Bulding A Joomla-Based Intranet
February 12, 2007 5:18 PM   Subscribe

Is Joomla a good solution for the CMS of a mid-sized non-profit's intranet? I've taken a look at the product and think it would work, but would love to hear about any firsthand experiences.
posted by boombot to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
We are using Plone internally, migrating off Sharepoint. ~150 employees.
posted by SirStan at 5:28 PM on February 12, 2007

I recently tried out Joomla as a no-cost solution for an election campaign website. I found it incredibly easy to use, user-friendly, community-supported, and backed up with lots of handy plugins written by the community.

I have several projects in the pipe (I run a consulting agency working exclusively with non-profits for social change), and I will continue to recommend Joomla. On setup, it does require some advanced help, but it easily handled multiple logins, different categories of user (e.g., author, editor, admin).
posted by mrmcsurly at 5:38 PM on February 12, 2007

Hmm ... didn't intend to self-promote with the link ... just wanted to give you a live example. Apologies.
posted by mrmcsurly at 5:41 PM on February 12, 2007

I just moved a site over to Joomla, and I found the process to be easy and somewhat uncomplicated. Some of the features I consider "core" features are only available through extensions, but it definitely meets the requirements I set forth. The only real complaint I have is that the main distribution has no ACL support, so all "editing" and "publishing" rights are global, rather than being set for individual areas, like you can do in Plone.
posted by headlessagnew at 5:59 PM on February 12, 2007

I manage a site that uses Joomla and I really don't like it. It's often difficult and finicky for non-technical oriented people to use.
posted by Staggering Jack at 6:54 PM on February 12, 2007

I briefly tried out Joomla and drupal on my site. In my brief time with them I found them both full featured but drupal a bit easier to use.

They both ended up being more than I needed so I settled with wordpress.
posted by bitdamaged at 7:13 PM on February 12, 2007

Isn't there some sort of intercine drama between Joomla and Drupal? One of them is the commercialized version, the other is free / open source? Googling will probably tell you in 15 seconds which is which, I just thought someone might want to also comment on that.
posted by intermod at 7:31 PM on February 12, 2007

What are you trying to do on your intranet? What are the goals, common tasks to be performed, and type of users who'll be working with the system?
posted by anildash at 8:49 PM on February 12, 2007

Joomla and Mambo are the estranged Siamese twins. Drupal is and always has been a whole nother codebase.
posted by Good Brain at 8:56 PM on February 12, 2007

Response by poster: I would call the intranet's aim's fairly vanilla - departmental pages, some forms, a front page with a slightly different look than everything else (where news would be posted), a strong search that would include the site and employee database.
posted by boombot at 9:09 PM on February 12, 2007

Joomla and Drupal are both leading open-source CMS packages, and while some users are fiercely loyal to one or the other, the developers just seem to have a very friendly rivalry.

The forums for each product are full of testimony and comparisons, but it usually boils down to: Joomla is a bit prettier out of the box, and easier to get a nice looking basic site up in a hurry, while Drupal has a more sophisticated and flexible architecture that's a bit more effort at first but allows for more scalability and high-end options.

I have not used Joomla extensively, as I like Drupal's flexible taxonomy and user-access-level features for building community sites with many participant/contributors. Joomla is supposed to be an easier way to go, though, for the type of site that has a smaller team of authors posting content for readers.
posted by Tubes at 12:47 AM on February 13, 2007

I use Joomla for a number of sites, (one of which is a charitable, academic organisation with government funding), since for some unknown reason I got along with it better than Drupal. And that seems to be about it as far as I can see.

The mods and addons and such can be very powerful, inlcuding offering wordpress and various image galleries and the like, and it's an easy install and once you know howto control the contents it's fairly powerful in and of itself.
Can't complain really.
posted by opsin at 4:05 AM on February 13, 2007

Also, seeing as you said intranet, it is possible to add more powerful user management setups to Joomla, which might be of use.
I was using this to connect the logins of both Joomla and SMF (the forum), so they worked conjuctively.
This said, is a wiki not more suitable?
posted by opsin at 4:10 AM on February 13, 2007

Just a general comment: Joomla is an impressive CMS. It's free, it's got a robust community behind it, and it's highly cusomizable. That said, there is a learning curve to it -- at least in my experience.

Still, if you don't mind putting a little work into learning it, Joomla worth a hard look.

posted by gb77 at 4:36 AM on February 13, 2007

I've got ~8 sites or so powered by Joomla. I <3 it. the biggest drawback in the current codebase is the lack of more specific usergroups for the purposes of setting permissions. there's a core hack to address this, but it's not recommended for the uninitiated. i tried drupal for about half an hour, and went running back to joomla...or, well, it was still mambo at that point.br>
To be more specific, there *are* usergroups, but they're extremely hierarchical, each is above the previous, and all related to publishing, they're also sitewide. So, if you flag someone as a publisher, they can publish site-wide, not section specific. Kind of a major drawback, and lots of us are unsure why it hasn't been addressed yet. Supposedly, that's changing in the next version though...
posted by TomMelee at 7:27 AM on February 13, 2007

It totally depends on what you want to achieve. If you have a lot of news, a more blogging oriented tool like WordPress in my opinion is easier to use. I've used Mambo on my own site for a while and have created two Joomla sites for companies. Those companies were totally happy with the results, and they enjoy the administration pages of Joomla. But personally, I think WordPress is more intuitive and easier to extend. And you don't even need to see your blog as the homepage if you don't want to. With WordPress 2.1 Ella that's even more easily patched than with older versions. Good luck at any rate!
posted by hz37 at 3:38 PM on February 13, 2007

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