My company has been looking to hire a PHP developer. Some of the requirements for the job include:

  1. an understanding of design patterns, particularly MVC.
  2. some knowledge of PHP 5.3's new features.
  3. experience working with a PHP framework (it doesn't matter which one).

I interviewed a man today who's primary work experience involved working with Joomla!. As an employee, he will be required to work on existing and new web applications that use Zend Framework, CakePHP and/or CodeIgniter. It is my opinion that we shouldn't dismiss hiring a developer just because he has not used the same technologies that he'll be using on the job.

So, I'd like to know about the kind of coding experience working with Joomla! can provide. I've never bothered to take more than a brief look (if that) at the Joomla! package, so I'm hoping to lean on the knowledge of my peers.

  • Would you consider Joomla! to contain a professional code-base?
  • Is the package well organized, and/or OO in general, or is it more like WordPress where logic and presentation are commingled?
  • When working with Joomla!, is the developer encouraged to use best practices?
  • In your opinion, would experience working with Joomla! garner the skills needed to get up to speed with Zend or CakePHP quickly, or will there be a steep learning curve ahead of the developer?

I'm not saying that Joomla! is a bad technology, or even that it is lower on the totem pole when compared to the frameworks I've mentioned. Maybe it's awesome, I dunno. I simply have no idea!

  • Why not give him an actual technical interview and base the decision on the skills he can demonstrate, rather than deciding solely on past experience?
    – Anon.
    Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 21:01
  • @Anon, our amazingly competent HR department failed to notify me that I even had an interview today! They also did not advertise that I wanted code samples. He'll be emailing me some things later. I hate fizz-buzz questions because I don't think they can actually separate wheat from chaff. FWIW, the developer was able to accurately navigate any technical questions I had.
    – Stephen
    Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 21:05
  • 3
    If they are solid technically, can explain to you how things work, and don't give off bad vibe, then having his experience in Joomla shouldn't matter.
    – Ryan Hayes
    Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 21:08

2 Answers 2


Joomla is definitely a popular CMS, with plenty of opportunity to write modules and extend the code-base, but I think the real question comes down to what extent this person has "developed" in Joomla.

It's very easy to say "I have experience with Wordpress" without ever having to touch code (or the only code being following step by steps on how to change a template layout in code). You'll really want to interview this person about PHP and OO itself, not about Joomla. Ultimately, if they know PHP and the concepts of how a CMS works, they will have no problem providing your company with value. If they just play in Joomla, you'll know immediately when they can't answer how to connect to a database, or how the principles of development work.


LOL Joomla, seriously... get serious :)

You know what most "php developers" working with Joomla do?

  • Click, click... module installed.
  • Open config file, edit DB details
  • Some simple CSS changes
  • The best of the best sometimes make custom templates, of even (!) their own (very poor quality) hacks that they call "modules".

It is my opinion that we shouldn't dismiss hiring a developer just because he has not used the same technologies that he'll be using on the job.

You're 100% right. Ask for some samples to find out if he's in 5% group of PHP joomla developers or in 95% group of joomla clickers / installers that only call themselves devs.

Would you consider Joomla! to contain a professional code-base?

The core code-base is allright. I won't call it professional, but suitable for doing some nice things. The problem lays in "user made" additions.

I tell you a secret. When you're a dev that can't made any serious APP what do you do? Go WP or Joomla and install some bugged, insecure, poorly written user-modules. Last guy i worked with that called himself php-coder (working in Joomla) made a gallery for client company using... guess what F*ING VIRTUEMART shopping solution :) So the customer is having the whole web-shop installed on his server just to show 2 galleries :) And the "dev" stored ROOT-SERVER-RELATIVE patches to images in the DB (so moving the site to new webhost was a mess).

Ask one simple question: "would you recommend using user-made joomla modules to our important client" -> if the guy will say "yes" you can send him home. "Show me some code you made from 0" -> if he only make config changes to modules -> same thing.

  • 3
    Part of being a good programmer is knowing when you can reuse something already out there instead of wasting time rolling your own solution.
    – Anon.
    Commented Feb 2, 2011 at 22:08
  • 1
    This answer would really be more useful if you took the anti-joomla rant out of it
    – TheLQ
    Commented Feb 3, 2011 at 0:19
  • @Anon - you're saying that reusing a web-shop app to display a gallery of 10 photos and bring the server to it's knees is "being a good programmer" :) Let's face it - you can re-use code, or some well written components. If you will "re use" user made components for most CMS's - you'll be overloading your server and serving crap. These are just poorly designed, written by amateurs that can't do anything else beside some "quick hack" for a CMS.
    – Slawek
    Commented Feb 3, 2011 at 14:59
  • 1
    Sounds like you're a victim of NIH syndrome.
    – Anon.
    Commented Feb 3, 2011 at 20:18

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