Artgig Case Study -

Fri, May. 1 2009

Jim has some good news to share - we launched the website today.

Healthy Kids NOW (Healthy Kids in Northern Westchester) is a coalition of community, civic, educational, business, and healthcare leaders (including yours truly) who aim to make Northern Westchester the place to raise healthy kids by promoting good nutrition and a healthy environment.

Jim is especially proud because this website is his adopted Joomla baby.

"Why Joomla?" You ask.And you don't stop there. "Aren't you a custom shop with your own CMS?"

Well, yes, we've got our own mature CMS and we love it. And more importantly, our clients love it. But there comes a time when you have to leave the comfort zone and see what's on the other side.

Enter Joomla, one of the most widely-used open source content management systems available.

As much as I love our CMS, I see the clear benefit of open source, which is primarily, you aren't tied to a single vendor because there's a broad community of developers and lots of documentation and support, should you decide to take your website elsewhere.

A common misconception of open source is that it's cheaper. It's not. In most cases, you still have to pay a developer(s) to do the work, just like any other job. Unless, of course, you're willing to donate your time (and blood and sweat and tears) out of the goodness of your heart for a worthwhile cause–like promoting health and well-being for our kids.

I got involved with the Coalition through a friend and agreed to take on an advisory role as they enlisted a team of local college students to build the website as part of a class project. Well, let's just say three months later, the website was barely a shell and the kids went home for the holidays. That's how we came to adopt the Joomla baby.

Now Jim has experience developing using open source platforms and they're generally good to get you 80% of the way, but it's always a wrestling match when you get down to the fine details of customization. It's the last 20% that gets you.

We got the website into shape and our friends at the Coaliton spent some time filling it with content. Along the way, we squeezed an extra 5% out of Joomla and decided it was time to go live.

Healthy Kids will live with it for a while, it looks good and it does everything they want it to do - there are regular columns and features they can manage and archive, a calendar of events, a newsletter and mailing list, and a search function.

Of course, I wish we had used our CMS because everything would look and feel more like one of our websites, but this was a good lesson for all of us and a necessary step. The folks we're working with at the Coalition have never built a website before and now they have. Next time around, it will be even better.

By the way, we=E2��re looking for a sharp Drupal developer – anyone?

Check it out: