Understand Joomla User Levels and Permissions

Our teachers like to explain in Joomla beginner classes is that we're not Joomla cheerleaders. We love Joomla, but it has strengths and weaknesses like all software. Perhaps the biggest current weakness is user levels.

Joomla has 8 user levels but they are both basic and also often difficult to understand. Here is an explanatory chart of the levels that some of our students have found useful. (Original source: https://brian.teeman.net/joomla/65-joomla-15-acl-explained)
Understand Joomla User Levels and Permissions

Setting up a Joomla Business Directory or Yellow Pages

sobi1.pngThis tutorial which will show you how to create a business directory or Yellow Pages on your Joomla site. We're going to use a component called Sobi2, which is available from www.sigsiu.net.

Installing Sobi2

  1. Click here to download the Sobi2 component.
  2. Go to Administrator >> Extensions >> Install / Uninstall and upload the Sobi2 files.
  3. Click "Install Sobi2 data"
  4. Go to Menus >> Main Menu and click "New"
  5. Choose Sobi2 >> Frontpage or Selected Category for your menu link. Give the link a title such as "Directory" and click save.
  6. Visit the front of your site and click on the new "Directory" link. It should look like the screenshot on the right:

Configuring Sobi2 With Your Site Details

The first thing we'll do is put our own website's information into Sobi2:

  1. Go to Administrator >> Components >> Sobi2 >> General Configuration.
  2. Under the "General" tab, change the first field "Component Name" to reflect the name of your directory.
  3. Under the "Mainpage"tab, change the first field "Description of Component" to describe your directory.
  4. Under the "Mainpage" tab, you may want to change "Image for Description" to "- Select an Image -" so that you can hide the default image.

Creating Business Categories

Next, we'll set up the categories we're going to use for the businesses:

  1. Go to Administrator >> Components >> Sobi2 >> All Entries
  2. Click on "Add Category" and start to create your structure.
  3. If you already have a list of the categories you want to use, click "Add Multiple Categories" and you can insert a list.

Choosing Business Details

Depending on where and what kind of business listings you have, you'll need to collect different kinds of details. U.K. and Canadian sites might be happy with collecting "Post Code" but U.S. sites will need to change that to "Zip Code".

  1. Go to Administrator >> Components >> Sobi2 >> Custom Fields Manager
  2. Click on "Add New" in the top-right corner to add new details.
  3. You can choose to charge for extra information. For example, business might be an extra $5 to have their phone number listed and an extra $10 for their website link.

Collecting Payment

Yes, we did mention that you can have paid listings. That service is free with Sobi2. Once you've set up your fields using the above steps, you can enter your payment information:

  1. Go to Administrator >> Components >> Sobi2.
  2. Click "Configuration" on the left-hand side and then "Payment Options" will appear.
  3. PayPal is available by default so enter your business information including a Paypal email address in "Email Address" and a Thank You page link into "Return URL"

Place Modules Inside Joomla Articles

In our beginner classes we teach that module are small blocks of content around the outside of a Joomla site ... top, right, left, bottom.

Now that you're a little more familiar with Joomla, let's see an exception to that rule ... we can place modules inside regular text articles.

  • Step 1: In the administrator area of your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Plugin Manager
  • Step 2: Find the plugin called "Content - Load Module" and make sure that it's enabled. On Joomla 1.0 its name is "Load Module Positions"
  • Step 3: Go to Extensions >> Module Manager and find the module you'd like to place inside an article.
  • Step 4: Open the module and click on the "position" dropdown.
  • Step 5: Choose a position that doesn't appear on your template. Remember that you can check this by adding /?tp=1 to your site.
  • Step 6: Save that module in its new position. In this example we've saved it in "User1"
  • Step 7: Go to Content >> Article Manager and open the article you're using.
  • Step 8: Place this code into the article: { loadposition user1 } ... remove the spaces between the brackets and the text. If you're using Joomla 1.0, then the code is {mosloadposition user1} .
  • Step 9: Save the article and check your handiwork on the front of your Joomla site.

Video Showing How to Place Modules Inside Joomla Articles

Joomla Training Cheat Sheet

Joomla Training Cheat SheetFor the first time we're not sending a tutorial this week, but a download link: https://joomlatraining.com/cheatsheet.pdf

This is a condensed version of the beginner class. All the most important information is contained in just two PDF pages.

Please feel free to print this out and keep with you whenever you need reminding of Joomla's core concepts.

How to Use Joomla's Module Suffixes

Joomla templates allow you to redesign your site easily. How to Use Joomla's Module Suffixes They also allow you style your modules. Your login box can have one color, your "Latest News" can have another color and your "Most Popular News" can have third.

This image is an example using the Bolt template.

  • Red header, white background.
  • Orange header, orange background.
  • Yellow header, white background.
  • Green header, green background.

Here's how you do it

  1. Go to the administrator area of your site and Extensions >> Module Manager.
  2. In the parameters of your module, on the right-hand side, you'll see a box saying "Module Class Suffix".
  3. You'll have to read the documentation for your template to know what to enter - each template is different. If you're using Bolt you could enter any of these:
  • -red (Red header, white background)
  • -orangebg (Orange header, orange background)
  • -yellow (Yellow header, white background)
  • -greenbg (Green header, green background)
This example would give us a red header and white background:

How to Speed Up Your Joomla Site

Having a fast site is really important:

"For Google an increase in page load time from 0.4 second to 0.9 seconds decreased traffic and ad revenues by 20%. For Amazon every 100 ms increase in load times decreased sales with 1%." source

These are two easy ways to make sure your Joomla site loads more quickly:

Turn on Compression

You can choose to send out your webpages in a compressed format. When you get a Joomla component it is often contained in a zip file. This enables the file to be much smaller without damaging the content in any way. You can do the same thing with webpages. In Joomla you just need to click "Yes" in the following place:

Site => Global Configuration => Server => GZIP Page Compression => Yes

There's also a great test to find out how much your site will benefit. According to WhatsMyIP.org, JoomlaTraining.com shrinks from 13k down to just 4k when GZip is enabled

Turn on Cache

Caching is another way to speed up your site. It stores files so that Joomla doesn't have to load the same elements every time. Why load the logo again on every page? Its best just to store it and reuse. It can turn on caching here:

Site => Global Configuration => System => Cache => Yes

The speed gains with caching can be remarkable. Last year there were problems with the cache systen we use here on one of our sites. We turned it off while we tried to bugshoot the issue. We also use Pingdom.com to track whether our sites are offline and also how fast they're responding. When we logged in later, there was a stellar argument for why caching your Joomla site is so important: the site loaded twice as quickly with the cache turned on.


How To Resize Images in Joomla

This tutorial is a response to a question we've been asked often in classes:

"How can I resize images as I upload them?"

We're going to recommend Image Resize. It works so naturally with the Joomla workflow that most people don't even notice it. Here's how to use it:

  • Step 1: Visit Joomlaforge.net and download the file called plg_imageresize_v.5.zip
  • Step 2: In the administration area of your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Install / Uninstall and upload the file.
  • Step 3: Go to Extensions >> Plugin Manager. Find "Image Resize" and enable it.
  • Step 4: Go to Content >> Article Manager and edit an article.
  • Step 5: Click on the image link at the bottom of the article and upload an image. Insert it into the article.
  • Step 6: Select the image and drag the corners until the image is the size you want it to be.
  • Step 7: When you view the article on the frontend, Image Resize does all the work for you and creates a new version of your image!

How to Manage Directory Files from Joomla Admin

This week we'll walk you how to manage the files on your server through your Joomla Admin, using a Joomla component.

We're going to use a component called NinjaExplorer

Here's how you do it:

  1. Download NinjaExplorer
  2. In the administration area of your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Install / Uninstall and upload the file.
  3. In the administration area of your Joomla site, go to Components >> NinjaXplorer and you will have access to your server directories and files.

This tool can be used to upload files, delete files and edit files (amongst other things) just as you would do with an FTP client.

Be sure you don't delete anything you don't know the purpose of - and this is a good time to remind you to back up your site regularly! (see our newsletter on moving your site from local to live server and use the technique mentioned to back up your site).

How to Make Sure a Joomla Page is Private

Often you have pages on your website that you want to keep private - either for your staff or for you registered members.

This week we'll walk you through how to keep search engine bots from indexing certain articles.

Method #1

    Registered Joomla
  1. In your Joomla Admin panel, go to Content >> Article Manager and open the article you wish to keep private.
  2. On the right-hand side under "Parameters (Article)" you will see a field labled "Access Level".
  3. If you set this to "Registered" then only people at the "Registered" user level and above will be able to see the article.
  4. If you set this to "Special" then only people at the "Author" user level and above will be able to see the article.
Click here to see a list of the different Joomla user levels and what they can do.

Method #2

  1. Nofollow JoomlaIn your Joomla Admin panel, go to Content >> Article Manager and open the article you wish to keep private.
  2. On the right-hand side under "Metadata Information" you will see a field labled "Robots".
  3. You can write "noindex" into this box and search engines should recognize that this page should not be indexed

To verify that this has worked, visit the secret page on the front of your site and click "View Source" in your browser. If everything has worked correctly you should be able to see a line in the code looking like this:

< meta name="robots" content="nofollow" / >

(we've added spaces around the < and > signs so you can see the code)

How to Install Joomla Locally on a Mac

Following on the newsletter from last week where we talked about developing locally and moving your site to a live server, this week we're going to walk you through installing Joomla locally, on a Mac.

We're going to use MAMP for this tutorial.

Here's how you do it:

  1. Download and install MAMP to your Applications directory.
  2. Download the latest Joomla 1.5 zip file.
  3. Start MAMP by double clicking on the MAMP icon in your Applications/MAMP directory.
  4. Once the servers have started, a browser window should open to the MAMP start page. If not, click on the 'Open start page' in the MAMP window.
  5. Set up your database for Joomla by clicking on the phpMyAdmin link in the start page and inserting the name you wish to use for your database in the 'Create new database' field. **For all databases created in MAMP the default username / password is: root / root, and the Host Name that you will use when installing Joomla is: localhost.
  6. Copy/move the downloaded version of Joomla 1.5 to your Applications/MAMP/htdocs directory and unzip the file. Leave a copy of this zip file in the htdocs directory for easy creation of multiple Joomla sites ... just unzip the file each time you wish to have a new Joomla installation!
  7. Rename the unzipped folder to mysite (or whatever you wish).
  8. In your broswer navigate to https://localhost:8888/mysite (or whatever name you gave your directory).
  9. Run through the Joomla installation process and voila! (need help installing Joomla? See: https://help.joomla.org/content/category/48/268/302/)

You should now have a shiny new installation of Joomla on your Mac where you can develop your website securely in your local environment.

Video Showing How to Install Joomla Locally on a Mac