CMS Review: Joomla
Joomla is a popular CMS, or Content Management System. It is open source software and is used for a wide variety of websites, and also intranets. It is available for free under a GNU or General Public License. It is useful for creating a variety of websites and can easily handle a variety of content: static pages, blogs, polls, news feeds, and search features. Joomla is recognized for its ease of use as well as for creating fantastic looking web pages.
One of the most positive features of Joomla is the fact that it is easy to add new articles, content, images and video to your website with just a few clicks. While Joomla is very complex, there are a lot of tutorials and how-to articles provided by the Joomla community, so you can relatively quickly learn how to use it. Another advantage to using Joomla is that people with very little HTML knowledge or experience are able to create their own templates. There also plenty of extensions (plugins) provided by the Joomla community, so that web designers can easily add forums, shopping carts or other features to their dynamic website. Installing new modules, templates and extensions is done via the admin panel. You just upload the add-on and activate it.
Each website will require Joomla to be installed separately. Joomla is written in PHP and MySQL, there no connection to Postgresql or support for PDO. The system generated URL's are poor for SEO, so you will need to use a 3rd party extension to fix them. If you are new to content management systems, you might get lost when you try to use Joomla, as there are many screens you need to work with before your website will look like you want. Also, there is no update function for the Joomla system or for the extensions, so all updates have to be manually.
Installing Joomla is simple and easy, but you must make certain that your webhost meets all the requirements. These include an Apache Web Server, a MySQL database, and PHP. You can check that your server has PHP, MySQL and Apache by emailing your webhost company support. If not, you'll need to ask them to install them or find a new host. Once these are verified you can install Joomla. Joomla is designed for and tested on many LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) configurations, but it might work on someWindows or MacOS systems, too. The installation process is very simple - FTP the files to your server and run the installer.
Joomla will automatically manage the permissions for every file and directory on your site via FTP, so you will not need to worry about that.
Joomla is a complete CMS, but like many other systems, it's only complete if you add some extensions. One of the most important extensions is the Joomla SEO patch - the developer of this plugin offers a free and a commercial version. many sites will also benefit from the Joomlapack, a suite of powerful tools for backup and site maintenance. It's very easy to turn your Joomla site into a full featured e-store using Virtuemart, a full featured e-commerce add-on.
The Joomla extension directory offers a lot of additional functionality for your Joomla site. Read the reviews on an extension before you start using it, and always check that the extension is active and being updated.
There are many Joomla templates available on the internet, both free and premium templates. The basic elements of a template are the images, html and CSS code, but it's also possible to add new functionality to templates called "Modules". Modules enable users to add a number of different components to their websites and pages, easily and effortlessly. Working with modules is easy and you can create your own modules by adding your own unique code. You will need to have some PHP skills if you want to write your own modules.
Components, Forms and other website "stuff"
Components are the backbone of Joomla and it doesn't take long for Joomla users to discover that components are continually being created to enhance Joomla. While the core function is already installed you need to install new components coming with extension before you can use them. You can easily create forms in Joomla and have them instantly added to your pages. One of the simplest form creators is the component perForms.
Joomla is an excellent CMS system that enables those with very little developing experience to create their own sites. The system works out of the box, but we advise for you to add some more functions to make your Joomla site more robust and functional. Note that a buggy extension can break your website, so test everything before you decide to use it.