on 6 May 2012
Eric Tiggeler is the book's author and his portfolio includes a few "Beginner's Guides" books and articles related to Joomla!. We can safely assume that he has a good grounding in the technologies upon which these systems are based and the implementation of production-grade Joomla websites.
The second chapter attempts to introduce readers to the basics of Joomla. I fully expected to find instructions on how to perform a migration from a previous version (such as the still-popular version 1.5, or even the transitory 1.6 and 1.7 versions, to the current 2.5 Joomla base). Alas, migration was only briefly described. This is a pity as devoting just a few additional pages to this subject could, in my mind, have dramatically increased the value of the book.
It appears the author has overlooked the opportunity to describe common errors Joomla! newbies may come across during installation. This would have been more interesting to find than simply a repetition of screen snapshots describing the process of installing Joomla. Also, I could not find information about how one goes about unpacking the zipped Joomla! package onto a server, nor anything on how to use quickstart packages (such as those offered at gavick.com and other template providers) designed to speed up and simplify the installation and configuration of functional Joomla websites.
Chapter 3's visual representation of the modular structure of Joomla! templates leaves much to be desired. In my opinion, a clearer and more effective approach could have been used to explain the connection between the Joomla back-end (administration area) and the front-end.
The following chapter is titled, "Web Building Basics: Creating a Site in an Hour" and, although well-written, it skips some fundamental aspects to any serious website (or application) development project. Specifically, there is little to no coverage of project phases involving planning, design, and the general translation of business requirements into an implemented Web site based upon Joomla!. In its current form, the reader has no point of reference. It needs to be clear that every real-world client has unique business requirements which may include: options for data / information capture, publishing, and manipulation; scheme for layout, colors and texture; use of images, graphics and video; the business and functional objectives of the website; and more.
I am surprised that Chapter 6, which describes the process of adding new content to a site, lacks instructions on how to make use of the JCE Editor. As many of my readers know, this tool can greatly facilitate the job of editing articles. Some information about this tool is, however, finally mentioned in Chapter 10.
Chapter 11 introduces the reader to the world of templates. It is chock full of useful information and tips. It does not, unfortunately, provide a reference list of all websites of companies currently offering commercial templates for Joomla 2.5. These are, however, easy enough to locate on the Web. With the exception of one example, the ready-made templates presented in this chapter are, in my opinion, quite poor. There is also no mention of available frameworks.
Readers of this book will certainly learn step-by-step how to build a real website. Instead of just learning about Joomla's capabilities in general terms, you will face real-world site-building challenges. These positive outcomes are offset by the fact that the book does not offer up sufficient information relevant to users of previous versions of Joomla. The author could easily, for example, have provided valuable information to assist Joomla 1.5, 1.6 and 1.7 site owners and administrators in their migration efforts to the version covered by this title.
This book is indeed ideally suited to those who are totally new to the world of Joomla. If you have experience with previous versions of Joomla, this is not the book for you. Once completed, Joomla novices will also find themselves looking for a more advanced reference.
on 11 June 2012
In principle this book is 'only' a beginner's guide. But its heft is a good indicator that it can suffice for many developers who pick Joomla 2.5.
Perhaps the key chapter might be number 4, which explains who to put up a basic website in 1 hour. Of course, it presupposes that you've covered the earlier chapters on the basics on installing Joomla and in learning its interface. Chapter 4 then takes that as the starting point for a quick gin up. Via Joomla, it is a trifle to maintain a consistent look across the site's pages. All the while, it is easily possible to customise the logos and other aspects to make your website unique.
One characteristic of Joomla is the use of categories. Each is a container of a topic's content, instantiated as webpages. The consistent look is done via CSS stylesheets. It is well worth your time to make a detour before starting this book, to learn about CSS if you don't already know them. Chapter 4 adds to the realism by having article pages, with text and images. Sounds like what you want for your website?
Another chapter delves into higher level aspects. Notably if you have a lot of data, how to effectively group or organise your data. Do this first in a top down approach, before cranking out webpages with that data, and you have likely to have a better website in the final formulation. Note also that categories under Joomla can have subcategories recursively. Permitting a fine grained classification of your data.
The book's advice also extends to cautionary notes about not trying to do too much in the main menu. The latter is what most users of your website will often use. And new users will surely see and want to use this as part of their initial experience. Its importance is manifold, and you must resist the urge to put too many items into it. Clarity and a minimalist methodology are recommended. For one mistake made by many newbie website designers is to bung as much as possible into the top menu, or into the home page, for that matter. Take guidance from the book and ask yourself how much should users really need to experience on entry to your website.
on 1 June 2013
As a novice to Joomla! I found the book, and still do, more than useful - it's easy to read and the common sense approach to its layout have helped me enormously as I build two websites from scratch using Joomla!. The book is value for money and a must for those with little on no knowledge of Joomla!
on 2 November 2012
Found this book really helpful, was able to get familier with all the basics at a good pace. Examples in the book are easily be translated into 'real world' context. Only slight frustration was that sample file werent availible from publishers website, not a huge issue as you can make/create your own easily enough. All-in-all would recommend to provide a beginner a good grounding in the basics!