Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Went to a Joomla User Group yesterday to check it out. I've been aware of Joomla for a while as a leading open source PHP CMS but haven't had a chance to see how it compares with Typo3 or other CMSs I'm familiar with. I thought the user group would be a good chance to get a quick overview.

My first impression was that the interface was friendlier and more modern looking than Typo3's but as I saw more of the system I feel like its approach to managing content is less intuitive. I really like Typo3's strong sense of a page hierarchy. Joomla's user management was less flexible as well.

Most of the people at the user group weren't php developers and I can see the appeal of Joomla for someone who wants to avoid code. In comparison, Typo3 is much more of a developer toolkit. I think this gives it more power and flexibility at the high end though obviously at the cost of complexity and learning curve up front.

Since none of the people were deep php developers I didn't get to see the extension development side. I never build a typo3 site without custom extension work so that will be an important part of any CMS that I add to our toolkit. I was surprised to see that many extensions were commercial, I assumed that most would be GPL like typo3 extensions are.

I'll look at Joomla some more but I think if I want a system with less of a page approach than Typo3 that Drupal might be a better fit for the kind of sites I build.

Friday, November 02, 2007

A lot of people feel like the ASP.NET Postback model is awkward and hard to work with. If you've also been using non-.NET frameworks like Rails or CakePHP then you are probably even more frustrated with it. The closest option so far has been Castle, which appears to be a nice framework but for many MS oriented shops is too big of a leap, not just politically but because of its almost complete replacement of the rendering model.

Fortunately, MS has recognized the growing momentum and interest in the MVC approach for web apps and is releasing their own take on it. MS's tendency to always release their own version of popular open-source tools is usually irritating but in this case I think the approach is a big enough change that only MS can get the typical .NET-only shop to try it out. Additionaly, they are adding better support for using existing ASP.NET pieces and controls than Castle could.

Jeffrey Palermo, on of the leaders of the ALT.NET movement that has popularized the use MVC and TDD in ASP.NET has a positive overview of the new Framework in an article at CoDe Magazine. Check out "Use the ASP.NET MVC Framework to Write Web Apps without Viewstate or Postbacks" here.

Microsoft's leader of Developer tools, Scott Guthrie, also has this overview or even better, this video.