Open source content management system Joomla updated its platform again today with the release of Version 3.6. The upgrade fixed a number of bugs, many of which, apparently, had been irritating the heck out of users. 

How do I know this? Basically by reading between the lines of the Joomla press release, which quoted Production team leader George Wilson.

"We've listened to our administrators, who said that removing uploading Joomla packages caused issues on intranet sites," he said. "We've listened to developers, who were having practical issues with repeatable form fields. We've listened to site administrators, who wanted an even simpler article and category creation workflow. Finally we've fixed large numbers of bugs affecting our users and administrators." (Developers interested in a complete list of bug fixes can see them here.)

To be sure, there were more forward-looking changes such as improved storage of dynamic JavaScript variables and several new tools such as complex database queries in this release. All of which followed other changes the CMS has introduced. In March, for example, it added email notifications to keep the software up-to-date and the ability to export anonymized Joomla system information to streamline support.

In February it added support for PHP 7 to handle a higher load of processes at a significantly higher speed. In 2015 a major focus was on security.

Remaking Its Reputation?

But are these changes enough to overcome the perception in the market that Joomla is difficult to use, certainly harder than some of its more popular competitors such as WordPress?

Joomla makes no bones that this is a problem. Indeed, Cliff Pfeifer, Joomla UX Team Lead and a member of the Joomla Marketing Leadership Team, addressed this problem head on in the recent issue of Joomla Community Magazine.

Common complaints about the CMS range from "It's too complicated" to "It's hard to understand" to "It's bad for SEO" to "Upgrades are a nightmare" and finally, "We're not as good as we used to be," he wrote.

“We are aware that Joomla is not the No. 1 CMS platform in the world and it's no secret that our community has gotten smaller over the past few years," according to Pfeifer. "I think we all agree that Joomla is complex and can be challenging to learn. We all know that some areas of our platform need improvement and that we as community can do better."

Pfeifer is no apologist, though. He ends by declaring that "Joomla is still one of the most powerful and sophisticated CMS platforms in the world."

Learning Opportunities

A Powerful CMS

And indeed Joomla could well be that proverbial victim of its own success.

The system is powerful and sophisticated with one of the most extensive line up of CMS features and interface screens to display the content in the CMS ecosystem. Joomla is acknowledged as being the most ideal CMS for websites with large amounts of content and pages or complex navigation processes.

At the same time the Webmaster community is changing, as Sucuri noted in its Website Hacked Report for Q1. As websites in general migrate to CMS systems rather than hand-coded sites, there is now "a large influx of unskilled webmasters and service providers responsible for the deployment and administrations of these sites," it wrote.

Joomla is on top of these trends, Pfeifer promises.

"The last few releases and recent changes in the community have opened the doors to our future and we are all working very hard to make it a great future.” In many ways, he said, “2016 has been a rebuilding year for our community."

Title image by Maher Najm