A Close Look at Joomla: How Does it Compare to WordPress and Drupal?

WordPress gets a fair bit of publicity as the most widely installed content management system (CMS). Drupal, another popular CMS, is widely known but technically thought of more as a “content management framework” because it is a little heavier on the technical side and taking advantage of it requires a bit of a learning curve.

Where does this put Joomla, the other major player in open source CMS? Joomla is installed on 8.5% of websites in which the CMS can be identified, which is 2.7% of websites overall. With its significant presence in the field of site management, let’s take a look at Joomla in reference to the alternatives.

Installation of Joomla is much like installation of WordPress or Drupal. Hosting providers typically present one-click install options that give a webmaster the ability to quickly deploy the CMS to a ny domain.

Joomla is very flexible but also takes a very friendly and guided approach to getting a website up and running. The default page under the administrator login provides a helpful, streamlined guide to getting started and puts heavy emphasis on providing sample sites in order for the webmaster to get a sense of what is possible. The administrator is pointed to helpful links on both using extensions and modifying templates.

Joomla’s main strength is that it provides much of the flexibility of Drupal but with a design rather than tech-oriented focus. WordPress is a blogging platform foremost, and extending it to function as a general enterprise website – as for e-commerce – takes about the same level of expertise as managing Drupal. Joomla allows the designer a great deal of plug and play flexibility to move away from the blog paradigm but without having to grind as much with configuration files, CSS, PHP concepts, and hunti ng down correct the right versions of modules as you would with the Drupal.

Unlike WordPress and Drupal, one drawback to Joomla (at least version 2.5) is that the admin interface is not as cleanly integrated into web browsing. WordPress uses a convenient top menu bar and side navigation pane. Drupal 7 uses an extremely intuitive top menu interface that calls up dropdowns and  hovering dialogue panes. Joomla 3.0, however, has an interface that is similar to that of Drupal 7.

Sometimes the choice of CMS is a matter of website needs, and other times it is a matter of preference, but as Joomla combines the best of all worlds in CMS it is an extremely safe bet for any website.

Recapping the CMS Benefits

Back in the early days of the Internet, the only way to build a website was by learning HTML code and coding the website by hand. The website built is static. If content needs to be changed, only the coder or someone knowing some HTML code can change it. Nowadays, there is a newer, more efficient way to build a website. This is by using a content management system, or CMS. This has made website updating very easy and convenient to do. This article will discuss some of the benefits of using a content management system.

A lot of popular website are build on CMS. Take WordPress, for instance. You have the ability to update your WordPress site without knowing much about HTML. If you are the administrator, you can assign edit rights to certain individuals to give them the right the right to edit certain pages. No coding knowledge is requires. All you have to do is to open up a template or a page, and fill in the boxes.

CMS allows multiple people to work on the website at the same time. The main data is stored in a database on the server. Anyone with the proper login credentials can get to the back office to manage content. There is not need to to use file transfer protocol, or FTP, to upload changes to your server, as in the old days. Everything can be updated as long as you have access to the Internet.

The beauty of using a content management system is that you no longer need to rely on a single web developer to update your content and to make minor changes. In the past, if the web developer is not available, that means the website does not get updated until he got back. With CMS, different people can have edit rights to edit content, so updates are done more in a timely manner.

With CMS, it is easy to use plug-ins to add functionality to your website. Plug-ins are pre-made modules that you can just install with a click of a button. In the old days, you would need to hire a special programmer to program a script for you for the same functionalities.

CMS gives ordinary people the ability to manage and control their website better. CMS also has the advantage of tracking multiple versions of changes in the content. This is helpful because because there may be a time when you want to revert back to a previous version of your website. With a static HTML website, you would not be able to do that in a clean, uncumbersome way.

Content management systems are the way of the future in website design. No longer is website design only reserved for the programmers and professional web developer. Although they are still required to make major changes to the structure of the website, CMS allows the ordinary user to update and manage content easily and efficiently with very little effort.

SQL Injection and Content Management Systems: What Webmasters Should Know

Content management systems (CMS) are amazing and convenient platforms for creating high-quality, customizable websites in a short amount of time. The leading CMS software projects, WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, all have built a great deal of useful technology on projects that started out small (for instance, Drupal evolved from a message board). They can be used to readily solve most of the common challenges faced by a fully-functioning website. However, the commonality of that technology means that CMS systems can become targets of well-known attack techniques. One such technique is SQL injection and it has especially become a common headache for WordPress site administrators.

SQL injection is a technique almost as old as databases. SQL can be considered the universal standard language for interacting with databases. It was created with the goal of making it easy to communicate with database systems without the need fo r programming. It was also made to resemble human language as much as possible (in fact in was originally called SEQUEL (Structured English Query Language). However, it has often been used by programmers to allow their programs to automatically communicate with databases as well. What often happens is that programmers take shortcuts with SQL that make development easier, but leave glaring security holes, and sometimes allow an attacker to insert entire queries to the database that overtake the system.

The popularity of WordPress has made it a common target for injection attacks. It is open source, written in PHP, and uses MySQL as its database. MySQL also happens to be one of the most used and well-known databases, meaning that its vulnerabilities are also well-known. Fortunately, the WordPress open source community generally works hard to provide updates and fix es to all compromised components whenever such a round of attacks occurs. This is why it is essential for a web administrator to constantly keep up with updates to all themes and plugins that are used to enhance WordPress and other CMS systems, and stay updated on the latest fixes needed to keep websites secure.

Best Practices for Implementing an Enterprise Social Intranet

Social Intranet Defined

A social intranet is defined as a network that utilizes social software to share an organization’s information with its members. Generally, this means that the social intranet is a place where employees can go to get things done within their own company.

Main Functions and Features

  • Integration
    The ability to integrate with current tools or the ability to add new tools to the program. An example would be the ability to add MS Outlook and email to integrate with the intranet.
  • Customization
    This is software that is flexible enough to be used by the organization to create custom modules. This can make interaction easier within the site. It allows for the customization of tools and resources that are used most often.
  • Collaboration
    This is an intranet feature that allows people to collaborate their work. An example would be a group of people working on one document.
  • Communication Channels
    This is a feature that allows corporations to promote a corporate culture in an interactive way.
  • Automation
    These are workflows and templates that can automate document creation. Alerts can be created to assist in learning about changes and new additions within an intranet.
  • Applications
    These are links to specific applications for associates to perform their duties.
  • Remote Access
    Users of the intranet are able to access content when they are away from the office.
  • Document Repository
    This allows users of an intranet to store and retrieve documents. It enables users to maintain and back up their data to prevent the loss of important documents.
  • Blog
    An intranet blog is used to provide timely information to employees, customers and business partners.
  • People Search
    This feature allows members of the intranet the ability to find employee contact information, specialty areas, personal interests and group memberships.
  • Enterprise Search
    This feature allows members of the enterprise intranet to search content.
  • Security
    Users and groups are able to share and send documents securely when utilizing an intranet.

Growth of Social Enterprise Intranets

Recent studies show that enterprise social networks are rising in popularity. They are becoming the main body of information repositories and communication hubs within enterprises. They are beginning to replace corporate intranets as the most comprehensive and reliable places to locate information.

According to a study published by APCO Worldwide and Gagen MacDonald, corporations using internal social tools experience higher levels of social engagement at work. These organizations have also reported the following information:

  • Sixty one percent of employees said social media tools make it easier to collaborate with their colleagues across vast distances.
  • Fifty eight percent of employees would rather work at a company that utilizes internal social tools.

The Benefits of Social Enterprise Intranets

There are many benefits to enterprise social intranets.

  • Workforce Productivity
    They help users to view and locate information quickly. This allows the ease of use for workforce applications that are relative to their roles and responsibilities in the workplace.
  • Time
    They allow many organizations to distribute information as needed. Employees can link to the information when they find it convenient. This is a lot less distracting than electronic mail.
  • Communication
    Enterprise social intranets are powerful tools for communication. They are used to communicate strategies that can have a global reach throughout the organization.
  • Web Publishing
    Enterprise social intranets allow corporate knowledge to be maintained and easily accessed. This is usually done through hypermedia and Web technologies.
  • Business Operations and Management
    They are being used as platforms for developing and deploying applications that support business operations and decisions throughout enterprises.
  • Cost Effectiveness
    Users are allowed to view data and information through web browsers instead of maintaining physical documents. This can save businesses money on printing and duplicating documents.
  • Enhances Collaboration
    Information is easily accessed by all authorized members. This enables teamwork.
  • Promotes A Common Corporate Culture
    Every member can view the same information throughout the enterprise intranet. This helps to promote a common culture throughout the company.
  • Immediate Updates
    Intranets make it possible to provide audiences with live changes so that they are kept current with corporate issues.
  • Supports a Distributed Computing Architecture
    An intranet can be linked to a management information system. An example would be a corporate time keeping system.

Common Issues Encountered When Implementing an Enterprise Social Intranet

Usually, poor planning is the most common problem when implementing a social intranet. Too many organizations rely on free, open source solutions. These organizations give little thought to the needs and requirements of their users. Poor planning causes the user problems when trying to find information.

To overcome these issues, companies should list their needs in an enterprise social intranet before designing their systems.

Main Processes to Cover When Planning an Enterprise Social Intranet

Overall, a successful enterprise social intranet encapsulates corporate flair and spirit. The use of innovative and fun features should be implemented to achieve the goal of having a good enterprise social intranet.

Additionally, support and accessibility are important features to think about during the planning phase. If properly planned, an enterprise social intranet will add value to a company. Listed below are additional characteristics that will help to create a successful enterprise social intranet.

Navigation

  • The main navigation should appear consistently on each page.
  • Navigation should be intuitive and easy.

Design

  • Companies should have clean, engaging home page designs. Additionally, all home page designs should be aesthetically attractive to its users.
  • A combination of good and effective graphics should be part of the design plan.
  • Well-written text, a suitable text volume and links should be present on each page of the design.
  • There should be a good contrast between the text and the background of the design.
  • Wherever appropriate, add audio and video to the design.

Promotion

Finally, it’s important to promote the use of an enterprise social intranet. Once everyone knows how to operate it, employees will use the system to expedite your business effectively.
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References:
http://www.gagenmacdonald.com/downloads/3rd-Annual-Employee-Engagement-Research-Study.pdf
http://socialenterprisetoday.com/blog/posts/social-intranets-are-on-the-rise/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/fredcavazza/2011/11/30/from-social-intranets-to-collaboration-ecosystems/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intranet_portal#Main_features
http://socialmediatoday.com/prescient/441295/are-social-intranets-more-lovable
www.vli.co.uk/Core/DownloadDoc.aspx?documentID=1045