Book Review: Joomla! 3 Explained

Now that I’m wrapping up my second degree, I thought I’d share a book that I had to use for one of my classes that I thought was quite excellent. This book is “Joomla! 3 Explained: Your Step-by-Step Guide” by Stephen Burge, a book that discusses how to approach Joomla! (version 3) for the first time.

For those of you who are unaware of what Joomla! even is, it’s a free, open-source¬†content management system¬†(or CMS) for publishing web content. And just for a brush-up of what a CMS is, a CMS is a computer¬†application that allows for the publishing, editing, and modifying of content all organized and maintained from within a central interface. A CMS that may be more familiar to you is WordPress; Joomla! is basically a CMS that is a bit more complex than WordPress, but not quite as complicated than Drupal.

What I really enjoyed about this book was how easy it was to read it. According to the preface, the author wrote the book as if he was writing for his own father (who I assume was also a first-time Joomla! user at the time this book was written), and I feel like this writing style made everything very easy to understand and straightforward. Difficult concepts are broken down into smaller steps, and concepts that are vital for you to understand are repeated quite often throughout the book so that you are sure to remember them. For example, the author introduces the CASh workflow (stands for “Categorize”, “Add”, and “Show”), which is a critical process to understand because it’s how you approach everything you do in Joomla! from adding articles to plugins to images to menus. This workflow is reintroduced almost every time that it’s used, and by the end of the book I was able to utilize the process without ever having to reference the book. In addition to the simple text, many images are used throughout the book that show screencaps of what the author is referring to in his steps, which is exceedingly helpful for a visual learner like myself.

In fact, there are very few negative things that I have to say about this book. There are a few typos and other small mistakes here and there, but I feel that’s pretty standard for any book and it certainly does not detract from the learning experience. Also, if you’re looking for a book that goes more into the coding aspects or other technical bits of Joomla! rather than the WYSIWYG side of the CMS, you might want to check out a different book. This book is pretty basic in those regards.

So if you’re wanting to learning Joomla! for the first time like myself, I highly recommend that you check out this book!