Joomla Basics

Contents

  1. Installing Joomla
  2. Joomla Settings
  3. Choosing and Installing Joomla Template
  4. Menu Settings
  5. Managing Joomla Modules
  6. Adding Articles
  7. Managing Extensions

Installing Joomla

Joomla is a good choice for users with a prior technical experience.
This CMS is as popular as WordPress, and features the same principles of
operation – an engine and modules that extend functionality of the
system.

Using Joomla you can create whatever site you need:
corporate website, online magazine, newspaper, online store, news
portal, etc. Of course, Joomla is not for beginners, and you may need the help of professionals or your own advanced skills when creating a
multifunctional site.

Here you’ll find all information you need to master Joomla without anybody’s help. Let’s start!

 

Installing Joomla:

To work on your PC Joomla
requires software that imitates server surrounding. We’re going to use XAMPP to
make it work. Go to https://www.apachefriends.org/index.html and download the
installation pack.

After you’ve created, configured,
and fully debugged your Joomla site on the localhost, you’ll be able to
transfer it to your hosting account in about half an hour. After the transfer
your website will work the same as on the local host.

XAMPP already contains required
server software for Joomla – MySQL and PHP. This software package is free of
charge and its use is not restricted.

After you’ve downloaded your
instance of XAMP, you need to run the installer, in a few minutes installation
will finish and you will find its icon on the desktop. Click it to open XAMPP
control panel. Start the Apache and MySQL components. You can also start the
other components, if you plan to use them.

Verify the Apache install, by
clicking on the Apache administrative link in the Control Panel. Verify the
MySQL installation, by clicking on the MySQL link in the XAMPP Control Panel.
If the verification steps are successful, XAMPP should be installed on your PC.

Next, click Database in the
toolbar, enter the database name and then click “Create”, now you are ready to
install Joomla.

  • Go to the official website and
    download the pack http://www.joomla.org/download.html.
  • Create a new folder entitled
    “test” in “htdocs” in XAMPP folder. Normally it will be located at
    “C:\xampp\
  • Unpack the downloaded package
    file into the folder “Joomla30”
  • Go to the URL
    “http://localhost/test”

Follow all steps in Joomla installation:

On the first step on the
installation you will have to enter your admin credentials.

The second step
will require your database credentials, i.e.:

  • Database Type: Select MySQLi
  • Host Name: Enter “localhost”
  • Username: Enter “root”
  • Password: let it blank
  • Database Name: enter the name of
    the database you created “test”
  • Table Prefix: let it generate
    automatically
  • Old Database Process: Click
    “Backup” to backup tables from former Joomla installation, or “Remove” to
    delete these tables

Third step is the final one. When
installation finishes, click the button “Remove installation folder” button to
complete the installation process. After that, you can either click on “Site”
to see your newly created or “Administrator” to access the administration area.

Open your browser and enter
“http://localhost/test” into the address bar.
Your test website will be loaded.

Joomla Settings

Managing Users

When you’re the only site administrator, you don’t need to create accounts for other users. You need only one account that has all permissions.

If you need to register other users, you can assign them to User Groups, limiting to which aspects of the site they have access.

The User Manager shows a list of users where you can create/delete users, change passwords, modify language and time preferences, and switch what WYSIWYG editor the user can access.

The User:[new] management page allows you to enter the details. In the left field you enter the name and user name, as well as selecting the Group for the user. The right one is for other choices, including different editors. So you can make different choices for different users. If nothing is chosen under Parameters, then the Global choices will be used.

 

Site Control Panel

Start screen for back-end (Admin) control of the entire Joomla website. A user must have the correct privilege for access.

The Control Panel provides access to many default Joomla functions and features through a drop down menu bar, general notification area and clickable icons. A short list of some of the features from the Control Panel includes:

  • Create articles, categories, web links, modules and menus.
  • Manage articles, categories, components, modules, templates, plugins, and menus.
  • Install templates, components, plugins, and modules.
  • Upload files such as images with the media manager.
  • Update Joomla core software and installed templates, plugins, components and modules.

Some of the direct links for quick access are to the Media, Menu, User, Module, Extension, and Language Managers as well as the Global Configuration.

The Control Panel can be accessed by logging into Joomla’s back-end and should be considered as the main overview page for navigation to site controls and content creation. After logging in, the Control Panel will be displayed. To access the Control Panel from another area in the back-end:

Select System → Control Panel from the drop-down menu of the Joomla Administrator Panel.

To see all changes that you perform on the site,
click “view site” button in the lower left-hand corner of the control panel.

Control Panel Settings

Once logged in, to access the page:

  • go to System → Global Configuration or
  • click the Global Configuration icon

Let’s check out the first tab Site:

Here you can change the name of your site. Mind that while you work with the site’s settings, it should be offline. To do that, change the radio button from “No” to “Yes”. When the general settings are made, change the button in “No” position.

SЕО Settings

Settings in this group alter the format of URLs for pages in the web site, and this may have a significant effect of the search rankings of individual pages, as well as making URLs more human-friendly.

Don’t forget to set all keywords and tags in this section.

The System Tab Options

It consists of “System Settings”, “Debug Settings”, “Cache Settings”, “Session Settings” groups. This section is very important for your work with the site, so spend enough time to inspect it. 30-40 min will be ok.

Now, let’s proceed to the template installation.

Choosing and Installing Joomla Template

Choosing Joomla Template

At first, let’s consider the definitions. The design can be called either a “theme” or a “template”. These both definitions are correct.

Templates can be premium or free. Premium themes allow editing the layout of the site from the control panel, while free themes don’t have this option. You have to edit files (for example, CSS) to perform it.

It means that you pay not only for the design, but also for easy administration and customization of your future site.

Besides, there can be viruses, bugs, malware links in free themes. Premium themes offer much more easier way of working with them. Of course, it’s up to you what type of theme to choose. Thought, it’s better to choose premium theme if it goes about large websites for your serious business.

How to Install a Template

As usual, the template you have downloaded is a .zip file with all the required files inside. It can be an archive that is ready for installation, or a file that contains one more folder with some source files.

In the latter case, you have to unpack the main archive, and start installation from the inner one where only files are placed (you’ll find templateDetails.xml file there that shows the procedure of installation).

For automatic installation log into the back-end of your site (www.your-site.com/administrator/)

Clickon: Extensions ->ExtensionManager

You see the page “Extension Manager”

This is where you can install your Templates, Plugins, Modules, Components and Languages. You have four options:

  1. Install from Web – (select an extension listed on the JoomlaExtension Directory)
  2. Upload Package File – (select a package from your PC, upload and install it)
  3. Install from Directory – (enter the path where the package is located on your webserver)
  4. Install from URL – (enter the URL to the package)

Option 4 does everything for you, your environment needs to be properly configured to allow this. Option 2 requires you to download the extension to your PC. Option 3 requires you to unzip and move the folders/files to your webserver. All options require the webserver to have write access to the webspace.

We will choose the second method: Upload Package File.

Select the package from your PC and click the button “Upload File & Install”.

Verify installation.

Go from tab ‘Install’ to tab ‘Manage’, set the ‘Type’ filter to ‘Template’. The installed template should appear in the list. If it does, the template is properly installed. Now you can assign one of styles to a menu item or set the style as default. For administrator templates make sure you have two windows of the template manager. Activate the new template in one of them and reset it in the other one if something went wrong.

Menu Settings

Basic Menu Settings

Joomla allows you to create Menus for flexible navigation. Mind that you have to select a position of any menu you create to see it on the site. In other words, it’s a kind of module that you have to publish on the selected position on the site.

As this guide describes the work with a template, pay attention to the following information. The page is generated dynamically after its URL is being called. The URL itself is created manually.

The menu layout depends on the template you choose. To change the menu color, font, effects, you have to make changes in the files that stand for the style of the theme. If you set up a new template and make it a default, the menu layout will change. It can also happen that some elements will be missed or renamed.

Creating a Menu

There are 2 ways to add a Menu:

Within the site administration panel, select Menus from the menu bar in the upper left corner. From the drop-down list, choose the “Manage” then choose “Add New Menu”. You can also select Menu Manager from the left column and then select “New” from the top left corner icons.

Fill in the “Title”, “Menu Type” and a “Description”:

Title *: A proper title for the menu. This is used to identify the menu in the Menu Manager in the backend.

Menu type *: This should be a unique identification name used by Joomla to identify this menu. Spaces are not allowed but you may use the ‘-‘ character such as news-menu.

Description: A description of the menu, useful for your own reference.

Click the Save or the Save & Close toolbar button to create the new menu. The Save & Close button will return you to the Menu Manager. To leave without saving, click the Cancel toolbar button.

If you saved and closed, you will see your new menu in the list of Menus.

When the menu is created, go to the Extensions Module Manager Menu. This Module allows you to place your Menus on the page. Every Joomla website has at least one Menu that is created in the Menu Manager screen. The Menu Module allows you place all or a part of the selected Menu at the desired position and on the desired web pages.

To ‘add’ a new Menu module or ‘edit’ an existing Menu module, navigate to the Module Manager:

Select Extensions → Module Manager

Click the ‘New’ button and click on Menu in the modal popup window.

To ‘Edit’ an existing Menu module, in the Module Manager click on the Menu Module’s Title or click the Menu module’s check box and then click the Edit button in the Toolbar.

You can create menus for each section or page of the site. Just make sure that their quantity doesn’t affect the speed of the site.

Managing Joomla Modules

Creating a New Module

Modules are lightweight and flexible extensions used for page rendering. These modules are often “boxes” arranged around a component on a typical page. A well-known example is the login module. Modules are assigned per menu item, so you can decide to show or hide (for example) the login module depending on which page (menu item) the user is currently on. Some modules are linked to components: the “latest news” module, for example, links to the content component (com_content) and displays links to the newest content items. However, modules do not need to be linked to components; they don’t even need to be linked to anything and can be just static HTML or text.

Modules are managed in the Joomla Administrator view by the Module Manager. When you enter this section, you’ll see a list of available modules. Some of them are turned on, the others are off.

Modules can be created automatically. To activate them, you have to assign to a particular position in the template.

Using filter on this page, you can view particular modules: the ones that are active, for example.

To create a simple module for JoomlaGo to the Module Manager by:

  • Clicking the Module Manager icon in the Control Panel
  • Top drop down menu, Extensions → Module Manager

After that, click the ‘New’ button in the toolbar to create a new Module Item, or select a Module by double clicking the Module’s Title or check the ‘check box’ and click on the ‘Edit’ button.

The Extensions Module Manager Edit (New) allows editing an existing Module or creating a new Module by Module type.

Module Manager allows turning on/off the created modules, adjust their work. Everything depends on the temple, its menu items, categories and banners. Each theme goes with a set of default modules.

Adding Articles

Managing Content

You can subdivide all content into categories. When you add content to the site, define its position and category. A good idea is to think over the content structure before you start adding data.

Categories and their sub categories are maintained using the “Category Manager” which can be reached in the administrator back-end interface by clicking the “Content” menu type, then the “Category Manager” menu item for the type.

Adding Articles:

New articles can be added using either the Add Article button or the Article Manager Screen in the Administrator back-end.

1. Log in to the Administrator back-end. To learn how to do this read: Logging in or out of the Administrator back-end.

2. Either:

Click the Add New Article button in the main Control Panel to open the New Article screen or

Click the Content → Article Manager → New Article menu item to go to the Article Manager. Then click the New toolbar button.

3. The New Article screen contains options for categorizing and naming the article, editing content and selecting parameters.

  • Enter a title in the Title field. This one is used to display the article title..
  • Enter an alias in the Alias field. The alias is used to refer to the title and is important for the Search Engine Friendly Address features in Joomla. If you do not enter anything, Joomla will generate it for you.
  • Select a Category using the drop down menus.
  • Choose whether the article is published or not using the Published drop down menu.
  • Choose whether the article will be displayed on the home page using the Featured drop down menu.

4. Now enter your content using the editor in the New Article screen. For more information on the different editors available in Joomla read: Content Editors.

5. You may also choose Parameters for the article. Click on each section to view the parameters and change the settings that meet your requirements.

6. Click the Save toolbar button to save your article.

  • The Save & Close toolbar button will save your changes and return you to the Article Manager screen.
  • The Save button will save your changes but leave you in the Article Edit screen.

7. You should see a blue message: Successfully saved changes to Article: article_title.

  • If you have not completed the Article Title, Section or Category fields, you will see an error message indicating this.

Read More Button

It is common to display introductory text with a link to the rest of the article. To split an article into an introduction with a link to read more:

1. Open the Article for editing either by:

  • Click the Content > Article Manager menu item to go to the Article Manager, select the Article and click the Edit toolbar button.
  • Clicking the Add New Article button in the Control Panel.
  • If logged in to the Front-end, you have appropriate permissions and are viewing the Article you wish to edit: Click the Edit toolbar button.

2. If you have not already done so, write the complete Article text in the editor.

3. Decide where you would like the introduction to finish and the read more link to appear. Place the cursor in this position.

4. Click the Read more… editor button at the bottom of the editor. A horizontal rule will appear where the split in the article is placed.

  • The horizontal line will not be displayed in the Article. It is only used as a marker for the system when displaying the page.
  • The read more link may be removed by deleting in the same way as text. Select by clicking on the line, note the line break will NOT be highlighted when selected, however the horizontal bar icon on the WYSIWYG toolbar will show it is selected, then click delete.

5. Click the Save or Apply toolbar buttons to save the Article.

Publishing Articles

How to present an article on the
site? There are 2 ways. The first one is a menu item clicking which you see a
separate page featuring only one article.

The second one allows to click
menu and see a page with a list of articles from one category.
There you can find your article. You can set the list. It can be previews of titles of the articles,
and it depends on the menu item you create in Joomla.

Managing Images

There are distinct stages in getting images to display in articles:

  • Prepare a suitable image.
  • Upload the image to the website. The picture has to be on the web server (where the web site is hosted) in order to be inserted in an article.
  • Insert it into an article.

A common problem is that the picture is the wrong size and sometimes much too large. You can resize it in several ways:

  • resize it on the screen
  • resize using the Insert/Edit icon on the toolbar
  • resize the original picture

Managing Extensions

An extension is a software package that extends your Joomla installation in some way.They come in handy for adding special function to your site. It can be extensions for social networks or photo gallery, for example. There are a variety of free extensions, so as premium variants. A lot of free extensions can be found on the official Joomla site.

To upload an extension, select Extensions → Extension Manager from the drop-down menu of the Joomla Administrator Panel. Here you see the list of installed extensions.

Before starting it’s wise to read the documentation associated with an extension. Most extensions have homepages and forums, and it is a good idea to look at them first. If there is a README file included with the extension, you should read it.

For most extensions and most users, the procedure will be:

  • Download the extension to your local machine as a zip file package.
  • From the backend of your Joomla site (administration) select Extensions → Install/Uninstall.
  • Click the Browse button and select the extension package on your local machine.
  • Click the Upload File & Install button.
  • Some extensions may provide further instructions on installation.
  • Note that modules and plugins must be enabled before they will work.

There are some situations in which this procedure will not work.

Sometimes you need to unzip the file locally prior to installing. If you get an error saying that the file is not in the correct format, the need to unzip is a common cause of this. After unzipping try installing the individual items. Note that the files you upload using the installer still need to be zipped.

Sometimes you cannot use the automated installer. For example, very large extensions may exceed the maximum upload size allowed by your host.

As you see, creating websites with Joomla is not hard. Of course, you need some time to read the documentation, but then you’ll be able to work with this CMS effortlessly. Still, some complex sites need special plugins and coding skills, and you may need consultation of professional programmers.

You can do everything. Just start it!

Start test

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