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I recently read an article by Michael Babker on Brian Teeman's site. The article, titled "Joomla! 4.0 or Next, Joomla! Platform or Framework, WTF is going on!?", and I must agree with many of the (harshly moderated) comments, WTF!?! Many members of the development team, and even the well respected Amy Stephens was silenced. Again, I say WTF?
As a Joomla extension developer, I spend a lot of time testing my 36 extensions with different versions of Joomla. Reading this article really opened my eyes to the future - the bleak, dismal future. With the new development strategy, I'm looking at endless rewrites, countless versions to support, and neverending updates. I thought supporting Joomla 2.5 and 3.x was ridiculous, when 3.3.1 came out I was confronted with yet another special version to support (thanks to changes in the JUI JS). I'm getting fed up, and Joomla's 8.2% market share (compared to Wordpress at 60.3%) drives the point home. What am I doing all of this work for?
My original goal was to release quality Joomla extensions that solved real problems and release them for free in order to build a name and bring business. It worked for several years. I really like(d) the Joomla framework and I liked the praise I received from the users who were thankful for the extensions that I gave away. I used to enjoy doing it.
In the article (remember, the article I mentioned above), there was a question in the comments - why doesn't Joomla use an established framework and build upon it? Several frameworks were mentioned - but the one that really spoke to me was the Zend Framework. I had to really think about it, why doesn't Joomla use an existing and robust framework instead of the ever-changing framework it uses now? Why not accept that the creators of PHP have built a superior framework (who can argue that point)? Their framework covers every feature that the Joomla Framework covers and then doubles down with so many more features that It can't really be compared. Authentication, ACL, Cache, RSS/ATOM feeds, XMLRPC, Captcha/ReCaptcha - Yep, Zend Framework does that. GData, Barcode, SOAP, and much more that Joomla doesn't do are already part of ZF.
While researching capabilities, I found that ZF is easily extended (using RedBeanPHP) to support NoSQL databases (like BigTable and MongoDB) - which also adds a RESTful interface to the database. The latest Twitter Bootstrap can be easily integrated. Things I've been toiling over for years are easily attainable by ZF. What it lacks, is the M of MVC and a good implementation that regular humans can install.
What if Joomla could be recreated (all the best parts) using the Zend Framework. What if it could be made into something like Wordpress (the hosted SaaS part, and the multi-category taxonomy)? What if it could emulate/recreate the 3rd party extension eco-system?
As was painfully obvious in the comments of the article, the Joomla leadership is not on board with the idea that the CMS be rebuilt on another foundation. Why not a clone made on top of another framework?