Wow, I feel like my head is going to explode! I am working on a very big project, automating the connection between buyers and sellers in a large but well defined particular niche, and it’s not just a sole proprietor kind of operation. This needs extensive interaction with both customer bases, big advertisers, and extensive data tracking.
I had at first proposed WordPress or WordPressμ (μ=mu=multi-user) and that might actually become part of this project, but I quickly realized it was bigger than that. Don’t get me wrong. I really like WordPress. It started out as a little blog software that grew into a very nice CMS – Content Management System. But I started thinking this project needed something different, something as big as a major news outlet would use, with many sections, each a web-site and a half in itself.
I’m a big fan of Open Source, so I started looking seriously at Joomla. I had dabbled in it a year ago, but didn’t have a project big enough to fully explore it. So wow, now I’m heavy into it. It is NOT like WordPress at all. You have to define things before you can define things before you define things, and the documentation hasn’t really caught up with it. You have Components, Modules, Plugins, and Extensions, that are arranged in a flip-over hierarchy. Sometimes things outrank other things, and sometimes it’s reversed. And Categories & Sections are not the same. And God forbid you should write an article before a Category is defined for it. God forbid you define a Category before a Section is defined for it. God forbid you want to build a Menu before all your Sections and Categories are built. God double-forbid you want to enter content anywhere before your web site is finished!
Well, I am finally getting the hang of it, but Joomla has a pretty ultra basic Registration form, and a pretty basic Contact form, and God hang you for thinking a Registered user is a Contact! So of course, we need to go trolling for expanding Extensions to collect all this data.
Which brings me to what to do with this data??
Ha! Well, I’ve told you previously about SugarCRM. CRM=Customer Relationship Management. You need that for big projects. But I didn’t want to have Joomla collecting Registration/Contact data for me to manually import or type into another database every day! So I went looking for an automated method to collect all the data we needed, and stuff it in a CRM, and I found these people, OpenWebApps, who wax quite elequent about vTiger, an Open Source competitor for SugarCRM, and who very kindly provide another extension for collecting unlimited fields on your contact form, er um, registration form, in Joomla, and importing them into vTiger. Wow, that’s exactly what I need.
So I’ve gone through the process of installing Joomla (configuring it will be an ever ongoing process), and I’ve gone through the process of installing vTiger, both on my client’s preferred hosting service, and every hosting service has its quirks. But I got them both working fine now. And both have nearly empty databases.
NOW the job will be getting them to handshake, and it is at this point that I stop and fix some dinner, because my head is going to explode! But don’t worrry. I’ll rest a bit and come back to it. I love a good challenge!