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Joomla Upgrade Pushes Enterprise 2.0 Features

Version 1.6 of the open source content management system supports corporate collaboration by emphasizing security, permissions, and flexibility.

Joomla, an open source content management system (CMS), is releasing version 1.6 of the software Monday with more features for enterprise collaboration. Ryan Ozimek, president of Open Source Matters, the non-profit organization providing financial support to the project, told Information Week that security, permissions, and flexibility are all being emphasized.

"The underlying framework" of the CMS is changing, he said, making it much more useful for corporate collaboration. "If you're a large company you can get a Web site running with 1.6, but also do other services for the IT team and anything else you want to publish, with the same framework."

Because Joomla is offered under the General Public License (GPL) version 2.0, it requires no hardware investments and no initial spending on software. Ozimek said it also will work with a wide variety of SQL and even noSQL databases, including mySQL, SQL Server, and Oracle, so "it can be the glue for Web services."

The technical requirements for Joomla specifically mention only mySQL 5.0.4, along with PHP 5.2. It is available for Linux, Windows, or Macintosh. Through his private company, PicNet, Ozimek also offers Joomla to non-profits under software-as-a-service (SaaS) contracts.

If you haven't heard of Joomla before, you might be American. The project has always had an international focus, having forked from a similar project called Mambo in 2005. The split offers lessons for those concerned over recent problems with Java, said development coordinator Mark Dexter. "The reason Joomla came into reason was exactly that kind of problem as with Java," he said.

In terms of specific features, Dexter said Version 1.6 changes from a fixed, two-level hierarchy for content to a user-defined hierarchy allowing users to nest content to any depth. Access controls have also been changed. "That was considered a hole" in Version 1.5, Dexter said. "The system we came up with is pretty powerful." With this release Joomla has also changed its release strategy, Dexter said. "We're going to a timed-release schedule." That means Version 1.7 will drop in July, and Version 1.8 will be delivered one year from now.

Enterprises usually consider Joomla against Wordpress and Drupal, Dexter said. In that comparison Joomla's strengths are its growing number of third-party extensions and its international focus. "We just listed some 6,000 extensions on our official Joomla extension Web site," he said. "You want something that's growing, and has a dynamic community behind it."

"The other thing that's amazing about Joomla is the degree to which it's international," he added. "We have blinders on with North America and Europe, but Joomla is worldwide. We run all the major government Web sites in Mongolia. It's translated into over 65 languages."

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