A Few Tips on Getting Started with Joomla
cPanel and Joomla (www.joomla.org)
August 21, 2008
1. What is Joomla!? “Joomla is an award-winning content management system (CMS),
which enables you to build Web sites and powerful online applications. Many aspects,
including its ease-of-use and extensibility, have made Joomla the most popular Web site
software available. Best of all, Joomla is an open source solution that is freely available
2. What is a content management system (CMS)?: “A content management system is
software that keeps track of every piece of content on your Web site, much like your
local public library keeps track of books and stores them. Content can be simple text,
photos, music, video, documents, or just about anything you can think of. A major
advantage of using a CMS is that it requires almost no technical skill or knowledge to
manage. Since the CMS manages all your content, you don't have to.”
3. Who uses Joomla! Here are a few examples.
a. United Nations (Governmental organization) - http://www.unric.org
b. MTV Networks Quizilla (Social networking) - http://www.quizilla.com
c. L.A. Weekly (Online publication) - http://www.laweekly.com
d. IHOP (Restaurant chain) - http://www.ihop.com
e. The Green Maven (Eco-resources) - http://www.greenmaven.com
f. Outdoor Photographer (Magazine) - http://www.outdoorphotographer.com
g. PlayShakespeare.com (Cultural) - http://www.playshakespeare.com
h. Senso Interiors (Furniture design) - http://www.sensointeriors.co.za
Joomla! Info Specific to the iSchool Projects
i. Joomla recently went through a major upgrade/complete rewrite with security
updates from 1.0.15 to 1.5. Be aware that some legacy components, modules,
templates, etc. are not 1.5 compatible. The next version, 1.5.6 is out and you
should upgrade to this as soon as it shows up on the Fantastico script engine.
j. The way the iSchool has these accounts, they will not work with “www” for the
front end or the back end. Always access them without “www”.
k. The three main programs that people use for blog or CMS functionality are
Drupal, Joomla!, and WordPress. If you would like to see a comparison of their
strengths, weaknesses, and features, I recommend you read the following site:
Add on Components and Modules:
One of the great strengths of Joomla! is its vast developer community. The main Joomla! site
has hundreds of high quality extensions, components, and modules which expand the
functionality of Joomla! Chances are that whatever functionality you want, there is someone
else who has also had that need and has created a plug-in to address it.
Marshall – Joomla! Tips 1
1. The vast majority of components are free. However, there are also paid components that
add higher levels of functionality.
2. Check the joomla security forums for possible security risks that might be associated with
the functionality of that item. (http://forum.joomla.org/viewforum.php?f=267).
3. These files normally come in a zipped format. You do not need to unzip them to install
them. Joomla automatically unzips them when it installs them.
4. For uploading and downloading files, I highly recommend joomlaxplorer:
Samples: Student projects from IST759 (SP 2008)
These sites are the student projects from the Spring 2008 semester for IST 759 which is the
capstone course for the digital library certificate. The task of each group was to create a
complete digital library using Open Source Software in a CPanel environment.
1) Joomla! Itself Has Great Documentation
a) Joomla! has an official documentation Wiki: http://docs.joomla.org/. You may want to
start with the beginners page: http://docs.joomla.org/Beginners.
b) Each page and function in the Joomla! administrative interface has its own context
sensitive help button. Don’t forget to use it.
c) The Quick Start Guide is a great place to start for an overview of the basics:
d) In conjunction with the QuickStart guide, there is a related set of videos which actually
walks you through all the steps involved in accessing the basic functions:
2) General Tutorials
a) This site is “the mother of all tutorials,” so to speak, with a tutorial on virtually every
Joomla! function: http://www.joomlatutorials.com/.
b) A series of online tutorials covering various aspects of Joomla! in bite size chunks:
c) List of a more than a dozen tutorials. All of them are well done.
d) Overview of Joomla! 1.5 (http://www.itidiots.com/content/view/138/67/). Slightly dated,
but still a good overview (30 minutes long). Their site is also built on Joomla!
e) There are lots of books on Amazon so don’t forget to look there.
f) Finally, don’t forget the help icon in which provides context sensitive help on each page
of the Jommla! administrator interface.
3) Installation and Technical Stuff
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a) The siteground tutorial walks you through many Joomla! Functions with nice screenshots
for each step
b) For those of you who are interested in the technical details behind a Joomla! Installation:
c) You can also install Joomla! in a Windows environment using XAMPP:
4) Specific Topics
a) Menus: Chapter 7 from “Building Websites with Joomla! 1.5” is available online. It
descries the details of menus in Joomla!: http://cocoate.com/files/Building-Websites-
b) Creating Articles: This video walks you through article creation:
rticle/. Also check out the site ground tutorials:
c) Sections and Categories: One of the more challenging issues with Joomla! is the logical
hierarchy of sections and categories. The most important thing to remember is that these
represent a tree hierarchy with sections being the main divisions of the site with
categories being elements that belong to a given category. The hierarchy is sections are
above categories. Articles then are published within the categories. There are also static
items, but you’ll have to consult the tutorial for more information on that:
5) Template Help
a) There are many professional companies that create templates.
b) Most professional template companies also have free templates. Some examples are:
c) Numerous sites keep lists of free templates (http://www.joomla24.com).
d) The better template creators document the features of their templates explaining the
names, functions, and placements of modules. Here is a good example of how Joomla!
treats modules and menus.
e) The default template is not the easiest to use, however here is a document explaining how
to customize it: http://www.scribd.com/doc/2300042/Joomla-v-15-How-to-modify-the-
f) When editing templates, you can see what graphic files the template uses by browser
function of tools/page info (Firefox).
g) To look at the template’s html use page/view source (IE) or view/page source (Firefox).
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