The history of Joomla!: An in-depth chat with CMS core developer, Andrew Eddie

Computerworld Australia talk to one of Joomla!'s Australian co-founders and core developer, Andrew Eddie, about how the open source content management system came to be, and where it's headed

Joomla! core developer, Andrew Eddie

Joomla! core developer, Andrew Eddie

The Joomla! content management system (CMS) is certainly an open source success story. Along with Drupal and WordPress, the Joomla! code repository has been taken up by a host of websites - both for individuals and large businesses - and now accounts for somewhere between 10 and 50 million public-facing websites. With 750,000 downloads of the CMS base alone - and a growing repository of third party extensions like Jentla - it has become pertinent not only for the open source community, but also for those looking to take on the proprietary platforms and make a little money on the side.

Computerworld Australia caught up with co-founder and core developer, Andrew Eddie, about his own history as well as that of Joomla!'s, and where the content management system is headed in the future.

What got you into development and programming?

I've been chipping away at programming since about Year 9, when I was introduced to an Apple II. I've been programming since then.

In hindsight, engineering was a deviation. Certainly in my engineering degree I did a lot of programming subtext, and my final year thesis was actually writing some software so it's always been there. When I got into engineering the spreadsheets were starting to develop into something quite powerful, and I got into programming those.

I moved out of private practice and had a holiday with local council for a while and was doing subdivisional engineering there. Part of that job involved a lot of work with the geographical information systems (GIS). That was a web-based interface, and a job became available to do the programming side of that work, so I decided to throw my hat in the ring and get that job.

That's where my programming career started.

Did you have any IT qualifications, or were you purely self-taught?

Not formal IT qualifications. I taught myself Apple Basic, I did Fortran and C at university and taught myself C++ afterwards. Then, when I landed that job I taught myself HTML, Perl, PHP, Javascript, CSS.

Were you a key founder of Mambo, the precursor to Joomla!, or did you jump on board later on?

I came along very early in the history. Miro (now defunct) released Mambo around 2001. It didn't get much airplay at all in 2001. In 2002, a guy by the name of Rob Castley picked it up and saw a lot of potential in it.

At exactly the same time, I got involved in another open source project called dotProject, and that's where I started learning the ropes of how an open source developer group works. The reason I was involved in that was because the sectioning council I was in, we needed a project management solution and we had no budget, so going open source was the only way we could get under the radar.

So at the end of 2002 I was selecting CMSes and eventually my recommendation to council was to go with Mambo. Because of my involvement in dotProject, I put my hand up to Mambo and said "my work is looking at investing time, so they're happy to give that back to the project if you want me on".

That's where I came on board, so I sort of came in six months after it started to get picked up in earnest by the open source community.

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Tags content management system (CMS)Joomla!Andrew Eddiejoomla

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