Recently, we found ourselves in a familiar situation where we needed to have a consumer-facing website up and running in no time. We got together with the client to evaluate the options and after talking about several options, somebody asked “and what about Joomla!?”

There were a lot of opinions, pros and cons thrown around the table, but the general feeling was positive so we decided to do a quick evaluation. As you probably guessed, the end result is that we decided to go with Joomla!, primarily because of its extensibility and huge ecosystem of developers.

Joomla! is a free Open Source (OSS) Content Management System (CMS) currently at version 1.5.9. It is a “Website in a box” you can download from the project site, install it on your favorite server and then customize the heck out of it to fit your needs.


Joomla! has the most common features already built-in for you such as RSS feeds, SEF URLs, printable version pages, site search and internationalization among many others.

Like other CMS platforms, it has an administration backend where multiple users can edit/configure the site with little or no effort at different levels of authorization. I particularly liked the UI and the navigation of this backend. After all is said and done, however, the area where Joomla! wins hands down is in its extensibility.

There are tons of free and commercial extensions for it. All the ones I tried worked well with the platform. In every case, I just downloaded the extension/module, installed it and the new functionality would come right up. With fair knowledge of PHP programming, you can even build your own.