Before we start, let's have a look at a few technical terms: some general terms and some Joomla! specific terms. Here, we are going to focus only on the most common terms as you will discover many more throughout the book.
Frontend and Backend
Your Joomla! website consists of two parts: the Frontend and the Backend.
The Frontend is the "public" part of your site. It is the part of your website to which users access. Some might navigate your website to read its content (the visitors) and others might log in to perform an action. For example, they can participate through a forum, but they can also create some content via the Frontend (like the authors, the editors...).
The Backend is the "behind the scenes" part of your website. It is where the administrators log in to organize the website, to create and manage the content, the extensions, the users... As is the case for the Frontend, users who connect to the Backend can be granted different types of rights, thus giving them access to different roles.
To access the Backend of your website, go to the address www.yourdomain.com/administrator.
Files, Folders and Database
The installation of your Joomla! website consists of two parts: the Folders/Files and the Database.
Joomla 3 is composed of several thousands of files which are stored in folders. If you download and unzip a Joomla! package, you will have access to these Folders and Files. If your Joomla! site is installed on a localhost server, these Folders and Files will be located in a directory on your localhost server. If your website is installed on a remote host server, these Folders and Files will be located in a dedicated space made available by your hosting service provider. You will then be able to access it via a FTP Client.
Joomla!'s Folders and Files
During the installation process, Joomla! will create 68 tables in the database. It is in these tables that Joomla! will, for example, "sort" the content of your articles.
Tables of a Joomla! database
In order to organize your items (such as articles, contact forms, banners), you will first need to create categories. Joomla! 3 allows to have an infinite number of nested categories, these categories can contain articles and/or categories (which themselves can contain articles or/and categories, etc.).
Creating categories might seem useless at first, but when you will have dozens or hundreds of articles, it will be a lot easier to find your way around the articles if they are well sorted into categories and sub-categories.
Throughout this book, we will call "user" every person who navigate the website, be it just to visit and read its content (the visitors), or to log into the website and create content (like the authors for example) or to connect to the administration part to organize this content (the administrators).
Each time you edit a content, you will be able to edit/modify this content thanks to your editor. During the installation of Joomla!, you installed the editor TinyMCE. But a wide range of editors for Joomla!, which are more or less advanced, can offer other functionalities as a complement to TinyMCE.
You will be able to choose which editor you want to use:
- For the whole website: System → Global Configuration → Default Editor.
- For your account: My profile (on top right of control panel) → Edit Account → Basic Settings → Editor.
When navigating the administration part of your website, you will often access toolbars. These toolbars allow you to perform actions on one or more items. There are two different types of toolbars: the ones placed in items managers and the ones available when editing items.
When entering an article, a module or a component manager, a toolbar like the one below is displayed:
Article Manager toolbar
This toolbar allows you to:
- New: create a new item.
- Edit: edit the selected item.
- Publish: publish the selected item(s).
- Unpublished: unpublish the selected item(s).
- Featured: feature the selected item(s).
- Archive: archive the selected item(s).
- Check In: unlock the selected item(s).
- Trash: move the selected item(s) to the Trash.
- Batch: modify access permissions, languages, categories of the selected item(s). In the menu manager, this parameter enables dragging several menu items from one menu to another.
- Options: globally manage all items.
- Help: opens the Help site and the article dealing with the page you are currently on.
When editing an item, (an article, a module, a menu item) a toolbar like the one below is displayed:
Toolbar when editing an item
This toolbar allows you to:
- Save: save the item.
- Save & Close: save and close the item (you save the changes and then return to the item manager).
- Save & New: save the item and create a new one.
- Save as Copy: save the item and create a new one (it will then leave you in the copy edit screen). This button only appears after you've saved the element at least once.
- Close: close without saving, all changes will be lost.
- Aide: Opens the Help site and the article dealing with the page you are currently on.