Interview with Emir Sakic from

Today we’re delighted to have?a chance to talk with Emir Sakic from Sakic.Net.

Emir has been?a member of Joomla’s core development team from the project start.?He is also the developer of SEF Advance which was the first component to provide Search Engine Friendly URLs for Mambo, the precursor?of Joomla!

1) Hi Emir. Could you tell us a little about yourself? What’s your background and what’s your current day job?

I am recently graduated MSc in Electrical Engineering. I’m originally from Bosnia, but have lived in Sweden for the past decade. Since I only recently finished my studies I still don’t have a day job besides working on Joomla! related- and some other programming work. I’ve been into programming with different languages for much longer, but I’ve been doing web programming since 2000.

2) Have you worked or designed with other systems apart from Joomla? If so, how do they compare?

Actually not. If I don’t count some Perl systems long time ago Mambo (precursor of Joomla!) was the first CMS I stumbled across and got stuck with. Being a developer of Mambo and Joomla! I deliberately avoided using any other system to avoid being biased. 😉

3) You’ve became involved with Mambo/Joomla since its early days. How did your involvement begin and how did you end up as a core developer?

I came across Mambo back in 2002 when it was in version 3.0.6. It was immature, buggy application but also innovative, with great potential. I was active on their forums and right after Miro decided to stop developing it I joined a community-formed team determined to continue Mambo development. I stayed in the core team until the split of the project in 2005 when we decided to continue development under a different name: Joomla!

4) You were one of the first people to tackle SEO issues with Joomla. Can you talk a little about why you started to develop SEF Advance and what URL problems are currently built into Joomla.

Work on Search Engine Friendly URLs in Mambo started at the end of 2003. A large site called Dev Shed (with all sister sites) considered using Mambo and we were keen to have such a large user of our (then still young and non-affirmed) CMS.

They had a requirement though, a feature that we didn’t have then – SEF URLs (a feature that wasn’t a priority until then since major search engines could handle dynamic URLs just fine) . We decided to implement it for their sake and that’s when I created SEF which is still part of Mambo and Joomla! core. It’s able to follow CMS logic while making zero additional load, is highly flexible and practically maintenance free.

After that, a human readable version has been developed for Dev Shed. The reason why this version was not implemented in core is that Mambo’s programming- and database structure wasn’t suitable for a flexible core solution so we decided to change this structure prior to implementing something like that (we were planning on getting rid of Itemids and introducing unlimited nested article categories on a node-base structure).

While some users still wanted human readable URLs, not caring for added load and bugs I could offer SEF Advance, which btw required a lot of work in maintenance and support (not to mention the load problems) to paying customers. The main problem with Joomla! is that it’s still based on practically unchanged Mambo’s database structure that is 6 years old. This structure is not designed for features that we have in Joomla! now and especially not for features we want. If we want modern major features we need to rethink and redesign this structure with all those features in mind. Then we will be able to produce powerful, nice looking, flexible and maintenance free URLs. Unfortunately this new design has been delayed because of backwards compatibility and other priorities. In the meantime we got what I call “patch solutions” in form of different SEF components including mine.

5) What benefits are you looking forward to with Joomla 1.5?

There are many improvements coming up with Joomla! 1.5. In the same time the backwards compatibility is preserved. In addition to core improvements I am mostly excited about the new framework and benefits to 3rd party developers. It is community and its large user and contributor base that made Joomla! so popular. Hope the new standards will lead to powerful extensions, both components and templates.

6) Do you have any new projects or plans in 2007 we should be looking out for?

Yes, I have couple of projects I’ve been working on and some plans for future ones. I can only say they are not related to anything I’ve done so far and it could be fun. We’ll see!

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