COLUMBIA, 1/1/12 (Beat Byte) -- After six years -- and taking Google's Blogger software as far as it would go -- the Columbia Heart Beat has relocated to a website powered by Joomla, a software widely used by newspapers and other media organizations.
Former Columbia resident and now St. Mary's College communications professor Joy Piazza advised me a few years ago to check out Joomla, but the cost and time investment wasn't doable until recently.
Blogger is amazing and has served Heart Beat readers well since 2005. We've been able to seamlessly integrate it with several social media sites including Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter, and we've availed ourselves of every possible Blogger function, from uploading videos to importing and exporting news feeds.
I've tried many similar softwares, including Wordpress and the newly-released Jux. Blogger, in my opinion as both user and technology journalist, outperforms them all. Despite its simple-sounding name, Blogger is a sophisticated software platform few people know how to use well.
Ultimately, though, we needed to graduate, and despite Blogger's functionality, Joomla and its cousin, Drupal, are even cooler. Joomla comes with modules, extensions, and templates -- some you pay for, but many free -- that take it well beyond its open-source roots. The new site allows us massive new functionality, including the ability to display multiple stories in multiple formats at once and to take custom-designed ads, one of many steps in a news organization's long-term viability.
Joomla has been a bear to learn and construct, but well worth the investment. And we'll still keep the Blogger site as an archive.
-- Mike Martin
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