When you create a website, it is important that you choose the right tool. Besides classic content management systems like Joomla, static website generators like Gatsby are an interesting technique. Instead of loading content from a database on demand like a CMS and displaying it dynamically every time the page loads, a static website generator renders all content in advance and then displays it directly through a web server. This does not require a database or other active components on the server.

Both techniques offer advantages and disadvantages and have their own fields of use.

Joomla

Joomla has achieved a solid place in the world of open source CMSs since its first release in 2005. The Joomla project was created by a split from the predecessor system Mambo, whose registered trademark was held by a company. Thus the community could not freely determine the further development direction of the project - because the company always had the last word. However, the company had primarily commercial interests in connection with Mambo. With this background knowledge, it becomes understandable why those responsible for the Joomla project have set great value on independence and transparency from the very beginning. Thus, the registered trademark of Joomla holds the non-profit association OpenSourceMatters, which does not tolerate violations of the OpenSource license.

Joomla - strengths and weaknesses

A great strength of Joomla is in my opinion the good customizability. Joomla provides a variety of interfaces. Thus, many things can be changed without having to make adjustments to the core of the system.

Strengths

The advantage of Joomla as a CMS compared to Gatsby is the ease of use. Joomla is operated via the administration interface. Thus, complex websites can be operated without programming knowledge. The various elements can be placed on the page as desired. Desired functions are integrated into the CMS with plugins. A CMS is the right choice for anyone who wants to manage a complex site themselves with little expertise.

Weaknesses

A disadvantage of Joomla as a CMS compared to Gatsby is the higher maintenance effort. To ensure the security of the website, the content management system must be kept up to date. Updates must be installed promptly.

The current version

Application areas of Joomla are

  • Corporate websites,
  • Portfolios for freelancers, self-employed and artists,
  • presences of non-commercial organizations,
  • school and association websites.

the list of projects implemented with Joomla is long and varied.

On August 17, 2021 Joomla turned 16 years old. Together with the birthday celebration, Joomla 4.0.0 was released. The last Joomla version from the 3 series will be further developed for another two years after the release of version 4.

The innovations in version 4 show the direction in which the CMS is developing. In particular, the workflow, the web services and the CLI point in the direction of extensive, commercial websites. It is no longer the desire to increase market share. The hobby website creator would be the target group for this. This is not the goal, because it is clear that a CMS only survives if developers make money with it. Money is earned with commercial sites. If you look closely, the hobby website creator also has something from the system. If money is earned with the CMS, a developer has an interest in keeping the open source software up to date. Then he likes to offer slimmed down versions of his PRO extensions for free and thus advertises himself. From this point of view, targeting the commercial market is a win-win situation for everyone.

Gatsby

Gatsby.js is quite young. The first stable version of the static website generator written in JavaScript was released in 2019. Gatsby is complex, but more flexible and powerful than many other generators. A static website stores one file for each page of the website. The same content is output each time the page is accessed. This means that you or Gatsby must write the design and content for each individual sub-page.

Gatsby - strengths and weaknesses

The big strength of Gatsby over Joomla, in my opinion, is the security aspect. The servers provide static content in the case of a Gatsby website and do not have to run server-side scripts. This requires less server administration, so there is less risk of security breaches.

Strengths

Since no dynamic content, databases and other technologies are used in the website created with Gatsby, they are particularly secure and powerful. If you do not update the content of your website frequently, a static HTML website is the right choice for you.

Weaknesses

Gatsby is not the optimal tool if you process different content in large numbers on your website. The more content and the more different the content types, the longer it takes to create the new static content after changes. In addition, if content is frequently changed in a timely manner, a CMS should be preferred, as the content update is not immediately visible.

The current version

Gatsby is heavily plugin oriented, just like Joomla. Maybe that's why I like this tool so much. It distinguishes between "source plugins" and "transformer plugins". Source plugins provide data from a specific data source. The form of the data that the source plugin provides is not fixed. This is where the Transformer plugins come into play, converting the formats into the appropriate form: The classic one is a Markdown plugin.