I needed a site for a test with Joomla, the open source content management system. I looked around and found someone with not a lot of money and a singer to promote. Perfect for a simple system. RixyMusic was born. It’s a simple site but it led me into the array of options for building a site in this system.
Plenty of free templates around and it’s trivial to change between most of them. We might do a bit more once we understand some of the CSS layout involved. What else did we throw in. As well as the usual list of news feeds, url links, gallery of pictures we added a couple of extras. These were written and again, given away free by some Joomla experts. I do love Open Source. I did donate this time so I don’t feel too guilty. The two plugins I added were for a calendar plugin called gigCalendar to allow the groups to enter their bookings and gigs. This had an extension to allow the location of the gigs to be shown on a Google map. Didn’t quite work with some of our London postcodes but good enough for a free piece of software in its first version. The other plugin we used was the Wimpy player. This cost a few dollars, but I thought that it was worth paying some money in return for getting everything online quickly. Maybe I’ll go back to Flash to write my own eventually, but this one can be skinned and has video and audio versions. I shall try the video version for my showreels, I hope.
Very simple integration and the web site was up and running. Nyika, the main singer/songwriter even had a play on MIca Paris’ BBC Radio 2 slot, followed very quickly by Tony Blackburn giving her a plug. Great links. We bought another cool piece of software for grabbing the radio audio as well. It’s called ReplayMusic and it was a great tool for us.
The downside for many of the Open Source software packages is really the lack of documentation for a user. We searched around and found a few documents, but with a system like Joomla, there are so many facilities to learn. It takes regular use to become familiar with the system.
In the past we looked at typo3 and thought that it sounded a good system, flexible and probably better documentation for the developer, but it had an even bigger learning curve. We only got as far as installing a basic site and buying the book for that system. I think that I was put of by the templating system. At least we’ve installed one real site with Joomla.