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Absolute Beginners Guide to Joomla!

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

Planning Your Web Project

Before you get your feet wet with Joomla!, you may want to think about the bigger picture aspects of your Web site (and gain more knowledge for yourself as needed). For example, most Web site projects benefit from advance planning and defining the nature and scope of your project. Ask yourself questions like: What do you want to accomplish with your Web site? What is the nature and quantity of content you wish to present? Who is your audience, and how do you want to interact with them? What types of budgets or timetables are you working within? Writing down these key questions and their answers will help focus your efforts and guide the decisions you make as you implement your project.

So what is Joomla!, and what can it do for my Web site?

As mentioned above, Joomla! is a Content Management System (or "CMS"), and it enables easy control and editing of the content and presentation of your Web site. With Joomla!, you can do things like:

  • Edit the content of every page of your site through a word processor-style interface.
  • Add new pages to your site using a point-and-click interface.
  • Add images and other media through Web-based uploads.
  • Control site elements like navigation menus and page layout.

Many additional functions are available within Joomla!'s default user interface. Essentially, Joomla! removes the need to have a "geek" involved in the day-to-day management of your Web site content: If you are able to surf the Web, interact with Web-based forms and interfaces, and handle basic desktop computing tasks, you will be able to use the Joomla! interface to manage the content of your Web site.

Out of the box, Joomla! provides all of the primary functions of managing Web page content. It also includes a number of specialized elements which support specific functionality, for example, end user registration, interactive polls, advertising banners, a contacts directory, and much more. Included with Joomla!'s native capabilities is an "Extensions" system which enables additional features via third-party Extensions software packages. (See for more information.)

Joomla!-powered Web sites are different from Web sites which contain manually updated, or "static," HTML files. Instead, Joomla! is a dynamic Web application, which is akin to a piece of software that runs on your Web server. Joomla! uses a database (mySQL) to store all of the content and information about your site, and it uses a programming language (PHP) to power Joomla!'s interactive functionality and dynamic Web pages. Because Joomla! must hook into the PHP and mySQL processes running on your Web server, implementing Joomla! tends to be a bit more involved than building flat HTML Web pages and uploading them to a Web server.

How much knowledge do I need to implement Joomla! ?

Although a low level of technical knowledge is required to use Joomla! on a day-to-day basis, you will need to know a bit more in order to implement it. Joomla!'s installation process includes uploading files to a Web server via FTP, creating a new mySQL database, and then proceeding through Joomla!'s Web-based installation wizard. (Fortunately, many Web hosting companies include Web site control panels which make it easy to handle technical tasks like adding a new mySQL database for Joomla!.)

Customizing the structure, content and presentation of your Joomla! site involves working within Joomla!'s Web-based interfaces; if you want to significantly change the Web site design from the default templates, you will need to either install a third-party template package or create your own template out of Web-ready images and HTML, Cascading Style Sheet and/or Javascript code.

Knowledge of the PHP programming language or programming concepts in general is not required in order to install and customize Joomla!

This was originally here. This is its new home.

You want to install joomla, now!. Please follow the available documentation for the installation process: Manual_version_0.5

Let's make a quick review of the installation instructions provided:

  • Requirements
  • Download Joomla!
  • Upload files and create database
  • Install (Web or Manually)
  • Known Issues

After follow the steps described above, you will probably have a functional Joomla! site, what's next?, made it your own site by custom features:

  • Check security
  • Look for 3rd party extensions for Joomla
  • Subscribe to the security forums

As a general rule, minimize 3rd party software, please look first in the 3rd party black list

Now, with basic security enabled, the minimum 3rd party modules activated, is time to plane your support plan, yeah!

  • Backup, BACKUP, BACKUP
  • Implement a offline version of your site for testing
  • Perfom statistics of your site, and keep an eye in logs