If you’re running a site using Joomla you’re no doubt aware that some things which appear to be straight forward with a Drupal base aren’t so easy. Both Joomla and Drupal have their strengths and weaknesses, I just happen to be a long way down the Joomla path.
A big issue for me was how do I restrict access to my site depending on memberships to a real world (non internet) organisation. All my members have an entry in the CiviCRM database but many will not have a CMS login. Out of the box there was no real way of achieving this without getting into LDAP territory.
With Joomla 1.5 a number of new “tools” are available, one of which is the Authentication Plugin. Looking at the existing plugins it was clear that it would be possible to authenticate against the Joomla user table and then perform a lookup for a valid CiviCRM membership before authenticating the user. The result is a Joomla CiviCRM Membership Authentication Plugin which can be configured to authenticate against a set membership status level and which handles redirects when authentication fails.
While this solves one issue it also raises some more.
How do I handle new registrations for people who are members of my organisation but don’t have a Joomla login yet?
If a contacts membership has expired how do you handle a CiviContribute membership update? Don’t you have to be logged in?
Community Builder might provide some solutions here but I’d waiting until they not ransoming the product.