You hear a lot of debate among web developers about which open source platform is best to work with, WordPress or Joomla. And now there’s a Joomla extension that allows you to have the best of both worlds - CorePHP WordPress.
Extension Types: components, modules
Current Price: $89 for one year subscription to downloads area
Require Individual License per Site: No
- Complete integration with Joomla
- Can integrate WordPress categories with Joomla categories
- Good response time on submitted support tickets
- Modified version Akismet, All In One SEO, Sociable, and other key plugins are available for download
- Most WordPress plugins can be modified to work with the component
- User role synchronization with Joomla
The Not So Good
- Ping services currently do not work
- CSS compatibility problems with Joomla and WP modules (but we have an easy fix for that)
- Optimized title tags when using sh404SEF
- Poor support on their forum
Let me say this right off - this is a very good component and I can see how this may end up being an essential part of any Joomla site just like Community Builder, JCE, and SOBI. But the current version 184.108.40.206 does fall short in some very key areas. Hopefully the upcoming release of 2.8.4 will fix these problems.
Installation and Configuration - Easy to install and configure.
Template Integration - This is one are where the WP component really needs to be modified, and after emailing the developer with my solution he did say they would add it to the SVN, so hopefully it will be included in the next version.
Without going into all of the nitty gritty details, one thing you can do with this component is hide the Joomla sidebars and place them in Joomla modules. This is a great feature because you can then place those modules throughout the non-WP pages of your site as well as on the WP pages. The problem is that the CSS classes used in the WP sidebars does not match the CSS classes used in Joomla modules.
Why is this so important? It means that you end up having to write special CSS code to make the special WP modules look like your Joomla modules. This may not be a big deal on basic templates, but most of our templates have tons of module variations and color themes - and that means having to write a ton of new CSS code. Well, I thought it did until I poked around the WP template and found a much easier solution and updated the code in the WP classes.php file (changed $class = ‘cat-item cat-item-’.$category->term_id; to $class = ‘item item’.$category->term_id;
We made a few other changes to the PHP code, but I’ll put them all in another post at a later time. Essentially, the changes we made allow us to simply install the component and it seamlessly integrates with any of our template designs. That’s a LOT better than coding a ton of CSS specifically for WP!
The big disappointment with CorePHP WordPress came when we made our first post - the ping services did not work. To me, the ping services are THE most powerful and important part of WordPress. Frankly, without this working there’s not much point to using WP. I did exchange a few emails with Lead Developer Rafael Corral and he stated the ping problem will be fixed in version 2.8.4.
In the meantime I did find a pseudo workaround for the problem. As I mentioned earlier you can integrate your WP categories with Joomla. Although this integration is not perfect (if you delete a post in WP it remains in Joomla), it does allow you to use Joomla based extensions involving that category and its content. So we installed the BlogPing extension and use that for our ping services. The solution is not ideal because it pings the Joomla URL of your site and not the WordPress URL, but at least you can notify the ping services of new content. If you’re so inclined you can always put 301 redirects on those URL’s
I also ran into a problem when using there sh404SEF extension. Namely it would set the browser title tag to “this-is-my-post-title” instead of “This Is My Post Title”. I don’t think this problem is in my configuration, but rather in the coding. I just haven’t had time to look at the code. So in the meantime I told sh404SEF to ignore this component. In most cases I could care less about SEF URL’s (they’re overrated). The proper title tag is much, much more important than SEF URL’s.
OK, back to more good stuff. Integrating WP categories with Joomla allows you to include your posts in Joomla modules. For example, take a look at this page on Colleton River Real Estate. Near the bottom part of the page you will see an area titled “Colleton River Real Estate News”. These headlines show up every time the agent posts to that specific category, so visitors to her community pages will always see the latest headlines involving that community. As a web developer, it also means we don’t have to charge our clients to add new information to key web pages of their site. They post their own blog content and we can set either the full articles or snippets to appear on the non-blog pages of the site!
Conclusion Overall, it’s a good component. After all, I am using it for this post. In this article I have touched on only a few its great features. Perhaps I’ll post more about it later, or you can just visit their web site. What I really like about this component is that if you think outside of the box (and know a little bit of PHP) there’s a LOT that you can do with this extension. I may post more on this later, but for now I’m keeping my cards close to my vest. When the CorePHP team fixes the ping issue I’ll rate this extension much higher, but for now I give it three and a half out of five stars.