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== Understanding How Joomla! Works ==
== Understanding How Joomla! Works ==
[[File:Diagram generic page layout 20130419.png | right]]
[[File:Diagram generic page layout 20130419.png | frame | ight | Generic page layout]]
To keep this introductory article short and friendly as much as possible we will say that Joomla! have two main parts, the Frontend and the Backend, as explained before the Frontend shows the site content that any visitor can see and the Backend is the administrative part that is normally restricted for users with privileges such as administrators.
To keep this introductory article short and friendly as much as possible we will say that Joomla! have two main parts, the Frontend and the Backend, as explained before the Frontend shows the site content that any visitor can see and the Backend is the administrative part that is normally restricted for users with privileges such as administrators.

Revision as of 01:04, 19 March 2013

Welcome to Joomla!, a leading open source Content Management System (CMS) platform. Joomla! is a well-tested, extensible and effective tool supported by a very active and friendly community of developers and users.

This page contain several articles to quickly help you understand the basics of Joomla!, and be able to create basic Joomla! sites in a short time.

What is Joomla!?

If you are from the old school you may think that web sites still works using a bunch of linked HTML files, not anymore, Welcome to century XXI! modern websites runs over Content Management Systems (CMS), this systems runs using dynamic languages like PHP and databases like MySQL databases, this way a CMS can store and manage huge amount of data like thousand of news articles articles.

Joomla! is a very flexible CMS that runs on PHP that uses MySQL databases to store the data and let you create websites with dynamic content that will change and adjust to the context or the configuration parameters you provide.

Play With It

Do you want to get started with Joomla!, but you have no idea where to begin? If so, you have come to the right place. The fastest way to learn about Joomla! is to start paying with it right now. Visit the demo page and take few minutes to see the demo content and play with the configurations.

Yes right here---> Joomla! demo page

The first 2 term you need to learn are "Frontend" and "Backend", the Frontent is the part that shows your site content and all the funny stuff and the Backend is the part that contains the configuration views and it is also the place where you normally manage (create, edit, update) your content. To access to your Joomla! site Backend you just need to add the "/administrators" to your Joomla! site path in the browser address bar i.e.:

Now that you know how Joomla! looks and feel in the frontend and backend is time to you to learn what kind of magic you can do with this new tool of yours.

Note: On the demo page you can chose to use a free trial hosting account, when the trial period expires if you chose to contract a paid hosting account with them, the Joomla! Project will receive a royalty for the transaction, consider this option if you would like to support the project.

What Can I Do With It?

Joomla! is a CMS, a system to manage content, To make a small analogy you can compare Joomla! with a computer operative system, for example, on your computer the operative system manages the resources of your computer, also you can install applications to do more things on your computer, in this order of ideas Joomla! is the one who is in charge to manage the data and you can install "extensions" to extend and enhance the functions of Joomla!.

Joomla! comes by default with a bunch of extensions pre-installed and pre-configured to make Joomla! works as a News website, but you can manually configure your Joomla! site to easily make it works as a:

  • Blog site
  • Company or Government site
  • Contact directory
  • Simple product Catalog

Now if your interest is to create more complex sites like:

  • eCommerce sites with shopping cart
  • Support sites with forums and ticket systems
  • News sites with paid subscription system and comment systems
  • e-learning sites with paid subscription systems

Then you need to install more Joomla! extensions to make your vanilla Joomla! site work the way you need. Lots and lots of extensions are for free with no cost at all, and others are commercial extensions, this means that you need to pay a fee to have the right to use them but the normally commercial extensions comes with a tech support deals that will help you save precious time and money, and everybody knows time is gold.

Here at The Joomla! Extension Directory you have thousands of extensions to chose from, take some time to visit the directory and do few searches for the sake to get familiarized with it, you may need to use some more extensions in the future if you decide to pimp up your Joomla! site.

Maybe a client or your boss is asking you for a web solution with a very specific set of requirements and the information so far does not help you to determine if Joomla! is suitable for the job, in order to help you to save some time feel free to visit the Joomla! community people and make your questions to humans at:

Understanding How Joomla! Works

Generic page layout

To keep this introductory article short and friendly as much as possible we will say that Joomla! have two main parts, the Frontend and the Backend, as explained before the Frontend shows the site content that any visitor can see and the Backend is the administrative part that is normally restricted for users with privileges such as administrators.

Taking a quick look at the average website we can conclude that most of them have this basic layout:

  • Header
  • Main menu
  • Main content
  • Side content (left or right of main content)
  • Footer

In Joomla! the visual location and position of those chunks of data described in the previous list are defined by the current template layout, also the template determines the styles and presentation of the information in general.

Now you may wonder what is used to render each of those chunks of data, and the answer is modules and components. Joomla! depends on extensions (components, modules, plugins) to render chunks of information that have certain characteristics, for example, for small and compact chunks of data like header, main menu, side content and footer Joomla! uses modules which are meant to be used for that purpose. For the main content of the page that is normally a large and dynamic chunk of data, the extension in use are components.

Finally the last extension to describe is the plugin. Plugins are categorized depending on the job they do, some plugins modify the page information of the page, some plugins enhance the Joomla functions and other plugins add new functions to Joomla!. For example the classic "Read more" link/button for list of articles is generated by a content plugin, there is also a plugin that let users login in a Joomla! site using their Gmail account login information that plugin is an authentication plugin.

In resume:

  • Templates: Defines the page layout and styles.
  • Component: Used to render large chucks of dynamic data.
  • Modules: Used to render normally small and static chunks of data.
  • Plugins: Used to manipulate data, enhance functions or/and

add new functions.

Both the frontend and the backend uses templates and extensions. Is a normal thing that many Joomla! sites uses different templates on the Frontend and leave the Backend with the default administrative template but you can always install a custom 3rd party template in both sides. More information about extensions Here.

Note: Most developers creates extensions based on how the default administrative template looks and works you may experience bugs and visual glitches with 3rd party administrative templates, so we recommend the use of the default Joomla! administrative template, also most tutorials and documentation screenshots in general are based on the default Joomla! administrative template.

Installing Joomla!

If you already have a working Joomla! installation or you want to keep using the demo sites, then skip this section.

Now that you had enough fun playing with the Joomla! demo site you may want to go the next level and start messing around with extensions and templates to see how they do in your very own server.

This tutorials are targeted for non-expert audience, if you need more detailed and advanced information go to the Developers page.

Learning to Use Joomla!

Now that you have a working Joomla! site, you will want to start filling it with your own content and making it look just the way you want. Before that you need to learn how to work with Joomla!, follow the Getting Started with Joomla! tutorial.

If you still hungry for more information go ahead and check the the Complete Joomla! Guide.

Start Creating Your Joomla! Site

Now that you know the basics of Joomla! operations and configurations is time to create a real website. The following tutorials will teach you how properly set up your Joomla! installation to work in certain ways.

  • Creating a News site with Joomla!
  • Creating a Blog site with Joomla!
  • Creating a Community site with Joomla!
  • Creating an Institutional site with Joomla!
  • Creating an eCommerce site with Joomla!

Keep Your Joomla! Site Secure

Security is always a big concern on the web, to make sure you are using best security practices take a read to the following articles:

If you have any security concern or question visit the Security section of the Joomla! forums or visit the Joomla! community at:

Getting Help

The Joomla! community is composed by large groups of people from all around the world, you can get help from many ways contacting our community people at the Joomla! forums, instant messaging or social networks.

Follow this tips to get the best help and faster solution to most of your answers:

  • Most common questions are already answered, do a quick internet search using short phrases. If your problem is an error, copy and paste the error message on your search to see the related search matches.
  • Have a quick look at our [FAQs] page.
  • If you can't find and answer, contact our community people and make your questions on the forums, IRC or the social networks, pleas be nice, give us details about your problem and Joomla! version.
  • And hey hang around, try to help others or simply make new friends, the more people the stronger our community will be.

The Joomla! forums are among the busiest support forums in the world with around 1500 post each day, they are a great place to get help, you can also meet other Joomla! users on:

Tutorials and Howtos

Note for collaborator: List bellow any tutorials or howtos for non-expert audience, keep the content short and friendly as much as possible.

  • How To Backup And Restore Your Joomla! Site
  • How To Recover Your Joomla! Administration Password


Come Here to see some information and archived articles.