Open Source Content Management Systems and Choosing a Sitebuilder
In the episode, we have a discussion with Jason Nickerson, the current head of the Joomla Capital Team — a group of volunteers who lead the Joomla community.
We discuss different Content Management Systems: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla.
- Why Joomla?
E-commerceoptions on Joomla
- Ecwid on Joomla
Jesse: Richard, how is it going today?
Richard: It’s going great, I’m excited!
Jesse: Awesome, awesome, me too. We just had some lunch, and we are talking a little bit about today’s podcast. I think the reason I’m excited about today’s guest is that we’re working online, we work in
Richard: Oh, yeah. It’s kind of that
Richard: But at the beginning, it’s daunting no matter what, for some people, right. Because, there are sites: WordPress, Joomla, like which one of these things do we grab?
Jesse: Yeah, absolutely. I played with a bunch of these on my own and different, different sites for different reasons. So, I thought today we would present a real option for Ecwid store owners and other
Jason: Hi guys, how are you doing?
Jesse: Awesome, good!
Richard: Welcome, Jason.
Jason: Thanks for having me!
Jesse: Yeah, absolutely. So, I think we talked before the show here, you’ve been in
Jason: Oh, Gosh, probably about fourteen years, maybe fifteen or more.
Jesse: Okay, so you’ve had these same questions and people asking questions of you. Where do I start, what platform should I use?
Jason: Oh yeah. And this is, I mean, I started before there was WordPress or Joomla, really, you know. I’ve been starting with an open source shopping cart that was very difficult; it wasn’t like things are today, you know, I mean, we all look at, like, page builders and things like that. We’ve all become very accustomed to uploading a plugin or extension with a zip file. Back then, you had to do the core editing of the code just to add features to it, which was a great start for me to get into and actually understand, you know, some of the programming languages and things that happened with
Jesse: So you know the code, you’re like an old school here of
Richard: What was it that actually prompted Joomla? Did you see something in WordPress, that you saw an opening and wanted to take advantage of it with Joomla? What was the inspiration?
Jason: I basically started, I had spent a lot of time in the music industry. I had a
And, I was basically into some dance music, and at the time there were some major players that were popping up, like
So, I started actually doing some sites for people, and I came upon a situation, where I needed something larger than what I was doing. So, I did a little bit of research, and this was about the
So, I started building stuff with Joomla and then I started my own company based around Joomla, making Joomla templates and extensions. And it is kind of funny on this, I believe, this month is the 13th year of Joomla, and some 10th year of my company making Joomla templates and extensions. And, the funny thing that a lot of people don’t know about on some of these open source projects, such as WordPress and Joomla, is that they started as what it’s called a fork.
And, open source project is basically on open source code and is free, meaning you can download it for free, you can edit it for free, and as long as you leave the copyright and place you can take the whole code base and own creation things. So, today if I wanted to say: Well, I don’t really like what Joomla is doing and I’ve got eight people programs together, and I want to start Boomla, all I have to do is copy a Joomla code and leave the copyright place, called Boomla, and we’re good to go. And that’s how WordPress started, WordPress was a B2B blog, I believe. And, then a map forted over, and then WordPress came along, and Joomla is the same thing, it used to be called Mambo. And leadership said: OK, let’s do Joomla.” Mambo went away, I think it’s still around, but it’s never been as big as Joomla was because we got a lot of good leadership in there and stuff.
Jesse: Wow. So, I heard of Mambo before, and Joomla’s been around a long time now, but. So, it sounds like back in that early day, it was, like, you know, it was the main platform for building, you know, slightly more complex websites, is that fair?
Jason: Yes, yeah, yeah. It was really the solution if you wanted a true content management solution. It wasn’t done, WordPress really wasn’t even, like, called a blog, even if, you know, look this up in a
You can look at trends and stuff and see how Joomla was
And you could have this large tech company, say, a Microsoft and Internet Explorer and things. You see how it takes to update, even just common known bugs and stuff. And by doing it with open source and a team of volunteers, who are really passionate about the project, you can get a lot done quickly.
Jesse: Yeah, it’s amazing that. So, all those amazing updates that you’re talking about, that’s all volunteer work from volunteer coders around the world, is that the case?
Jason: Yeah, that is the interesting thing about Joomla, we’ve got over 1300 volunteers and, again Joomla is distinctly different than WordPress and Drupal, because WordPress, Matt has a company called Аutomattic, and that’s, you know, they’ve got
Jesse: And that includes the guy on a podcast as well, right?
Jason: Yes it is! But that’s a unique thing too. Most of these volunteers, we do this, because we want Joomla to be better and we do have a passion for Joomla and we all kind of work within the Joomla thing. People ask me all the time about my volunteer status; I tell them that. Well, honestly if somebody come up to me 10 years ago and said: Hey, would you like to work in a project that is going to have, you know, a hundred million downloads, there is going to be 13 hundred or more people working with you, it’s going to have power 3% of the internet, and it’s going to be just awesome thing, but you’re never going to get paid. I probably would have laughed and walked away. It took me a little to actually start with the community, I probably ran my company blindly, you know, making money off of Joomla for about six to seven years before I decided that I wanted to go ahead and volunteer my time to try to help Joomla and make Joomla a better product.
Jesse: Got it. So, you’re making money off of this is like extensions and themes, is that the main?
Jason: Yeah, my company JoomlaXTC — Extension Template Club. We started off making just little plugins for it and the great thing about Joomla as it has the extension directory and things. And, after doing
So, I own that round and seeing things, you know, slowly take off, but it was amazing to me when we started the company, we put up a couple things on the Joomla extension directory, and they just were selling and selling, and the money was growing and then we started moving in a templates, and I was just shocked, you know, when the first month, when we put something online, we probably sold at least 150 products and not knowing how this digital download thing works, because, you know, we are selling a JPL and open source product, and it’s a digital download and you know the problem that people had with the media, and stuff people pirating stuff. I had no expectations for the
Jesse: They were looking for what you made and they’re paying, you know, could people give it to their buddy and be like: Check out this software! It was at like something you worried about at that time?
Jason: Yeah, you’re always worried about it in all honesty I believe that up before I even knew about Dremel extension clubs and things like that and template clubs, I think my buddy brought over a DVD and said: Hey, I got this off a Torrent, check it out! I started looking at these things and I went: O, this is actually a company, company, called Joomla. And I said: Oh, I have to do this!
The great thing about, if you been a, you know, somebody who does websites, you know, templates have been really taking over for the last ten years, they kinda have been the go to. And most Joomla template clubs, you know, we offer you a year worth of new templates + the back catalogue, which most of them, like, at least a hundred, so for $99 a year you can get, you know, 120 templates and when a started doing web design with Joomla, I mean, that was a great resource for me, and I was just going and signing up and, you know, that’s the subscription model, that is really taking over, you know, right now subscription boxes and things like that, that’s really huge and that’s something whereas being a Joomla developer for years, you know, I’ve got very used to the subscription model, because most companies use that.
Jesse: So, let me take a step back, so for any listeners, people are newer to the internet and how it works. Can you describe what a theme is for, this is for somebody that never heard of a theme. Can you define it for them?
Jason: Sure, sure. In WordPress, it called themes, in Joomla they called templates. I have no idea why we decided to call them templates and not themes.
Jesse: Is this a kinda like a little battle between WordPress and Joomla, like, just gonna call things different, you know.
Jason: I think in the beginning. So, what theme or template is it’s a
Jesse: Sure, and so far, you know, for people that are unaware, you know, yeah you can search for a theme or template and whatever you want it’s going to be all the nice pictures are there. So, you know, of course you want your own pictures, you want your own text in there, but yeah, if you would like: I sell sneakers, I need a sneaker theme. You can start there, and, you know, you replace those pictures over time but at least the content and the pictures match. It’s a very good start, I guess,.
Jason: Yeah, it is a quick start and I’m even like season web developers for themes nowadays, because not necessarily that I’m going to look for a certain on a theme for a shoe store, but, you know, I can just start to look and see what themes I like and what theme that might actually suit my needs, because as we know, as you seeing pictures, that’s really background images and the demo content that define what the website is about. So, it’s more about picking the layouts and stuff, this has really been a huge
Jesse: Yeah it is a pretty, amazing it’s amazing shortcut for people, that are just getting started online that, you know, I think people have this idea like: Wow, I’m going to start my site, it’s going to be hard, I’m going to have to get a developer, I’m going to have to code. And not really. Somebody’s already done the work, a theme developer, a theme author you know somebody like yourself is already did all the hard work and yes, you need to customize it afterwards, but It is really easy to get started online.
Jason: Yeah and it’s for me a just getting easier, I mean, with the domination recently of Wix and Squarespace, you know. A Wix has been around for years and years, but as technology changes, you know, it got better. I think when it started it was using Flash and things, now that Flash is gone, you know, it’s, and CSS3 and all the advancements in the web have made it a really easy experience now with
That’s really translating over as well into a Joomla and into WordPress. I mean WordPress is about to release Gutenberg, which is an editor, in which you can easily, you know, add blocks of content and
Jesse: I personally know just enough code to screw things up.
Richard: It’s like my Spanish.
Jesse: Yeah! And I like: Oh, I can probably delete this line. Oh, ups! It’s awesome to hear that, like, Joomla is able to take from the site builders, right. Wix and Squarespace, they’re making this super easy too, I mean, it’s easy, right. You just log in, and you start on the site, if Joomla can now adapt that, I see a big future there, that’s awesome.
Jason: Yeah, it’s huge, and it’s something that needs to happen. I mean, I’m giving a talk at the upcoming cPanel conference in October, and I’m just talking about page builders, because that’s really where it’s going and the thing about the page builders too is that, you know, these proprietary systems, like Wix and Squarespace, yeah, they are great, and they are wonderful, but they have taken out a whole industry of the small business for, say, Joomla; or, since they do their own hosting, hosting companies are not getting that, and, I mean, one of the big thing hosting companies, is not allowed to do huge enterprise stuff, they really just share hosting, as probably, you know, where the money is for them. So, I really see in the next five or ten years a dramatic change, and I look at it now, and going: If we can do this now, these page builders and things… There’s couple content management systems now, that are like an app, you can download it and you can do it on your computer, what happens, when, you know, Apple just include your website and use the iCloud to store your information, and yeah, it’s a dramatic change, it’s about to happen, I think.
Jesse: For sure, and, you know, where do you see it headed, I mean do you see those Wix’s and Weebly’s and Squarespace’s taking over a good chunk of that market?
Jason: Yeah, to start off with, and I think it’s really, a lot of people like inside the
Jesse: That’s interesting, that’s good, good take on it that. These easy DIY options are really just expanding the market, that there’s now more people can get online and, you know, like you said, they prove themselves, they prove they can make a little money now they got there enough money to pay a developer to take it to the next level, perhaps.
Jesse: So is that where you see Joomla, is that when Joomla comes in in that. Okay, maybe it’s not as easy as Squarespace, for instance, but if it’s not that much harder and if you want to build it for the long haul, this might be a better option?
Jason: Yeah I see it is that, because Joomla has a lot of interesting features that, you know, maybe these website builders might not have. Joomla is now in 75 different languages and that includes some different dialects and stuff. It is the the largest multilingual CMS that’s out there. It has a lot of the core stuff built into it. And Joomla is always been looked at as in the big three of WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. WordPress is always the easiest, Joomla was, you know, a little bit harder, you need to understand a little more and then Drupal, no it’s way too hard. And, I think Joomla had got a real name for being more difficult, because there were more options inside of Joomla.
Let’ say the blog. WordPress is very easy, you have a few options, when you look at Joomla you’ve got maybe 40 different options, do you want to show the date, do you want to show tags, do you want to do this, do you want to do that. It’s ridiculous how many options there are. It can be a little daunting, when you have more menu items than, you know, another CMS it can look a little daunting, but once you actually use the system and realize that the power that it has, you know, it’s a lot better and we’re actually moving toward Joomla 4, I think Joomla 4 will be out hopefully by the end of the year, if not — at the beginning of the year. It’s a complete overhaul of the on the back end of Joomla as far as the UX team has worked for a few years and settled on a better look for the administration, for better, for worse I’m not going to say it looks more like WordPress, it looks like Joomla but things are arranged a little more, you know, under a standardization. It’s going to be a lot more accessible for a lot more people.
Jesse: Got it. So, if people logging in for the first time to Joomla, they’re not going to be as overwhelmed as they might be right now where maybe that’s where that’s where the reputation came from?
Jason: Yeah, and with anything, I mean, anything somebody’s just starting out, it’s just a software program and that’s one thing people need to understand is that you’re not going to break everything. Try this menu link, see what this does, do that, I think most people now, I think that thing is really happening now, it’s just amazing to me is that, all these kids, all the stuff going on on tech, all these startups, all these young people that have grown up with the internet, with actually the internet being a thing. So, they don’t remember a time before, they’re not scared at all. They’re doing crazy stuff.
Jesse: That’s awesome. So is there any sneak peek on Joomla for the chicken talk about or is it a little hush hush?
Jason: Yeah, no, it’s available on the Joomla magazine on the Joomla.org, you can look up Joomla 4, there’s some screenshots. I believe with Joomla.org which are, it’s a launch.joomla.org, we just did that. It’s make sure it’s that: launch.joomla.org, that is where you can go ahead and set up a free Joomla site and from there I believe you can go ahead and Install the Alpha version of Joomla 4 and test it out and get some more or less It’s just a preview for our extension developers, because we really found in the past, you know, we had a few problems going from Joomla 1 to Joomla 2 with doing some big code changes and breaking things for extension developers. That’s happened probably about close to 8 years ago, but it is still kind of a sticking point with people. So, we’re trying to be very open with the decoding of Joomla and letting everybody know way in advance about what it’s going to do if it’s going to break anything and let people test, because that’s the worst thing to have is to have a website and you update to the new version of the software and it breaks everything. That’s really where Ecwid it’s a Wonderful solution for Joomla.
Jesse: For sure, I mean, one thing about Joomla is it’s not really known as an
Jason: Yeah, I think it’s a great system, you know there’s quite a lot of shopping carts out there for Joomla. One of the largest ones is called VirtueMart. It’s been around since probably close to the beginning of Joomla and it was a very robust system back when I was using it and I downloaded it I think I downloaded a
Jesse: You didn’t walk away and say: Oh, man, not about this.
Jason: No, it was an
But I think where Ecwid really shines is on the future of
Jesse: Yeah I think that’s something that, for people that use downloadable software,
Jason: Exactly and I think some of the real benefits are things that you’ve got are rolling out with selling your stuff on Instagram, Amazon just all these social network platforms. I’ve got a client that I’ve been building up a site for her and I was thinking about using the J2Store for Joomla and I had to actually sit down and have a conversation with her and find out: Do you want to sell your products on Facebook and Instagram and do you want to have a
Sure Joomla is robust and there are a lot of
Jesse: I think that’s the thing is people look at that: Well this one’s free, and I can just download it, right. That’s free, well yeah, it’s free, but how much is your time worth. Richard, do you have some questions?
Richard: There was actually, I mean, there’s like three things I was going to say, just don’t want to interrupt you. You kind of answered some of this already but I would just ask straight to the point, if someone is starting from scratch right now and they’re looking for CMS, why Joomla?
Jason: Why Joomla. Well Joomla is, like I said it’s the number 2 content management system out there. It is
Jesse: So, yeah, let’s talk about international as well. So, I know at least I understood the Joomla might be stronger internationally may be like in the Latin American World or is there areas where Joomla has actually the bigger install base?
Jason: Europe. I would say that probably the largest contributions from coders are in Germany. We have a huge community in Italy and Africa, on things are we outside of a very large presence because Africa is a unique situation because they’re just technological enough to have some really cool advancements, but It’s running around with the latest smartphone. They have some flip phones and conversation of how do
Jesse: That’s a good time to meet people that can help developers probably with business contacts and things like that.
Jason: Oh, definitely. It’s great because the conference is more or less divided into a couple different sections. I mean the goal is to inform people about Joomla and give people who don’t know a lot about it, give them a good basics and let them know of things that they should be doing and things they shouldn’t be doing. For intermediate people, it gives a great time to learn more about Joomla. The networking is fantastic, I think that going to a Joomla day is essential if you’re inside of Joomla because you get to meet so many people and especially if you’re somebody that if your are developer it’s great because you know you really don’t know who else is out there and what they’re doing until you know you get to sit down and find out and you know you might find your next business partner or you know your next team member.
Jesse: Yeah that’s perfect. I think that is a good reminder to entrepreneurs out there in the online world. You think you can just make everything from your office you know you can make magic from your office alone but it is good to get out there to meet people and talk to people and do happy hour.
Richard: Well sounds like you just want to get a happy hour, Jess. I was just saying, there is something about that
Jason: Oh, yeah! Because it’s a passion, I mean it really is a passion. I’ve been doing a Joomla day in Tampa, it’s Joomla day Florida. I’ve been doing that for 3 years now. We get over a hundred people and I do it normally in February or March which it’s kind of cold up North so a lot of people come from up North and we have people come from you know, Europe from last year we had Israel and Haiti and, many different areas and all come together and you know, like Jesse, I do like the after party, that is so nice.
Jesse: I wasn’t harassed at him in a bad way!
Richard: It is Friday, you know.
Jason: I just I really at this point, I love bringing new people into Joomla, it happens everyone, but you know, the Joomla people kind of like a family to me, so. I really like when I get the speaker’s come over and people that you know I haven’t seen in a year and I was so that’s why, so I like going to these events to more less then just hang out with all my friends now.
Jesse: Awesome. I hope we can bring some more Ecwid people into the Joomla community. I know it’s actually pretty big chunk of our business as well. I think maybe because there aren’t that many there’s really no hosted carts in the Joomla world and so Ecwid fulfills that need. I’m hoping more people at Joomla can hear about Ecwid and make their
Jason: They can find out more about me… they can follow me on Twitter is @jjoomla on Twitter. You can find out more about me on the Joomla website: Joomla.org under the community volunteer portal. You can look up the Joomlers that’s where everybody in Joomla is listed and my company is again is a JoomlaXTC.com. I’m also hosting a CMS Summit coming up on March the 14th to the 16th in Disney Springs Orlando, which we will be talking about Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, Ecwid, and BoldGrid, many different options for Content Management Solutions.
Jesse: Awesome! So everybody check out those options for Joomla. Particular that you’re looking for something with little more options for the future, that’s a perfect choice for you, so, Jason really appreciate it, Richard.
Richard: Thanks, Jason.
Jason: Thank you!
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