10 years of Joomla!

It's hard to believe. August 17, 2015 marked Joomla's 10th birthday. 11 years ago in April 2004 I uploaded my first Mambo site. Mambo forked into Joomla a year later. Here's a quick look back over 10 years in business building Joomla - and a few Mambo - websites.

10 years of Joomla!

2004. Looking for solutions

In 2004, I was working in an unrelated industry and studying MCSD certification part time - Yes! A Microsoft certification. WTF was I thinking, eh?! I built a couple sites for friends and landed a few paying jobs pretty much by accident. This was when I first started looking into a CMS to support my projects and fell in love with Mambo. It was open source, easy to install, easy for end users to manage content and the best feature to me was how easy it was to template.

2005. A decision to specialise

Joomla forked from Mambo over a dispute between the lead developers and Miro who owned the IP. This was about the time I registered Viperfish Media and released my own website. At the time, I couldn't find a single freelance developer or agency in Australia who specifically offered Joomla development services. Most freelancers that I knew of used their websites to pretend they were big agencies and it seemed that admitting to using open source was taboo.

With the Viperfish website I decided to take a risk and promote myself as a freelance Joomla developer and I believe to this day that was the best business decision I made when starting out.

2006. The big leap

Joomla was picking up steam. The decision to specialise in Joomla was paying off. I was still working full time at my job and getting a few enquiries through the website.

Working days at a job for the money and nights on something I loved was getting tiring. This was when I was approached by a company who needed someone to help build and manage a handful of separate Joomla sites. They offered me a monthly retainer and I would still have enough time to service my other clients. This was the catalyst that helped me make the decision to quit my day job and launch Viperfish Media full time.

It's funny how everything aligns when you make a big decision. Within weeks I had several more clients and picked up a Government contract that lasted through to 2014.

2006 - 2010. A Joomla freelancer

I distinctly remember talking to an IT Manager about using Joomla for their website. He laughed and was completely serious when he asked "It's open source? What about security?" The corporate world seemed to frown on Open Source. Open source meant it was built by hackers, buggy and insecure. Convincing IT managers, force fed Microsoft and Citrix products since University, that Open Source is leading the way was a hard fight. Thankfully, smaller clients and web agencies were more open and quickly adopted open source software. For the next few years building templates for agencies was my bread and butter.

Joomla!1.5 was released in 2008. To me, this marked the first real Joomla release. Joomla!1.0 looked and felt just like Mambo with different branding. Joomla!1.5 was new and something to be proud of.

One of my clients was Jam Design in Perth. Their project manager at the time - Noah Greenstone - would pass their designs to me and I'd return a working Joomla site with their design converted to a Joomla template. Within a few years, that project manager and I would form Joomstore and my busy Freelance business would become a partnership that is still going strong today.

2010 - 2014. A new partnership

In 2010, Noah Greenstone and I formed Joomstore. Primarily, Joomstore was focused on providing services to help clients migrate from Joomla 1.5 to 2.5. It was a major task. It was labeled as an upgrade rather than an update. In reality it was more like a redevelopment. This forced upgrade and a very short 18 development lifecycle was a big set back for the Joomla community and many clients and developers looked for alternative solutions. Joomla has learned from this mistake and having worked with Wordpress and Drupal I can say that Joomla now has the easiest upgrade path than any of the top 3 CMS's. Joomla is booming. Now at Version 3.2 it's a mature CMS backed by a strong and dedicated community. Recognised as the second most popular CMS in the world and powering the web for home businesses through to large government agencies, blogs to ecommerce and everything in between.

The future looks bright. Sure, Worpress is dominating the world as the no.1 CMS. That is to be expected as it started it's life as a blogging platform and bloggers love to evengelise things they like. I prefer Joomla. It has a versatile framework allowing us to build virtually anything that can be imagined in a website.

Here's some stats.

  • Joomla has been downloaded over 50,000,000 times. [source]
  • 3.1% of the web runs on Joomla CMS .[source]
  • The Joomla codebase contains 477,371 lines of PHP code and 200,000 comment lines. [source]
  • The combined contribution effort to Joomla adds up to about 127 human years. [source]
  • At a development cost of $55,000 p/a (average US salary) Joomla would cost $6,960,988. [source]

2014. A small change in direction

It's still business as usual here at Viperfish. In addition, I've released my first commercial extension, a unique and comprehensive mapping extension for Joomla called FocalPoint.

Having built all sorts of extensions for clients over the years it's exciting to build and release our own. It also marks a small change in direction. Where providing a service to clients means I can only work on one thing at a time, releasing an extension adds a product to our business model. It's an exciting change and I'm looking forward to the challenges of maintaining and growing the extension and providing customer support.

2015. Giving back

September 30 2015. I launched this blog to spread the word about Joomla and help new Joomla users become better with this awesome CMS. Joomla is the best it's ever been and I believe it's the most secure CMS of the big three. It's perfect for small business and non-profits as it strikes the middle groud between the simple Wordpress and developer centric Drupal. What seems to be missing in the Joomla landscape is the enthusiastic promotion that Wordpress constantly gets as the go-to tool for evangelistic bloggers. Hopefully, this blog helps a little bit in that regard. 

Cheers! Here's to the next 10 years.

John PitchersSince 2005, I've supported my family working from home building Joomla sites for paying clients.

If you're a first-time Joomla user, or building a freelance career of your own, I'm sharing everything I've learned one post at a time.

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