The Start Learning Joomla Quickstart

engineachooInternet and Web Development

Dec 4, 2013 (3 years and 6 months ago)

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The
Start Learning Joomla Quickstart
Joomla 1.6 & 1.7
from...
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Table of Contents
Joomla Definitions!
2
Key Joomla Concepts!
7
Structure vs. Presentation!
7
Anatomy of Some Example Sites!
10
Solo Management Consultant!
10
European Travel Site!
11
Local Newspaper!
13
In Closing...!
16
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Joomla Definitions
3rd-Party
3rd Party is basically any plugin, module, component or other extension that is not part of the
out-of-the-box Joomla core installation.
Access Control Lists (ACL)
ACLs are Joomlaʼs security system. ACLs are used to control which users can access what
parts of a Joomla site as well as what actions a user can perform. For sites with the need for
fine grain control of what registered users can do, ACLs provide a mechanism for controlling
what people can and cannot do at a fine-grained level.
Access Level
Joomla allows us to classify users ranging from non-registered guest visitors all the way up to
Super Administrator. This allows us to control which users are allowed to see and/or edit what
content. For example, we could setup a section for registered users that is inaccessible to
general site visitors. Users would then have to login to see the content.
Administrator Console, Backend or Control Panel
This is the site administrator view where we manage all aspects of Joomla and configure
everything about our site. Site visitors will never see the backend.
Article or Content Item
An article is simply a piece of text-based content. This is the basis for most pages in Joomla.
The article can be any sort of text content you would expect to display on your site. examples
include: blog posts, company information pages, reviews, news articles, etc.
Category
Categories are how article content is organized in Joomla. Articles belong to categories.
Joomla allows users to create any number of nested categories.
In Joomla version 1.5 and earlier, Categories could not be nested and must be assigned to
“Sections”, or top-level categories. This limitation has been removed in Joomla 1.6 and beyond.
Component
Components are larger, more complex Joomla extensions that provide major new functionality
to Joomla. Some of Joomlaʼs core components include the News Feeds and Contacts
components. Components like these provide a high level of functionality and often require their
own menus in the backend to all us to manage them. Some 3rd party component examples
examples include forums, paid membership site managers, etc.
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Content
Content in Joomla is simply all of the text, pictures and other material that makes up the
information on your site. Content is most often simply Joomla articles, but it can also mean
images, videos, data in 3rd party components (like forum discussions) as well as any material
inside of modules. Joomla and/or additional 3rd party components provide methods to manage
all of this content.
Core
The Joomla core is simply the basic, out-of-the-box Joomla installation before any additional
extensions like components, plugins or modules are installed.
Extension
The general name for any installable item. This can be templates, plugins, modules or
components.
Featured Article
A Featured Article, formerly referred to as a Front Page article is any article content flagged to
appear on the front page of a Joomla site.
Frontend
The frontend (sometimes “front-end”) is simply what visitors see when they come to a website.
Contrast this with the backend, which is the administrator console view.
Front page
The front page is the page found at / or the root of the a Joomla site. For example the page that
appears when you visit
http://www.StartLearningJoomla.com/
is the front page for the
StartLearningJoomla.com Joomla install.
Media
Media is the name given to content managed within the Media Manager in the control panel.
Media simply refers to image files in most cases, though it is possible for an extension to add
additional types.
Menu
A menu is Joomla is the basic building block for designing the userʼs view of a site. Menus
allow users to find and access content and control what modules appear in what positions for
each menu item. Or, to put it another way, menus are the glue that connects all of the pages of
a site together, dictate what will be on each page, and much of how it will look. Menus are
displayed as modules and may be placed in any module position that a template permits.
Menus are a complex topic and will be covered in detail on the Start Learning Joomla course.
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Module
A module is a Joomla extension that provides useful information or interactive functions to the
site visitors on the frontend. These are similar to “widgets” in some popular blogging platforms.
Modules can be positioned anywhere that the template allows, making them very flexible
elements for your pages.
Example modules include:

All of a siteʼs menus

Whoʼs online

Login boxes

Text boxes with custom HTML code

Polls

Ad Banners

And thousands of 3rd-party modules
Module Position
Module or Template positions are specific locations in a template that are allocated for
displaying modules. Positions are what allow us to take any module and display it anywhere
that our templates support. This makes Joomla extremely flexible when it comes to displaying
what we want and where we want it.
Common module positions that are available on most templates are:

header

top

left

right

footer
A template does not have to display the “left” position on the left or the ”footer” position on the
bottom. In fact, template designers have complete control over where these positions appear.
They can create an infinite number of other positions like “user1”, “user2”, “breadcrumbs”, or
whatever else they decide to do. Be sure to preview your template to see where those positions
are actually located.
Nested Category
Nested categories refers to the the idea of placing article categories inside of categories, inside
of categories, and so on.
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Plugin, Mambot or Mosbot
Plugins (also called mambots in pre-1.5 releases of Joomla), are simply extensions to Joomla
that modify the behavior or extend the functionality of the core components or add completely
new functionality. These extend the internal features of Joomla. Unlike modules, plugins donʼt
necessarily have to display anything and can work behind the scenes to extend Joomla.
For example, there are plugins to do the following:

Restrict access to content based on the user type

Add e-commerce and shopping cart functionality

Easily embed videos from various sources into content

Redirect one URL to another

Many many more...
Section
Sections no longer exist in Joomla 1.6 and beyond. Sections were the first level of a three level
Joomla content hierarchy in 1.5 and earlier. Articles belonged to categories and categories
belonged to sections. Joomla did not allow sub-categories or for content to belong to more than
one category.
SEF or SEF URL
SEF refers to the phrase “Search Engine Friendly” and is used to describe the convention of
using article titles or other text in the URL vs. complex technical strings.
For example, a standard Joomla URL may look something like this:
http://www.example.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=40&itemid=10
Not only is this unfriendly to your users, but it is bad for search engines as they tend to give
more weight to URLs with useful keywords in the titles. A SEF version of that url might look like
this:
http://www.example.com/about-us/
This provides more information to the user while also helping out a bit with the search engines
as well.
Template
Templates are the design or blueprint of a site. Template developers decide on the general
appearance of the site, what module positions names are available and where they will appear,
as well as control the style or appearance of every other visual element on the site.
In Joomla, we can actually assign different templates to different menu items, allowing us much
more control over how different parts of the the site appears.
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WYSIWYG Editor
Joomla allows us to use a basic “What you see is what you get” or WYSIWYG editor to edit
articles on our sites. Joomla is also not tied to the use of a single editor, though it does provide
2 good options in the core installation. The default editor is set TinyMCE, which is a popular
open source editor.
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Key Joomla Concepts
Structure vs. Presentation
Joomla lets us organize all of your articles into categories and sub-categories. This simply
gives us a good way to structure the content so it is easy to find and manage. This is a kind of
filing system for organizing our article content.
However, this alone doesnʼt tell Joomla where to show the article on the actual site. This is
simply a way to let us organize articles in a logical manner. This frees us from concerning
ourselves about where the articles might appear on the actual site.
Letʼs look at some specific examples:
Suppose our site is going to be for a small software company providing 3 different products for
private medical practices. The site will need to present information about the company, its
products as well as provide a technical support area for existing customers. This is a common
pattern for a small business site, so itʼs a great example to get started with.
Regardless of how the site will look and where users will click to see what content, we may
already have an idea about what kind of articles and pages we want to present. Hereʼs a list of
what we want:
Category
sub-category
sub-category
sub-category
Articles
sub-category
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Support how-to documents for installing and managing our products

Pre-sales FAQs for potential customers

Post-sales FAQs for existing computers

A download area for product updates

The CEOʼs blog

About us, contact us, directions, careers and other company info pages

Product information pages

A front page with ever-changing content

Some miscellaneous or uncategorized content
Now, we can break this up into some major top-level
categories
:

Support

Support how-to documents for installing and managing our products

Post-sales FAQs for existing computers

A download area for product updates

Product

Product information pages

Pre-sales FAQs for potential customers

Company

The CEOʼs blog

About us, contact us, directions, careers and other company info pages

Uncategorized

A front page with dynamic content

Misc or uncategorized content
For some sites, this may actually be as much organization as we will ever need. For our site,
however, we need to be a little more specific. Weʼll create some categories under these main
top-level categories to help us organize the content a little better.
So, we have decided to break the content organization down further into some sub-categories:

Support

How-to

Support how-to documents for installing and managing our products

FAQs

Post-sales FAQs for existing computers

Downloads

A download area for product updates

Product

Product Pages

Product information pages

Pre-sales Info

Pre-sales FAQs for potential customers

Company

CEO Blog

The CEOʼs blog posts

Company Info
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About us, contact us, directions, careers and other company info pages

Uncategorized

Misc or uncategorized content
This new structure allows us to use some of the Joomla special category-based layout views
down the road if we choose to do so. Most importantly, it just provides us with a simple way to
organize our articles. As our site grows, having a simple structure like this will make it much
easier to manage a large number of articles efficiently.
In our Start Learning Joomla! course program, we will use Joomla
menus
to link all of this
content into a functional website for our visitors.

Support
Category
Blog
Category
Company
Info Category
Product
Category
Uncategorized
Howto Articles
FAQ Articles
Individual
Articles/Pages
Product Info
Pages
Pre-sales Info
Pages
Individual
Articles/Pages
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Anatomy of Some Example Sites
Here, weʼll talk about 3 more example sites:

A Solo Management Consultantʼs Site

A European Travel Site

A Local Newspaper Site
Solo Management Consultant
In this example, we need to build a site for a management consultant. She will be working with
small to medium-sized business executives to improve their management practices. The site
will be both a promotional site for her business and a private communication area for her
existing clients.
The site will have the following content:

Private client area to download slides and training material

private articles for clients

A blog

Management training articles about various topics for the public (and search engines!)

About me, contact me, and schedule an appointment pages

A pitch page explaining her services

Testimonials from satisfied clients

A front page with a flash animation, client login and some promotional copy
Because this is a relatively simple site, weʼll organize the content in a simple way. The main
sections of the site appear to be the private client area, the blog, public articles, services, and
about. We could simply this further and group services and about together if we chose to.
There are no hard and fast rules here, so itʼs completely your choice as to what seems best for
your site.
The category layout may look something like this:

Private Category

Downloads Category

Articles for each set of Slide

Articles for other training material

Articles Category

Private Articles

Blog Category

Blog Entries Category

Articles for the blog

Articles Category
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Management Topic 1 Category

Articles related to this topic

Management Topic 2 Category

Articles related to this topic

Services Category

Service Description Category

Consulting services pitch page

Details about other services

Schedule an appointment

About Category

About Category

About me page

Contact me page

Testimonials Category

Articles containing testimonials.

Private
Category
Services
Category
Articles
Category
Blog
Category
About
Category
Slide
Downloads
Private Articles
Blog Entries
Article Topic 1
Category
Individual
Articles/Pages
Registered
Users Only
Article Topic 2
Category
This site has a special private area for our management consultantʼs clients. In order to make
this work, we will set the access level on that category to “Registered”. We will disable allowing
users to register themselves so that the general public canʼt register and gain access to this
section. When a new client needs access, our management consultant will simply add the
clientʼs account in the backend and make sure they receive the login information. So, this
allows us to create a private section using only the core features in Joomla. Powerful indeed!
European Travel Site
This next site is more complex and has much more content. The site will consist of a very large
number of travel and review articles as well as user-submitted reviews. While there is a high
level of functionality and this site is very large, it is still quite easy to organize the content in
Joomla.
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The site will have:

Standard company about us, contact us, careers, etc pages

A front page with featured content and special promotions

10 contributing editors writing travel blogs and reviews

Reviews for thousands of hotels, restaurants, etc

user-contributed reviews, ratings and comments
This site seems pretty complex, but the content organization isnʼt going to be too difficult.
Actually implementing the site means that we would need to use a few extensions to add some
functionality to the Joomla core, but it doesnʼt change the organizational structure of the
sections and categories. Weʼll go over how to actually build sites like this later on in the course.

Hotels Category

London

Articles for each hotel

Paris

Articles for each hotel

...etc

Articles for each hotel

Restaurants Category

London

Articles for each restaurant

Paris

Articles for each restaurant

...etc

Articles for each restaurant

Activities Category

London

Articles for the activities

...etc

Company Category

About Us page

Contact Us article

...etc

Uncategorized

Submit a Review
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Company
Category
Activities
Section
Restaurants
Category
Uncategorized
London
Individual
Articles/Pages
Hotels
Category
Paris
...etc
London
...etc
About Us
Contact Us
Careers
...etc
Now we have a structure that can accommodate a near infinite amount of content related to
European travel. Adding new topics is as simple as adding a new top-level category. If we
find we want to organize things at the country level as well, we can add a category level
between above the individual city. The nested category method gives is a clear way to
organize the content in a way that makes sense for our business.
We use this structure (and extend it!) to create and organize a large amounts of content.
Later, we may choose to use a “tagging” or some other 3rd party extension to group and
relate things even better, but this will work as a basic organizational structure.
Local Newspaper
Our last example is a local newspaper site. While there is going to be an incredibly large
amount of content in the form of articles and news feeds, the structure is, again, quite simple to
setup. Hereʼs what the site needs:

Standard company about us, contact us, careers, etc pages

A front page with up-to-the-minute top stories, etc

Local, National and World news articles

“Submit a story” page for readers to contact journalists about a possible story

Many contributing authors writing articles

Journalistsʼ blogs

Editors to review, improve and approve articles

User registration required to read editorial articles
Again, while this seems complex, it should be quite easy to layout the structure. Weʼll use the
natural breakdown of content according to local, national, and world news sections.

Local News Category

Politics

Articles

Business
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Articles

Weather

Articles

etc...

National News Category

Politics

Articles

Business

Articles

Sports

Articles

etc...

World News Category

Politics

Articles

Business

Articles

etc...
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Company Category

Sales

Post a Classified ad page

Ad Sales

Company

About Our Newspaper

Contact Us

Careers

etc..

Uncategorized

Misc pages: report a story, etc.
Company
World News
National
News
Uncategorized
Politics
Individual
Articles/Pages
Local News
Sports
...etc
Politics
...etc
Company
Pages
Sales
Here we can see that the category structure correspond perfectly to the core mission of the
newspaper, namely to deliver Local, National and World news to its readers. Again, we may
want to have a more complex structure with more in-depth organization, but this structure suites
the overall goals of the organization as we can envision it now. The structure can be enhanced
later if necessary.
Joomla backend
Authors
can write articles into these actions and
Editors
can find and improve
them. The editor responsible for the front page can easily easily pick content from any of these
sections and categories to include on the front page.
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In Closing...
This completes the material for our video companion guide. We hope youʼve enjoyed it and
have learned a lot from the combination of this and the introductory video located at
http://
www.StartLearningJoomla.com
/. Thanks for choosing us to be a part of your Joomla training
experience... weʼre happy to have you onboard!
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