Joomla! to use, or not to use? This is my experience

I'm a busy guy. So when it comes to saving time, I am all ears. I call it efficiency.

Around August 2013, I was contacted by one of my favorite web design clients, and asked to create a website for her new venture. The website would be an online store for products similar to what she sells with her other company. I thought to myself, "great, I can just recycle the back-end of her original site, and design a fresh front-end" Easy peezy lemon sqeezy. Well long story short, my wife and I just had a baby, I was taking classes in the pursuit of my bachelor's degree, and I had one other website I was working on. I needed to get it done as quickly as possible. In talking to one of my friends about it and everything I had going on, he suggested using Joomla!. I was very hesitant to use a platform I had never worked with before, but was assured it was easy, and with my experience with PHP and Drupal, it should be a walk in the park.

Reluctantly, I agreed and we got to work. Using RocketTheme, we quickly had a functional design. I was amazed with the template integration and how quickly the website could be designed. Then came the shopping cart... Long story short, a few (hundred) code hacks later, we had a clunky, poorly designed, functional shopping cart. I wasn't too happy about how it flowed, the customizations (hacks) that we had to do to make it work, or the way the site-managers had to retrieve orders. I was very close to pulling the plug on Joomla and going with my original plan to use my custom MVC framework, unfortunately I didn't; as I didn't think I would have time.

We launched the site. My client loved the look of it, and had seen I had tested and completed two successful transactions. Good enough right?

Wrong. for the next few months, it seemed I would get at least one message saying they didn't think the site was working, or people couldn't checkout. It was my worst nightmare. I tested the site 4 or 5 times and each time had no issues checking out. I asked a friend to try it, without any background, and found out users couldn't register, and the checkout as guest process was clunky to say the least. Finally, I had enough.

I decided to do what I should've done from the start - use my custom framework.  I worked 3 days straight, and completely redid the site using my framework but referencing the Joomla! theme for the site design. I relaunched the site at 2am July 15 2014. I was ecstatic. The site is completely mobile friendly, the checkout process is smooth, and I reduced the site load time to a couple seconds vs. 30-40 seconds before. Best of all, the orders are easy to check, and being a custom site, there is no bloat-code to slow down the site, and changes are easy to implement. 


The website is They make the best candles I've ever used, highly fragrant and poured in the USA. I love them, and I would recommend the Hand Picked Blueberries, and the Sweet Potato & Brown Sugar.

To close, I'm not saying that Joomla! is a terrible CMS. It has its place, and my friend uses it often. My experience, however, was horrible. I would not use it again. I learned a valuable lesson though. It's not always best to try to take the easy way out, sometimes it is faster to do it the way you already know. - Kalen