When open source CMS vendors try to re-invent application development communism

A CMS that rarely needs any introduction – Joomla! – has recently launched a framework with the goal of letting developers "...to combine their favorite Joomla features with the features from other open source content management systems to build their own CMS or app," according to the press release.

According to the open source community, there are two goals for this framework. First, they’re going to put out in the open several packages developed by the PHP community, as an inspiration for others to build new web applications and services.

For distro, Joomla! plans to use Packagist.org, where you can download the packages and further “massage” them in the Composer. The expected advantage here is the ability to authenticating/accessing user accounts stored in the CMS, and retrieving, managing and displaying content retrieved from one or more databases.

The second goal is to promote building of future versions of the Joomla! CMS on this common Framework, where it is expected that a larger community of PHP developers will adopt this approach and can contribute back to the Framework, as well as the dependency management features of Composer.

Like others before, the Joomla CMS is trying to enhance community and attract more developers. However, I am struggling to see an immediate benefit in the near term for any Joomla! customer. It will take some time for the the Joomla Framework to get adoption and to work out any issues and bugs with the new code (it is, after all, an application in itself that you need to install and configure).

The idea of using the Framework to exchange code and apps with other content management systems reminded me of my Communist-era childhood. Maybe the PHP CMS community will in fact come together and share code among platforms. But I have my doubts. All open source CMSs are different enough, and it seems like a huge undertaking trying to establish one dominant marketplace for “lightweight, independent feature-specific packages” to be shared among many Web CMSs. Vendors like DotNetNuke who launched semi-commercial marketplaces for within their systems have a bigger chance of succeeding – even if it’s just a sale of a $50 template.

Let us know what you think about this new development? Are you excited? Do you find it useful for your Joomla work? 

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