Book Review: Using Joomla!
Using Joomla! by Ron Severdia and Jennifer Gress is an excellent reference for anyone looking to build and maintain their own website using Joomla 3. The authors' use of practical advice and hands-on exercises takes the reader through the real-world process of building and optimizing a Joomla site.
Chapter exercises walk the reader through building a robust multi-lingual site, with a shopping cart, blog, event calendar, custom forms and even a social network. A basic understanding of some web concepts is not necessary to complete these exercises but it would be helpful.
Starting with Joomla newbies
The first chapter gives a brief history of Joomla and a glimpse into its future. Then we jump straight into site planning, which is simply excellent advice for anyone planning any kind of website. After the basics, the next chapters cover the specifics of creating content in Joomla. Readers looking to build a basic site can have a fully functional site up and running by Chapter 6.
Taking basic knowledge to the next level
Chapter 7 shifts into a higher gear by introducing more advanced concepts like multi-lingual sites, event calendars and ecommerce. These chapters are hands-on and have great tips from some of the technical reviewers. Anyone looking to build an online store should take the time to read Chapter 11. That chapter focuses on HikaShop but the security and PCI compliance sections are applicable to everyone.
Chapter 13, entitled “Solutions to Common Problems”, is more of a catch-all chapter for intermediate topics like access control, language overrides and search engine friendly URLs.
Protecting the site
Anyone who is counting on their web host to keep their site secure, or anyone who has never given much thought to securing their Joomla site, should read Chapter 14 on security. You do not have to be a security expert to follow these instructions. In addition to a few tips on which plugins can help secure a site, there are also clear walk-throughs for setting up two-factor authentication. If security measures fail and the site is hacked, there are suggestions for how to clean up the site and lock it down.
If you are tempted to stop reading when you hit the appendices, don’t. There is a treasure trove of information about Joomla including how to install it, picking a hosting company, overview of migration, and advice on how to sift through the thousands of extensions in the JED.
Wrapping it all up
This is a great book to use if you:
- are new to Joomla, or new to Joomla 3.
- are comfortable with Joomla but you have never used it to setup an online store or a large community.
- want to learn how you can secure your Joomla site.
This would also be a fantastic client "leave behind" for those of you who build Joomla sites then hand them over to clients for maintenance.