With the frontend we mean the areas of the website as visitors or registered users see it. A registered user normally works only in the frontend. It is like in a store, where the goods are displayed in shop windows and on shelves. Here you can have a look around.
This is your administration area, therefore, we call it just administration. You can give registered users the right to work in your backend. This privilege is mostly limited to several employees, who should administer some tasks on the website. You can access the administration login via /administrator.
There you can register with your login details and choose your preferred language. (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Joomla! Administration registration
Once logged in successfully, you'll have access to the administration, which is structured according to your user rights. (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Administration
You may access each function either by using the combined menu tab system or by simply clicking an icon on the start screen.
You probably already noticed this when you unpacked the compressed package and copied it into the htdocs folder. Basically, you have already installed two Joomla! packages: one for the frontend and one for the backend. The 'Backend Joomla!' is located in the administrator folder (Figure 3).
This folder is addressed when you call /administrator in the browser. Inside that folder are other folders like cache, components, language, modules and templates. The specific backend files are stored in these directories.
You will find the same folder names again outside the administrator folder. These folders contain the frontend files. These are not really two Joomla! packages, but there is a clear separation between backend and frontend files.
For example, all files uploaded with the Media Manager will be saved in the /media folder. All files have to be saved with a backup.
Figure 3: Joomla! files and folder
Additionally to files (graphics, documents, system files, etc.) Joomla! also needs a database. During the installation procedure, the Joomla! web installer creates 33 tables in your specified database (Figure 4). In these tables, all content will be managed.
Figure 4: The Joomla! data base tables
When I say content, I mean texts and configuration settings. The tables in the screenshot are displayed by means of phpMyAdmin. phpMyAdmin is a part of XAMPP and MAMP and is available via
Usually, no changes need to be made in these tables. In case you forget your admin password, phpMyAdmin is very helpful.
This software can also be used for backing up your database by creating a so-called SQL dump, as your tables have to be secured regularly. In chapter Must have extensions you will learn about a more convenient option to backup your database.
Elements of Joomla!
The structure of Joomla! is simple, sophisticated and efficient.
Joomla! assumes that you want to write an article. An article usually consists of a title, text and some configuration settings.
Articles can be displayed in single or list view.
On the frontpage of your recently installed Joomla! website you will see these four articles (Figure 5).
Figure 5: Article on frontpage
The articles are sorted in a certain manner. The first article is displayed by using the full width of the website. The other articles are placed below in three columns. If the articles are too long, you may insert a read more link. This representation is a list view. By clicking on the read more link you will be redirected to the single representation of that article (figure 6). The type of display can be changed by setting options in the backend, however, only by the user with corresponding access rights.
Figure 6: single display of an article
Articles can be published (publish) or not published (unpublish). You can feature articles on your frontpage, you can archive them or put them in the trash and retrieve them. You can copy and move them.
In order to display articles clearly, you may create categories, and then assign an article to them. Each article can be assigned to exactly one category (Figure 7). The categories can be nested to any depth. Articles from one or multiple categories can be assigned to one menu item and displayed in various ways. By clicking on the menu item, all articles from different categories will be shown. This principle is used by online newspapers, for example. You click on Sports and get all categorized articles for this topic. If the newspaper discerns between different forms of sports, they will use nested category trees:
Figure 7: Category assignment
Users are needed to produce content. At least one user is registered on each Joomla! site, namely the one you created during the installation, with the rights to configure everything on your site. Depending on the user's rights, he can work in the frontend and/or backend to write an article. Each user requires a username, an email address and a password. Every user can be assigned to any user group as well as to any access level. This enables the user to create articles that are only visible to certain user groups.
To find your way around the website, you will need navigation with corresponding links. In Joomla! we call this a menu. You may create as many menus as desired and nest them into as many different ways as you wish. Each menu is a module which can be positioned on a provided area in the template.
A module is something that you can position next to an article. A menu, for example, is a module. The small registration block on the left side is also a module. You can create as many modules with smart functions as you need and position them on the predefined area in the template.
A template is the graphical pattern for your website. It mostly consists of HTML and CSS files. Joomla! delivers several templates for you to choose from. Templates are configurable, which allows you to upload a different logo, change the background color, etc. Each template provides areas where modules can be positioned (Figure 8).
Figure 8: Template Positions
You can group modules around one or more articles.
A plug-in provides practical services but is usually invisible to the visitors of the site. A wysiwyg editor, for example, is a plug-in. Plug-ins are extensions, which can be installed unlimited amount of times. The core package already consists of numerous useful plug-ins.
Components are the little surprise packages that help you create nearly anything on your site. You want to have a booking system for workshops? A platform for properties? A forum? An image gallery? You just have to install the right component!
The Joomla! core package already comes with some components, e.g., the contact component, which enables you to integrate contact forms into your site. There are many components to enhance your Joomla! system.
You will need individual configuration settings for your website; we call them options. These options are applied to the whole website, for users, categories, modules, components. You will always find an icon named Options like, e.g., that one (Figure 9), which provides you with the possibility to see the position of modules (Figure 8) by inserting http://localhost/index.php?tp=1
The initial tp stands for template position.
Figure 9: Options
Other structures for user interfaces, templates and technical relations are also available. For the time being, you are well equipped by remembering the described structures above.