Joomla has taken a few lumps over the last couple years and briefly lost a little of it’s dominance in the marketplace of open source CMS systems. However, even though its growth slowed a bit there has been steady growth in market share and many new web sites coming to market using the Joomla CMS. In fact Joomla just reached 50 million downloads with the highest numbers proportionately for the latest release of the J3.x series. Joomla has never lost its position as the second most popular but rivals (I say that lightly) like WordPress, have seen a more significant boost in growth over the past two years. As to why, I think there are a lot of factors contributing but take note that Joomla is gearing up to seriously gain some forward momentum. Like any organization that has gone through growing pains the true survivors actually find a way to come out stronger in the end.
New leaders and getting better organized
The cool thing I am noticing with Joomla right now is that there is a vibrant and energized spirit among the community and new leaders have come in to carry the torch as others shift within the community to support other initiatives. This is opening the door for some new ideas and many opportunities for the community to reorganize. Joomla is well poised right now to attract more participation from a greater number of talented folks. There is a whole business minded side of the community that is emerging and this is inspiring the same level of synergy that has gone into building smart code and features to not only the “Joomla CMS” but the “Joomla framework” as well. The Joomla Framework is a powerful tool suite for rapid application development which has tremendous potential for the future of the Joomla brand. I think new leadership in Joomla is fully aware that they need to do more than build great software. They need to reconnect to the emotion and passion that has always inspired innovation to do great things and they need to do this across a diverse organization, inclusive of smart business savvy and against the backdrop of a strategic marketing plan.
Hanging on against great adversaries with tons of money
It is impressive to me that Joomla has been up against some serious contenders with deep pockets , yet has managed to maintain a strong hold and continued growth in the marketplace. Of the top three, Joomla is the “last one standing” as a community not held up in part by a well-funded commercial organization. Joomla, has recently done a lot to poise itself for meeting the challenges in the marketplace. In addition to building teams around marketing initiatives and defining better overall strategies and organizational structures they are rethinking and redesigning many aspects of their portals and communication processes to streamline efficiency. There is plenty of debate right now about if Joomla should align with either a commercial organization or take on paid staff for key roles. I kind of sit on the fence over these ideas because both sides of the argument seem to make logical sense. In any case Joomla is on the path to find what will work best for them to remain a relevant technology with a rich future.
Building a commercial arm for Joomla
One of the initiatives that I think is going to help boost the Joomla economy and engage a commercial arm of the community is bringing the service providers together. This has huge potential if they can find new ways to collaborate and cooperate on finding and nurturing business opportunities and new partnerships. If businesses are able to have more opportunities to build Joomla sites there will be more users and market share. If end users work with providers they have a greater chance of success. If providers can build partnerships they can do more for their clients and thus be able to help strengthen the capabilities of the Joomla community to “Do More”. Joomla has a thriving ecosystem and an extremely fun and talented bunch of folks to do business with. Joomla will gain serious market momentum if it can build their brand identity globally to mirror their popularity in Europe where folks say “Whom can I get to help me build my Joomla site” vs an Americana type approach were they would say “I need a web site what should I “Whom can I get help me with my web site.”
Introducing the NEW Joomla Resources Directory (JRD) – “Connect and Do More”
I am particularly excited that I have been involved in revamping the Joomla Resources Directory portal for the project http://resources.joomla.org. Along with a team of enthusiastic volunteers we have built an improved web space for end users to connect with “Registered Providers” whom are committed to the Joomla community. This means better service and support and better results overall for everyone.
The previous system while a good effort was lacking. So the new system has taken these lessons learned and added features to make it a better user experience for those searching for Registered Providers and the process for signing up to be a provider is significantly easier. The key element that will stand out other than an interesting GEO map navigation from our own GEO Radius Search extension is the whole “Connect and Do More…” badge concept introduced by our creative Director Fred Sarhadi. This badge concept models that of the Better Business Bureau where every provider is held to a strict standard of conducting business with ethical integrity and a strong commitment to the values of the Joomla Community. This whole repository has potential to grow into or at least encourage a consortium of like-minded businesses to partner on a variety of initiatives. There is room for taking on campaigns that could only be carried out by commercial minded group. If Joomla choses to remain without an official commercial entity or paid staff to back it this grouping of committed providers could be the next best thing. In the mean-time end users have a great resource to “Connect and Do More” with a Registered Joomla Provider. Let’s see what happens.
Blue skys ahead for Joomla 3.x
Joomla 3.3 is just around the corner (April 22nd planned release date) and this all leads up to a Joomla 3.5 long term release. Joomla is just getting better on so many levels. The J3.3 Do More release is perhaps the most stable and secure of all releases in the history of Joomla. It dramatically improves security, offers metadata for dominating SEO potential and has great new tools to further empower developers. Each of the 3.x releases so far has introduced extremely valuable and useful features for every user type. In fact did you know that Joomla was the first major open source CMS to introduce 2 Factor Authentication and Bootstrap libraries into their core. Take a look at some of the highlights: http://www.joomla.org/3. If you combined this great new software with an ever evolving enthusiastic and better organized global community, ”KODOS!” Joomla! you really have something to be proud of!
Rally the troops, get on the bandwagon, line up your ducks, fasten your seat belts and get ready to Rock-n-Roll folks there is a great ride ahead!
Joomla 1.0 was good, Joomla 1.5 was better, Joomla 2.5 was great but Joomla 3.x is FANTASTIC!