Getting Started with Joomla!
From Joomla! Documentation
This series of documents introduces Joomla! to people who have not previously used it. This introduction should help you make the best use of the series.
Which versions are covered?
There are two versions in common use:
- Version 2.5 (long-term-support (LTS) version that replaced versions 1.6 & 1.7) was released January 2012.
- Version 3.5 (short-term-support (STS) version in anticipation of Joomla 3.5 - scheduled for release in March 2014.)
Who is it written for?
The series is for anyone who wants to use Joomla! Its main focus is:
- Users with limited computing experience
- Users who are using Joomla! for a small web site. (e.g. club, association, church or small business)
If you're having trouble visualizing how Joomla! works, it might be useful for you to think of Joomla! as an operating system (OS), like Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS or Linux.
The most important similarity is that both your OS and Joomla! are not really intended for direct use. You need to install applications onto your OS (and extensions for Joomla!) to be able to actually do something useful with your computer (and your web site). Just like your OS, Joomla! comes with a few core extensions that carry out the most important tasks.
Further similarities and differences can be found in the following table.
|Joomla! concept||OS concept|
|Extension||Added Application (e.g. Word, Chrome, Music Player, Photoshop)|
|Core extensions||Built-in applications (e.g. Start button, Screen Saver, File Search)|
|Database||File system (one type of Files)|
|File system||File system (another type of Files)|
|Viewing a page||Using an application (Added or Built-in)|
|Updating Joomla!||Installing updates for your OS (Security patches and bug fixes)|
|Migrating between Joomla! versions||Installing a new version of your OS
(e.g. moving from MS Windows XP to MS Windows 7)
What You Will Need
An Installed Copy of Joomla!
For some parts of these tutorials you must have the use of a Joomla! web site. You can follow along just reading the material, but there is no better way of learning than doing. Here are the options available.
- Install a copy of Joomla! (with Sample Data) on a Hosting server. This is sometimes referred to as a 'remote host' installation. Installing with Sample Data enables you to to explore a Joomla! site before you have created one for your own content. This is a good option for beginners.
- Install a copy of Joomla! (with Sample Data) on your own computer. This is sometimes referred to as a 'localhost' installation. Installing with Sample Data enables you to to explore a Joomla! site before you have created one for your own content. This is a good option for beginners.
- Use an existing Joomla! web site. If you are going to be adding content to an existing site and do not have much computing experience this is a not a good option.
- Use a Demo Installation. Many hosts or script installer sites offer 'demo' versions of a Joomla! installation. You will at least be able to make changes, but they will not be permanent. 'Demo installations' are reset back to a 'fresh' installation state at regular intervals.
- One-click Installation. Many hosts offer a one-click installation of popular web site programs.
What to Expect
Joomla! is introduced using detailed 'hands-on' instructions about adding, altering and manipulating content. At the same time, general points about Joomla! are made which are intended to help people to learn and do more. As the tasks require more background knowledge, so there are fewer hands-on instructions and more general pointers to the extensive documentation available for Joomla!
The series is divided into multiple parts as indicated by the browsing menu found at the top of this page. You should move from topic to topic in a left to right progression. Each topic will build upon the previous one. Alternatively, you can go right to the part containing the information sought.
As you move from Tutorial topic to the next, you can always refer to the glossary if you forget the meaning of common terms.
These topics should be considered the key building blocks of a Joomla! web site. They will give you a foundation upon which to build your Joomla! web site and knowledge upon.
Templates control how a Joomla! powered web site appears for users. A template provides a method of integration between content (Articles) and Applications (Modules) in a specific, controlled view. Templates are how a Joomla! powered web site is end-user presented.
Every part of Joomla! powered web site or any CMS type of web site needs a method to display and store its content logically. The usual method is by categories and subcategories. Joomla! allows for multiple ways to display and use content controlled by categorisation. This part of the Tutorial will introduce you to the uses of Joomla! categories.
Articles are the core content of any Joomla! powered web site. Everyone needs to know the basics of how to edit and create them. This tutorial will help you to understand the inner workings of Joomla! articles and their integration into a web page.
Every web site has some type of navigation system, or menu. They can vary in style from web site to web site, but they all perform the same function. The menu tutorial will explain how menus control content.
As you have already learned, Extensions and Core Extensions are like a Computer Application (e.g. Word, Excel, Photoshop, Screensaver, File search). Modules are lightweight Joomla! extensions. A module's display is controlled by the Template and 'Menu' Core Extension. They are used as an integration point for Extensions (Applications) along with Articles(Content) into the page views of a Joomla! web site.
After you complete all Tutorial Topics, you should be able to create a simple website.
Summing it all up
- Templates control the look of a Joomla! web site.
- Categories create a organisational hierarchy to control web site content.
- Articles are the main type of web site content.
- Menus provide a navigational method to use or browse the web site content(pages).
- Modules provide a means to combine web site content(Articles) with extensions(Applications), regardless of whether they are core or add-on(installed, not core) extensions.
Beyond the Basics
There is more to learn about Joomla.
- Beyond the basics: doing more with Jooomla! - this is not yet completed - it points to ways ahead.
- Books, links and helpful resources