Joomla! Is a content management system (CMS). That is, it allows a user to add content to a website without having to know a lot about what runs behind the website. While a knowledge of the html language may help with formatting in some cases, this is not essential.
Administrator access (the backend) is gained by going to www.mywebsite/administrator. Users must have manager level or higher to access the backend. This level is set by a 'Superuser' through the user menu.
Major Structural Elements
The main elements of the Joomla! structure are:
The latter 4 are also known as extensions.
Along with these elements are connected elements:
- Categories - used for cataloguing and sorting - e.g. Articles of a given category can be displayed on a page via the menu element.
- Media - video, audio
- Images - jpg, png, gif, etc. these are normally stored in a folder images/stories but other folders may be used.
Articles are usd to display information. Articles can be linked to the Joomla menu system, or you can create hyper-links to other articles, within the article content itself.
To start a new article simply click the menu Content → Articles → Add New Article. You can also use choose Manage Articles from which you can edit existing articles or create a new one.
To edit an existing article, enter a word from the article heading in the search box and click on the magnifying glass. Select New to begin a new article
You will be presented with a content editor,which will allow you to edit using a WYSIWYG editor or a code view editor.
An article must have a title. It should also have a category (set in the right hand panel of the Content tab).
For an article to appear on the website it must be set to Published in the right hand panel of the content tab.
The Publishing tab allows articles to be published and unpublished on particular dates. It also allows an author's name to be added. This defaults to the person who creates the article but may be changed by the entry of an alias.
Articles and menus can be set to be accessible to public, guest, registered, special or super users. In most cases this will be guest.
It is possible to set up a particular category of user in order to allow only them to access particular articles or menus.
The Options tab allows various options to be shown or hidden: e.g. the create, or modify date, author, category, etc. The defaults for these options are set under the options menu within the articles menu (the gear icon opens this menu).
These options are also set in the Menu options and can override the article options on occasions.
Articles can be set to Featured in which case they will appear on the Featured menu - generally the Home menu.
Once an article is saved and set to Published it is ready to appear on the website. If it is Featured it will appear on the Featured page ( normally the home page). Otherwise it will appear where a menu is set to display it.
A number of menus can be created. These will appear in Modules at a place on the Template set in the Module parameters.
Generally the Main Menu will appear at the top of the page.
Menus may appear on all or a selection of pages, set in the Modules parameters or under the Menu Assignment tab of the particular menu.
Menus can be a variety of types. Most of these will be Article menus. Article menus can be single articles, category lists or blogs, featured articles, lists of categories, etc.
Some components have their own menu type.
Parameters to be set are:
- The menu to which this menu belongs
- The parent menu item for this menu
- The ordering of this menu within its parent menu (available once the menu is saved)
- Who will have access to this menu.
- Which modules the menu is to be assigned to.
- The options tab set options similar to this in the content/articles setup.
Modules are provided to allow content to be displayed. A number of modules are created as part of the standard setup.
Modules may be associated with a particular component.
The module's position on the website is set by selecting menus under the Menu Assignment tab (all, all except, those selected) and by selecting the Template position required.
A custom module allows you enter content into a single module without have to first create an article. e.g. To put an address and contact box at the bottom of the home page use a custom module positioned at the bottom element of the Template.
Components are the software elements that do the work to create website presentations. E.g. com_content is the component that controls the presentation of content.
Many of these are standard but others can be downloaded from the web.
If you need some particular facility do a web search for it. Most Joomla! components are free though some will need to be paid for.
e.g. Content (com_content), Banners (com_banners), Contacts (com_contact), News Feeds (com_newsfeeds) and Web Links (com_weblinks)
Often a component comes with an associated plugin (see below) which must also be installed.
To install a component or plugin download it. Generally it will come in a zip file which can then be uploaded using the install item in the Extensions/manage menu tab. In some cases you will need to unpack a compressed file first.
Templates determine the look and feel of the website. They set positions for content, fonts, colours, indenting, heading levels, etc.
Depending on the Template some parameters may be adjustable from the Template component. e.g. colour, menu positions, menu animation, display of sub-menus, logo selection, image or text, which menus this template applies to.
These settings can be changed by adjusting the css and php files of the template if you're confident in operating on these types of files.
Joomla comes with a few standard templates but others can be downloaded from the web (some free, others paid).
Note: the favicon, the tiny icon that appears in the website tab is supplied by the template. To use your own you need to create your own favicon and transfer it to the template folder via FTP. This is probably the task for your website manager/designer assuming you have one (it is recommended you have someone who is competent with FTP, css and php who is available to help you maintain and modify the website, keep components updated, etc.).
Module positions are set by the Template but these can be changed in the template settings - Extensions/Templates tab. Standard positions for RSJuno are shown here.
Joomla! comes with one category - uncategorised. The user needs to create others prior to creating articles.
Articles can be created in a hierarchical structure, with sub-categories, to a number of levels.
Joomla! comes with a variety of plugins connected with standard components. Many of these can be ignored, but others will included elements that need to be adjusted.
Where the component has been paid for it may have a serial number that needs to be entered in the plugin or in the component itself.
User Names and Passwords
User names are unique as are the associated email addresses.
Joomla! includes the facility for using Two Factor Authentication using Google Authenticator. This provides a 6 digit code on your mobile that must be entered along with your name and password in order to log in.
This ensures that only you can get in to the backend of the website. This is set in the user name parameters.
It is important to realise that efforts are constantly being made to break into your website, from countries all over the globe. On one website my firewall log shows around 20 attempts to break in over a 2 hour period.
Avoid obvious user names like admin, user, manager. The initial setup will create a user "admin". Change this to something you can remember or create a new super user log in as that user then delete the admin user.
Ensure that passwords are not guessable. Attempts to break in regularly try such password as qwerty, asdfgh, 123456, qwe123, qazwsx. Hard as it is to believe some people do use these sorts of passwords. Don't be one of them!
A super user can add users and designate them to one of the available user levels.
More information can be found at https://docs.joomla.org/Portal:Beginners.
To start creating or editing your website go to http://www.yourwebsite.org.au/administrator
You will be presented with a Logon page requiring your USERNAME, PASSWORD and, if you've set it up, your Google Authenticator 6 digit code.
Click on Log In and it will take you to the website's Control Panel. After a minute or so any new extension updates should appear at the top of the screen. Clicking on this notification takes you to the update page (also accessible via the Extensions/Manage menu tab) where you can update your extensions. In some cases this will required downloading an updated package from the provider's site which is normally indicated under the URL heading.
If the user menu is installed you can also log in to the Front End. This allows basic editing of articles without going to the administrator site.