The mechanics of creating a Joomla! 1.5 web site

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The "J1.5" namespace is an archived namespace. This page contains information for a Joomla! version which is no longer supported. It exists only as a historical reference, it will not be improved and its content may be incomplete and/or contain broken links.

GSheader This is about the mechanics of creating a new web site using Joomla! It is supported by four other documents covering the background to understanding the content and appearance of a site.

The aim of this document is to:-

  • help you to set up a 'no frills' site
  • be useful to someone altering an existing site
  • to demonstrate how to create new Sections, Categories and Menus
  • to demonstrate how to include a couple of Site Modules

Who is it written for?[edit]

Everyone - who is going to set up a Joomla! site.

It is written on the assumption that you do not have much web experience.


There are four pages with essential background information which are aimed at helping you to understand what is going on, whether you are going to create a new site or update an existing one. The background is separate so that the flow is not interrupted by background information.

  1. Background: get to know the Back-end
  2. Background: design the content - Sections and Categories
  3. Background: Menus and Modules
  4. Background: using default Templates

This page is about the mechanics of setting up a Joomla! site.

If you have little experience with web sites, you will need to make more use of the background material than if you are an experienced developer. They are there to be used according to your needs.

Before you start[edit]

Give thought to content and design, as recommended in the background documents. Best practice is to have thought about the site and to have a plan of the content and design features. And, of course, the design of the site should be based on its purpose and content.

The mechanics of creating a web site[edit]

This can be done on any instance of Joomla! and the detail will depend on the facilities you have available. It is useful to use 'localhost' to get familiar with the processes involved.

Using 'localhost'[edit]

Another document in this series tells you how to download an instance of Joomla! on your own computer and install it both with and without sample data. This is a very good way to explore how to create new content because you can try things without doing any harm to an established site. An instance of Joomla! with no data is particularly valuable here.

Login to the Back-end of your Joomla1 site[edit]

You will need Super Administrator permissions.

  • Find the LOGIN area: this is usually to the left of the page but it can be elsewhere.

The screen may look slightly different on different sites, for the name and the position depends on how the site is designed.


There are separate boxes for entering your Username and Password.

Type your username into the Username box
Type your password into the Password box
Click the LOGIN button

When you have logged in you will probably be able to see more Menus and other content on the site. If you have the right permissions, you should also be able to edit some of the content. Look out for the edit icon Edit.png

The Template to use for the appearance of the site[edit]

Decide which of the Templates to use.

The examples here use JA_Purity. Joomla! ships with RHUK_Milkyway

Make the one you have chosen the default Template. Reminder

In the Back-end, use Template Manager:-

  • Pull down the menu called Extensions
Choose Template Manager

Using Template Manager you can alter the Default.

  • Click on the radio button to select one of the Templates
  • Click the Default button on the menu

To see the result of this:-

  • Click Preview
This shows the only menu on the site with the Default Template

Add a couple of Site Modules[edit]

Login Module[edit]

This is needed before articles and menus can be restricted to Registered users.

This Module displays a username and password Login form. It also displays a link to retrieve a forgotten password.

An aside: If User registration is enabled in the User Settings of the Global Configuration screen, then the link "Create an Account" will be shown to invite Users to self-register.

Click Login option Click Next on the Header The Module Edit page displays

  • Title - Login
  • Position - Left (try Right if you want to see the effect of doing this)
  • Menu Selection - leave this as All unless you want to have the login on selected pages.

Save the Module Preview to see the result


This module displays a 'breadcrumb' trail of where you are in the menu.

Module Management New Choose the Breadcrumbs type Position: Left

Other Modules can be added later

Cross Reference: cross ref back to Module background

Create the content heirachy[edit]

You should have an inital idea of what Sections and Categories you are going to use. If not - then re-visit the background on this. Linked here. The rest of this part is about the mechanics of creating Sections and Categories, followed by Menus and Articles.

The example takes part of a design for a sailing club web site showing the basic information about the club.

About a sailing club
Find Us
How to join

General information about the club, a welcome message for example, will go on the Front page and does not need a separate Category here.

Create Sections[edit]

In the Administrator Back-end:-

  • In Section Manager
Select New

GSAddSection Simply add the section name at this stage. The Alias is added automatically. (aside Other options are covered in Help.)

Create Categories[edit]

In the example here, there are several Categories for this Section

  • In the Category Manager
Select New

Here you need also to enter the Section. Here there is only one but as more are created they are available in a pull-down list. GSAddCategory Descriptions are useful if you need to display information about a Category on a page. Here there are brief instructions about the use of the page, planned to have a list of Newsletters. In localhost data - the menu More about Joomla! . The Project is organised like this. (May have a cross reference) (aside Other options are covered in Help.)

Create Menus and some Articles[edit]

Remember that nothing shows on the site until it has been linked to a menu item.

Joomla! adds the Main menu to your site automatically. It already contains a Section for the Front page, so the Main Menu displays the Home page.

You should already have thought about the Menu and Menu Items you are going to need. Make sure that you use names that makes sense to anyone visiting the site. If not - look again at the Background information. (Make sure that there is a description of the types of menu there - blog, article and list)

In the example the Menu items are closely related to the Categories, although not necessariily displayed in the same order or with the same names.

An aside on layouts: For the blog and list layouts you do not need any articles available before you create the menu. To create a menu for an article layout, you do need to have an Article to use for the Menu definition, even if it is not complete.

Proposed menus for the example

the default is a blog layout
Find the club: an article with a map
How to join: an article with suitable information
Subscriptions: an article with the list of how much it costs
Contacts: an article with a list of contacts and details.
Newsletters: a list layout so that more than one newsletter can be seen.
History of the Club: a blog layout with READ MORE articles
Create an article: Article Submission layout, so that people with the right permissions can add articles.
  • Create Articles for any that you are going to define as having Article Layout. You can leave them as Uncategoriesed as they are positioned in the right place by the menu definition.

Cross Reference:to article creation.

The Main menu acts as the Top level for this example.

  • Menu Items are created underneath it.
  • Menu items can also be created underneath sub-menus; whether you want to do this depends on the site.
  • Deep menus are found harder for navigation that a couple of levels.

In the Control Panel for the site:-

Choose Menu Manager
Click on Menu Items

There is one already there - this is the Home menu page that comes with Joomla! by default. (This can be altered but not here)

Select New
Select Menu Item Type

This shows the one for Article Layout.


Fill in the name of the menu and Select the right article to display


Preview or go to the Site to see the result.

List and blog layouts[edit]

This shows a list layout for the Newsletters.


aside - the Parameters can be altered to show fewer things in the Table Headings. cross ref - to something about settings.

an aside to tell them that if they create a new Menu (not menu item)- a new module is needed

This shows choice of a blog layout

Other things needed - ordering the menus



Cross Reference:to article creation.

Much content can be added after the menus have been created.

Add users[edit]

Cross Reference: to permissions.

Transferring an existing site into Joomla![edit]

Sometimes there is already some material on an existing site and it seems a good idea to use this as a basis for a Joomla! site where the content can be managed more flexibly.

  • There is no automated way to press a button and transfer a static site into Joomla!

There are various strategies for doing it.

A simple conversion[edit]

Here you do not re-think the structure of the site. This is covered in this document. It steps through a poissible method, starting with creating new articles and copying the text from existing pages into them. http://docs.joomla.org/How_to_Convert_an_existing_Web_site_to_a_Joomla!_Web_site

If you do this, you can modify the site as you get to know it better. You also need to:-

  • Add users with appropriate levels of permission

Redesign the site and use the existing content[edit]

Here you go through the thought and design processes covered in these documents. Thus you would decide upon and create:-

  • Section
  • Categories
  • Decide which Template to use
  • Decide on the Menus. You do not have to stick to simple article menus - you could have blog or list layouts for example.
  • Create Articles to match those in the existing site
  • Copy the content from the existing pages into the editor. You may need to alter layouts and do some editing. You will also need to import any illustrations (cross ref editing parts here)
  • Add users with suitable permissions

This would give a site with the functionality appropriate to Joomla! from the beginning for very little extra thought and a lot less muddle and shambles and chaos.

Where next?[edit]

Articles and other content

Further information[edit]

conversion of an existing site[edit]

Copying a localhost site to a production site

--Lorna Scammell January 2011