To Template Or Not To Template

After looking at Joomla and WordPress as content management systems, I have decided to try Joomla. After installing Joomla I will be looking around and deciding if I want to template or not to template my first Joomla site. One part of me just wants to find a good template and go with it, but the other part, says that I would like to create a simple template. The reason being that if I create a simple template and build it I will understand more about it. First lets look at some resources for free templates for Joomla. Free because I am a student and living on limited funds.

Find a Template

First lets look at where to get templates for Joomla. When looking at Joomla templates I found some sites that had templates for the version of Joomla that I had downloaded, which was Joomla 1.6. I found there were differences in 1.5 and 1.6. I was not sure how compatible they were to each other so to keep this novice from running into problems I only looked at Joomla 1.6 templates and resources. Here is a list of Joomla template sites:

  • Joomla24 They offer more than 3100 Templates with live preview for Joomla. The only bad thing I have found about this site is that a lot of stuff is in German and I do not read or speak German.
  • Joomlatp Here is where I found a template that I thought would work for my first website. This template had a lot of extra that I thought I might need latter. This site also has a lot of good information in their 1.6 tutorial pages.
  • Joomla16templates They have a lot of free templates.
  • Themegoat This site has some simple templates and a good article on module positions.

Finding Help For Joomla

After downloading several templates and not making them work I am now looking for help and support. Here are just a few of the resources that I have found so far.

  • Joomla! For Dummies This is not a link but a book that I have bought so I can find out more about Joomla. I look forward to the time I can sit down and read it.
  • Joomla Tutorials is source for animated tutorials and Joomla help. On this site you will find up to date information gathered from around the web to help you on your quest to master the Content Management System – Joomla!
  • Joomla Help button in the administration panel. I am finding this to be a very useful tool.
  • Compass Designs.net They have a lot of tutorials on how to create Joomla templates as well as a lot of different subjects on templating in Joomla.

A Starting Template

In looking around at all the different templates and sites, I came up with a template that I thought I would like to try to modify for my first Joomla site. The Allrounder template has a lot of different possibilities and positions that can be modified. I found the template at Joomlatp here are just a few of the features that this template has.

Allrounder

ALLROUNDER Features:

  • Template parameters: There are an enormous number of very useful backend template parameters.
  • Module Positions: A large number of module positions available.
  • Module Positions: There are advanced module styles, which can be assigned to each module via “Module Class Suffix”.
  • The layout of the ALLROUNDER can both be DYNAMIC and FIXED.
  • New Logo System: Image directory or logos via the new media elements, text or logo with slogan.
  • Colors: They all can be completely change by almost any color can be changed.
  • Multi-level drop down menu.
  • Even the drop down menu can be adapted to extremely detailed color.
  • Ajax tool tips that you can also adjust color.
  • A sophisticated typography has been integrated into the template.
  • An Ajax Accordion system was integrated, which can be applied very easily and globally.
  • Many performance improvements have been made.
  • Thanks to All IN ONE and compression using GZIP for JavaScript and CSS files, it can achieve an amazing speed boost.
  • Compatible with all popular browsers such as Internet Explorer 6, Firefox 2, Opera, Google Chrome and Safari.
  • Valid code: XHTML and CSS The template is level 2.1 Valid and meets all current W3C standards.

If this does not work I think the next step will a blank template and build it from scratch. This may be the best way of leaning it anyway. This way I can learn more about how Joomla really works.

Conclusion

Joomla is one of the most powerful Open Source Content Management Systems around. It is used all over the world for everything from simple websites to complex corporate applications. Because it is powerful and complex like Rome, it will not be conquered in a day or week. I do think it is worth learning. It has lots of possibilities for designing websites. I am glad that Joomla does have a large community and lots of resources. I know I will be using them. This is just another day on the digital highway.

Do you know of any good learning resources for Joomla?

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