mambo

As you might guess from the title, I'm a Mac user. Mostly, this doesn't matter too much when it comes to building websites with Mambo. But I've had occasional surprises.

This article predates another Mambo complication: the fork into Mambo (backed by Miro; maybe somewhat corporate) and the - apparently more open source - version that's now called Joomla!

The Mambo homepage has a nifty slogan: "Power in Simplicity". But is this valid? After more than a year using Mambo, I think there's truth in Power in Simplicity; yet at the same time, there is also Weakness in Complexity.

Some of the power stems from being able to make sitewide changes with little more than the press of a (virtual) button. Suppose you want to turn off Google ads for all pages, and soon afterwards switch them back on (as I've recently done). It's a cinch with Mambo. You can just as easily change the look of the site throughout. Or add a forum, a shop, a photo gallery. Contributors can write and edit web pages.

And yet, as so often with computing, the "simplicity" depends on doing things right. Make what can seem a small error, and you can have problems; at worst, these can result in the whole site ceasing to work, with nothing on each page but a short error message (happily, when you fix the error, the site springs back to life). Then even if do things perfectly, Mambo includes complexity; the worst I'm so far aware of is in the latest version, which is prone to creating unwanted, search engine unfriendly, duplicate URLs.

NB - this applied to Mambo before the Joomla developers forked off; I've read that Mambo has since included SEF URLs, tho maybe an imperfect method (I haven't tried). 

Mambo pages are compiled on the fly - as they're requested by browsers, and their original URLs (addresses) reflect this: they're stuffed with code, numbers, characters like "&". Looking like gibberish to most humans, they can also be rather tough for search engines to follow as they try navigating through sites.

There are, however, improved URLs: the search engine friendly URLs, or SEF URLs. But these are by no means created equal; I've found that some "SEF" URLs are friendlier than others. And with latest Mambo version - and with Joomla!, can get lots of Search Engine Unfriendly URLs (due to ItemIDs). Can be bit of nightmare, without care, trying to get truly SEF URLs - with one URL per item.