Joomla! is a free, open source content management system for publishing content on the world wide web and intranets. The system includes features such as page caching to improve performance, RSS feeds, printable versions of pages, news flashes, blogs, polls, website searching, and language internationalization. Joomla is licensed under the GPL, and is the result of a fork of Mambo.
The name Joomla is properly written with an exclamation mark as that is part of the name, but this is commonly omitted.
Joomla came into being as the result of a fork of Mambo by the development team on August 17, 2005. At that time, the Mambo name was trademarked by Miro International Pty Ltd, who formed a non-profit foundation with the stated purpose to fund the project and protect it from lawsuits. The development team claimed that many of the provisions of the foundation structure went against previous agreements made by the elected Mambo Steering Committee, lacked the necessary consultation with key stake holders, and included provisions that violated core open source values.
The development team created a web site called OpenSourceMatters to distribute information to users, developers, web designers, and the community in general. The project team leader Andrew Eddie, aka “MasterChief” wrote an open letter to the community which appeared on the announcements section of the public forum at mamboserver.com.
A thousand people had joined the opensourcematters.org web site within a day, most posting words of encouragement and support. The web site received the slashdot effect as a result. Miro CEO Peter Lamont gave a public response to the development team in an article entitled “The Mambo Open Source Controversy – 20 Questions With Miro”.
This event stirred deeply held feelings in the free software community regarding what shall constitute “open source”. Forums at many other open source projects were active with postings for and against the actions of both sides.
In the two weeks following Eddie’s announcement teams were re-organized and the community continued to grow. Eben Moglen and the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) assisted the Joomla! core team beginning in August 2005, as indicated by Moglen’s blog entry from that date and a related OSM announcement. The SFLC continue to provide legal guidance to Joomla! project.
On August 18, 2005, Andrew Eddie called for community input on suggested names for the project. The development team indicated that it would make the final decision for the project name based on community input. The name the development team chose was not in the list of suggested names provided by the community as it was chosen with consultation from a professional brand consultancy under the pay of Open Source Matters.
On September 1, 2005 the new name, “Joomla”, which is the English spelling of the Swahili (Arabic:جملة ,and Urdu: جملہ ) word jumla meaning “all together” or “as a whole” was announced.
On September 7, 2005, the development team called for logo submissions from the community, invited the community to vote on the logo preferred, and announced the community’s decision on September 22, 2005. Following the logo selection, Brand Guidelines, a Brand Manual, and set of Logo Resources were published on October 2, 2005 for the community’s use.
The first release of Joomla (Joomla 1.0.0) was announced on September 16, 2005. This was a re-branded release of Mambo 18.104.22.168 combined with other bug and moderate-level security fixes. Joomla version 1.5 was released on January 22, 2008. Joomla won the Packt Publishing Open Source Content Management System Award in 2006 and 2007.
The Joomla package consists of many different parts, which are built to be as modular as possible, allowing extensions and integrations to be made easily. An example of such are extensions called “Plugins”. (Previously known as “Mambots”.) Plugins are background extensions that extend Joomla with new functionality. The WikiBot, for example, allows the author of Joomla content to use “Wikitags” in Joomla articles which will auto-create dynamic hyperlinks to Wikipedia articles when displayed. There are over 2,900 extensions for Joomla available via the Extensions Directory.
In addition to Plugins, more comprehensive extensions are available. “Components” allow webmasters to perform such tasks as build a community by expanding user features, backup a website, translate content and create URLs that are more friendly to search engines. “Modules” perform such tasks as displaying a calendar or allowing custom code like Google AdSense etc to be inserted within the base Joomla code.
Since it has been around longer, there are more extensions available for Joomla 1.0 than for Joomla 1.5, although native 1.5 extensions are becoming increasingly available. Some of the older 1.0 extensions can be used with version 1.5 if it is set to legacy mode.
Joomla permits administrators to set global configuration parameters that affect all articles. Every page conforms to these parameters by default, but a page can have its own setting for each parameter. For example, you can elect to show the article author, hide the author, or simply go with the global “show author” parameter.
Joomla has an official and many unofficial communities. As of February 2008, the official Joomla forum has more than 260,000 threads and over 1.2 million posts from more than 170,000 registered members in 40 languages. Unofficial sites are published in many languages, often with Joomla extensions that are region specific. Bi-directional text support for the Hebrew and Arabic languages, for example, can be found on 3rd party community portals. Unofficial web developers also build extensions and web templates for commercial sale and offer freelance customization services. Usually a template is distributed as a zip file which can be installed using the Joomla installer.