Tutorials, reviews, case studies and other tips to help website owners and website developers master the Joomla content management system.
Joomla's greatest threat
Right now, Joomla is enjoying a great run. It has been downloaded 30 million times. Joomla is estimated to power 2.7 percent of the web, including over 3000 government sites. The new six month release schedule means new features are constantly being added. And if you want even more functionality, you have over 9000 options at the Joomla Extensions Directory. The future is looking bright, so what could possibly go wrong?
Despite its strengths, Joomla is far from perfect and there are hundreds of other content management systems. Could one of these overcome Joomla's shortcomings and popularity to become the next big thing? Wordpress is still the other big player, but despite the fact it now includes the ability create custom document types, it is still seen by many as a blogging platform rather than a full-blown CMS. Wordpress would need to make significant changes to its platform to match Joomla's flexibility. Given that the best thing about Wordpress is its easy-to-use interface, they would be mad to make such a drastic change. Wordpress and Joomla are essentially different tools and this is unlikely to change much in the short-term.
It would take a lot of work for an existing CMS to match the heights and traction of Joomla. But what about a threat from a new, big player? Is there an organisation willing to spend big money to perfect and conquer the online web development platform? Let's look at some contenders.
Adobe has already entered the CMS space through the purchase of a popular platform called Business Catalyst. Being a closed platform, you can't tinker with the code as you can with Joomla and you're limited to the features that Adobe chooses to provide. Unless they happened to go open source, they are unlikely to threaten Joomla.
The Facebook strategy is to pull everyone off the rest of the web and keep them at Facebook. No threat here.
Frontpage anyone? Microsoft does not have a good history when it comes to web development tools and more recently they have shown an interest in open source solutions. Their latest application, WebMatrix, includes a framework to develop a Joomla site locally. To support Joomla (and others) within their own tool suggests they're pretty unlikely to develop their own platform.
This is the first contender who could be a real threat, but only because they have a ton of cash. Their only real offering to date is Google Sites which compared to the rest of their applications, is pretty disappointing. The features are quite limited and there is no way any serious developer would use it to build client sites. But what if Google decided to build the world's best platform and encourage their legions of fans to contribute their own apps? It could happen. But after the Google Wave debacle, I seriously doubt they have the expertise. Google remains best at search. And Gmail. And Docs. And Maps. But would they be able to build a successful web development platform? I don't think so.
And folks, we have a winner. Let me make it clear – I am no Apple fanboy. And for every one person who loves Apple, there are two who hate them. But they have the cash, the smarts and a successful model (App Store) that could be used to build a content management system that works. It might seem absurd to compare the open source platform of Joomla with the famously closed source model Apple uses. But if they got the "core" right and provided enough flexibility to manage important features, it could be a legitimate threat. Imagine having a hosted platform, updated automatically and thousands of apps that have been vetted by a real person.
Could it happen? Does this fit into Apple's overall business model? Would you use an Apple-powered CMS? Leave your thoughts below.