Joomla! 1.5: A User's Guide

Author:Barrie M. North
Publisher:Prentice Hall, 2009
Pages: 480
ISBN: 978-0137012312
Aimed at: Developers familiar with HTML/CSS and PHP
Rating: 4.5
Pros: Good introduction and grounding in CMS and Joomla
Cons: Not for beginners and not deep enough for experts
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot

This is a really good book on Joomla but you have to be the right reader to appreciate it. If you are a complete beginner then you will find many of the explanations too brief and too technical. If you are an expert programmer wanting to get to grips with building your own templates and modules then you will find the explanations too brief and not technical enough. On the other hand if you your know your HTML/CSS and are reasonably ok with PHP then you will find this enlightening.

It starts off with the basics of what a CMS (Content Management System) is all about, how to download and install Joomla - which is not perfectly easy because it’s a big system with lots of choices to make. From there the book moves on to consider issues of administration and generally customising the site without any programming or custom templating. It is essentially about building your website using just what Joomla provides as standard. You are still going to get stuck when things don't work as advertised but then you go to the Joomla forums and ask questions. The book at least gives you a framework that lets you know that something should work in a specific way.

The rest of the book deals with a collection of topics from creating a template and a module to search engine optimisation. These are all no more than very basic introductions and if you are expecting something deep you will be disappointed. What is more the code isn't explained at a complete beginner's level so its not suitable if you really haven't a clue about PHP. However if you are just at the stage where you are trying to get how Joomla works into your head - then it's about right.

This isn't a perfect book and it certainly won't suit every reader but it is a good place to start on Joomla exploration.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 15 May 2011 )