Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Judging the Joomla Jungle :: The Premier CMS

First experience of using a comprehensive Content Management System (CMS) was Drupal way back some years ago. Before that content management meant either using Front Page or direct FTP of the webpages. Despite "hearing" a lot of good reviews about Joomla never really got the time to explore it.

First Steps
The first steps towards installing Joomla in Linux are the usual for web servers. Install LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP).  After testing LAMP's successful installation proceed with the following.

Download Joomla from the website and follow the instructions given in INSTALL.PHP file in the main folder. Copying the instructions from the php file verbatim here. Copy the folder into www directory of Apache.

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First, you must create a new database for your Joomla! site e.g.

    $ mysqladmin -u db_user -p create Joomla
MySQL will prompt for the 'db_user' database password and then create the initial database files.  Next you must login and set the access database rights e.g.
    $ mysql -u db_user -p
Again, you will be asked for the 'db_user' database password.  At the MySQL prompt, enter following command:
        TO nobody@localhost IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
    'Joomla' is the name of your database
    'nobody@localhost' is the userid of your webserver MySQL account
    'password' is the password required to log in as the MySQL user

    If successful, MySQL will reply with
    Query OK, 0 rows affected
    to activate the new permissions you must enter the command
    flush privileges;
    and then enter '\q' to exit MySQL.
 Alternatively you can use your web control panel or phpMyAdmin to create a database for Joomla.

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So once the installation was complete simply go to the http://localhost/joomla (depending on where you stored the joomla in the apache directory. This would launch the web installer and answering a couple of simple questions results in the installation of Joomla.

Ooops where are my other databases !!!!
Having installed and worked on Joomla I realized that my other databases have been lost. Moreover the admin password has been lost. So I had to recover the  password again via the instruction given here. This glitch created  a lot of headache but finally after recovery of the admin password.

Using the CMS
The result of this installation procedure was a sleek joomla content management system. Its extremely easy to get started and actually use via the admin panel by going to the http://localhost/jooomla/administrator.
The whole website can be managed through a set of menus and control panel. There is the template manager which helps in installation of new templates as well as edit/ preview/ apply templates. The other important aspect is easy maintenance of posts. The CMS is nice although it takes time to figure out the whole concepts. In contrast to Drupal (which was really easy to manage via the web interface of admininstrator account) Joomla lacks a bit of such flexibility.

Next Steps
The next steps is installation of themes and extensions. In this regard the following seems attractive and worthy of exploration.
  • Financial Extensions
  • Site Analytics