Installation of Joomla! is easy as can be. I’ve downloaded the tool on friday evening, and at the end of the same day I had it all up and running, changed the template, the menus and added some content.
But what is Joomla! exactly? It is an Open source spin-off of the commercial tool Mambo, and a very powerful Content Management System. This means that layout and content are stored seperately.
It requires PHP 4.2.x, MySQL 3.23.x and Apache 1.13.19 or higher.
The latest release can be downloaded from here or from the mainpage. The zipfile is just under 3 MB. You need to unzip it and upload it to your webserver or hostingprovider. Create a MySQL database and username, and open the install page in <installdir>/installation/install.php . After entering some parameters (like databasename, user password and db server), you are up and running. Yes, I said it was easy 🙂
This screenshot shows the administration interface of Joomla! with the different components. From this page you are able to install plugins and additional components, customize menus, categories and sections (in order to categorize the content), and manage media and users. All through a web interface of course.
The look-and-feel of the portal itself can be modified with self-made or freely available templates. These templates consist of a css page and an html page which allow for very precise adjustment of the final layout.
One project is started to make Joomla! Oracle compliant. Unfortunately, it all stayed with good intentions and no real work is done yet. It might be an interesting (and simple) alternative to Oracle Portal or other CMS. Because MySQL is pretty similar to Oracle SQL and because Joomla! is open source, it might be relatively easy to port it to function on an Oracle database. I have my questions though, for who this comes in hand. When you have Oracle Enterprise Edition (and most companies do), you got Portal for free. The other problem is, that the use for Joomla! does not require a large database. MySQL is big enough for the amount of data you will store behind a CMS like this.
My conclusion for now is that CMS like Joomla! are very convenient for amateurs and small companies (intranet or extranet), but at this time not very useful as a replacement to Portal or Sharepoint.