Working with Joomla: A Designer’s View

I was introduced to Joomla, two years ago, when I joined Pigtail Pundits; until then, I had just some idea of creating HTML pages and little knowledge of CSS. No PHP, javascript or ajax knowledge. I was not even familiar with the languages used on the web. All I knew was that if a website had to be created, HTML was the way to go.

Learning Joomla content management system changed all that. I discovered the power of a content management system and how to create sites using CSS. I also discovered how to modify PHP code so that we can get the look/feel that we desire. Soon editing the look and feel of any site became child’s play.

Even with little understanding of PHP and java, I was able to give clients complicated functionalities to their sites: User login and registration, document management, real estate listing, event management, discussion forum, profile pages, photo galleries, and more.

In retrospect, without Joomla, I would have needed the help of a programmer or coder to help me. I would have had to wait endlessly for the code to be tested and reviewed before I could slap on the design. But now all I needed to know was CSS and Joomla itself. Most of the functionalities that clients needed were readily available in Joomla.

The best part about working with Joomla was that I could now concentrate more on the site style to give it the look and feel of the approved design. There was no pressure to write any code for extra functionalities to the site. I am now confident of making sites with a whole bunch of functionalities.

The Joomla back-end, also called the administrator section of the site, is as simple as using any other software. It has a well-organized menu that you can run through and get used to in no time. Everything is well organized and systematic.

It is up to us/the user as to keep everything systematic by arranging content in a systematic way. And the best part is when you make the changes in the content or menu and click save, the changes are reflected at once on the live site; so editing or adding content to the site is much simpler.

The nice part about Joomla is that it’s an open-source software, readily available for download, and FREE! It has a large community to help you with any issues that you may have.

Joomla comes loaded functionalities. At last count, it had close to 3000 plugins that extend its power dramatically. Joomla is also modular, which means that you can add functionalities and features as you go along. Installation of plugins is very easy. What else do you need from a software that gives you the power to manipulate your site design, content, and functionality to your client's needs?

So, all in all, Joomla has not only taught me to design a site, but also the use and importance of CSS on sites. Joomla also makes it easy for clients to update their sites. They don’t have to come back to the design agency for simple things like adding/ editing content, once they are taught how to use it. We have seen it work for them at Pigtail Pundits for 3 years now.

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