We have discussed before the use of Joomla for Law Firms: How Joomla is used in a law firm environment, what are the basic features for a Joomla website in such an environment, and what are the extra features that some users ask for. We will discuss today Joomla websites in a university environment.
In our decade of Joomla (previously Mambo) work, we have installed, customized, and secured Joomla for many universities. We have seen what are the features that these universities ask for, what are the issues that they were facing with Joomla, and what is their level of satisfaction with this CMS:
What are the features that universities ask for from a Joomla website?
Following are the common features that are asked for by almost all universities from a Joomla website:
- Moodle integration: If we had a penny everytime we are asked to integrate moodle with a Joomla website, we’d be ultra rich. Moodle is really hot in a university environment (we will write a separate post on how to integrate moodle with Joomla), and we are always asked to integrate it.
Securing the website: Nearly all universities that come to us with a Joomla job ask us to secure their website. The things to check for are the following 1) SQL injection, 2) XSS vulnerabilities, and 3) Permission issues. We usually accomplish this using Acunetix (note: we have written about Acunetix and Joomla before).
Social network integration: Currently, all universities are trying to appeal to their students by integrating social features into their websites. For example, the adding of the “Like” button and the integration of Facebook Login. We usually integrate social networks by either writing our own extensions or integrating 3rd party extensions depending on the university’s needs.
Mobile version: We think that in the near future, most of the traffic coming to any website will be mobile traffic (e.g. traffic coming from a mobile phone), universities share this prediction with us, and most of them ask us to ensure that their Joomla website has a mobile version as well, and that this mobile version can work perfectly on all 3 main platforms: iPhones, Android phones, and Blackberry phones.
Document management: Nearly every university asks to integrate a Document Management extension with their Joomla website. Docman is a favorite, but we have integrated several other document management extensions as well.
Enhanced search functionality: We are often asked to develop an enhanced search functionality. For example, the search results should not only search the pages of the website, but also the documents that are uploaded to the website.
Additionally, some universities ask us to integrate APIs having to do with communicating with their students and/or their staff (for example, sending them SMS when a special activity is announced). We have also been asked, several times, to integrate payment processing into some of the websites
What were the issues that universities were facing with Joomla?
One of the top issues that we saw universities facing with Joomla (and coming to us to fix it) is speed, this is because their websites handle a lot of visitors per day and are usually loaded with “heavy” features (that will slow them down even further). We solve the problem and make their Joomla websites faster by analyzing the root causes of the slowness and by devising solutions that counter this slowness (such as caching, optimizing code, or even recommending a faster server).
The other top issue that is of concern to universities using Joomla for their websites is security. Joomla, in and for itself, is secure, but quite often the 3rd party extensions are not. Since we are the Joomla security experts, we fix all the security issues with each and every website, and then we run a 3rd party scan (that sometimes takes 2 days) to check that the website that we have secured is officially secure.
What do universities think of Joomla?
Since we have worked with many universities on their Joomla websites, we can transparently transmit their feedback about Joomla:
- They think Joomla is efficient and powerful. They just can’t believe how much can be achieved with so little time.
- They think Joomla becomes easier the more they work on it.
- They think that they can do anything with their Joomla website (from accepting payments, to allowing students to register courses, to integrating social networks).
- They have no plans of changing to another CMS/platform, mainly because they’re very happy with Joomla.
We can’t think of anything negative that universities said about Joomla; as stated above, all seem to be pretty satisfied with it (so we can say, with confidence, that the level of satisfaction with their Joomla websites is high).
If you are a university that wants to use Joomla or is already using Joomla and wants to secure it/speed it up/add some features, then go ahead and contact us. We’re here to help, and we even have a 24/7/365 Joomla emergency service, so you’re never left on your own!