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Understand the Administrator Area of Your Joomla Site

In the administrator area of your Joomla site you see four distinct sections outlined in Figure 3.4:

  • 1: Drop-down menu. This has all the key links you need to manage your site.
  • 2: Quick links. This allows you to easily logout or click View Site to see the public area of your site.
  • 3: Latest updates. This area includes information about what's currently happening on your site.
  • 4: Short-cuts. These buttons give you quick access to really common administrator tasks like adding a new article.
Figure 3.4

Figure 3.4 The four sections of your Joomla administrator area

I recommend that, as a beginner, you focus all your attention on the drop-down menu.

We use that drop-down menu to manage every aspect of our Joomla site. The quick links, short-cuts, and latest updates are all just other ways of getting to the same place.

Hover your mouse over the drop-down menu, and you see the same options as in Figure 3.5.

Figure 3.5

Figure 3.5 The administrator drop-down menu

Because the drop-down menu is so important, we base this entire book on it. Every time we ask you to visit a page in the administrator area, we go via this drop-down menu. The drop-down menu contains the following options:

  • Site (Chapter 16). Contains all the main configuration options for your site. The good news is that most of these configuration options will be set up correctly when you first install your site.
  • Users (Chapter 14). Contains one of the major new features in Joomla 1.6. Here you can give different permissions to different users and groups of users. For example, if you are running a school Web site, you could decide that the history teacher could only write articles about history, the science teacher could only write about science, and the sports teacher could only enter game results.
  • Menus (Chapter 6). Contains the navigation for your visitors. Remember the menu links you were clicking on in the visitor area of the site? We can control and create these from this area.
  • Content (Chapters 4 and 5). Contains all of your text articles. Any text you write goes here, from news and blog posts to essays and book chapters.
  • Components (Chapter 7). The powerful extra features you can add to your site. Social networking, photo galleries, shopping carts, event calendars, and much more are all called components.
  • Extensions. The extra features you can add to your site. The Extensions drop-down menu includes links to the following types of extensions:
    • Module Manager (Chapter 8). Modules are the small boxes around the outside of your site. They show visitors little snippets of information such as the latest or most popular five articles.
    • Plug-in Manager (Chapter 9). Plug-ins are tiny scripts that make small improvements to your site. One example of a plug-in adds a small row of stars to the top of articles so that visitors can vote for articles. Another example loads a small piece of code to protect e-mail addresses from spammers.
    • Template Manger (Chapter 10). Templates are the design of your site. If you want a red, blue, pink, green, yellow, white, or orange site, you need to find a template of the right color.
    • Language Manager (Chapter 15). Joomla has been translated into more than 40 languages. You can upload Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Arabic, and many other languages. All Joomla's site functions will be automatically translated. However, you still need to manually translate any articles you write—Joomla isn't that clever unfortunately.
  • Help. Provides answers to your questions. I hope this book is useful, but you're certain to have more questions that we can't answer here. The Joomla Help link leads to documentation you can view inside your site. The other links take you to the most important parts of the official Joomla site, http://joomla.org.

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