Joomla 3 Basics
Welcome to Flounders' Corner - the section of Quivis.co.uk that is ‘powered’ by Joomla 3, a Content Management System [CMS] widely used and supported on the internet and regarded by many as the best. It is FREE! There is a great deal of information about Joomla on the internet; see JOOMLA.ORG where there are help files and tutorials as well as a FORUM. There are hundreds of easily downloadable EXTENSIONS and PLUGINS that enhance and extend Joomla. Unlike Joomla itself, not all are free - but many are. All require installation by an Administrator.
Apart from containing basic information about Joomla The main purpose of this section of Quivis is for me to play with Joomla and try out extensions etc before working with them on other live sites.There is little [if anything!] of interest for the general browser. But stick around if you want! You might see the wallpaper change - but the fish won't. Semper Platichthys!
There are two ways to interact with a Joomla website; via the Front End or the Back End. These are Joomla terms used by them and on associated web pages such as their FORUM. Think of the website as a car. Front End access is analagous to being given the keys; you can start the engine, go anywhere you want at whatever speed etc. However, you are not allowed under the bonnet! What's under the bonnet is what makes it all tick and, in Joomla's case, is the Back End.
Access to Front End and Back End are both via a browser. For Front End access go to e.g. your-domain.co.uk and log in. If you go to your-domain.co.uk/administrator and enter a valid user name and password you will have Back End access. Essentially you alter content via the Front End; via the Back End as well as editing content you can alter style, function and structure of the whole website, install extensions and plugins etc. Back End access is limited to Administrators - see below.
Conventional websites permit only passive viewing of ‘static’ web pages whereas Joomla is ‘interactive’ in the sense that it is easy for users to add their own content e.g. text and images. Joomla enables interactivity at various levels. The principal levels of access are those of AUTHOR, EDITOR, PUBLISHER, and ADMINISTRATOR. The level of access you have is determined in the first place by an Administrator. Each level of the hierarchy provides ADDITIONAL powers to those of its predecessor. These are basically as follows;
AUTHORS can submit content which requires approval by an Administrator before publication [i.e. before appearing on the website]. Authors cannot edit content already on the website.
EDITORS can both submit new content and edit content already on the website but still require approval before publication.
PUBLISHERS have the powers of authors and editors but require NO prior approval to publish. Content appears IMMEDIATELY on the website once SAVED.
ADMINISTRATORS have all the above powers plus the ability to grant the above powers to others - and a whole lot more. Only Administrators have access to the Back End. If you want to be an Administrator you either need to know what you are doing or be prepared to learn before doing it! To request a higher level of access contact the webmaster or an Administrator.
WHAT EXACTLY DOES JOOMLA DO? Joomla builds a website out of information held in a database. Good XHTML and CSS [the ‘normal’ way of building a website] separate style from content. Joomla sees to that separation for you using a template, so all you have to do is contribute the content - text, images etc - which Joomla retrieves from the data base as required. Unless you know how to tinker with Joomla [or XHTML and CSS] and have Administrator access you will not be able to alter the basic look and feel of the website which is controlled by the TEMPLATE but you WILL easily be able to add new or edit existing content providing you have the necessary permission. This is only a snap-shot; Joomla can do MUCH more than is outlined here!
TEMPLATE? WHAT'S THAT? A template is the basic architecture underlying the website which controls the overall appearance and display of the content and everything other than the text and images which are added by users with the necessary permissions. The template can be altered [if you know how], or changed for a completely different one [ditto]. Best practise is to have only one template in use on any one website unless there is a very good reason to have more!
DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND HTML? No! Once logged in, if you have say Editor access, an EDIT option will appear at the top of every page - for more details and images see the TEXT page. Clicking EDIT will open a WYSIWYG editor in which you just type ‘normal’ text or copy and paste prepared content. The EDIT icon disappears when you log out. You should log out properly otherwise whatever pages you have been working on remain ‘locked’ and prevent others gaining access to them. To log out, click the LOG OUT button!
HOW HARD IS IT? If you have basic word processing skills or can send an email you will find it simple. If you can do neither of those things you can learn in an hour or so. If you are reading this you have made a good start!
WHAT HAPPENS IF I MESS THINGS UP? The website is backed up i.e. 'saved' intermittently. Even if you manage to delete everything it can be restored to its previously backed up state. If you intend major changes it would be a good plan to a] request a site backup and b] keep a saved copy of your own work.
HOW DO I GET STARTED? Log in! but not here.