Our Joomla Developer series continues with setting up the ideal environment to create beautiful Joomla CMS code.
In this short video we’ll continue our setup process for organizing our work environment in order to create beautiful code. It should be noted that the best way to write good code and structure things properly involves establishing the right foundation.
Lesson 3: Code Versioning and Backups
Accompanying Slides for JD101: Lesson 3
Previous Posts in Series
May 12, 2014
Choosing the Right CMS Tool
It’s happened to me many times before. I’ve been stuck needing to unscrew the back off a toy to replace the batteries. I have no screwdriver handy so I begin to look for alternatives nearby. The result is mostly an extreme sense of frustration.
I smile while writing this because it happened to me not that long ago. I tried jamming my key into the narrow opening and blindly twisting in hopes I’ll loosen the screw just enough that I can then unscrew it easily and replace the battery. First, my key barely fits down far enough (side note: why do they make those screws embedded so deep anyway?), second, now the key is far enough down but I can’t tell if I’m able to jam it into the Phillips screw and get enough traction to turn.
In the amount of time I waste trying to turn my house key into a screwdriver I could have just as easily gotten up, walked to my work bench and picked up the right screwdriver. So why didn’t I?
Many times when working on a web project I’m asked what tool (CMS) I’m using. This is a valid question and one I attempt to answer thoughtfully. Although it can be incredibly tempting to pick the system I currently favor, of the one on must comfortable using. Is it ok to have a favorite? Of course, is almost impossibly to not have a particular way of working and specific tools you prefer to use. It is vitally important you’re choosing the right CMS.
What tools are we talking about using? Well usually the important one which everyone wants to know is the content management system. Which popular system is being implemented to manage the content of the website?
A better question
Sometimes I find this a funny question when asked which CMS I’m using. The better question I think is – are you using an open source CMS? Let me explain what I mean. I consider this to be a bit of a poor comparison but maybe it can be helpful.
If I’m preparing for a race and am given the choice between a sports car and a military tank you’d think I was insane if I didn’t choose the car. However, if I was then asked to pick between three or four different styles of sports cars that is a much different decision. More than likely each car would have different benefits and you would all have different opinions on which is the most appropriate. More questions might be asked, what does the course look like? How long is the race? Etc..
This is how I see the question about which CMS I use. Isn’t the choice of an open source system (sports car), a much better choice than a close source, proprietary, tank? The differences between the type of car should be dependent on the factors of the particular race.
You are the expert
Each content management system has a unique set of benefits and challenges. Each web project has a unique set of requirements. You are hired because you are the expert. As the expert you are trusted to listen and understand the needs of a job and then select the appropriate tool. The tool should not simply be your favorite. It should be the best for the job. If that means you must get up and “walk” to the workbench to retrieve the best tool – do it. You, as the expert, should have a strong knowledge of what systems are available, how they should be used, and when one is superior to another. This is your job. This is what makes you the expert. Don’t neglect your responsibility.
It’s not a competition
Too often I fear the open source content management system is viewed as a competition. A fight for dominance in a “micro” space. This leads too quickly to selecting the wrong tool for a job, and the client will suffer. As the expert you are expected to choose the best solution for them; not just the tool you like. You do a great disservice to the client when you do this. But you also hurt yourself.
More work than necessary
Yes, I said it hurts you too. Here’s why. When you choose the wrong CMS and select something close by (remember me with the kid’s toy) you will work much harder and much longer than necessary. Sure if you’ve given me enough time I could get the back off that toy with my key. Similarly if you are given enough time you could complete the job with the wrong CMS. But at what cost? You’ll have spent much more time then you might otherwise have needed to spend. You will do more work than necessary.
Save time by thinking
Take time before beginning a new project. Listen to the needs of your client and then stop and think. Think about which tool is most effective for this particular job and what will fit the needs most appropriately. If it becomes apparent that your favorite CMS (you know, your personal favorite) is not the best solution – don’t hesitate to stand up, walk over, and select the right one from your workbench.
April 27, 2014
The Future of Content Management
Here’s a presentation put together discussing how the ever-changing internet has affected the CMS market space. 10 key factors every CMS should address.
March 15, 2013
Targeting Mobile Devices
This keynote was given in Nairobi, Kenya at a JoomlaDay event. The focus of the discussion was how to best plan and execute a mobile friendly website. Building a mobile friendly website and application is critical in today’s world.