Joomla! is in the Content Management family and ranked in the top three in nearly every list or poll. The software is very capable of handling even the largest of websites and does it in a very modular and usable way. Joomla is best known in the web world for being developer friendly and more easily styled than other software in the same category. There are near unlimited possibilities with content placement structure and a variety of display options that allows one with a little creativity boundless options. Joomla is also Open Source, meaning that it's free to use and open to customization. You are provided with the full source code.
With the ability to build on top of the core system, there are a large number of extensions that can be added to a site to make it more versatile. This is a great software for a business site to be built on as there are so many style and content placement options coupled with easily published and unpublished settings for every content item. A site built with Joomla can also act as a content repository and has user permission levels that can be leveraged for "employee only" viewing or "public" viewing.
Since this is a database driven software using MySQL, it can be a very dynamic foundation to build on. If you have frequent updates or additions to be made, multiple people contributing content, or constantly rotating content, this is a system that can handle it with ease.
Because Joomla is easy to work with, it can be coupled with other systems like phpBB3 to create community or social sites. There are several registration options, including not allowing registration or only administrators adding new members, and a login sync between Joomla and a forum to avoid dual login situations.
Features available in the core software:
- User Management - Version 1.5 has limited access levels that you can assign to various users all with various permission and view settings. Version 1.6 will have a very fluid and customizable user access control level system with added flexibility.
- Authentication - LDAP, OpenID, and Gmail
- Media Manager - Allows you to create and organize directories and also upload any file type you want. It also allows you to access the directories from within the article or module editor so you can easily pull in any graphics.
- Language Manager - The core software includes many languages and each user can choose their own language for the Administrator Backend. There are extensions that assist with translation edits for frontend multi-lingual viewing.
- Contact Management - Each user can be assigned to a contact page with a contact email form on it. You can categorize these pages for front end viewing.
- Polls - You can create any polls you want and publish and unpublish them as you wish. They can be displayed in any module position and provide a results page so you can easily see vote counts.
- Search - The search feature works well and can be extended upon with many features.
- Web Link Management - If you have a set of links to reference pages or just links for fun, these pages can track the clicks you get for each one.
- Content Management - This is the focal point of the software and has extreme flexibility in how you can manage, organize, and display the content you enter. There are numerous ordering structures and display features you can easily turn on and off to help get the right display for your site.
- e-mail cloaking - to prevent spam bots from picking up email addresses listed on any page.
- Core Modules - most popular articles, latest news items, newsflashes, related articles, and more.
- Syndication and Newsfeed Management - produces RSS feeds of various types on any pages you specify as well as displays any RSS feeds you'd like to show.
- Menu Manager - One of the best features in Joomla, this allows you to configure your menu any way you want and to create menu links to any item or layout in your system. You can custom style each and every menu link as well.
- Template Management - Probably the most popular feature for developers as the templates allow for tons of flexibility and also allow for using different templates on different pages.
- Caching, granular-level module caching, and GZIP page compression - These can greatly speed up a webpage and search engines now look to see if websites have these features enabled. Joomla allows various content items to have their caching rules set individually, so a login area would not be cached where as an article would be.
It's difficult to recommend a different software for a site without feeling like you'll be sacrificing something great Joomla has to offer. If you're in doubt or on the fence with what to choose, this is a great place to start.