Open source lessons

Hi Amanda,


Congratulations on SmartCompany moving to Joomla, an open source content management system.  How do I know it’s Joomla?  Well by clicking “File” then “View Page Source” in your web browser you can see the internal code that makes up the page. In the case of the SmartCompany home page, I can see the following line about three centimetres down:

  <meta name=”generator” content=”Joomla! 1.5 – Open Source Content Management” />

This tells me that SmartCompany is using the Joomla system, which I have written about before.

Having utilised Joomla plenty of times before, I think it’s worthwhile I give you a bit of advice, won with hard earned experience on modules and updating. 

Joomla is fantastic and has thousands of plugin modules you can use, but some thoughts on these modules: 

•1.                  If you use lots of modules, you increase the chance they can interfere with each other.

•2.                  Too many modules can also slow your website down dramatically

•3.                  When you update the core of Joomla, some of the modules may no longer work until an update for them comes out.

And in regards to updating:

•1.                  You need to do updates basically as soon as they are released, otherwise you dramatically increase the chance of your website being hacked.

•2.                  Updates come out almost monthly, so there is lots of update work to be done.

•3.                  See point three in the paragraph above.  You need to check your website regularly as there is a good chance updating will break something.

•4.                  If you don’t update it’s almost certain that you will get hacked.  Not because you are important, but because hackers scan millions of servers regularly to determine who isn’t running the latest version of Joomla so that they can exploit them.

This isn’t something to be scared of though, it was all basically happening before, but it was just hidden from you. And now you know this, you can keep an eye on your website people to make sure you are not being put at risk.

There is plenty of upside though:

•1.                  There are literally thousands of plugins available you can use.

•2.                  The basic product is free, robust and flexible.

•3.                  Support is much cheaper as you are not locked in with anyone and there are literally thousands of businesses that will support the product (and the learning curve is shallow for them).

•4.                  The product is constantly being improved by thousands of people.

•5.                  You get to take advantage of all the web 2.0 offerings.

Have fun with it.





Brendan Lewis is a serial technology entrepreneur having founded : Ideas Lighting, Carradale Media, Edion, Verve IT, The Churchill Club, Flinders Pacific and L2i Technology Advisory. He has set up businesses for others in Romania, Indonesia and Vietnam. Qualified in IT and Accounting, he has also spent time running an Advertising agency and as a Cavalry Officer with the Australian Army Reserve.
To read more Brendan Lewis blogs, click here





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