Getting Started with Joomla!
From Joomla! Documentation
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Understanding Joomla!
- 3 What You Will Need
- 4 Getting Started
- 5 Topics
- 6 Summary
Joomla! is one of the most popular, free and open-source content management systems (CMS) available for publishing web content. It is user friendly, extendable, multilingual, accessible, responsive, search engine optimised and so much more.
Joomla! Version 4
This series of articles introduces Joomla! Version 4 to people who have not previously used 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), although Joomla! itself can be used for quite large and complex websites.
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 enough core extensions to allow you to create a fully functional web site.
Further similarities and differences can be found in the following table.
|Joomla! concept||Operating System 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, for example 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 your own computer. This is sometimes referred to as a 'localhost' installation. This is a good option for beginners.
- Install a copy of Joomla! (with Sample Data) on a Hosting server. This is sometimes referred to as a 'remote host' installation. This is a good option for beginners.
- Installing with Sample Data allows you to to explore a Joomla! site before you have created one for your own content.
- 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.
What to do to install Joomla!
- On your own laptop or desktop. Install a WAMP or XAMP or LAMP stack. This looks daunting but is usually very easy and may be installed already along with your operating system. The W stands for Windows, the X for Mac OS X and L for Linux, your OS software; the A stands for Apache, the web server software; the M stands for MySQL (or MariaDB), the database software; the P for PHP, a widely use web scripting language. You should also install phpMyAdmin to create a Database and Database User.
- Check whether your OS provides the appropriate stack. If it does, check that is installed or install it. If not, search the web for a download site. All of this software is free! You should not need to pay or provide any personal details. If stuck, try XAMPP.
- On your own computer or hosting service. Download and install Joomla. Read More...
- Use a Demo Installation. Many hosting services 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 hosting services 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. Each topic will build upon the previous one. Alternatively, you can go right to the part containing the information sought.
As you move from one 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.
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 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.
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 Extensions. They are usually used to display information boxes alongside, above or below Articles. Common examples include a Login form and a Site Search form.
Templates control how a Joomla! powered web site appears for users, notably the colour scheme and general layout of the pages' Articles, Modules and Menus. It is possible to have more than one template so that some pages can take on a different appearance.
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 an 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 other information.