Joomla™ is one of the most widely used and popular open source CMS (Content Management Systems) in the world. If you are not strong in any of the server side scripting you can start your site in Joomla. Because it is easy to install, learn and extend. There are lots and lots of extensions available from developers all around the world.
Content Management Systems – What does it mean?
Let’s break that term and discuss.
Content – The matter you are going to publish in your site. For example, what I’m writing now in this article is content.
Management – This is a very common word. Managing here means the arrangement of the content, its look, the way it is presented in the site etc.
So, in summary CMS are systems that are used to manage your contents in the site with ease. They will do everything for you with few clicks. That is where the power of CMS lies.
Joomla has a very big history. I’ll describe things briefly here. Miro an Australian company developed a CMS named Mambo. They release two versions of it, one is commercial and other one is the open source. For commercial versions the company will offer increased security and support. Many users started to use the open source version of Mambo and the community started to grow. In order to continue the development of Mambo the company decided to form a foundation. They announced the foundation in their project page. The company didn’t include the Mambo’s development team in the foundation. So the development team split and started to develop a new version of CMS. They released their version of CMS during September 2005. That’s how Joomla was born. Then the team started to fix the bugs and extended their support. Joomla won two prizes, one is for the best open source project in the year 2005, and other one is to the core member of the team for his support of Open source projects.
Joomla works well under Apache HTTP server. Other programs that are needed to run joomla are a database and the most important of all PHP. You can install each and every program separately. Most of the web servers already have these (PHP, Apache and MySQL). If not choose a web hosting provider with all these things installed.
For installing it in localhost download it from the locations given below and install it.
Apache : http://httpd.apache.org
PHP : http://www.php.net
MySQL : http://dev.mysql.com/downloads
NOTE: Many Joomla installed web hosting providers are available. So you can also choose that kind of hosting company.
This is a tough way. Isn’t it? Downloading and installing all the components separately. Here is the easier way. Download all-in-one packages. There are lots of all-in-one programs available in the net. XAMPP is one of the popular as well as a trusted all-in-one. Download it from apachefriends.org
Installing XAMPP is like any other windows program. The installation wizard will guide you thro the process. After two ‘Next’ clicks, the wizard will show a page like the one below.
Make sure you click all the check boxes in the service section. This option will make the programs as services. (Services are a part of windows OS, to see the list of services available type ‘services.msc’ in the ‘Run..’ box)
When you click install, the installer will copy all the necessary files and folders to your harddrive. You can see the installed files in the default folder (c:\xampp) or in the location you entered during the installation. Finally the installer will install the services. You can control the services by using the XAMPP control panel. Goto the installed folder and click ‘xampp-control.exe’. The control panel will show the icon in tray. Click the icon to open it. Don’t try right clicking the icon as we’ll do in most cases. Right clicking the icon in xampp will refresh the services. Left click it to see the controls.
Xampp also installes a xampp home page which will have many useful tools build inside it such as phpMyAdmin, webalizer etc. The xampp home page supports 11 languages.
Navigate your browser to the URL to http://localhost/xampp or http://127.0.0.1/xampp. Both address points to the same location (i.e your localhost)
Download the latest version of joomla package from the official site http://www.joomla.org
Unzip the compressed file.
Navigate your browser to http://localhost/joomla
If you are installing it in a host server, upload the files using FTP to the server and navigate your browser to your site name and point it to the correct directory. For example http://www.mysite.com/joomla/
NOTE: Installing it to a host server has various procedures like changing the permissions as writable to upload the file, getting a mysql user name and password from the hosting company. In this article I’ll be discussing things related to local installation.
If all the services are running properly the installation screen of joomla appears.
Select the language and click next. In the pre-installation check Joomla installer will check the system for necessary components such as PHP, MySQL.
If any one of the items in the first table is marked as No, the installation will fail. So please make sure that all components are marked as Yes. Click next to proceed to the license, read the license and click next to accept it. Now we are into the database configuration. Default is mysql. The host name is localhost for local installation. The username and password is the mysql root username and password. The default password is kept as blank; if you want to set a password you can do it with phpMyadmin. Give a database name. At this point the screen will look like
Click next to proceed to FTP configuration. FTP system layer is used in case of file permission issues. Skip that step and click next. This is the main configuration window of joomla, in this you can set the site name, your email, admin username and password. There is an option named ‘install sample data’. It installs a sample site so that you can make changes to the site and its contents. If you don’t click the Install sample data the site will look clean without any content. We will see the difference between the two. This is the main config screen.
If you click next without installing the sample data the installer will show a warning that ‘No sample data has been installed. Click OK to continue or click cancel to redo this step’. Click Ok to install the site without any sample data. If you need sample data to be installed click cancel and install the sample data.
You have successfully installed joomla in your system.
Remember to completely remove the installation directory from the htdocs folder. Till you remove the folder you can’t proceed to the joomla home page. This security feature of joomla protects the website from hackers.
NOTE: Don’t rename the folder. Completely delete the installation folder.
Navigate your browser to http://localhost/joomla . This is the home page without any sample data. You have to add your own content and build up the site.
Sample data installed home page is here.
You can’t install sample data after completing the installation. You have to install it from the beginning. With the sample data installed web site you can learn easily by modifying the contents modules.
Joomla has front end (site) and back end (Administration).
The front end is for the public users, i.e to the visitors of the site.
Back-end is used by administrators to configure settings, publish new content, changing templates etc.
Back ends have many other components such as Article manager, module manager, section manager, user manager etc. We will see each and every manager in detail in the next part of this article.
Administrator can login with both front end and back end.
When you login into the back end the main control panel page will appear.
With the control panel and the menus you can control the site as a whole. The control panel has a user friendly GUI like windows and it’s very easy to accomplish the tasks for your site with it.
The control panel will show an error if the system is not connected to the internet. ‘Error loading feed data’. No need to worry about it. The back end page will show feeds of security updates from the joomla site. The menu on the right side will give you up to date information about your site such as logged in users, recent articles, Menu stats, list of popular articles. With all these info you can have a overview of your site’s updates since you logged out.
In this article we have seen about the need for CMS, history of Joomla, its features, installing and administering it. In the next part of the article we will see about how to create articles, adding it to menu items, publishing and unpublishing it.