October 04, 2012, 7:27 AM — The release of Joomla 3.0 on September 27 not only marks a new milestone for the seven-year-old open-source (and free) content management system, it also establishes a new goal for Joomla: the mobile platform.
It would be unfair to characterize Joomla 3.0's changes as being solely geared towards mobile-friendly websites, but there's no denying that delivering content for mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones influenced many of the changes for this update -- an influence that can be felt throughout the design and implementation of this version.
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Under the hood, many of the features behind Joomla's new look and feel come from the project's adoption of Twitter Bootstrap, a framework of CSS and HTML design templates that works to unify typography, forms, buttons and other components.
The opening screen of a Joomla-based website, with content.
The reliance on Bootstrap was not done just to make the back-end interface look pretty on mobile (though it helps). A more important reason for the move was to help wrangle the 10,000-plus extensions that are available within the Joomla ecosystem. The Bootstrap model within Joomla 3.0 is pervasive throughout the back and front ends of the CMS, and any extension developer who is putting together an add-on for Joomla will be able to use the same components as all other extension developers.
Unification is critical to how the new Joomla performs on any platform, not just mobile, according to Paul Orwig, president of Open Source Matters, a support organization for the Joomla project, and former member of Joomla's leadership team.
In the past, that was not always a given, Orwig explains, particularly for extensions that did work outside of the core Joomla functionality, such as e-commerce. Since Joomla's core software had no e-commerce tools, any given developer of an e-commerce extension would feel free to approach the administrative and front ends of their tool in whatever way they wanted. This led to quite a bit of confusion for admins trying to evaluate the features of each extension.
"Bootstrap is a standard that's adopted a huge variety of components, which will make developers' lives a lot easier," Orwig says.