Joomla!'s construction and possibilities -

crateleftInternet and Web Development

Dec 4, 2013 (4 years and 7 months ago)



Joomla!’s construction and possibilities

Joomla! is an open source content management system created in 2005 and meant for
composing web
sites and intranets.
Content management system
(CMS for short) is software,
meant to manage documents for web
sites. CMS allows saving, preserving and searching for
HTML and XML documents.

Some of Joomla!’s functions include page buffering in order to increase its speed, RSS feed,
page print versions,

newsfeed, web
blogs, polls, search possibility within the page
and an
international selection of languages. Joomla! is under GPL license and it’s written in PHP
programming language. Joomla! uses MYSQL database.

In Joomla!, the page can be administrated
both through the

means adding, changing or deleting files and articles. This is generally
designed for the users of the page, if they have been given necessary privileges and rights to
allowing these actions.

administration however is much more than that and is meant
more as the pages’ administrators’ tool. Never the less, the users may also create content and
change simpler things through the
The users can for example create articles and

posts. The following chapters will concentrate more on the
side to Joomla!
and its’ numerous possibilities. Joomla!’s
administration will also be lightly


Installation of Joomla!


Global configuration

Control panel

is the first
page that the administrator sees when logging into Joomla! through
backend. Control panel
consists of primary information necessary to the administrator and
it also has links, through which the administrator can easily maneuver

around the page,
g needed things to get done within no time.

Control panel
also provides information
about the last users of the page and most popular articles of the page. Recently added content
is displayed as well.
Control panel
should be the place, where the administrator gets the most
recent and important data about the happenings on the page. Using this knowledge, the
administrator can take further action.


Image 1
Control Panel
of Joomla!

User profile
displays all data that

has been entered on a logged in user. Under

administrator can change his data as well as his password and contact e
mail address.
the administrator can see his user identity, date of registration and last visit to the page. How
is visually displayed and in which language can also be changed on
this page. This gives the possibility of making your web
page very versatile and publishing it
to different nationalities.
In addition the default text editor and the users

time zone can be

Global configuration
(Image 2.) represents the necessary setups needed for the web
page to
run properly. In general,
global configuration

is rather technical but some data, which would
be displayed to the users on the page la
ter on, needs to be determined.
Global configuration
one of the most important parts of creating a web
page in Joomla!.

Site settings
are first and foremost meant for the configuration of the web
pages’ data. Site
settings function as the pages’ documen
tation since metadata, which can be used by following
administrators, can be added here.


Image 2
. Global Configuration on Joomla!

When moving on to important settings, it should be noted what the administrator should do on
site settings
page and which s
ettings would be wise to be left as they were default. The
following date should definitely be determined:


The pages’ name

how the web
page that is being created will be called


An offline message

a message that will be displayed to users trying to acce
ss the
page when it’s unavailable


Default text editor

by default Joomla!’s own built in text editor is used, this should
be changed when some other editor is wished to be used


Default access to the web

this has three options.

the page is viewable
to everyone;

the page is viewable to only registered users and

the availability of the page varies between user groups.


Default size of lists

how many objects would be displayed in a lis
t. This is
able by a number value.



Limit of the default newsfeed

how many news will be displayed. This is also
determined by a number value.



search engine optimization

default settings are sufficient enough

In addition to these, cookie settings can also be determined and metadata can be added. This
would simplify the work for the other administrators in the future. However they are optional
and do not affect the pages’ operation.

System settings
are fully us
able with default settings and do not need modifying at the time
being. However this page does contain several necessary functions for the site to be managed.
Here Joomla!’s secret code can be fou
nd. This is used in security related functions of the site
nd is uniquely created for every installation of Joomla!.

system settings

page, the location

help files and where log files would be
saved can be determined. Cache memory and sessions settings can also be changed

would become very useful if the page is meant for registered users. By changing sessio
n times
the adm
istrator can determine when

a user would be logged off automatically thus
guaranteeing both the speed and performance of the page as well as user safety.

server settings
page the server, location, FTP, database, and email settings can be
configured. Here, most settings should be

left default, but there are some, which should be
changed. For example, it should be determined whether the site allows FTP usage or not. FTP
File transfer protocol)

is a protocol needed for transmitting fails from one computer to
another. It’s advisable

to allow this and determine further FTP settings. Following data is
asked when configuring FTP:


Allow FTP

possibilities of Yes or No; when allowed choose Yes


FTP host

the server in which the web
page is located


FTP port

by default port 21


FTP userna


FTP password


FTP root

location of the home catalogue

configuration provides for the possibility of adding files and photos to the page later on,
without having to change file rights.


The following
Database settings
have been
configured previousl
y during the installation on
Joomla! and are thus unadvised to be changed.
Database settings
should only be changed
when the administrator wishes to import data from some other database. However previous
experience as a Joomla! administrator

is recommended for this. In addition, e
mail settings
can also be changed, even though they have usually been configured as default. It is possible
that just the name and e
mail address from which system mail is sent might be needed to be

em rights
setting page it’s possible to change the rights of different user groups. Here
it can be determined which content would be viewable to users belonging to a certain group
what they are allowed to do on the page. This will become useful when th
e site has
several groups of users and different content is wished to be displayed amongst them.
Displaying different pages and giving out different right to different groups can appear to be
complicated at first, but once the administrator has developed a

system convenient to him and
documented it well, different group rights might turn out to be very useful. For example, later
on it would become possible to forward different information to various groups. However the
administrator should be extra careful
not to display users’ private information publicly.

Since in the case if Joomla! the site can be managed by several administrators at the same
time, it might happen that some objects get locked by accident. Every Joomla!s configuration
and settings page t
o which the administrator goes to, gets a check
in indicator. This alerts the
other administrators that this certain page is currently in use. The same thing happens in the
case of every

article and menu.
Sometimes however the administrator only looks at a

configuration or article and has no intention of changing anything. He only uses the backspace
key to leave the page he is currently on. This would leave the object locked thus making it
unavailable for use to other administrators until it is unlo
cked. For cases like this Joomla! has
enabled a
global check
tool, which unlocks every locked object and allows access to them.
Cache memory
can also be clean, either in full or selectively. This is useful when dealing with
capacious web
pages, because
their cache memory gets full quickly thus making the page

System information
(Image 3.) is the primary page from which the administrator gets his
information on page and server settings. Here all of the system information; PHP,
and c
onfiguration file settings
; and PHP version information can be found.

settings are very useful when any type of problem occurs and finding a solution

to it is difficult. Using this page might save the administrator a lot of time because
visually easy to understand making it simpler to check system settings.

Image 3
. System information on Joomla!


User base related activities

Users are an inseparable part of nearly every web
page and this has been kept in mind when
creating Joomla!.

Joomla! has a built
in user management interface, where user rights and
privileges can be determined. This also allows dividing users into different groups. When
managing users several additional parameters can be added, which can later on be displayed

the web
page or search for from the database.

User manager

(Image 4.) is a page where most of the administration and operations on users
take place. Here users can be created, changed, searched for, activated, blocked and deleted.
Sites, in which there a
re a lot of users, searching
is simplified by the use of filters. Users can
be filtered by their status, activity and group belonging.
A user can be search for by providing
either his name or some other parameter to the search bar. After that all users mat
ching a part
of the search parameter will be displayed.

Following data on a user will be given:



registered username



active or passive



to which group the user belongs to


Email address



Last login

the date and time of when the user
last logged in to the site


Joomla! ID

identity number given to every users upon their registration

Image 4.
User manager on Joomla!

When clicking on a user, several parameters can be changed. All of the date brought out in the
previous list can be modi
fied. The page template, time zone and users’ personal settings can
also be changed. Users’ personal settings include:




Username and password


Email address


Home address




Phone number


Additional information

Group manager
the administrator can determine which activities are allowed to users
belonging to a certain group. Here user groups can be viewed, created, changed and deleted.
All groups of the site and their parameters can be seen. It’s possible to see the name of the
group, the number of members it has and Joomla!’s ID for a group. Creating groups is very
important when a page is to have several parts in which different content is wished to be
displayed or various privileges given

to different users. Groups can also be

used to see users
registered to the site on different times and thus automatically give out statuses to users.




In Joomla! menus are some of the most important parts of the homepage, without which
no proper page can be created.
Menus allow the user to navigate on the website. A menu
is an object, which contains of one or more menu parts, which are often called links. Each
menu part leads the user to the next page of the website. Menus can be added to the page
thanks to the use of

modules. A webpage can have several modules and a module can
have several menus within it. More about modules in chapter 1.5.

menu management
page the administrator can create new menus as well as change and
delete old ones. Here every menu, which has
been created previously, can be viewed. Bu
choosing a certain menu, the administrator can see if it has been published or not, how
many parts of the menu have been published

and how many deleted, where the menu is
located on the page and it’s ID. When clic
king on a menu its’ content will be displayed.
From there every menu element, such as articles and links, added to the menu can be seen.
On every menu part its parameters will be displayed. These include its’ status (whether it
has been published or not),
location in the menu, groups able to access it, menu type and
language. There are very many menu types in Joomla! and every installed component
adds more. By default there are 8 different menu types in Joomla!:



a menu displaying information on sites’ users



a menu created for news and articles



a menu through which SS is being displayed


User manager

a menu through which user related activities can be performed



ys the compendium on web



through which different parts or other websites can be displayed

Image 5.
Menu management on Joomla!


Each type consists of several other possibilities for using this certain menu type category.
When creating menus the administrator should keep in mind what type of a menu is needed in
order to make further management simpler in the future. When creating a new menu part,
several parameters need to be determined. For each menu type the administrator

needs to set
straight the following:



which menu type is wished to be used



how the menu will be called



published or not


Group level

which user groups are able to see this certain menu part


Location on the site

where the menu wil
l be displayed on the website

Parameters of the appearance; article, integration, link

type and page settings can be changed.
The administrator can also add metadata and configure modules to a certain menu type.



Content constitutes of every article, picture, file or other websites’ illustrative material
available on the site. Content is usually developed by the sites’ administrator considering the
need or the site. Content can be created by adding articles, pictur
e galleries, polls, calendars
and so on. Content is an inseparable part of any website. It gives the user an idea of the
general point of the site and what information can be found in it. All of content management
in Joomla! is done through the
articles an
d media manager.

Articles are the main way o
f creating content in Joomla!. Articles are different pages of a
website, where file and pictures can be added or just text written. Through the

the administrator can manage previously created art
icles by deleting, changing,
publishing, archiving
or changing their parameters. He can also add new articles. The
displays the following:


The status of the article

whether it has been published or not



to which category the
article belongs to


User groups

which user groups are able to view the article



who created the article


Date of creation




When creating a new article the name of the article and category to which it belongs to must
be submitted. Publishing p
arameters and article parameters can also be changed and metadata
added. In case the site consists of several user groups, such as registered users and visitors, it
would be wise to determine the right of each user group concerning this certain article. Th
right can be as follows:



user has the right to change the article


Delete and change

user has the right to both change and delete


No rights

the user has no rights concerning the article

Categories are used in order to create different type
of articles in Joomla!.
Using categories is
not mandatory because everything would get done without them as well. However it does
simplify the use of materials when there’s a large amount of them. Using categories means the
creation of different folders

nto which all material of a certain category would be saved.
Later on, material can be searched inside a category or displayed on the website.

file manager
is a compendium of folders into which images, documents, videos, files etc.
can be saved. User
folders and subfolders can also be created there. It allows files and other
material to be displayed; and picture albums and file catalogues to be created;

on the website
easily. Material can be imported to the
file manager
through the administrators conso
le or
FTP account. The administrator can also create an application through which the users can
upload their files to the website, which would be saved in the
file manager
folders. From the
file manager
settings, the administrator can change the following:


What file types are allowed to be uploaded


The maximum size of the up loadable file


Folders into which files are allowed to be uploaded


Allowed file extensions


User groups



Components, which are commonly known as Joomla!’s

extensions, are add
ons created by the
web developer in order to make Joomla! more attractive. Components are small programs
created for Joomla! and they each have a specific task to fulfill. Components include for
example Google calendar, notebook and ph
oto galleries. Components are Joomla! based

objects, created to make Joomla! more functional. They can be seen as small applications.
Components are generally displayed on Joomla! template. Most components consist of two
major parts

administrators’ and t
he sites’. The sites’ part is the end result displayed for the
websites’ users. The administrators

part consists of

possibilities of configuring the
components different aspects throug
h the administrators interface. Joomla! has many
components ins
talled into it by default. These include the
content manager

and web links.
Nevertheless most components are installed later on by the administrator considering the
specific needs of the webpage. Extensions can be acquired thought the internet. All of
la!’s development is done by its’ users and thus most Joomla!’s modules are
downloadable from the internet free of charge. The administrator can download necessary
extensions from the web and install them to his already existing Joomla! software. There are

three possibilities for installing these extensions:


Joomla! allows direct installation from the extensions homepage


Installation from the computers’ hard drive


Installation from Joomla!’s
file manager

During installation the administrator should make su
re that the server allows file over writing.

Modules are lightweight and flexible extensions, which are used in visualizing the website.
Modules are visually mostly square shaped and they position components on the website. The
most well
known module in J
oomla! is probably the login module. Modules are managed by
using menus and thus the administrator can decide whether to display or hide the module,
depending on the users location on the site. Modules can be linked to content. For example,
the module “
latest news”

displays the articles most recently added to the site. Modules can
also be mere HTML pages and contain only text. Modules can be managed from the
administrators’ console by using the
module manager
page. Modules can be:












And their location on the site can be changed


Modules have definite

positions and these positions hold firm places on the visual template of
the site. This way the administrator can organize different added elements to different

A modules’ location on the template is determined by the
template designer
. In
general each Joomla! template has an illustration describing the location of modules. The
location of a module can be seen by adding ?tp=1 to the end on the URL. This will disp
website with the layout of the modules.

From Joomla!’s version 1.6 this can be set manually
by choosing “
Extensions>Template Manager>Options>Prieview Module Position: Enabled

from the administrators console.

Plugins are another kind of Joomla!’s
extensions. They consist of functions related to
automatic events. When a certain plugin performs some kind of an action, this action may set
forth other plugins, related to a certain event. For example: when a user logs in by using the
“log in”
plugin, this sets on the
plugin, which checks from the Ldap database,
whether the user has permission to access the page. This is a very powerful way to enhance
Joomla!’s capabilities. This gives Joomla!’s developers
many possibilities to link exten
they’ve developed to many other extensions, which in turn makes Joomla!’s extensions very
capable. The architecture of Joomla!’s plugins follows a measurable pattern.

is a Joomla!’s extension, which determines how the created website is
going to
look. In Joomla! there are two types of templates: front page templates and administrators
interface templates. Templates include module locations and the entire visual appearance of
the site.
Joomla! templates can be created by the administrator
or downloaded from the
internet. There are very many kinds of templates, which vary very much on all elements.
Many different websites have been created on templates, where templates can be downloaded
free of charge of bought. The user will always have the

possibility of changing certain
elements according to the needs of the site. For example, the administrator can change the
templates background, colors
, font and its’ size and layout elements.