- What is Joomla!?
- Completing Joomla! installation
- Planning your website
- Organizing content in Joomla!
- Creating categories, articles, and menus
- Formatting text and images
- Using modules and components
- Identifying and installing good-quality third-party extensions and templates
- Supporting multiple languages with Joomla!
- Managing users and their permissions
- Changing the look of the site with templates
- Launching your site
You might have built a Web site before with Dreamweaver, FrontPage, or GoLive. These tools usually create what are called static Web sites. A static Web site is quite simple. You type in a Web address like www.lynda.com/ index.html into your computer's Web browser. A Web browser is a piece of software that displays Web pages from the Internet like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Opera. This request for the Web page goes from your computer also called the client to the Web server.
Server is a tricky word that means two different things. One is a hardware sense of the word. A server is a very powerful computer that is shared in some way. Server can also be used in the software sense. A server software is designed to serve up Web pages. Apache and Internet Information Server or IIS are examples of server software that are compatible with Joomla!. The term Web server is frequently used interchangeably with the term Web host. However, they are somewhat different.
The server simply picks up the right page from the right location and sends it. No processing of that page is required. You create the Web pages on your computer, the client, and you send a copy of those pages to the Web server via FTP. All the Web server does is store those pages and send out copies as requested. A Content Management System or CMS is very different than static site. A CMS is a Web application, software that runs on the Web server instead of running on the client.
For example, Microsoft Word runs on your computer, the client. Google Docs, however, runs on the server. Both applications are designed to create and edit word processing documents, but the way they get that job done is very different. CMS generally functions in the same kind of way from a bird's-eye perspective. The server software, middleware software, and database software may vary, but the functionality is all the same. Just like before, type in a Web address like www.lynda.com/index.php into your computer's Web browser.
Your computer sends this request for the page to the Web server. The Web server looks at its files and realizes the page you requested is written in PHP, a programming language. The Web server knows it can't send this page as is to the client. Some processing must be done first. So instead the Web server sends this request to the PHP application. PHP looks at the document and determines that some information needs to be pulled from a database and then processed. PHP is functioning as middleware in this way.
This means PHP mediates the discussion between the Web server and the database. The server and database can't talk to each other directly. They need a translator that can understand server speak and database speak. Other examples of programming language used in this role include ASP and .NET, ColdFusion, Java, and Perl. A database is a collection of organized information. The database type that we will use in Joomla! is called MySQL, but other types of databases include MSSQL or MSSQL or Oracle.
Axis is a database that runs on your laptop and is not suitable to use in a Web site. Joomla! has been designed to work primarily with MySQL, but it supports some other databases as well. Joomla! 2.5 and Joomla! 3 supports some Microsoft environments including Windows Azure, the cloud platform. In addition to supporting Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and SQL Azure, Joomla! 2.5 supports Azure Storage CDN and Azure deployment and so does Joomla! 3.
Both Joomla! 2.5 and Joomla! 3 also support PostgreSQL. However, be careful just because Joomla! supports alternative databases does not mean third-party extensions support those databases as well. Check with extension providers to find out if the extension you want to use is compatible with these other databases. Finally, the database receives a request for information from PHP via a database query. The requested information is copied from the database and sent back to PHP.
PHP arranges the database information into the way specified in the PHP code. The actual PHP code is stripped out from the page and replaced with HTML according to the instructions on the page. Now that a page is created and it consists of HTML and associated files that is sent to the client to view. All of this happens in the blink of an eye. In order to run Joomla!, therefore, you must have a Web server configured with Apache or IIS, PHP, and MySQL including the right versions of those pieces of software.
You can check Joomla.org for the latest requirements and recommended Web hosts. So obviously a CMS is way more complicated than a static Web site. In fact, you might be a bit intimidated by all of that technology running on your site. Why are CMSs preferred over static Web sites? Because of the power of the database Web sites are much easier to maintain with a CMS than they are with a static Web site. If you wish to make changes to the CMS Web site, you can change it without knowing HTML, PHP, MySQL, or anything else, which means your average client can easily create new pages, link them to menus, change content, and make other updates without talking to you.
In a world where we increasingly integrate photo galleries, calendars, social media, news feeds, blogs, and other dynamic information a CMS becomes more important due to the ease of integrating these features into the Web site. If you're still feeling like a CMS is complicated, don't panic. This movie was as geeky as the rest of this title gets. Keep watching and you will start feeling more comfortable with Joomla! shortly.