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What is Joomla

Joomla is an OPENSOURCE Content Management System, or CMS, with an active community that develops extensions or components. These  extensions add features and functionality to the standard Joomla website. I guess, if I could see you now, you would probably have that distant look on your face … lost ….

So let me try explaining it in another way ….

Let’s go back to something you know, your computer. When you bought your computer, it had Windows XP installed on it (or if you're very unfortunate, Windows Vista!), and that is your OPERATING SYSTEM. Windows alone has little basic programs such as Wordpad, a calculator and some games, let’s not forget that ever popular solitaire! In other words, a Windows Operating System allows you to be able to use your computer to do some basic stuff with the programs that comes with it.

Now think of Joomla as an OPERATING SYSTEM for your website.

Because it is OPENSOURCE, its FREE!! When you install Joomla on your website, you will be able to:
•    Create content pages (pages with text and pictures on it)
•    Upload pictures and documents to your website
•    Create a menu/navigation structure
•    Choose from hundreds of templates for a suitable design/lay-out for your website
•    Allow people to register on your website
•    Capture and store user information

The list of standard Joomla features is much longer, but you get the basic idea. Joomla comes packed with some very powerful basic features, and it takes 7 minutes to install if you do it the long way. Then, after you've installed it, you start working on your website LIVE, ONLINE without having to install any program on your computer. Everything gets done through an administrative area on your website that only you have access to.

Now, back to your PC again... You soon realized that your basic operation system is not enough and you go out and make Bill Gates even happier by buying Microsoft Office for a few thousand rand. Now you can create professional letters using Word, complicated spreadsheets using Excel, and presentations using PowerPoint. The Microsoft Office Suite allows you to do specific tasks, using the application programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) giving you the functionality on your computer.

Now, back in our online world with Joomla, you soon realize that having a website with just information pages on it does not help your business. It does not sell your products or save your company money. One of the things you realize you need is the ability to be able to send newsletters to your clients. You then install ACAJOOM on your Joomla and all of a sudden you can create multiple mailings lists, have unlimited subscribers and import them directly from Excel.

You also decide you want to be able to sell your products directly from your website, and then allow customers to pay by EFT. You soon discover VirtueMart. You start loading your products in an 'easy to use shop-environment,' taking care of shipping, VAT and transactions, all still within your Joomla website.

Now, think about it...Can you see the similarity between working with your computer and working with your website? Can things really be that simple? Yes it can. But, it gets better. Joomla has a VERY ACTIVE COMMUNITY of supporters and developers, and when this article was written, 3 294 different extensions (like additional software programs you plug into Joomla), were available on the www.joomla.org website. It grows daily with more and more different extensions being added, all adding features and functionality to the basic Joomla. A lot of the extensions are FREE (called non-commercial), but there are some you have to buy (commercial).

Now do you understand what Joomla is and what the benefits are of having a Joomla website? Why don't you test-drive a Joomla website? You can...JUST CLICK HERE!

Johan Rossouw | Create Your Badge

Joomla Jargon

If you ask Google to define the word ‘jargon’, you’ll find the following: “Jargon is terminology that relates to a specific activity, profession or group. Much like slang it develops as a kind of shorthand, to quickly express ideas that are frequently discussed between members of a group. In many cases a standard term may be given a more precise or specialized usage among practitioners of a field.”

So Joomla jargon will be the words or phrases that you will see us use, stuff unique, and sometimes not so unique, to Joomla. Understanding this jargon is of vital importance to you in your plan to understand and work with Joomla. So here is a list of frequently used Joomla jargon.

Component

Components are the applications that add functionality to your website. You should think of Joomla as your OS (Operating System), and the software programs are the components that you install and configure on top of your OS. Each component has a specific function.

Modules

Modules are normally supplied with a component, assisting you in displaying part of the component on the side of your website. Modules can have various different functions, and you might find modules that work on their own, without a component, like a RSS module that pulls info from another website to display it on yours.

Plugin

Some components don’t make use of mambots, but have a special area where you can install plug-ins for the component (An example would be community builder and JCE).

Extentions

A broader term used to refer to either a component, module or mambot.

Template

A template is the design and lay-out you choose for your website. Joomla uses templates and there are literally thousands of free templates to choose from. You can also buy a template from professional designers.

Think of a template as the case and trimmings you choose for your Joomla website. All your components and modules can be placed inside this box, and you can change things like module positions, font colors and graphics on the template to better suite your needs.

Content

When we refer to content, we normally refer to text content, articles or information to be loaded in a component. When creating content/articles, you will be doing that within sections and categories.

Section

A section is the highest level in the Joomla! content organization hierarchy. Sections contain categories, and categories contain content items.

Category

A category is the second level in the Joomla! content organization hierarchy. Each content item that you create must be saved within a category and section.