CMS Talk: Goodbye Joomla, Hello Modx…

By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Sunday, December 9, 2007

I have been an avid user of Mambo and now Joomla since 2001. is designed using Joomla. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to maintain the site very well, our fault not Joomla’s.

I wanted to re-design the site to highlight our products and service, and to cope up with our plan for several micro-site development in 2008 in addition to delivering a nice look. Let’s look at my 5 simple requirements for CMS:
1. We should be able to easily embed custom code (php) to embed widgets (or snippets as Modx likes to call them) in certain pages.
2. We should be able to easily modify the pages, preferably from the page itself (think AJAX editing).
3. Ability to create micro-sites which differ structurally and functionally from main sites
4. Flexible hierarchy and menus
5. Automate Sitemap (Google & regular) & RSS feed generation, nice permalinks & SEO optimized URL

Joomla as always is pretty inflexible if you want to think outside Joomla box. To incorporate php code in Joomla you will have to use a plugin like Jumi, which works pretty strangely when it works. Personally I would like something simple & reusable. Modx allows you to incorporate (and reuse) snippets in documents which are essentially PHP code. Similarly you can use chunks to incorporate to embed static reusable html content in your documents. Chunks can contain snippets too.

Modx allows you to edit a page directly from the page itself along with other functionalities by automatically adding moo Javascript library for logged in users. This is a nicety I never had in Joomla / Mambo. You will love it once you get a hang of it.

Writing custom Joomla / Mambo code is no-mean task for a newbie. The documentation is often out of date and it often looks Martian even to a veteran like me. I wouldn’t ask a web designer to touch it with a 10 feet pole. Mambo / Joomla reeks of over-design and is heavily over architected (feedback welcome). What lured me to Modx was simplicity. With two major versions and drastically changed style of developing templates, Joomla have become much more complex. Personally the new template tags were my single biggest turn-off. However that is just one of many in the bigger scale.

Modx doesn’t have all the add-ons that Joomla has. However it compensates for it with its simplicity & ease of use.

Modx is SEO optimized from ground-up. The pages are SEOized (title is hypenated to form the page url) like WordPress nice permalink mode. You can individually customize the meta tags for each page.

The pages in modx uses a template which can be different for each page. This allows you to easily create micro-sites within your main site.

As soon as I hit the limitations of Joomla, I started looking for alternatives and Modx stood out among hundreds of others because of user enthusiasm of this product. I decided to try Joomla and I am happy to say my designer is happy with it and so am I.

In Modx, like Magnolia, you can see a view of the hierarchy and you can perform actions on the items from there. Modx containers are much easier to understand than Mambo section and category.

Compared to Modx, learning Mambo / Joomla looks like rocket science; I kid you not. Try it and you will know what I mean. Modx also has plugin, but I haven’t needed it yet. As far as is concerned modx rocks my boat.

I can safely predict Modx will be the CMS of the future, leaving Joomla / Mambo far behind unless they catch up with documentation and focus on simplicity instead of complex design as it is now. Modx is Ajax all the way. All it needs now is a super-strong community like Mambo / Joomla to fast-forward it to the future.

January 28, 2009: 1:55 pm

If you hate content management systems that bloat your code with useless crap MODx is for you. I’ve written an blog entry on this topic:

You can get a quick impression of the MODx backend here:

November 24, 2008: 10:07 pm

the backend download for a long long time.
so i give up

May 6, 2008: 7:53 am

[...] look, embed functionality with PHP snippets etc. After extensive research and prototyping we adopted MODx [...]

February 15, 2008: 7:15 am

> MODx; it’s the future!

I agree, Joomla lost ground due to complexity when you want to delve inside. CMS needs to customizable.

February 14, 2008: 7:15 am

I use MODx for all my content managed websites. It’s totally flexible, SEO friendly and produces websites that are as standards complaint and accessibile as you want them to be. There’s also a growing support community via the forums that is very responsive. MODx; it’s the future!

January 11, 2008: 2:55 pm

I love MODx. Very flexible. It feels up to date. Other CMS’s seem to hinder my SEO, where MODx makes things clean.
When testing Joomla and Drupal on my server, I had a feeling that they would start to become obsolete. They were implementing updates that were already functioning in MODx.

**GO MODx!**

December 26, 2007: 11:36 pm

I am surprised that you are writing Mambo/Joomla throughout this article. Joomla forked from Mambo two years ago and these are very different projects today.

I have also used ModX and agree with your assessment of it. Mambo has suffered (if that’s the right word) from 7 years of development which has led to legacy code which is not easy to refactor. However, the forthcoming Mambo 4.7 includes sitemaps to the specification used by Google, MSN and Yahoo! and generates both the human-friendly site map as well as the xml file. RSS feeds from any/all content is also coming in 4.7. The release, which is due 1st quarter 2008 provides improved accessibility with a frontend that can output valid xhtml 1.1 should the enduser wish. And uses standard xhtml templates with the addition of a small amount of php code to hook into the system. Having a different appearance within sections of the site is as easy as allocating a template, however your points about the menu and category heirachy are still valid, as are your points about SEF URL’s. Due to the structure of Mambo these will not be addressed until Mambo 5.0, which is the next release after 4.7.

Mambo 5.0 is being developed using the cakePHP framework and is a complete rewrite for Mambo.

As you can see, this is a completely different direction to that taken by Joomla and its unfortunate that you have lumped the two projects together as though they are developing the same thing.

December 9, 2007: 9:48 am

Sure, I would love to check out and even write a review. Can you please sent the details to angsuman [-- at --] taragana [-- dot --] com.

December 9, 2007: 9:42 am

You might check out before you start.

happy to setup a demo for you.

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