About Joomla

This website is ‘powered’ by Joomla 1.7 or higher, a Content Management System [CMS] widely used and supported on the internet and regarded by many as the best. There is a great deal of information about Joomla on the internet. As good a place to start as any is their own website JOOMLA.ORG where there are help files and tutorials as well as a FORUM to seek advice. Easily downloadable EXTENSIONS AND PLUGINS are available but beware; unlike Joomla itself, not all are free.

WHAT EXACTLY DOES JOOMLA DO? Joomla builds a website out of information held in a database. More importantly it does so in a manner that facilitates interactivity. Good XHTML and CSS [the ‘normal’ way of building a website] separate style from content. Joomla sees to that separation for you using a template, so all you have to do is contribute the content - text, images etc - which Joomla retrieves from a data base as required. Unless you know how to tinker with Joomla [or XHTML and CSS] and have Administrator access you will not be able to alter the basic look and feel of the website which is controlled by the TEMPLATE but you WILL easily be able to add new or edit existing content providing you have the necessary permission.

TEMPLATE? WHAT'S THAT? A template is the basic architecture underlying the website which controls the overall appearance and display of the content such as font colours, background, what the menus look like - in short, everything other than the text and images which are added by users with the necessary permissions. The template can be altered [if you know how], or changed for a completely different one [ditto]. Best practise is to have only one template in use on any one website unless there is a very good reason to have more!

DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND HTML? No! Once logged in, if you have say Editor access an EDIT icon edit will appear alongside the PRINT and EMAIL icons at the top of every page. Clicking the EDIT icon will open a WYSIWYG editor in which you just type ‘normal’ text. Other icons or cues will appear for users with higher levels of access. The EDIT icon will disappear when you log out. You should log out properly otherwise whatever pages you have been working on may remain ‘locked’ and prevent others gaining access to them. To log out, return to the Home page and click...guess!

HOW HARD IS IT? If you have basic word processing skills or can send an email you will find it simple. If you can do neither of those things you can learn in an hour or so. If you are reading this you have made a good start!

WHAT HAPPENS IF I MESS THINGS UP? Don't worry; the website is backed up. The damage you can do is pretty much limited to the page on which you are working - unless you are an Administrator in which case you should know better! If it all goes hopelessly wrong ust let the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. know.

HOW DO I GET STARTED? There are two basic levels at which to access a Joomla website; the Front End and the Back End. See more on the Joomla Basics page.  Essentially you alter content via the Front End; via the Back End as well as content you can edit the structure, style and function of separate pages or the whole website.

The Front End and Back End pages explain some basic tasks -  but Joomla can do MUCH more than is outlined here!