Joomla, a rigid but extensible CMS
Introduction to the popular Joomla CMS (Content Management System) and its use. This strange name was chosen among many others! It is a Swahili word that expresses the community vision of the tool.
Joomla uses are quite varied: portal, magazine, e-commerce. If you wonder why use Joomla rather than Wordpress or Drupal, the first is suitable for webmasters who want a tool ready to use immediately, the second for those who need a CMS adaptable to the business of a company. Joomla is between the two.
In April 2010, Microsoft has signed the Joomla! Contributor Agreement and now contributes to the code for it to work better on its Windows IIS server.
Advantages of Joomla (since version 1.5.9)
- Upload images in the library.
- Display articles randomly selected to publicize the oldest content, besides more recent additions.
- Print format for each item.
- Sending emails to announce a new article.
- Insertion of a poll in each article (available on Drupal too).
- Banners manager.
- Custom look and feel selected by each user.
- Search field associated with a statistical research tool for the site.
- Syntax-hightlighting for code.
- Possibly assigning a different template for each page.
- Integrated Forum (Extension).
- Integrated FAQ (Extension).
Drawbacks of Joomla
Documentation is the weak point of this CMS. We do not even see on the site a list of features of the software, we must pick them up on other sites. Apart a PDF file somewhere on the site I found through Google.
The wiki and more precisely the Absolute Beginners Guide to Joomla provides some information.
Joomla has only two levels of hierarchy while Wordpress allows you to add sub-categories without limitation. That's enough for a site of entrerprises or e-commerce but Joomla is not suitable for a documentary website.
The organization of content in Joomla
Joomla page contains different types of contents called "modules".
You can place multiple modules of the same type on the page, if appropriate. To incorporate them, go to the menu Extension / Module, tick and click on Enable. The layout is defined through the edit option.
You can create new modules, choose their position and give them content with the text editor.
List of modules already included
- Content archived. List of archives.
- Banners. Space for advertising.
- Menu. To add a new menu, go to the menu manager.
- Sections. List of sections defined on the site.
- Syndicate. List of feeds available on this site. Not to be confused with the feed module that displays the contents of an RSS file.
- Custom HTML. Location for any content in HTML, set by the administrator.
- Most read. List of most viewed articles.
- Latest news. List of recent articles.
- New flash. Displays the contents of a defined category and section.
- Related. List of articles whose content is close to the displayed article. Is based on tags.
- Poll. Field to display a survey associated with an article.
- Random image. Field where an image is displayed randomly, taken within a specified directory.
- Search. Field research for the site.
- Login. Register dialog.
- Copyright footer.
- Who is online. Displays the number of members online.
- Statistics. Panel displaying a few statistics, such as the number of registered users.
- Wrapper. Inserts with a iframe content of a page taken from the site or another site.
- Feed. Area to display a feed.
Sections and categories
This corresponds to two levels. The sections are composed of several categories. The latter are equivalent to the categories of Wordpress: clusters where items are placed.
Ideally, sections are suitable for kinds of contents (for example: articles, videos, FAQ, forum) and categories to sort semantically the pages.
When creating a category, it is chosen to which section it belongs, and similarly, when you create an article, you define what category it belongs.
The display of sections and categories depends on the template and user choice and is not related to their structure. You can put the categories in a menu, in the header or elsewhere and it is the same for the sections.
It is advisable to create a bookmark for the site, example: www.scriptol.com. and another to link directly in the administration of the site: www.scriptol.com/administrator/
The administering is made entirely from the horizontal menu bar. It includes at right a sub-menu very useful to understand the many options in the CMS.
From the panel you have to configure the CMS before a first use. Many challenges await you, but a tutorial will help you overcome them: Getting started with Joomla.
- Joomla, the site
- Joomla Core Features. PDF file. (http://help.joomla.org/ghop/feb2008/task020/Joomla! Core Features V1.2.pdf)