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Joomla CMS Basics

Joomla CMS Basics

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Category: Web Design Standards & Dev Tools

These are the Joomla CMS basics, so you can choose which CMS works best for your project.

When it comes to choosing a CMS you've got a growing number of options. With this article we aim to teach you the Joomla basics so you can see what makes Joomla stand apart from the rest. Around Haeck Design it's been a standard for years, but if you're not familiar with the advantages / disadvantages - allow us to break them down for you...

From the top, What's a CMS?

Before we cover the Joomla CMS basics, it's important to define exactly what a CMS is. A Content Management System is collection of code that keeps track of every piece of content on your web site. Content can be simple text, photos, music, video, documents, or just about anything you can think of - what the CMS offers is the basic code structure to make all those elements "play nicely". The biggest advantage of using a CMS is that it requires minimal technical skill to get started, but like anything else mastering the basics allows you to build some complicated elements. You've probably heard of WordPress, Drupal, or CodeIgnitor but lets start by showing you how Joomla is different.

What Sets Joomla! Apart?

Joomla Basics - Screenshot

Twitter Bootstrap Structure: With Joomla! 3.0 the Twitter Bootstrap structure was built into the code base. A large majority of the Administrator "Back-End" is exclusively Bootstrap styling. If you're not familiar with Twitter Bootstrap, you should pay a visit to their primary website (http://getbootstrap.com/). In it's simplest sense, Bootstrap is just a standardized styling (primarily through CSS). Since this style has become so popular though, it allows you the huge advantage of easily utilizing it on the "frontend" which is a huge asset for designers and makes production a significantly easier process.

Intelligent Design: WordPress has become very popular in the CMS community, but any decent developer knows that that flexibility comes at a price. Joomla! instead takes a more well thought out process. It does sacrifice a bit of flexibility (in comparison), but what it recoups in rigidity is well worth the price. Hacking of the core code is really unnecessary and that in turn makes updating and overall security much better.

Vibrant Community: Much like WordPress, Joomla! has a large collection of manicured plugins to select from. More complex PHP structures like Drupal really can't compete in this respect. That's why I usually explain to clients that Joomla! inhabits a spot in between the two. It is better constructed (on a code level) the WordPress, but not as time intensive as Drupal. To a lot of our clients, it is the ideal approach.

Which Projects are ideal for Joomla!?

We suggest Joomla for small businesses that need stability and the ability to expand in the future. Sites will generally run more then WordPress, but significantly less then Drupal. The largest restricting factor is functionality. If you need the website to do something very database intensive, you may want to go a more custom route, but to many of our clients Joomla! can cover all the bases with room to spare.

Downloading Joomla CMS and Getting Started

Setting up Joomla! is a familiar process to anyone who has dealt with a CMS previously. Joomla!'s latest version can be located at http://www.joomla.org/download.html. To get your site setup, you simply need to create your database, include the zipped files, then connect the two. Joomla! comes with an automatic configuration process, but if you prefer to do it manually you just need to open your config file and include your database info (name, user, and password) then you're good to go.

Joomla Extensions

A large part of Joomla!'s appeal are the extensions and themes built by the Joomla! developer community. Some are commercial releases, but you can find an incredible amount of free goodies by simply viewing The Joomla! Extensions Directory at http://extensions.joomla.org/. There you'll find a wide array of Plugins, Components, and Extensions that add capabilities to your site.

That should give you a good start to understanding the Joomla basics, but if you have any questions of comments please feel free to leave them below.

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