20 Thoughts for a Better Joomla

We have been working with Joomla for nearly a decade now (actually, more than a decade if you include the time we worked with Mambo), and we know it inside out. Joomla is a great CMS, and, in our humble opinion, it is the best CMS. Having said that, there is still room for improvement, and that’s why we are listing below 20 thoughts to make Joomla even better!

  1. Using jQuery instead of MooTools: If we had a time every time we fixed a problem on a Joomla website because of a jQuery conflict with MooTools, we’d have over a hundred dollars now! We really have no idea why the Joomla team insists on using MooTools instead of jQuery, despite the fact that the latter is much easier and much more widespread. Thankfully, Joomla 3.x is using jQuery instead of MooTools, but Joomla 2.5 is still using MooTools (it can always be disabled though), which means once Joomla 2.5 is phased out, this problem will be no more!
  2. Addressing the performance issues: As we have mentioned before, Joomla suffers from major performance issues inherent to its core. We’re not only talking about inefficient queries, but we’re also talking about inefficient queries that are run twice. We are also talking about costly (database wise) updates that take forever to be executed on large Joomla websites. These problems still exist in the latest versions of Joomla 2.5 and 3.x. Interestingly, most of these performance issues did not exist in Joomla 1.5, that’s why many Joomla administrators are still hesitant to migrate to Joomla 2.5/3.x despite the security risks they currently have on their Joomla 1.5 sites.

  3. Integrating a form builder in the core: An extremely used feature in Joomla is form building. In fact, about 50% of the websites that we work on use a 3rd party custom form builder. While some of these 3rd party extensions are excellent (such as RSForms!), it is a great idea to integrate a custom form builder in Joomla’s own core instead of having Joomla administrators shop around for an extension that does this job.

  4. Integrating a data export tool: If you want to export your data from one Joomla website to another, then you will soon find that it’s not an easy task, this is because Joomla doesn’t have a built-in tool for this purpose. You will have to jump through hoops to do the export, and quite often, the result isn’t impressive (e.g. the export doesn’t work as it should). Joomla must have a data export tool similar to the one that WordPress has, it’ll really make the life of many Joomla administrators much, much easier!

  5. Fixing caching: Caching in Joomla works, but, on the flip side, it can break the whole website. This is why Joomla administrators prefer to use 3rd party extensions to handle caching. Joomla must learn from these extensions to fix its own caching. It’s completely silly to disable Joomla’s own caching to use a 3rd party extension instead.

  6. Intelligent ordering of the plugins: If you’re not that new to Joomla, you probably know by now (the hard way) that the ordering of the plugins does matter, and that you must order your plugins the right way to ensure that your website works correctly. But knowing the right ordering is extremely tricky and can take a lot of time. Joomla must have the intelligence to automatically order plugins the right way. Of course, the Joomla administrator must still be able to fine-tune the ordering – but Joomla must have a functionality to intelligently auto-order plugins.

  7. Getting rid of the assets table: If there is one table that makes everything in Joomla much more complicated, it’s the #__assets table. We consider that table a step back, and not a step forward (it didn’t exist in Joomla 1.5, and it’s one of the reasons Joomla 1.5 is faster than 2.5 and 3.x). Not only does this table add unnecessary complexity to Joomla, it also causes serious performance and ACL issues. Joomla 1.5 was running very well without this table, so getting rid of it is not impossible.

  8. Better ACL: We always have at least a couple of calls every week from customers who say that they inadvertently broke their Joomla websites because they made changes to the ACL. In some cases, customers are no longer able to login to their Joomla backend because of their accidental ACL changes. We think that the current ACL gives too much rope for administrators to hang themselves – it’s just way too allowing. The ACL must be flexible, yes, but there must be some checks to ensure that whatever the administrator is doing will not break the website.

    Additionally, Joomla’s ACL, as it currently is, is quite complicated. It should be easier, much more easier than it currently is.

  9. Better SEF: Joomla has its own SEF engine, yet most websites, especially large and important websites, use 3rd party extensions to handle SEF. In fact, the majority of these websites choose the worst Joomla extension over Joomla’s own SEF! To its credit, we think that Joomla’s SEF plugin is extremely stable – it just isn’t flexible at all.

  10. Fixing the Redirect Manager: If anyone out there knows how Joomla’s Redirect Manager component works, please do let us know. For the life of us, we have never been able to make that thing work properly without modification to Joomla’s core. The Redirect Manager is clearly broken (or it might be that nobody knows, including us and those who created it, how to make it work properly).

  11. Fixing the Update Manager: The Update Manager is a critical feature in Joomla 2.5 and up. But, alas, it’s buggy. In fact, on this very day and at this very moment, we have many websites that are updated to Joomla 2.5.19 (the latest version), but the Update Manager is telling us to update to Joomla 2.5.18. Maybe it makes sense on a Bizarro planet, but here, on Planet Earth, it’s just weird!

  12. Using the JCE Editor by default instead of TinyMCE: We love JCE Editor, and our customers love it as well. We think that it’s way better than TinyMCE, yet Joomla still ships with TinyMCE as the default editor (instead of JCE Editor), even though it often has security issues, it has way less features than JCE Editor, and it’s not even remotely as flexible. We think that Joomla must use the JCE Editor as the default editor – it’s just a much better editor on all levels.

  13. Restoring the Preview functionality: Every time we migrate a Joomla 1.5 website to Joomla 2.5 or 3.x, the client asks us, “Where is my Preview button?”. Joomla made a wrong decision by dropping the Preview functionality in version 2.5 and higher. Of course, there are 3rd party extensions that can do that, but we think that this should be part of Joomla’s core.

  14. Allowing Joomla administrators to assign modules to a menu item from within that menu item: Assigning modules to a menu item from within that menu item is an extremely handy feature, and we’re surprised that Joomla still doesn’t have it. In fact, what Joomla has at the moment (in the menu item) is completely useless: it lists all the modules that the website has in the menu item, and next to each module it has “Yes”, “No”, or “All” (there is also no way to order by Display) – if you have a few dozen modules on your Joomla website, you will immediately know how annoying and useless this feature is.

  15. Overhauling the hidden menu concept: This concept is probably related to enhancing Joomla’s SEF. The hidden menu concept started as a workaround and now is an integral part of doing things in Joomla. We think that this whole concept must be overhauled in one way or another – again, if Joomla has a much better SEF, then we won’t even need this workaround in the first place.

  16. Integrating a built-in firewall: The majority of Joomla hacks that we fixed could have been prevented if Joomla had a built-in firewall. The firewall would just have to filter the input and check the files uploaded to the system (weeding out malicious uploads). Note: At itoctopus, we have developed a mini Joomla firewall that we are using for our own clients (on top of the other security features we have implemented for them).

  17. Adding the Extra Fields functionality to content items: K2’s extra fields are very powerful and very useful, it is extremely odd that Joomla doesn’t have the equivalent in its content items. In fact, if you want to extend a content item, you will need to modify Joomla’s own core, which is not a great way of doing things! This feature is pretty handy and most Joomla administrators need it!

  18. Built-in SEO tools: While Joomla allows you to individually set the meta information (such as the meta description and the meta keywords) for content items, it will not automatically generate them. It also doesn’t add canonical links to the HTML code. Joomla must do these things – users shouldn’t need to download 3rd party extensions to do that!

  19. Ensuring that the installation of an extension will not break the website: Joomla is notorious for allowing 3rd party extensions to break the website. We think that Joomla must implement a mechanism to check whether an-about-to-be-installed extension will break the website or not, and if it will, then Joomla must not allow the installation to go through. Of course, we reckon that it’s extremely hard (but not impossible) to implement this functionality, but, at the very least, Joomla must have an easy way to revert to the previous stable state if a newly installed extension breaks the website (more or less like the Windows Restore functionality).

  20. Ensuring that an about-to-be-installed extension is secure: Before allowing an extension to be installed, Joomla must first scan it to check whether 1) it contains some malicious code and 2) it adheres to Joomla’s security standards. This is not as hard as it seems. Yes – installing an extension will take a bit more time, but that time will definitely be worth it.

There you go – this is our list for a better Joomla. If you think of something else, then please add it in the comment section below. And, as usual, if you need help on your Joomla website, then please contact us and we’ll get back to you instantly. Note that our super affordable fees apply.

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