A couple years ago, if you would have asked me what I thought about Joomla! I would have told you I think they've lost their way. Their community of developers seemed to be searching on how best to innovate and take risks with a well established stable content management system. I feared that the open source group was stuck looking back and that all we could expect was dull incremental changes to their CMS. Despite the fear, I knew better. Open source communities have a way of reevaluating their priorities and creating spectacular results where you least expect them to do so.
In the second half of 2012, we started seeing something "new" from Joomla! As they started to embrace displaying and managing content on mobile devices, they also embraced the idea that not all core development has to be confined "in-house". With Joomla 3.0 they became the first major CMS that included the Twitter Bootstrap framework to help make their CMS better in the mobile arena. This week, Joomla! has turned the tables and now offers the opportunity for you to allow their framework to make your own web applications better. With Joomla Framework 1.0, Joomla! has proven that they're much more than content management but also a platform for developers to spread their wings.
The Joomla Framework is a new PHP framework (a collection of software libraries/packages) for writing web and command line applications in PHP, without the features and corresponding overhead found in the Joomla! CMS. It provides a structurally sound foundation that can be adapted and extended. This new initiative enables developers to more easily combine features from the Joomla Framework with features from other open source frameworks as they custom-build their own app or CMS.
“Joomla was built to empower developers to have more flexibility and options for their CMS and apps, and the new Framework takes this mission to a whole new level,” said Paul Orwig, president of Open Source Matters, a non-profit created to provide organizational, legal and financial support to the Joomla project. “While Joomla certainly has proven it has the features needed to power the web presence of some of the world’s largest web properties, it’s important that we not turn a blind eye to the amazing features other open source platforms offer. By enabling our features to be combined with other open source software, we are ensuring developers have the most powerful and flexible tools they need to make the digital world a better place.”
The Joomla Framework should not be confused with the Joomla CMS. In fact the Joomla CMS and the Joomla Framework are currently developed independently. You do not need to install the Joomla! Framework to use the CMS, nor do you need to install the Joomla! CMS to use the Framework Think of it this way, Joomla! is now supporting two product lines. There is the Joomla Framework providing tools for developers to build software for either the Joomla CMS or their own applications. Then there is the Joomla CMS which represents the Joomla open source community's best vision of what the end-user needs from a fully featured flagship CMS.
Some features of the Joomla Framework include:
According to the Joomla Framework 1.0 announcement embracing the release of the framework enables two major areas of growth for the Joomla! project:
First, it makes several packages, inspired by the demanding needs of the Joomla! CMS, available to the larger PHP developer community, paving the way to build new web applications and services. These packages are distributed via Packagist.org for use with Composer and can be combined with packages from other best-of-breed PHP frameworks such as Symfony, Zend, and Laravel. Web Applications built on a server with the Joomla! Framework will have the advantage of creating, managing and authenticating user accounts; retrieving, managing and displaying content retrieved from one or more databases; and taking advantage of many social media integration features. For example, the social media packages for Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter are well executed. They have a common API that interacts with each of the services, and offers good coverage of each service’s program interface.
Second, it allows a future version of the Joomla! CMS to be built upon this Framework and thereby benefit from the broader base of PHP developers that adopt and can contribute back to the Framework, as well as the dependency management features of Composer. The Framework will bring new rapid development tools to CMS extension developers that will allow them to create and maintain more sustainable and robust extensions.
Joomla developers believe that a new era of rapid web application development is ahead and the many lightweight, modular and decoupled packages within the Joomla Framework positions the Joomla! Project to be an even more prominent leader in the larger community of Open Source PHP solution developers. It also marks the beginning of opportunity for the Joomla! open source project to be involved in new innovative endeavors beyond the traditional content management system. The market is changing and Joomla! apparently wants to be part of that change.
Source: Joomla! Press Release - December 11, 2013 and http://framework.joomla.org/
Bryan Ruby is the owner and editor for CMS Report. He founded CMSReport.com in 2006 on the belief that information technologists, website owners, and web developers desired visiting sites where they could learn about content management systems without the sales pitch. Besides this site, you can follow Bryan at Google+ and Twitter.