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 www.agnesandirene.com. 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