Highlights of the CMS Expo – iJoomla Wins and more…

Winning the Best App Developer

Winning the Best App Developer for Joomla!

The CMS Expo in Chicago was amazing. It’s always amazing but this year was really special: iJoomla won the award for “Best App Developer for Joomla”!

That’s a fantastic feeling and it really is great to be acknowledged. We owe a big thanks to everyone in the Joomla community and especially to our customers who keep sending us their ideas for improvements. Winning an award is inspiring but nothing pushes us harder than seeing what you’re doing with our products.

And it was also great to see our friends at JomSocial taking home the prize for “Best Joomla App.” Not unexpected but totally deserved!

How I almost won an iPad

Joomla hosting service, Rochen, created a major buzz at the Expo by giving away an iPad for the best picture of a penguin. They have a penguin on their logo and they’re quite keen on the little birds. Participants had to take a picture of the penguin somewhere at the CMS Expo. The results were very entertaining.

During a networking evening that included a lot of drinks, I was able to gather the nerve to ask Drupal founder Dries if he would allow me to take a picture of him holding a sign saying “Joomla Rocks” with the penguin in the picture. As I told someone, I’ve wanted an iPad all my life. The result is shown here, and it created its own buzz among the Joomla community.

Dries Buytaert - Joomla Rocks!

Dries Buytaert - Joomla Rocks!

My entry got the most votes but didn’t win. The final decision was made by Ryan Ozimek, President of OSM, who chose a photo of a penguin eating sushi. Like penguins know how to use chopsticks! But it was a cute picture, and a really fun competition.

Penguines can't use chopsticks!

The winning penguin

Usability Testing  can be fun!

On Monday, I gave a presentation about Usability Testing, which went pretty well except for a few technology hiccups. And the following day, I put on a Usability Testing workshop. We tested four different sites, with one of the participants acting as either the tester or the facilitator in each round. The sites tested belonged to the participants and were chosen randomly.

The workshop was very enjoyable and everybody participated. We learned, laughed, learned some more, had a great time — and made the sites better too, I hope.

Usability Testing Workshop

Usability Testing Workshop

You can see a video of the test we ran on in the video below. There were some very surprising findings in this test, and the JomSocial team are already putting them straight.

A new template framework

I also had the pleasure of meeting Cory Webb, the author of “Beginthemeablesning Joomla! Web Site Development.” He’s working on a very cool template framework called motif, and he gave me a little demo that was very impressive. You can see it here:

RocketTheme RTL feature makes a difference to RTL devs

And I had a chance to talk to Andy Miller from His Gantry framework has full RTL support and a ton of other neat features. It has been a very much needed feature for all the RTL developers out there.

JoomlaShack has a new king

JoomlaShacks‘ new owner Eddie Tabush, a business man to the core, brought the entire JoomlaShack team with him. It was great to see them contemplating new ways for world domination, keeping the legacy left by Barrie North alive.

A reservations system that works on any CMS?

Rob Lock from, is coming out with a new version of their reservation system. It looks really amazing, with drag and drop layouts and more. They’ve spent a lot of time creating a framework that allows this system to work on any CMS, not just Joomla. Currently it works on both Joomla and Drupal and more to come.

The anti-framework template club

The team from JoomlaPraise was there too. They’re committed to being the anti-framework template club with templates that are beautiful and simple. I salute them for not following trends and doing what they do best: creating simple and elegant templates.

The CMS Expo was a well organized by John and Linda Coonen, and I thank them for pulling off yet another successful event.

I hope to see you there next year!

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Merav Knafo is the founder and CEO of iJoomla, Inc. She loves writing about Joomla, usability and Social Networking.

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    Angela Sanders


    Congrats, guys! I am pleased to be on the band wagon with you. Keep it up, we need you!



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    Thanks Angela, we appreciate your support!


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    Sandy Robertson


    I really enjoyed listening to the overview/analysis of the JomSocial Website.

    Now to go and redo my site; I learned so much from the overview. One can get too close to one’s website and not see the woods for the trees, or the words from the links!

    Thank you very much – and thanks JomSocial too!