CMS ExpoThis year we've been interviewing people who run Joomla Days around the world.

There are also unofficial conferences happening all the time that feature Joomla heavily and we're going to try and introduce them here also. These unofficial conferences won't get the same level of publicity as official Joomla Days, but it's useful for the community to know about them and know where Joomla is being represented. If your event features Joomla prominently, let us know.

First is John Coonen from the Joomla User Group in Chicago. He also runs the CMS Expo which will be attended multiple members of the Joomla community including Andrew Eddie and Ryan Ozimek.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background

We're Linda and John Coonen. We help run Joomla Chicago, which is one of the largest and best-attended Joomla groups in the U.S..

We also operate the CMS Association, host of the annual CMS Expo Learning and Business Conference.

How did you get involved in Joomla?

We discovered Joomla! back in 2005, while running a fundraising consultancy for non-profits, associations and political campaigns. Joomla! put substantial power at the fingertips of the end-users, saving them tens of thousands of dollars in software fees. It was (and is) a real winner!

We needed to learn more about Joomla, and information was scarce, so in November of 2007, we started a local user group, thinking there might be others like us, looking for information and a support network.

To our pleasant surprise, 26 people showed up at the first user group meeting, and JoomlaChicago has grown ever since. Today, we are nearing 600 registered members, with 50-60 attending our monthly meetings. You can find out more at

Tell us about the event that you're holding

CMS Expo’s roots grew from our Joomla! user group. At our very first meeting in 2007, we all decided to work on doing a larger, regional event. So, what started out as Joomla! Expo - one day of Joomla! training with eight sessions, grew into what is today CMS Expo - three full days of Joomla! training, and nearly 100 learning sessions.

What was once a part-time effort to host a one-day "taste of Joomla!" has grown into what is becoming a rather notable annual industry conference, with Joomla! featured, up front and center (pretty cool!).

Some notable additions over the years:

  • CMS Tracks: CMS Expo now has a total of five Featured CMSes (including Joomla), offering in-depth training and discovery on each.
  • Cross-Tracks:  These sessions are CMS-agnostic, providing three full days of skills training, techniques and business insights that are relevant to designers, developers and business leaders, no matter which CMS they choose.
  • Comparison Track: Attendees get a one-of-a-kind chance to explore Joomla! and compare it head-to-head with other CMSes, in an interactive forum.

This year, CMS Expo welcomes Andrew Eddie, Ryan Ozimek, Kyle Ledbetter, Jen Kramer and a host of other leaders in the Joomla! community to represent Joomla! The Comparison Track is truly a distinguishing element to the conference. First off, comparing Joomla! within the context of other great CMSes is incredibly important to help attendess and users better understand Joomla and its capabilities.

Equally important, live comparisons help the leadership of each CMS to discover and share great ideas, make strong new relationships and empower them to have a clearer vision for the future health and well-being of the software and its community.

Who should come to the event?

At the end of the day, CMS Expo’s primary audience is for the Users. It’s for the “A, B, C and D”  ~ Admin’s, Businesspeople, Creatives and Developers.

  • If you build and manage websites, this conference is for you.
  • If you are interested in getting new customers to hire you to build websites, build apps, templates or provide custom work, CMS Expo is for you.
  • If you’re interested in finding and hiring highly talented Developers and Designers to help you build your business, CMS Expo is for you.

CMS Expo is presented in easy-to-understand language. We have a “no consultantspeak” policy, so don’t expect to find the typical suits you’ll find at an Oracle or SAP conference. This conference is for real people, running real sites, wanting to learn from real people who use the software every day.

At CMS Expo, speakers’ presentations are presented with the user in mind; with information that is relevant, timely and actionable. There's about 400 people from around the world, all in one place, there to connect, share, problem-solve and innovate. It's that simple.

What are the precise details we should know?

  • Date: May 2, 3, 4, 2011
  • Location: Hilton Orrington Hotel, Evanston, Illinois, USA
  • Schedule:
  • Price: $279 / day or $779 for all 3 days
  • Sign up at or call (815) 455-2900