Understanding the differences between Joomla and WordPress
Perhaps the most important thing to be mindful of about Joomla is that it is not WordPress. There are a remarkable number of similarities between the two systems: both are written in PHP and run on a typical LAMP stack; both have a robust extension and theming system; and both can be deployed from cloud hosting providers such as Rochen. This is where the similarities end.
WordPress is designed around the paradigm of blogging; it works exceptionally well for that purpose, and can be easily extended out to serve static supporting content that adds to the value of that blog. It can support multiple users and roles for small to medium organizations or projects with ease. The ubiquity of WordPress has made it a frequent target for attackers, though the use of sensible security settings and mindfulness about upgrading to the latest available version for security patches make it a perfect solution for websites such as Extra Ordinary.
Joomla is not designed in the same way as WordPress, however. The back end for user management, permissions, roles, and group membership is substantially more robust than in WordPress. Joomla allows for proper business solutions -- inventory control, business directories, ecommerce, reservation systems, and the like -- to be integrated into public-facing services on a given website, in addition to online publishing components. As an example, the website of the restaurant IHOP (built using Joomla) provides interfaces for buying, delivering, and checking the balances of gift cards. This is not a task that, even with the use of extensions, would be a sensible integration to WordPress.
What's new in Joomla 3.4?
The big additions to Joomla 3.4 are significant improvements to composer, and the ability to edit modules on the (live, public-facing) front end, making design and updates far easier to manage. Also added is new reCAPTCHA to reduce the interference of bots and scripts, and moving Weblinks from the main codebase and putting it into an extension. A full list of bug fixes is also available on GitHub.
Deploying and accelerating Joomla in the cloud
Various cloud providers such as Rackspace and Rochen provide cloud hosting specifically for Joomla. Seasoned AWS users can use a LAMP stack CloudFormation framework on which to deploy Joomla, or it can be deployed on EC2 using automation scripts from JumpBox. Or, for more traditional off-premises means, Joomla can be downloaded and installed manually on a dedicated server or VPS. For shared hosting providers, Joomla can also be installed via Softaculous.
For users running Joomla from a dedicated server for VPS, reducing the load of the production server and producing high performance and quick page load times is an important consideration. NoNumber Software provides an extension that aids integration with content delivery network (CDN) operators such as Amazon CloudFront or CDNify to lessen server load.