It is not a Joomla component at all, but a full featured CRM application. The designers are diligent, responsive, and very active. Except for that they pay much more attention to the Drupal side of things.
Most features do not work with Joomla out of the box. Some examples:
- You need php 5x WITH SOAP libraries installed to use the CiviMail portion. That's not a typical configuration on a shared server (which many Joomla implmentations are). There was no way I was going to compile my own PHP just to get that to work.
- The default configuration doesn't play well with Joomla either. There is a front end session issue that I never was able to fix, despite numerous forum posts on the CiviCRM website (although the developers are responsive...they couldn't fix my problem). Basically, the CiviEVent and CiviContribute forms worked fine in the backend, but experienced fatal errors in the front end.
- I tried very hard to stick it out with CivCRM, including contacting some professional support people I found on the CiviCRM website....except they were all Drupal -- not Joomla -- experts.
- One of the developers suggested I do a clean install of Joomla and CiviCRm and see what happens. Sorry...but we utilize our Joomla install for *many* other things, so it was not an option.
Give CiviCRM some time and it will ROCK. Or, if you like the potential features that much, check in to using it with a Drupal implementation.
In the meantime, I've found a handful of other Joomla plugins that work out of the box and accomplish the same things...Including MosList Messenger, Attend Events, and Community Builder.
I would have like to rate it higher....but it's just not ready for prime time with Joomla.