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Joomla Development Insights

Joomla Development Insights

Thoughts on development and Joomla from John Hooley, senior Blue Bridge developer.
Feb
18

Squarespace vs Joomla: The Non-Tech Comparison

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I was chatting with a potential client about their website and their goals recently and asked whether they had any questions.

They said, "Why should I use Joomla over Squarespace?" It's an interesting question many people are considering in light of Squarespace’s popularity in the website creation space.

It's especially thought-provoking when you consider that a Squarespace website is many times cheaper than having a company like Blue Bridge develop your site.

In this post, I explain the key benefits and drawbacks of using a service like Squarespace.

Easy Comparison

There is a US company that provides everything you need to take care of your dog. It includes dog food, emergency veterinary visits, and all the shots and vaccinations your pet requires.

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In exchange, you pay a monthly fee. As a dog owner, this is very attractive to me- my lab Sunny has had some knee buckling vet bills.

This is a service-based model, where you pay a recurring amount and a business handles a problem for you.

Squarespace works the same way, but with software. In the industry, this is called Software as a Service, or SaaS.

It's a successful model because it solves a common problem at scale, like a web design firm building websites for tens of thousands of people a year instead of just ten to twelve.

One Size Does Not Fit All

The most important part of the equation when comparing Squarespace to Joomla is that Squarespace solves a common problem.

As soon as your needs deviate from the norm, you're going to feel the walls of the service Squarespace provides. This service works how it works and they're not going to change things even to satisfy your smallest slightly different requirement.

Joomla, on the other hand, is an open system that anyone can work on, improve, and modify to their needs.

In fact, some of the core value that Joomla provides is its nuanced extensibility to be the Swiss Army knife of platforms.

Many solutions to more uncommon problems are published for others to use and it has an extensive directory with thousands of solutions to address a cornucopia of situations.

This brings up the other main benefit that a platform like Joomla has over a service like Squarespace: there is an open system of providers creating a much larger range of possible solutions.

Look and Feel

The look and feel of your website is very important. Regardless of your needs, you need your website to scream your brand in everything about it.

When I recently counted, Squarespace provides 67 beautiful templates that allow you to customize, to an extent, when it comes to your particular need.

There are hundreds, if not thousands of, beautiful (and ugly) Joomla templates available. It is also possible for a designer to create a custom template unique to your market to set your website apart from the crowd.

If I don’t like the way my dog looks or his grooming that is a part of the whole vet service, it’s what you get.

To compare this back to dog food, if my dog doesn't like the food or has an allergy to it, the service no longer works for me.

In the same vein, if I don't like the vet that the service provides me, I can't go find my own and expect the service to cover them.

What Can Your Website Do For You?

Recently, I have been looking into taking my dog to agility training to exercise her mind and move our relationship to the next level.

Websites are related to this in that each website can have different things it can do. There is a huge variety of things websites can do down to the tiniest of details thus, some are geared towards e-commerce and some are news article sites.

In Squarespace’s interface, everything you can do to a site is built in and there is really no room for additional things to be added. For example, their e-commerce has about 2 extra steps to click before actually purchasing a product.

As alternative Joomla plugin abilities are extensive and unlimited. There is a whole market out there of developers making plugins and extensions that allow the website to do anything a site owner could imagine.

You just need to imagine it.

Considering Modifications

When you imagine what your website can do, being restricted by the code that needs to be written with what you need is a frustrating endeavor, especially coming from a developer standpoint.

The worst has to be during the creation of your website, you imagine that you are able to have that one specific thing done. At the completion, it is unable to be made because Squarespace just doesn’t allow it to happen or the look isn’t what you were going through.

I can promise you there is no editing of the code that makes up a Squarespace site that can be done to edit whatever it is you need to be edited, thus scraping your entire website plan and starting fresh.

Being that Joomla is a Content Managing System (CMS) it is very possible to edit the code that makes up the site to your specific needs.

Website Size

One huge consideration is the sheer size of your website, especially if you are a larger corporation or have a lot of pages and content.

There are restrictions on Squarespace with how much content you can have per page, like the number of blocks and indexed pages.

The maximum number of pages they allow is 1,000 but they recommend you don’t go over 400 pages because that severely slows down the site.

The size you are able to have on a Joomla is much larger, in fact, there might not be a cap specifically. It is dependent on your hosting packaging and can get to quite large.

Bottom Line

This isn't to say that from my perspective Joomla is the solution for everyone.

On the contrary, I would recommend a service like Squarespace to many mom and pop's businesses and anyone else who has very straightforward needs and is willing to put in a bit of work on the project.

There is a lot of value there for a large segment of users and what Squarespace does provide is of high quality.

However, if your website is a core part of your business model, it's almost certain that you have several unique requirements and you would be wise to carefully consider the limits of growing a site in a closed system, like Squarespace.

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11034 Hits
Apr
29

Opensource Security Risks Explained

Opensource Security Risks Explained

Heartbleed made national news recently. If you're not familiar with it, a vulnerability was found in an open-source software library used by most of the web to transmit information securely. This affected credit card transactions and usernames and passwords and had the potential for serious abuse. It has a lot of people wondering how good of an idea it is to use open source security and whether open source applications, like Joomla, are secure. In this post, we'll explore how the "openness" of an application affects its security.

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5585 Hits
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Software is Tough

Software is Tough

Kathleen Sebelius is the secretary of health and human services for the Obama administration. If you're outside the US, or not a news hawk, she's currently in the spotlight because of the trouble laden rollout of the Affordable Care Act. A key component of the execution of the act is the ability for citizens to browse, review, and purchase health insurance through government operated websites. Since going live, many of the websites have shown themselves to be bug ridden and unable to fulfill their core function. Mrs. Sebelius is currently being attacked by pundits and politicians for these technology failures. I'm not interested in commenting on the political nature of the healthcare act, however I think there are some simple lessons to be taken away from the program rollout.

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