The Joomla! Community Magazine™

Book Review: "Joomla! Explained" by Steve Burge

Written by | Friday, 01 July 2011 00:00 | Published in 2011 July
This month’s featured book is "Joomla! Explained — Your Step-by-Step Guide" by Steve Burge. The book is a great learning tool for newbies and an excellent everyday reference for Joomla! content publishers and managers. It’s equally valuable as a training resource for the website builders who want to use select chapters as standalone tutorials for their clients, and can serve as a sustainable hands-on knowledge management component for any organization that has deployed and is using Joomla! to establish and grow its web presence.

About the author:

Steve Burge “has taught thousands of beginners — and thousands more who’ve experimented with Joomla! but haven’t mastered it yet. Nobody knows more about guiding Joomla! users up the learning curve — from confusion to results!”1. In addition to owning one of the leading Joomla! SEO services provider, www.alledia.com, as well as www.ostraining.com, Steve is a board member of Open Source Matters, which provides Joomla! with financial and legal support.

How is the book unique and what is the value that it provides?

The biggest value of this book is that it removes any and all of the ambiguities related to using Joomla! as your website management system. It builds practical understanding of how to work with the CMS and offers a clear path that leads you to an intuitive way of learning about Joomla!, and how to use it easily and effectively.

“Maybe Joomla! is a hobby for you. Maybe you went to work one day and your boss said “Surprise! You’re learning Joomla!.” Maybe you’re a web professional who’s looking to make a career from building Joomla! sites. It doesn’t matter”, says Steve. “We all want to spend more time building web sites and less time struggling with complicated instructions. After all, the whole point of you using Joomla! is to allow you to take control of your site quickly and easily.”

Benefits:

The book’s target audience will benefit doubly from reading it:

  1. Once, because you get to know why Joomla! is here to stay from a real Joomla! “insider”, someone who is deeply ingrained into the strategy, processes and development of the Joomla! software.
    • Don’t be mistaken though, the book is not trying to sell you on Joomla! or politicize on why Joomla! is the “better CMS”. There is none of that. It explains so well the structure and the logic behind the software; demonstrates so effectively how easy it is to “get it” and make the best out of it, that what it effectively does is show you why Joomla! is a great, sustainable, and viable option for you as a user and for organizations of all caliber. The best part is that you arrive at that conclusion naturally, as a result of the learning process, the “getting to really know Joomla!”, and uncovering the real value of this CMS — something that very few writers have been able to capture so far.
  2. And secondly, because it makes great use of Steve’s teaching talent and in-depth Joomla! expertise.
    • What that means for you as a reader is that there’s nothing redundant about the way the material is being rendered. In addition to the clear, extremely accessible layout supported by plenty of graphics, the text is succinct, to the point, very easy on the eye, very aware of your time. Expect to get down to the smallest detail on why you need to put your website content into categories and how exactly you benefit from it. But be assured that all of this detail is much needed for the overall understanding of the Joomla! CMS. It helps shorten and straighten your learning curve and enables you to understand how intuitive in fact Joomla! is, and why no cheat-sheets and memorizing is needed — which for me is the best part about this book and why I think it needs to be part of the knowledge management system of every organization that deploys, utilizes and promotes Joomla! as a website building and management vehicle.

What to expect:

  • The book is 448 pages long and its content spans 16 chapters. 
  • It covers Joomla! 1.6, but will also apply to Joomla 1.72
  • Most writers nowadays appreciate the power of, and make good use of case studies and the “learn-it-now-apply-it” approach. While the book is pretty standard in that regard, what is really unique about the author’s approach, and what will be the best reassurance for you as a reader, is that the author has actually made the effort to test how well the book is able to guide you — he actually built the example website for the case study, using no other resource but the material in the book. “This book worked for my dad. He read the manuscript and has now built several Joomla! sites.” explains Steve.

There is no denying that Joomla! is no MS Word (although many baby-boomers might argue that MS word has been the hardest thing they have ever had to learn, considering that 20 years ago the world was a very different arena IT-wise) and to reap the highest benefits from it you need to invest the time to learn how it functions. But there are books that make the learning process fun. They engage and stimulate your brain — they make you think, ask questions and want to learn more. And Joomla! <explained> definitely belongs to this class of books. It is easy to process, makes the Joomla! learning fun and easy, and is an excellent resource not only for “newbies”, but also for the professional designer who wants to diversify into Joomla!, as well as for web content publishers and managers.

About the book:


1From the back cover of Joomla! <explained> — Your Step-by-Step Guide
2While this book was written for Joomla! 1.6, Steve Burge has confirmed that it will also apply to Joomla! 1.7.

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