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Case study Joomla

Creating a standard website with Joomla.

In 2007 CIDT was granted funds to create a website to integrate the data of 10 partnering organizations around the Mediterranean.

The project was named Electronic Network for Arab Western Understanding

Requirements for the website were:

  • bilingual (English / Arabic)
  • common repository for partners' documents
  • Forum for holding discussions
  • Online Chat
  • common search over all partners' sites
  • regular mailing of newsletters
  • glossary of commonly used words

In the basic configuration Joomla supplied only the basic necessities like managing users and groups, editing articles etc.

All other requirements had to be fulfilled by 3rd-party software (modules)

We decided on the following:

  • JoomFish(t) : provides for managing English / Arabic content. It has an intelligent mechanism which automatically detects if there were any changes in the English originals and displays them. It can handle several langauges and uses separate tables
  • DocMan: provides very intelligent management of documents of all types
  • FireBoard-forum component: provides forum
  • BlastChat: this is an Ajax chat, that uses BlastCaht server to maage chat. This means that for the chat your own server doens't need to carry the load.
  • Google Custom Search was configured to provide a common (reduced) search over all partners' websites (no Joomla component)
  • Letterman component for the newsletters. Function is basic, but satisfactory.
  • Glossary component for the glossary. Rating absic, but effective. Glossary automatically runs through every content and adds a box style explanation of the word to it.

This shows, that by using a minimum of external components, Joomla could be tailored to fit the desired concept with little cost.

Of course some testing was needed because in most cases there was more than one solution for the requirement, but by reading the users comments one had always a rough guess wether this component was suitable or not.

All these Joomla components use the well-developed Joomla API and there was only trouble once when an external component called Jomlapetition crashed our server.

Aside from the above mentioned additional components we used:

name           type                       used for             
  • Fabrik           component               database frontend access
  • JoomlaStats  component               statisticsof webaccess
  • perForms      component               for forms to be filled out
  • Project Fork  component               for managing projects
  • Security Images component          is the usually necessary to keep the robots away

To sum it up: I would recommend Joomla as the standard solution for the standard website which doesn't have very sophisticated requirements.

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