Opinion

State of Joomla, 2014

Each year, when the time comes to renew the domain name for this blog, I pay a bit more attention to Joomla’s state of well-being. And in 2014, I can’t help but think that things haven’t changed for the better. Just look at the current twitter arguments, for example.

Don’t get me wrong. Joomla, the CMS is doing fine. Joomla 3.3 is a good CMS and it’s got it’s place in the top 10. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. Will I be using it in the near future? Of course. We’re doing some neat things with Joomla at my employer, at the moment!

But it’s never really been the CMS that concerned me, during these “evaluations”, but everything surrounding it. When you look critically, Joomla has never learned from its mistakes, and they probably never will. No secret lobbying effort to clutter the legal structure of Joomla even further is going to change that. So, what is it that concerns me in 2014? Well, the same as in the past, but anyway. I tried to break it down for you.

Politics

Joomla is still a playground for wannabe politicians and lobbyists, who just love to create working groups, documents and proposals. Code? Eff that. Irrelevant at best. Instead of making the life of the core developers any easier, these people have made it unattractive to contribute to Joomla.

Talent Retention

Which leads to the following. Look at the list of talented developers that quit, are going to quit or are simply being blocked by the bureaucracy. Ask yourself why there are developers with a fix for an issue in one hand, who are flipping off Joomla with the other hand. Is Joomla doing it’s best to retain, and attract talented developers? I’m going to guess “No.” is the answer to that question. And that’s something that worries me.

Communication

One of the biggest pet peeves of mine. A fairly well-known Joomla leader parody account recently said she was appointed as the new communication communicator. Funny, right? But my first thought was: “Well, it can’t get much worse…” Because, except a few leaders who can engage people in a civil, down to earth way (Shout out to you, Michael Babker), Joomla’s leaders and others aren’t exactly gifted in the communication department.

Joomla’s leadership often fails to communicate, but just as well loses it’s cool, doesn’t get that social media is here to stay and is THE way to communicate, and openly shows a dislike for public discussions, which is ridiculous. Joomla is Open Source. Discussions should be open. Sorry guys, that’s how FOSS works. Your secret meetings and documents might be your thing, but Joomla isn’t Joomla, Inc. just yet. It sucks, I know. Someday, though…

Innovation

Other than the unique, highly anticipated Joomla certification project everyone has waited for, there are no plans to stay on top of the CMS game on the table. Framework? Dead – I told you so, Hils. Joomla Lite? Someone shoot that zombie, especially now that the driving force behind that is stepping back. Overhauling the UI and making it slicker? Leave it to WordPress and Drupal to rebuild their race cars, Joomla is content to tweak things here and there, and focus on performance(?) issues while the others race to mass adaption.Want to lose the race? This is how you lose the race. You’re targeting everyone and no-one.

Community

Dudes and Sisters, I like you, as a group. Really. Most of you are full of hope, dreams and good intentions, and cool people. You’ve probably got the best in mind for Joomla. But if you want to see change, real change, you need to step up. And no, that doesn’t equal volunteering. Find a way to force the change you want to see. I’m not suggesting a revolution. Or am I?

As for those people who defend all things Joomla, all the time, and think that a hashtag, which contains an enormous spelling error magically makes things better… Stop it. And stop trolling the people concerned about Joomla’s future. If you can’t acknowledge that Joomla has problems, you are part of the problem. Or maybe you really like wasting people’s time. Hard to tell.

Conclusion

Not all is well in Joomla. Of course, there’s still hope, and the potential for greatness. But things have to change. And unfortunately, no, I don’t have the answers and just ask myself “How” as well. So, for the time being… Joomla, watch where you’re going.

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