Wish: Joomla by coders n webmasters for webmasters

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    Martin W

      Just posted to Joomla! forum.
      A forlorn hope, really. The SEF URLs issue has dragged on for a couple of years or so now.
      STOP PRESS! – early March 07: Joomla 1.5 to be capable of generating some cracking URLs.

      Here’s an apparently simple wish – but, for all the Mambo and now Joomla! development so far, it seems an elusive goal, with Joomla! – by Coders, for Coders perhaps more appropriate thus far.

      We have some wonderfully talented coders working on Joomla! – yet so far, it has proven beyond even their immense abilities to ensure that Joomla!, out of the box, meets even some basic requirements of website building.

      Take, for instance, the Search Engine Unfriendly URLs that Joomla! generates
      – Search Engine Unfriendly due to the Itemids, which readily lead to multiple URLs for the same content – ie, duplicate content problem. (There really should be a note regarding this in the configuration page: warn that the “Search Engine Friendly URLs” option is not really so friendly.)
      Doesn’t seem this problem is too well understood by the coders at work on Joomla! Which I guess is because the code gurus are buried in lines of code, improving tables and so forth, without time to read and digest the copious info on this issue.
      Though interestingly, one core coder has succeeded in solving this and other URL issues – with a commercial component. Happily, too, for this open source CMS there is OpenSEF: but people must discover and install it.

      Now, of course can debate just what features would indeed make Joomla! a CMS for webmasters.
      Ideally, I’d reckon, such features would make it a cms that’s easy to install etc by non tech-savvy geeks. (I had a “help me” email from someone who was utterly bamboozled by Joomla!, even tho it had already been installed for her.)

      But one apparently blindingly obvious way might be to follow the Google Guidelines for Webmasters – which are readily available for people interested in actual websites, tho perhaps easily missed by code gurus.

      Here are some of those guidelines:

      Offer a site map to your users with links that point to the important parts of your site. If the site map is larger than 100 or so links, you may want to break the site map into separate pages.

      – doable, thanks to being able to create sub-menus, introduced from Mambo 4.5.2 I think (did the guy who created the sub-menu coding completely leave Mambo/Joomla!?).

      Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.

      – hah, not much the coders can do about this one!

      Make sure that your TITLE and ALT tags are descriptive and accurate.

      J! not too bad here, tho out-of-the-box, Titles include sitename. Can be improved with SEF Patch – seems this not in 1.0.x for rather feeble reasons.

      If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a “?” character), be aware that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static pages. It helps to keep the parameters short and the number of them few.

      So, “SEF URLs” – shorter URLs – as standard would seem advisable. I have pages rank well with unwieldy Joomlaboard URLs, but this suggests that could do better.

      Allow search bots to crawl your sites without session IDs or arguments that track their path through the site. These techniques are useful for tracking individual user behavior, but the access pattern of bots is entirely different. Using these techniques may result in incomplete indexing of your site, as bots may not be able to eliminate URLs that look different but actually point to the same page.

      Hello – Joomla! coders; anyone listening? Here’s the Joomla! Search Engine Unfriendly URLs issue, noted by the folks at the world’s most important search engine, albeit the J! IDs generally have rather different uses. This isn’t a new issue – I’ve posted of it in Mambo forums, as have others; also appears here real often. 😮

      Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.

      – also relates to the Itemids issue. With J! Itemids, can readily create duplicate content.

      Then, of course, surely other important guidelines to follow. W3C – the World Wide Web Consortium – develops many key Web Standards and Guidelines.
      One of these states “Cool URIs Don’t Change“. Now, URIs now better known as URLs, but the URL of the page – created in 1998 – remains the same.
      I’m yet to see any commitment from J! core team to ensuring that URLs of J! sites don’t change as J! upgraded. (Once, that is, the silly Itemids are removed; and with caveat that extension developers might muck things up with their components.)

      Ah well; time to stop. I realise much of this could be beyond the abilities of the Joomla! core team members, talented though they are, but after all, this is a wish list.

      Post edited by: Martin, at: 2007/03/06 05:43

      Martin W

        and another post to Joomla forum:

        Andrew (Eddie – masterchief of Joomla): your post suggests Joomla 1.5 is a giant leap towards realising Joomla – by Coders, for Coders

        Seems from your post it’s become some nebulous blob, that’s nothing without other things that third-party developers may or may not create (and, in turn, may at worst abandon).

        As I posted above: URLs are fundamental to websites. So too are other aspects of “SEO”; and opinions on what works are far more aligned than you admit to.

        Every website has URLs, so if you are to say people can use Joomla to create great websites (not that it’s any longer clear this is the aim of Joomla, what with all these wondrous possibilities for coders), should enable them to have great URLs. Directly; no need for hunting around for third-party components.

        Basic aims of fully meeting Google guidelines, and meeting W3C recommendation from 1998, would surely seem straightforward.
        – no frippery here, like banners, or “doing LDAP support and competing with Novell”, whatever that means (coders will understand, I know ).
        Just the basics. Like coming up with a kit to build a house with walls, roof, windows, and solid foundations (aka, for websites, URLs).

        As you buzz with possibilities for this nouveau Joomla, hope you won’t forget about people drawn in by Joomla’s boasts of simplicity as website building software.
        – people who just want to take Joomla, and get on with creating websites with minimal faffing about.

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