What is Joomla!?
Joomla! is a free system for creating websites. It is an open source project, which, like most open source projects, is constantly in motion. It is unpredictable, sometimes indescribable, partially controversial, quite often very sexy, at times a little sleepy and provincial. Nevertheless, or perhaps because of these reasons, it has been extremely successful for five years now and popular with millions of users worldwide.
The word Joomla! is a derivative of the word Jumla from the African language of Swahili and means "all together. "
The Project Joomla! is the result of a heated discussion between the Mambo Foundation, which was founded in August 2005, and its then-development team. Joomla! is a development of the successful system Mambo. Joomla! is used all over the world for simple homepages and for complex corporate websites as well. It is easy to install, easy to manage and very reliable.
The Joomla! team has organized and reorganized itself throughout the last five years.
- From 2005 to 2009, Joomla! 1.0 was further developed up to version 1.0.15 and that development was officially laid off in September 2009.
- From 2005 until now, Joomla 1.5 is still being developed, was introduced as a stable version in January 2008, and further developed to version 1.5.22.
- From 2008 until now, Joomla 1.6 is still being developed. A stable version has been available since January 2011.
The users of the Joomla! system remained faithful. Many transferred from their website from Mambo to Joomla! and they have learned a lot over the years. Many users have also been added in the last few years, and there are still people in the world who do not know the system. Joomla!, together with Drupal and Wordpress, is the most used open source web content management system in the world.
In Figure 1, Joomla! and Wordpress are on the same level according to Google search volume trend. Joomla! and Wordpress are searched three times as often as Drupal. However, the search volume has been declining since late 2010. It was time for Joomla! to release a stable 1.6 version.
The situation in Germany is different (Figure 2). Joomla! has almost twice as large of a search volume as Wordpress and Wordpress almost four times as much as Drupal.
Here are a few statistics from Google Trend (Table 1):
Table 1: Google Trend - Drupal, Joomla!, Wordpress
There are significant national differences in the use of content management systems. In Germany, for example, TYPO3 also plays a role. The search volume is comparable to Joomla!. In the U.S., the ratio Joomla! - TYPO3 is 1.0 to 0.01, which indicates an impact more or less not measurable.
In Febuary 2011, 2.7 % of the entire web is powered by Joomla!
The range of Joomla! websites goes from very simple homepages to complex business applications and projects based on the Joomla! Framework. What makes Joomla! so successful and in which ways you can use it, I am going to describe in this book.
Who am I?
My name is Hagen Graf, I'm 46 years old, and I live in Fitou, France. I am married to the woman of my dreams and have four daughters.
My work consists of many different activities such as teaching, advising, listening, testing, programming, understanding structures, developing new applications, questioning and always trying something new.
Actually, my work can be done completely online but sometimes clients may have reservations about fully online projects, which is why I am on the road a lot. Being on the road means meeting clients in different countries with different languages and cultures, long car, bus or train rides as well as very short response times to customer inquiries by e-mail, Facebook messages and tweets.
This way of working has implications for what I once used to call "the office". I need to be able to have access from anywhere in the world to my e-mails, pictures, videos, tweets, and documents. My office is located where I am.
Who are you?
Of course, I do not know what exactly you do but many people whom I have worked with work in a similar way that I do. Employees of larger companies, however, often cannot or may not work as flexibly for various reasons. Your own experience with computers is probably similar to mine. Many of us started with an older PC and a windows system at school or at home, and then got to know from experience the harsh reality of office applications, data loss, lack of memory, hard drive, and printer configuration adventures. The wonderful relationships between these things have been changed with the user-centered way of working of the Web 2.0 and the use of smart phones, but this does not necessarily make it easier.
If you do not love messing with passion at night with your operating system or telephone or sorting your photos, music and moving them all from one device to another, then you are probably just like me - happy when your devices and applications are working, when you can access your data on the Internet and all is working smoothly. If you work from a home office, a smooth work environment becomes particularly important. Non-functioning soft- and hardware can quickly turn your situation into a nightmare.
I distinguish between the following types of users:
- Visitors: They visit a website and they do not care much about the system you used for creating the site.
- Users: They use the website. They create content using pre-defined procedures.
- Website Designers: They install a Joomla! site on a server, create categories, content, links and menu modules, configure templates and languages, are all-rounders and usually have the sole responsibility for the website.
- CSS Designers: They often like to work exclusively with files that have the extension .css.
- HTML Designers: They give CSS Designers the foundation they need for their work. In Joomla!, they create the so-called template overrides.
- Architects: They think about security, speed and code quality.
The website designer plays a special role in this list. He usually has to cover all other roles, which constitutes a real challenge. As I am writing this book, I often find myself thinking about the website designer.
What does our software environment look like?
Parallel to the work processes just described above, software has been developed that supports exactly this way of working. Browser-based applications like e-mail services, online banking, group calendar, document management systems, communities, dating services, online auctions and, of course, the Web 2.0 networking platforms are becoming more convenient, sophisticated and user-friendly.
Web 2.0 is still a buzz word. Its potential has long not fully been exhausted, and has just started changing the newspaper and book market. I suspect the German car industry will be the next to jump on the train. Tesla Motors and Local Motors were born in the Internet. Tesla focused on start-up culture while Local Motors focused on Open Source and Crowd Sourcing. The word 'start-up' e.g. does not exist in the German Wikipedia (as of 1/4/2011) but there is a note in an article about setting up a company.
The data of already established services such as YouTube (videos), Flickr (photos), Twitter (tweets) is processed as raw material. The year of 2011 is also the year of location based services (LBS). WHERE was my photo taken? WHERE was the video recorded?, WHERE did I twitter and WHERE am I at the moment? And who else but me is at this place?
What is especially interesting about the use of online communities and the linkage of all these online networks is that a "virtual layer" or "social graph" arises about my life, which can be utilized by others. The commercial use of this social graph is currently being hotly debated.
Back to Joomla!
Most of the services described above can interact through interfaces (programming interfaces, APIs) and can be integrated into your own site. For companies like Twitter, the requests to use such APIs play a much larger role than their actual website itself.
Mobile phones converge with other mobile devices to smart phones. Ever since the launch of the iPhone and iPad, these devices have been seriously noticed and have had a lasting effect on the telephone and communications market. Today, using your smart phone, you can access web pages, fill in and send forms, send and receive e-mails, take and send pictures as well as videos, listen to music, check in at a place of your choice and see which of your friends are already there and much more.
Your web site should also be legible on a smart phone!
The stationary PC is getting smaller, laptops are becoming more efficient while netbooks are becoming cheaper and more common. Further developments are predominantly focused on wireless connection technologies, miniaturization of components, storage of data with no moving parts as well as battery life and performance.
Everything's going mobile!
What does this mean for your website?
In the world I just described, a company, an institution, a club, an organization, yes, probably everyone, needs a web presence that is user-friendly and flexible. A presence - one that goes with time, can easily be changed via a web browser, one that replaces your filing cabinet and leather address book, a presence that can communicate with the different devices and can be extended easily.
I assume your website is already the place where you explain what you do or what your company does. This is your place where you maintain your custumer relations 24 hours per day, seven days a week.
Your website probably contains a collection of applications and data summarizing your activities. Your site should also contain interfaces to allow other applications to use them.
Until recently, the creation of a website was a difficult thing to do. While you did not have to be a renowned specialist, a combination of perseverance and having fun with what you are doing were necessary to produce appealing results. You had to create static HTML pages in an HTML editor and then upload them via file transfer protocol to a server. To create even the simplest interactivity such as a contact form or a forum, you had to learn a programming language.
It is more than understandable that many people did not take this hardship on themselves and handed over the creation of a website to a web agency or did not even start the project in the first place.
Thanks to Facebook and kits such as Google Sites, creating simple web pages has become relatively easy but if you want something individual, you should become familiar with a content management system.
Joomla! offers everything you need to create your own, individual website.
What is this book about?
First of all, it is about Joomla! and how to use it.
Joomla! is a tool with lots of possibilities and you can use the system in a huge variety of configurations, depending on your ideas and wishes.
In order to allow comfortable access, I have structured the book as follows:
- This Introduction
- Structures and Terms
- What's New in Joomla! 1.6?
- Managing Content
- Website and Content Configuration
- Users and Permissions
- Extension Management
- Core Extensions
- Multi-Language Websites
- Working with Templates
- Search Engine Optimization
- Upgrade from Joomla! 1.5 to Joomla! 1.6
What will you be able to do after reading this book?
Although you are a beginner, you will be able to manage your own Joomla! website via a web browser.
If you are somehow familar with HTML, CSS and image editing, you will be able to customize a template for your website.
Any further questions?
Of course, I can't deliver technical support. The Joomla! forums provide a wealth of knowledge and you will definitely find answers to your questions there. If you have comments or questions about the book, however, please feel free to leave them.
Before you install Joomla! 1.6, create a website, and get rich and famous, please have a short look at the basics.
What I wrote there also applies to your Joomla! website.