Learn Joomla!, one of the most popular Joomla books, has just released a fully revised and rewritten edition of the book, available now for download. Every single step-by-step instruction has been tested with the new stable Joomla 2.5 release. New sections are included on 1-click updating, Access Control (ACL), Categories, Template Manager and Migration. The list of recommended 3rd party extensions has been reviewed and completely updated. New extension instructions included are Hikashop, Akeeba Backup, and a range of Social Networking modules. The book comes with 3 free general purpose Joomla 2.5 templates.
The first edition of Learn Joomla: A Beginners Handbook was released in January 2007, for version 1.0 of Joomla. I wrote it because of my own experiences and frustrations trying to learn Joomla when there were no decent Joomla books and the only way of learning was to spend hundreds of hours painstakingly searching through forums and websites trying to piece together nuggets of information to put together a full understanding of how Joomla works. I still remember how difficult it was to work out how templates worked and how to build drop down menus! And then when I knew how I couldn't believe how hard it was to find out!
The key to the success of the first Learn Joomla book was the 'worked example' chapter, which introduces all the key concepts behind Joomla in a simple way as we build a small website. The other key point was that every action was explain in a step-by-step way, with no action however small missed out. Every example in the book has been tested to make sure it works. I remember so often when I was reading a forum or a web post in those early Joomla days how vital small steps were missed out or knowledge was assumed of the reader which she or he did not have, and I have tried to avoid this in the book.
Learning through Doing
Even Joomla's greatest fans would not pretend that an intuitive developers interface is it's strongest features, and it is true to say that staring at the Administrator interface for hours (or the Joomla reference books) will never explain how a Joomla website works without the basic concepts understanding gained by 'Learning through Doing'.
The worked example chapter eventually formed the basis of a successful regular series of 1-day training events in London over the past 5 years – and the feedback from those 1-2-1 training sessions has been invaluable in helping to fine tune the book to it's readers.
Major new features
Every major new release of Joomla is a complete rewrite and brings new features and Joomla 2.5 is no exception. With this release, three of the biggest bugbears for long term Joomla users have been addressed, i.e. a 'proper' access control system (ACL), unlimited hierarchies of nested categories and easy updating for Joomla and the third party extensions. New sections of the book have been written from scratch for these other with detailed instructions for upgrading or migrating older Jooma sites.
It's noticeable how the recommended third party extensions change with each edition, none of those recommended in edition 1 survived to edition three. We have carefully research and tested all the recommended extensions and explain how to set them up and where to get more information.
With this release we have also moved the chapter on templating to it's own book so that we can give it the proper treatment it deserves. I have learnt that most beginners want to know how to use off the shelf templates or use a templating tool like Artisteer, otherwise they will get someone else to make the template for them (unless they are a coder, which is a minority of beginners, so a dedicated booklet will serve them better).
There's never been a better time to start
If you are planning to buy this book, you will be new to Joomla and there is no better time to do so as Joomla 2.5 is the best ever version of this popular content management system software. The software for 2.5 has been re-written from the ground up to be faster than ever; there is a new, outward looking team running Joomla which is engaging with the wider Joomla community more than ever before, and we have a growing and record number of third party extensions, currently heading towards the 9,000 mark.
Whether you are building a company website, or a personal one, or updating your skills to start providing Joomla services to your clients, Joomla and this book has something for you.