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Within Joomla there are manifest files for all of the extensions. These files include the general installation information as well as parameters for the configuration of the extension itself. Since Joomla! 1.6 Joomla 1.6, there are very few differences between the manifest file formats for the different types of extensions, allowing each type to access the full power of the Joomla! installer.

Naming conventions

The file must be named manifest.xml or <extension_name>.xml and located in the root directory of the installation package.


Root element

The primary tag of the installation file is:


This starting and closing tags are now valid for all extensions. The new tag <extension> replaces the old <install></install> from Joomla Joomla 1.5. The following attributes are allowed within the tag:

Attribute Values Applicable to Description
type component
All extensions This attribute describes the type of the extension for the installer. Based on this type further requirements to sub-tags apply.
version 1.6 All extensions String that identifies the version of Joomla for which this extension is developed. For Joomla 1.6 a version higher than 1.5 is required.
method new
All extensions The default value install will be also used if the method attribute is not used. In these cases the installer will gracefully stop if he finds any existing file/folder of the new extension
client site
Modules The client allows to specify for which application client the new module is available.
group string Plugins The group name specifies for which group of plugins the new plugin is available. The existing groups are the folder names within the directory /plugins. The installer will create new folder names for group names that do not exist yet.


The following elements can be used to insert metadata. None of these elements are required; if they are present, they must be a child of the root element.

  • <name> – raw component name (e.g. com_banners)
  • <author> – author's name (e.g. Joomla! Project)
  • <creationDate> – date of creation or release (e.g. April 2006)
  • <copyright> – a copyright statement (e.g. (C) 2005 - 2011 Open Source Matters. All rights reserved.)
  • <license> – a license statement (e.g. NU General Public License version 2 or later; see LICENSE.txt)
  • <authorEmail> – author's email address (e.g.
  • <authorUrl> – URL to the author's website (e.g.
  • <version> – the version number of the extension (e.g. 1.6.0)
  • <description> – the description of the component. This is a translatable field. (e.g. COM_BANNERS_XML_DESCRIPTION)

Front-end files

    <files folder="from-folder">

Files to copy to the front-end directory should be placed in the <files> element. You can use the optional folder attribute to specify a directory in the ZIP package to copy from. Each file to copy must be represented by a <filename> element. If you want to copy an entire folder at once, you can define it as a <folder>.

Media files

    <media destination="com_example">

This example will copy the file(s) (com_example_logo.png) and folders ( /css/ and /js/ ) listed to /media/com_example/. Creating the com_example folder if required.

Extensions should be storing assets they need to be web accessible (JS, CSS, images etc) in media. Amongst other things this feature was added as step in the progression to multi-site support and the eventual move of code files (PHP) out of the web accessible areas of the server.


Administration section


The administration section is defined in the <administration> element. Since only components apply to both the site and the administrator, only component manifests can include this element.

Back-end files

Files to copy to the back-end directory should be placed in the <files> element under the <administration>. You can use the optional folder attribute to specify a directory in the ZIP package to copy from. See Front-end files for further rules.

Menu links and submenus

            <menu link="anoption=avalue">COM_EXAMPLE_SUBMENU_ANOPTION</menu>
            <menu view="viewname">COM_EXAMPLE_SUBMENU_VIEWNAME</menu>

The text for the main menu item for the component is defined in the <menu> item, a child of <administration>. A <submenu> element may also be present (also a child of <administration>), which may contain more menu items defined by <menu>.

Additionally, each <menu> item can define the following attributes:

Attribute Description
link A link to send the user to when the menu item is clicked
img The (relative) path to an image (16x16 pixels) to appear beside the menu item
string An URL parameter to add to the link. For example, <menu view="cpanel">COM_EXAMPLE</menu> in com_example's XML manifest would cause the URL of the menu item to be index.php?option=com_example&view=cpanel.

The value inside the tag is the menu's label. Unlike Joomla! 1.5, you can not use a natural language string. For example, if you would enter "Example Component" instead of COM_EXAMPLE, it would result in your component name appearing as example-component in the menu and you would be unable to provide a translation. In order to provide a translation you need to create a file named en-GB.com_example.sys.ini in administrator/languages/en-GB (you can use the manifest's </source>

The content of the folder attribute of this tag is the relative path of the directory holding the translation files. The path is relative to the your installation package, not the site's root. Each <language> tag must specify the ISO-code of the language in the tag attribute.

You should not that, by default, the language files are not loaded during installation time unless you use a special convention.

For components, you must place a directory named language inside your component's backend directory and make sure it's being installed, i.e. you have referenced it in your <administration> tag's <files> tag. For other extension types, create a directory named language inside your installation archive's root. In all cases, create one subdirectory per language and put your .sys.ini translation file in there. For example, if you have plg_content_example, create the file language/en-GB/en-GB.plg_content_example.sys.ini and put all installation-time messages' translations in there. This file will be loaded automatically by Joomla! right after all files have been copied and before running your script file and/or displaying the post-installation message (e.g. the extension's description).

Script file


A script file (PHP code that is run before, during and/or after installation, uninstallation and upgrading) can be defined using a <scriptfile> element.

Update servers

        <server type="extension" priority="1" name="Extension Update Site"></server>
        <server type="collection" priority="2" name="Collection Update Site"></server>

Update servers can be defined in the <updateservers> element, a child of the root. This element may contain one or more <server> element, each describing a location to fetch updates from. Each <server> item can define the following attributes:

Attribute Values Description
type extension
The update server type
priority integer The priority of the update server
name string The name of the update server


For a real-life example, see the manifest of the Banner component in version 1.6.5.

The Joomla testing process uses several extensions to test whether the installer works correctly. The latest versions of the manifests of these extensions are: