Anna's Joomla tips

Tuesday, 03 January 2006
Article Index

Anna's Joomla tips

1-How to think about content management
2-How to organize your site
3-Designing the look of your site
4-Modules and pages
5-Adding text and images
7-Blogs andáYour front page
8-Modules, Components, and Mambots
9-Where is it?

Okay - bear with me. I know you want to get something up and running right away, but that's not what Joomla is about. There are things you must know before you can get even one page up. But don't despair - once you set all the parameters for your site, putting really cool things on it is a piece of cake!

The current version of Joomla has a static hierarchy: you have to divide your content into three levels, no more, no less. Version 5.0 should have dynamic folder hierarchy – if you want just one level, you can have it. If you want ten, you can have that too. But for now, you will have to use the three level system: Sections, Categories, and Content.

Sections are big containers. They hold Categories. Categories are little containers; they hold Content. All the text & images you want to appear on a page are Content. The only catch is that you can’t create content without having a Section and Category for it to live in.

Imagine a filing system: sections are drawers, categories are folders, and content is pieces of paper. If you had all your pieces of paper lying around in your room, that would be a mess. If you had them in folders but the folders were lying all over the floor, that wouldn’t be much better. If you had them thrown in a drawer with no folders to organize them, that wouldn’t be so great either. So to keep things organized, you need to put all your papers (content) inside folders (categories) inside drawers (sections).

The other nice thing about having sections and categories is that you can assign different templates to them. So anything appearing in the “News” section could have two columns instead of three, leaving out the position that houses login and polls (for example). Then when some other member of your organization adds a news item, it will look like all the other news items and not like the product features pages.

Note: After all that about having to have sections and categories, there is a way to create content that is not in a section or category – it’s called “static content.” This doesn’t mean static as in static vs dynamic, it just means that it is not assigned to a section or category. But remember that if you do that you won’t be able to create more content that looks like it (shares its template). And I read somewhere that you can’t place static content on the front page.

So think about how your site will be organized, and whether you want different parts of the site to have different looks. Then force it (shove! push!) into the Joomla 1.x system of Sections and Categories (and wait for Joomla 2.0 – oh happy day!). See: Joomla Roadmap

Now on to Templates.
Next tip: Designing the look of your site.

Comments (5)
RSS comments
1. thanks22-02-2007 23:13

This was a great guide, why couldn't it have been part of the official Joomla documentaion! I learned enough to finish off quite a few things that I missed since I didn't know the context and conventions of Joomla. Thanks again!

2. Excellent17-10-2007 14:00

When is your book coming out?  
"joomla/mambo EXPOSED"....really.  
Please let me know. 
Thanks for your "unique" real world approach as well as  
your great insight.

3. Thanks!26-10-2007 15:21

I appreciate you taking the time to provide "traditional hand-crafted web pages" vs. Joomla perspective. I am beginning to get my head around Joomla thanks to your time and efforts.

4. Nice tutorial.26-11-2007 10:57

HI Anna ! 
This is anand, last two days i am following your tutorial. 
It is very good for the beginner, It is very useful to me. Now I joomlafying 
a website, already well designed and running. Can you tell be the better approach ? 
And one more question for you, how can i place my 
menu in a desired location, sorry if my question is wrong. 
Thx in Advance, 
Anand kumar.

5. Thank a lot18-04-2008 08:28

I am a new címer and I have a lot of confusions on PAGE/Front page. 
After reading, now I understand more how Joomla works. 
Thank you for your writing! 
Good Job! 
Adidaphat :(

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