Joomla has long been a popular option as a content management system, and has been used to run many large sites and business portals. Traditionally, Joomla has competed well not only against fellow open source CMS products such as Drupal and Wordpress, but also against commercial content management products.
But, despite this success, Joomla has had a few major weaknesses, especially when it came to user management and access permissions.
However, the recent release of Joomla 1.6 has gone a long way towards addressing some of these issues, and should strengthen the appeal for those businesses and sites looking for a capable and open content management option.
When I first launched the browser-based administration interface for Joomla 1.6, it seemed both familiar and different. The overall layout of the initial screen is basically the same, but has added a few new capabilities and a slightly different look and feel.
From a site organization standpoint, one of the biggest and most welcome changes in Joomla is the removal of the old and limited Sections system (which was essentially limited to two levels of site organization) and the addition of a new Categories system. With the new Categories, I could create unlimited levels of nested content within my sites.
Another major new capability in Joomla 1.6 is the Access Control Level system for managing rights and permissions within the system. This isn't exactly a revolutionary improvement, as many CMS products, especially on the commercial side, have long had very capable access control systems built-in.
But the previous permission system in Joomla was basically unsuitable for most business use and the new system should make Joomla a legitimate option for companies looking for Web content management. With the new system, I could create and manage permission levels for user groups, set default permissions levels, and define specific permission settings for individual areas of content within the site.