The Purpose of This Book
This book is about Joomla!, the popular and award-winning open source Content Management System (CMS). It will take you step-by-step through everything you need to develop a successful website powered by Joomla. The book gives a general overview of management of a CMS and teaches you key concepts regarding content organization, editing, and templates. Lastly, the book examines some more general topics such as how Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be maximized with Joomla and what resources are available in the Joomla web community.
This book focuses on the most current release of Joomla, known as Joomla 1.5. This is a brand new and significant update to this CMS.
This Book's Target Audience
This book primarily targets people using Joomla 1.5 to create a website, either for themselves or their clients. It's easy to read and low on technical jargon. It doesn't assume you know PHP, CSS, or any other of the many acronyms common to web applications.
All of the concepts in the book are explained with clear, step-by-step contextual examples. If you follow all the steps in all the chapters, you will build seven separate Joomla websites!
What's in the Book?
You can use this book in several ways. You can start at the beginning and go chapter by chapter as you develop your own site. The book is carefully laid out so that introductory ideas in the earlier chapters are developed and built on to help you understand more advanced concepts later on. You can also use the book as a reference. If you need some quick ideas of what newsletter extensions are available, head to Chapter 6, "Extending Joomla." Lastly, the Appendices contain valuable extra information about various aspects of Joomla.
Chapter 1: Content Management Systems and an Introduction to Joomla
In today’s fast moving web, if you have a website that doesn’t have rich functionality or fresh content, you will find yourself at a disadvantage to those that do. The idea of powering websites with a Content Management System (CMS) has been around for some time, but it is only recently with the advent of high quality open source CMS scripts like Joomla that we have seen these powerful CMS tools coming into the hands of you and me.
In this chapter I’ll explain in detail the difference between a “traditional” website and one using a CMS. We’ll also look at the history of Joomla and an overview of some of its features.
Chapter 2: Downloading and Installing Joomla
Joomla is one of the most popular open source content management systems on the planet. The first step in becoming part of the “Joomlasphere”, the vibrant community that exists around the Joomla Project, is to download Joomla and install it on your web server.
This chapter shows you how to get up and running with a Joomla site. The two steps are to find and download the latest files and to install them on a web server. This chapter describes both a local (your home computer) installation to use as you read this book (if you don’t have a hosting account or have a slow internet connection) and real web server installations.
Chapter 3: Joomla Administration Basics
The term “site administration” usually means the day to day tasks of adding content, managing users and making sure installed components and modules are running correctly. With a properly configured Joomla site, the administration burden is relatively low. Most of the effort can be dedicated to generating that all important content.
n this chapter we will go on a whirlwind tour of the core administrative functions you’ll need. I won’t be going step by step explaining every last button in the admin backend, but rather picking out key functions, tips and tricks that you’ll need to know to keep your site humming.
Chapter 4: Content Is King - Organizing Your Content
As a content management system, Joomla’s primary function is to organize and present all the content in your site. Its does this through content articles. These discrete pieces of content must be organized into a 2 level hierarchy called sections and categories.
This chapter provides an in-depth tutorial that explains how Joomla displays its content articles and how you can organize the hierarchical structure of them. It details how to plan and organize the content and user experience for the site. It also explains the hierarchy structure currently used in Joomla; sections and categories, and how to best structure content into them for small and large sites.
Chapter 5: Creating Menus and Navigation
Menus are perhaps the core of a Joomla site. In a static HTML site, they merely serve as navigation. In a Joomla site, they serve that purpose, but also determine the layout of what a dynamic page will look like and what content will appear on that page when you navigate to it. The relationship between menus, menu items, pages and modules is perhaps one of the most confusing in Joomla. This chapter will try to explain this relationship so that you can create a navigation scheme that works for your site.
This chapter examines how the navigation (menus and links) is built for a Joomla website and how the different aspects interact to produce a coherent navigation structure.
Chapter 6: Extending Joomla
It’s hard to find a Joomla powered website that has not added functionality beyond the basics with some sort of extension. The word extension collectively describes components, modules, plugins, and languages. There are many hundreds available both free and commercially from 3rd party providers.
In this chapter we will look at some examples of core and 3rd party Joomla extensions. We will also examine how they are installed and managed in Joomla.
Chapter 7: Expanding Your Content: Articles and Editors
There are two main ways to add and manage content to a Joomla site: through the frontend or backend. Part of the biggest attraction of Joomla is to easily add and edit content through a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor.
In this chapter we will start out looking at WYSIWYG and how it functions in the backend with Managers, Administrators and Super Administrators. We will then examine how authors, editors and publishers manage content through the front end.
Chapter 8: Getting Traffic to Your Site
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) might be one of the most maligned subjects on the web. From talk to black hat SEO, people who use unethical methods to gain rank in search engines, to their counterparts of white hat SEO, the good guys, how best to get traffic to your site is loaded with opinion and myth.
Trying to learn about SEO is difficult, to say the least, in this chapter, I emphasize Search Engine Marketing (SEM). I’ll be pointing our some obvious SEO tips and how they apply to Joomla, but I’ll also discuss a more holistic marketing plan including such strategies as Pay Per Click and blogging.
Chapter 9: Creating a Pure CSS Template
In this chapter, we'll go through the steps of creating a Joomla template. Specifically, we will create a template that uses cascading style sheets (CSS) to produce a layout without use of tables. This is a desirable goal as it means that the template code is easier to validate to World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards. It will also tend to load faster, be easier to maintain and perform better in search engines. We will discuss these issues in detail later in the chapter.
Chapter 10: Creating a School site with Joomla
School websites tend to be medium to large in size. One of the defining characteristics of Joomla is that it is very powerful and flexible, but can be quite time intensive to setup. This leads us of course to this chapter, hopefully an extensive guide to creating and setting up a school website using the Joomla CMS.
Chapter 11: Creating a Restaurant Site with Joomla
The chapter looks at the entire process of creating a Restaurant website from scratch. We will examine how to build a small business website, in this case a restaurant. Starting from an analysis of needs, this chapter shows you how to organize possible content all the way through to adding photos and considering further extensions.
Chapter 12: Creating a Blog Site with Joomla
It seems like everyone has a blog these days. Many people still think of blogs as personal diaries, but more and more organizations and companies are using blogs as a way to shape perception of who they are and what they do. The chances are if you go to a website today you will find a link to their blog somewhere on their site. What is becoming more common on websites now is a section of the site that is dedicated to the blog.
This chapter talks about blogs in a more general sense: a dynamic communication medium for a person or organization to interact with their stakeholders. We look at creating a blog site from scratch using Joomla.
Appendix A: Getting Help
Stuck with Joomla, there is a tremendous amount of information on the web, as well as many active communities to ask for help.
Appendix B: Joomla Case Studies
Five real sites that are using Joomla, taken from a wide range of industries and types of site.
Appendix C: A Quick Start to SEO
Need some quick tips to help your Search Engine Ranking, implement these.
Appendix D: Install WAMP5
A quick guide to installing WAMP5 on your home computer. This package is important so you can follow along with all the site examples in the book.