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Contents

If you prefer to download a copy of a Quick Start Guide, you can do so here Joomla! v 1.5 Quick Start Guide Scribd, written by Kevin Hayne. As you read the guide, walk through the video accompaniment created by Michael Casha. This is a well developed and efficient training guide and video set.

If you prefer to follow information online via this wiki, then please continue.

This beginners guide is divided into manageable sections to walk you through pretty much everything you will need to know to get your first installation of Joomla! up and running, and more importantly, understand the basic functioning of the system to allow you to do some basic troubleshooting.

Absolute Beginners Guide to Joomla!

Welcome to Joomla!, a leading open source Content Management System (CMS) platform. You have made a really, really great choice to use Joomla! for your website. Joomla! is a well-tested, extensible and effective tool supported by a very active and friendly community of developers and users.

Do you want to get started with Joomla!, but you have no idea where to begin? Are you concerned that maybe you don't have the technical skills needed to be successful? Does it all seem a bit overwhelming? If so, you have come to the right place. The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Joomla! is just for you. This guide is intended for those who have no clue where to begin but really want to learn how to use Joomla!. Helping you become successful installing, configuring, backing up and restoring, upgrading, and extending Joomla! is exactly the point of this guide.

Test Drive Joomla!

At this point, you might be aware that there are thousands and thousands of Joomla! websites in the world, each specifically crafted to meet the needs of the Web site owner. You might even have a neighbor or a friend who has a Joomla! Web site and now you want one of your very own, but you are uncertain if you have what it takes. Maybe you have been lurking around the Joomla! Forums for awhile, observing others as they build Joomla! websites. Maybe you even have a case of Joomla! Web site Envy.

Take action, now! Begin by test driving Joomla! using a Joomla! Demo site. Log in to the backend Administrator and change a few things. Don't worry! You can't hurt anything! The demo sites are refreshed frequently. As you click around, consider the functionality you see. What would be great to have? What do you not want in your Web site?

Take a look at the Joomla! Core Features Guide scribd, written by James Ramsay. See what features are available in each download of Joomla!. Yes, even in your copy!

If it doesn't all make sense, don't worry! You are just getting familiar. For now, cruise around and enjoy the scenery. You should not be breaking a sweat at this point. Take it easy! Have fun! Don't worry about a thing. :)

Conquer the Basics

It is now the best time to learn the basics. In this section, all instructions are clearly provided. You are not expected to know anything about building a Web site before you begin. In only a short time, however, you will have learned a great deal.


The most important step to building your Web site begins before you start. There are a number of considerations to planning your Web site. Take time to consider those ideas before getting started. It will save you much frustration and rework!

Complete the Joomla! v 1.5 Quick Start Guide

If you do nothing else, take time to complete the Joomla! v 1.5 Quick Start Guide Scribd, written by Kevin Hayne. As you read the guide, walk through the video accompaniment created by Michael Casha. This is a well developed and efficient training guide and video set.

There are no prerequisites to this step-by-step course for building a Web site for a fictitious landscaping company. In the first few pages, you will have configured a localhost environment on your computer and installed Joomla!. Following the installation, you quickly learn how to configure all kinds of extensions, including components, modules and plugins. You will even make changes to the default template. The Joomla! v 1.5 Quick Start Guide is strongly recommended for all new Joomla! v 1.5 users. In a very short period of time, you will have learned enough that you can build a simple Joomla! Web site.

There is also a very nice beginners visual guide to getting started with Joomla! 1.5 here: Learn Joomla! 1.5 Fast! Scribd (PDF 1.3Mb) written by Saurabh Bhide.

You can use the Joomla! Sample website to learn about Joomla! features. Check out the Joomla! Magazine article Learning Joomla! Using Sample Data.

Learn the language

Familiarize yourself with the Joomla! lingo. Scribd The better you learn the language, the easier it will be to talk to the natives. Practice speaking these words in the car ride on the way to work, “Let’s see. A category belongs to a section.” Consider asking a friend to make you word games and crossword puzzles using Joomla! terms to drive home key concepts.

Install Joomla on a hosted server

Installing Joomla! can be easy to do -- especially on a localhost environment. Sometimes, though, issues at your Web host can make installation very challenging. Make certain you take advantage of the support your host provides. In the end, they are best able to help.

Install Joomla! on a localhost

The easiest way to get started with Joomla! is to install it on your desktop computer. There are a couple of ways you can do that:

Method one: Watch this video entitled How to Install XAMPP and Joomla! v 1.5, by Andrew Altamirano (slogen123), where he shows you how to download and install XAMPP as a local server and then install Joomla!.

Method two: Use Jumpbox or BitNami which provide a self-contained instance that is easy to install and are easily deleted or moved.

A localhost is a great way to learn how to use Joomla!, to try extensions out in a test environment before updating your live site, and for first testing out upgrades. Learn to use a localhost right away. It will be well worth your time.

Use the Joomla! v 1.5 Installation Guide

All Web host environments are different. Check out the Joomla! v 1.5 Installation Manual for a detailed set of installation instructions.

Installation Questions?

Ask questions in the Installing Joomla! v 1.5 forum.

Guides for Joomla! Editors and Publishers

Those who edit and publish articles on your new Joomla! site will also need help to understand what they must do. The Author tutorial by brianfast Scribd and an excellent guide for the Joomla! Publisher Scribd by Max Shinn (trombonechamp) could be very helpful.

General Joomla! v 1.5 Questions?

Ask questions in the General Joomla! v 1.5 forum board.

Master System Administration

System Administration is a very important part to running a successful Web site. It is a good idea to practice installing Joomla! on a localhost environment. Then, learn to move your Joomla! website to a Web host and how to backup and restore your Joomla! database. Knowing how to do these things before you even begin creating your Web site ensures you will be ready if something unfortunate happens. With that knowledge in place, you can move forward with confidence.

Learn to Backup and Restore

Learn to backup your Joomla! database. Learn to restore your Joomla! database. Practice. A lot! Frequent backups are the best way to sleep at night. Check out this video entitled How to backup and restore a Joomla! database using phpMyAdmin by kristofdb. It's not hard - learn to do it after you install Joomla! but before you configure the environment.

How to Recover Your System Administration Password

We have all done it, some of us dozens of times! Watch this video by James Ramsey entitled How to Recover your Administrator Password using phpMyAdmin.

Maximize Use of the Core, Then Install Extensions

Many times, new Joomla! users find the Joomla! Extension Directory and install everything that looks cool! That's not always a good idea. It's best to maximize the use of the core code before you add extensions to your site. With each extension that you install, you complicate your site administration requirements and slow your site down. Upgrades are also more complicated. Extensions are great but make certain you really need them, first.

Exploring the possibilities with Joomla! v 1.5 Core

Using Mootools

There are many great things you can do with Mootools, included in Joomla! v 1.5. Check out these resources to learn how:

Venture into Joomla! v 1.5 Extensions

Third party developers are solely responsible for their extensions and the quality of their code and timeliness at upgrades is not guaranteed by anyone other than that developer. There are many developers who produce very high quality code. It is best to stick with GPL or GPL-compatiable extensions although you might also find proprietary extensions on the Joomla! Extension Directory. If you purchase an extension and are unsatisfied with the result, Joomla! org cannot help you with those issues.

Take time to review the wealth of extensions available on the Joomla! Extensions Directory.

Questions?

Learn the Basics for Joomla! Templating

For many, there are only a few changes desired with the default Joomla! v 1.5 Template to make it work for their needs. These resources will help you learn how to make minor changes.

Minor Default Template Changes

Using CSS Class Suffixes

There are other simple things you can do with templates to achieve the look you need. These simple tutorials could be very helpful.

Getting Rid of Tables

Adding Javascript to your Template

Troubleshooting a Template Installation

If you are having trouble installing a template, see How to resolve problems with a template installation Scribd by Chad Windnagle (drmmr763).

Questions?

Address Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization is the practice of doing whatever is needed to help make your Web site rank higher in return results for a search engine. For some, this is very important aspect of attracting visitors to their site. Most experts agree, however, that the single best way to improve your chance of getting attention on the Internet is to provide good content on a regular basis. There are several things that you can do using core functionality to make your Joomla! Web site more SEO friendly. Here are some important areas to focus.

Configure and troubleshoot SEF URLs

Remove WWW from your domain name

Create a Custom 404 Page

SEO Questions

Questions on these topics should be asked in the Joomla! v 1.5 Administration Forum.

SEO and SEF URL Questions?

Converting an Existing Website to Joomla!

Check out the How to Convert an existing Web site to a Joomla! Web site guide for great step by step instructions.

Asking Questions in the Forums

At some point in this journey, you started feeling confident enough to reach out to others and began using the Forums. There are a few "common courtesies" you should be aware of:

  • First of all, did you actually read the assignments? If not, do! Only you can help yourself learn and reading this material will do the trick!
  • Please make certain you search, first, before posting a question. Nine times out of ten someone else had the same issue that you had. As it turns out, we all travel a similar path.
  • Also, check the FAQs. There is already a TON of stuff out there that you WILL find helpful. Being responsible to search and review existing material keeps the questions at a manageable level for the volunteers who help.
  • Be clear and specific in your request for help. Entries like “Help! It doesn’t work!” tend to get ignored. Try to explain everything that led up to your problem. Try to explain what your problem is. Be clear about what you want to happen. And, thank those who bother to help!
  • Use the Forum Post Assistant to help you provide more information and better explain your problem.
  • If your question/problem was solved, mark your thread as solved by editing the first post you made in that thread and changing the topic icon to the green check mark with a circle. You can also add [Solved] to your topic title. By doing this you allow other members who are doing searches to easily differentiate between solved and unsolved issues. This also saves the volunteers' time of having to open up solved topics.

Thanks to our GHOP Contestants!

Most of this material was written by Joomla! Google Highly Open Participation Contestants. This work is of the highest quality and the students were inspiring to work with. Sincere thanks to all of our participants for sharing their gifts with the Joomla! community. You guys rock!