Many types of websites can be built and maintained more easily using a Content Management System (CMS). A CMS provides a web-based interface for creating and organizing content. The content is stored in a database, and then consistently presented according to a set of templates and preferences, which eliminates the need to handcraft each page in HTML. Joomla! is a popular, easy-to-use, open-source CMS built in PHP. It has near-limitless functionality, thanks to its community of extension developers.
What is JOOMLA?
You have made the most important choice so far, by selecting Joomla! 1.5 as your choice of CMS. Joomla! is currently one of the most popular and effective Open Source projects and has won a number of prestigious awards in its short, but illustrious existence.
Joomla! 1.5 is the second, main incarnation of the Joomla! series of releases. The original Joomla! 1.0 series being a direct derivative of the Mambo CMS which many of the current Joomla! Developers helped create. Joomla! 1.5 is a major step forward from 1.0, with many new features and a far more integrated framework.
From a Business point of view:
- It allows you to manage your website and empower others within your company to contribute, administer, etc.
- It provides a platform that is open to almost any specific need
From a Development Point of View:
- JOOMLA! Shouldn’t be just viewed as a way to administer content. It provides a framework from which to build any application you may need.
- Because of its flexible templating engine, a re-design of your site won’t constitute a complete re-do of every web page. Simply change the template and a few minor things and you will have a whole new look.
- Joomla’s framework includes many features such as built in security, user management, easy extendibility…..thus enabling the development of your site to stay focused on your specific needs / applications.
- Joomla has a well documented framework and a very active community
A lot of people think “second class” when they hear “open source”. This is probably justifiable depending on what they have used. However, Joomla! ranks within the premium products of the Open Source community; showcasing a world-class team of developers and a thriving community.
Building a system from scratch similar to Joomla would cost tens of thousands of dollars. Thus by selecting Joomla as your CMS / Development, you eliminate large chunks of start-up costs and lets your budget focus specifically on the immediate need of your site / application.
Joomla is the most popular GPL (General Public License) CMS in the world. Its community can be found in almost every country, and the system is translated in many languages including Sinhala, Tamil, and can be used to fit almost any need.
The Joomla! CMS is no rookie in the market! It has been deployed by companies and organizations such as United Nations, Harvard University, Citibank (Financial institution intranet – Not publicly accessible) to provide their website backbone. Joomla’s content publishing allows you to quickly create content for websites, control access to your documents, administer user created content, and more.
The modules in Joomla provide easy to move blocks of code. Moving something on your site now doesn’t require you to change every page on your site.
The Joomla components allow you to install mini-applications in your site; thus allowing you to install applications such as e-commerce / shopping carts, photo galleries, form builders, forums, and more!
The user manager provides extendible control over registered and special users from simple public access, to control over authors, publishers, and administrators.
The following is a listing of Joomla! features in point form:
- Completely database driven site engines
- News, products or services sections fully editable and manageable
- Topics sections can be added to by contributing authors
- Fully customisable layouts including left, centre and right menu boxes
- Browser upload of images to your own library for use anywhere in the site
- Dynamic Forum/Poll/Voting booth for on-the-spot results
- Runs on Linux, FreeBSD, MacOSX server, Solaris and AIX
- Change order of objects including news, FAQs, articles etc.
- Random Newsflash generator
- Remote author submission module for News, Articles, FAQs and Links
- Object hierarchy – as many sections, departments, divisions and pages as you want
- Image library – store all your PNGs, PDFs, DOCs, XLSs, GIFs and JPEGs online for easy use
- Automatic Path-Finder. Place a picture and let Joomla! fix the link
- News feed manager. Choose from over 360 news feeds from around the world
- Archive manager. Put your old articles into cold storage rather than throw them out
- Email-a-friend and Print-format for every story and article
- In-line Text editor (WYSIWYG) similar to Word Pad
- User editable look and feel
- Polls/Surveys – Now put a different one on each page
- Custom Page Modules. Download custom page modules to spice up your site
- Template Manager. Download templates and implement them in seconds
- Layout preview. See how it looks before going live
- Banner manager. Make money out of your site
Technical Requirements for Joomla!
You will need to ensure the following minimum requirements are in place before installing the Joomla
- PHP 4.2.x or above – http://www.php.net
- MySQL 3.23.x or above – http://www.mysql.com
- Apache 1.13.19 or above – http://www.apache.org
ü Do not use PHP 4.3.9, 4.4.2 or 5.0.4. These releases have known bugs that will interfere with installation. Zend Optimizer 2.5.10 for PHP 4.4.x also has serious bugs and you should ask your host to upgrade to a newer version.
ü Joomla is not yet compatible with MySQL 6.x.
ü In order to use SEO URLs, you will need to have the Apache mod_rewrite extension installed.
Joomla is optimized for Apache, but also runs on Microsoft IIS (though not officially supported). Depending on your setup, you may need the following:
- PHP 5.2 – Installation instructions
- MySQL 5.1 – Installation instructions
- Apache 2.2 – Installation instructions
- FastCGI – Download for IIS6.Download for IIS7
This series of articles seeks to provide you with the necessary information you need in order to safely install the basic core package onto an existing, fully operational, Web server.
We trust you will enjoy the process and can then look forward to tailoring Joomla! to your own specific requirements.
Installing and using Joomla! is generally straight forward, getting your perfect Web site takes a lot more effort but there is much, as you will discover, that has been done to make the process easier along the way.
The next article will discuss installation of Joomla!