Joomla Quick Tutorial

Written by Peter Davies on .


The Joomla CMS (content management system) operates on three basic principles of organising and accessing content:

  1. Categories organise the content in to common groups
  2. Articles contain the content of the site
  3. Menu items provide links to the content

The common misunderstanding is that creating an article within a category will provide the website with a page. The fact is that without a menu link to an article (or category), there is no accessible route to the content itself.


As such, the first step to creating a Joomla site is to decide which categories you “think” you will need before creating the content. This often results in the common categories such as “blog” or maybe something like “stories”, but the latest version of Joomla (2.x onwards) provides a very useful “uncategorized” category which you can use to maintain any articles that necessarily have a discernable logical group.


Articles are the content to the site. The articles themselves can be constructed manually using HTML or can be built on-the-fly using the visual online editor often referred to as a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor. Articles can have a “publish” start and end date, but simply saving a newly created article without adjusting these parameters will make the article instantly available.

Menu Items

Menu items as previously discussed provide the primary means of accessing articles and categories. If you create a link to an article directly, the URL of the article becomes the title of the article with some minor character replacements to make them acceptable to a browser, for example:

“Joomla Quick Tutorial” would become “joomla-quick-tutorial.html”

If a menu item is linked to a category, what you find is a “category listing” which is automatically updated as soon as an article is added to the category. The advantages of this technique means that you no longer need to create intermediate linking pages that need manually updating, as now any new content automatically gets prepended to the category article listing.

Other Notes

Here are several other worthwhile notes when constructing and maintaining a Joomla site:

  • Article, Category & Menu specific display settings
    Each of the available constructs mentioned above have display settings. In most cases each of these are preset to use the “global” default setting, and in most cases the default is the correct value to set. As such it is recommend to edit the global setting rather than individual display settings to determine whether an item should be visible or not, otherwise it can get very confusing trying to determine why something is showing when it shouldn’t be.
  • Frontend registration
    Unless really required, any user registration should be disabled via the global configuration and any plugins associated to registration, login or similar – this limits the route of attack for anybody who wishes to cause harm to your newly constructed site.