Thinking in Joomla

I’m not sure I’m capable of writing this article ATM, since I’m only starting to Think in Joomla, but it is interesting to realize that it’s a somewhat different cognitive space than WordPress was. I’ve spent a half-dozen years now mostly working in WordPress. It’s fantastic. A couple weeks ago I decided to try making a Joomla site. It’s frustrating because it seems to work similarly to WordPress, but different. The differences begin mostly as frustrations because you can’t, or don’t know how, to do what you want. But slowly as you begin to make sense of how Modules, Menus and other aspects of Joomla work, you start to move from frustration to empowerment.

But more than empowerment, the differences between Joomla & familiar WordPress seem to be invitations or opportunities to think differently about how you organize and present content.

Learning Joomla

  1. I’m lost, Modules & Menus are weird, why is it so complicated?
  2. Oh wow, this is a lot more flexible!
  3. Oh, it’s not just more flexible, it’s kind of a different way of thinking.

Note that this all feeds through Theme Flexibility (can use multiple, customize by menu item)

Is Activities vs Optional Meetups really a different way of thinking? You could have done the same in WP! But. Joomla plus this nice theme seem to invite you to think or organize this way, and the theme layout can customize for each item. Ultimately I think it’s part the flexibility of Joomla, part the value of this very simple, very visual template, and part just that being a bit disoriented is also an invitation to think about what you’re organizing and how you’re presenting it.

Of Blogs & CMS’

WordPress started as a blogging platform and blossomed into a powerful & popular CMS. But there still is a blog sort of LIFO sensibility to WordPress. Joomla has that Blog LIFOfulness too. But I feel like the way Joomla Menus & Modules interact to build output views is more empowering, less LIFO, and puts you more in the seat of managing content or organizing its presentation.

When you’re used to WordPress doing it for you with Blog View, Category View & Archive View, Joomla can be confusing and seem like more work. But getting through those steps feels like it’s helping me understand and visualize different ways of organizing and presenting content.

More Logic, Less LIFO

WordPress is very LIFO. Yes, you can slice content up by Categories, Tags, Custom Post Types, and more, but at heart WordPress is very LIFO. That’s not a bad thing. But it s a thing.

Joomla gives you many choices beyond LIFO for pouring content into a module. FIFO for starters, but also by Alpha, Reversa Alpha, by Author, by Hits, by Votes, by Ratings. On any given occasion these choices might be powerful, but simply by existing they encourage me to think about content in other than LIFO ways. There’s nothing bad about WordPress’ blog heritage, but Joomla is thinking differently.

By being able to load different content, ordered in different ways, into different modules, or even to display it with a different template or different parameters on the same template, I find myself starting to Think in Joomla. I’m thinking more about structuring the presentation of content. I did do this before in WordPress too, it is not night and day, but it does feel a bit different. A bit of new empowerment.

I started this post on 11 May ‘17 on, my 1st Joomla site. Now on 31 May ‘17 I’m moving & expanding the draft here to which is more of a development & documentation site, so that can focus on facilitating my summer Art 110 online course.