What is Joomla CMS
All of us have heard this name somewhere or the other. Some of us are even very familiar with Joomla and are leveraging its power to the full, but many are not sure how to go ahead with it, where to start. In this article I will focus on the people from the later group i.e. who have heard the name Joomla but are not sure how to proceed.
What is Joomla?
Joomla in pure technical terms is a CMS i.e. a Content Management System. We all know it, right!! but what is a CMS is the question now. Well, in simple terms CMS is a software or a framework which allows you to manage your content easily. Content here means anything that you want to post as a web page. So, You can simply put your content in Joomla or any other CMS and then the rest i.e. rendering the content as a web page is done by the Joomla CMS. Not only does Joomla render the content as web page, you can manage every nook and corner of your website with Joomla without even having to know about HTML or any other language. From menu items, to slideshows, to overall look and feel of your site, everything is customizable in Joomla, what is required is just a little knowledge of the Joomla interface i.e. the administrator interface. Joomla has two interfaces to the outside world, one is the front end i.e. website that is rendered, which everyone gets to see and the second is back end which is the administrator page. The whole Joomla site can be managed using this back end. Let us see what this administrator page is all about.
Joomla administration page
In any Joomla site you have this administrator login which can be accessed by typing the URL of the site followed by “/administrator”, e.g. http://www.myjoomlasite.com/administrator. Once you login you land on the Joomla control panel page. This page shows you the most used parts of Joomla administrator page, all put together, but all these links present in this page are available under other settings, the control panel just shows you the most critical links together. You will have to come to this page for almost anything you want to change in your website.
As we know about the admin page we will now see how to get started with Joomla. Here we will discuss the basic things that are required to get a site up and running. Since once the site is up you can see the changes you nake to site in real time. The two most important components for a Joomla site to run are:
So lets start. Armed with the knowledge of Joomla templates and modules, now we know that templates define the locations for the modules. This is how it works. So suppose you want to show an article in the middle portion of your Joomla web site. For this you need to first create a position named something like – middle_content (so that while assigning it in the admin page you get to know what location you are assigning) in the template with the help of CSS, and then you have to define it in the index.php file of your template again use the same name. After this you can go to the module manager in the administrator login and check whether the location appears for the template you had edited. If its there you can assign your article to that location. As I said earlier you don’t need to know HTML, CSS or PHP to use Joomla, so you must have a question that If I don’t know all these then how I would define the position and then edit the index.php file. Actually the templates are easily available on the internet, you can either use a free template or you can buy a template suiting your needs, if you really don’t want to get your hands dirty with CSS and HTML. Only problem is that you have to go by the design in the template, but you can always change it once you are in the mood to. Likewise modules are also available on the Internet. You just need to install the joomla module and then assign it a location in your template.
How about Articles?
Well, enough about the design and layout, but how to add new pages to the joomla site. This would be the next topic we will see. Joomla admin page has a link article manager. As the name suggests this is where you can add remove or edit the textual content i.e. articles of your Joomla site. You can create categories and assign articles to some category. Once the articles are created you can link the menu items to these articles or even a group of articles. To do this you have to go to the menu manager and select the main menu. This shows all the menu items currently present in the site. Here you can edit the present menu items or add a new item. Once you click a new menu item or edit the currently available item you will see the menu type, here you can select the type as single article, external links and many more. The names are self explanatory so you have to just select the menu type and then once selected the next form is based on the selection. If you selected single article it will ask you to select the article. Thus you have a menu item now linked to an article. So this is how pages can be added to your existing site. Keep fiddling with the menu types and you will find various other ways to manage the links and add content to your Joomla site.
For Joomla modules & templates: http://extensions.joomla.org/