey, it’s nothing to be ashamed off. I admit. I’m guilty of creating a distribution of Joomla which I’ve labelled the “QuickInstaller”, myself. What lead me down this dark, treacherous path? Laziness. The healthy kind.
When you’re building Joomla sites for a living, you’ll often be installing the very same components. A few I can think of are Akeeba Backup / Admin Tools, Xmap, SH404SEF, JCE editor, Phoca Downloads, ALFContact… and I’m sure there are more out there. Technically, that’s “creating your own distribution”. You’ve figured out that you’ve got specific needs for your sites, and started adding tools that addressed those needs, by adding components, plug-ins and templates. Congratulations, you’re using your own distribution.
One way to install this distribution of yours, is by installing all these components, every time you build a new website. But that’s boring. Very, very boring. Instead, I have created a “standard package” with the following: Joomla 1.5, the components I need and even some configuration changes I always make. I create a nice package of this “site” and when I build a new site, I use my “own distribution” and save quite some time. I could publish this package on my website right now, and it would be a “distribution” just as much as Molajo will be a distribution.
I’m not going to do that because some of these components are “commercial”, but you get the point. I created a distribution. So did you. You have specific needs, and built on top of Joomla to meet those needs. Would you say that YOU are damaging Joomla by doing this?
- Molajo is a distribution
- Distributions aren’t evil, or a threat to Joomla as a whole.
- Distributions aim to meet specific needs, and are built on top of a “base solution”.
- I build distributions. You do, too. Because it makes our work easier / more fun.
Note: Are you interested in building “your own distribution” to speed up the boring part of site building? Leave a comment and we’ll write a follow-up article
Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with Molajo. Nor did they bribe me to write this post. It’s just an interesting project, you should keep an eye on. Hmm, WordPress-like URL’s…
Another disclaimer: I’m just sharing my personal opinions. If I said anything about Molajo that isn’t correct: don’t hurt me!