I'm an experienced developer, but am new to CMS and Joomla. I'm trying to "grok" the system to help some design our school web site. There is lots of great material of the form "how to do X", but I'm struggling with the broad overview of the system. For example:
- What is the problem area that Joomla seeks to cover? When would I use Joomla instead of, say, a pure blogging or forums solution?
- What is the relationship between templates, menus, modules and sections? That is, how to the major parts of the system interact to create what the user sees? How does a menu item select content?
- What are the standard mechanisms for displaying section and category content? Said another way, Joomla provides sections and categories. What does Joomla do with these by default? How do I work "with the grain" with them.
- What is the broad conceptual layout of a page? Evidently there is stuff at the top, the sides and the bottom.
- What parts of the site design is controlled by the template? Which by module extensions. (For example, suppose I wanted a "My Yahoo"-style display. Where would I look for the right bits?
Some of the questions I've not yet found the answers to include:
- Can I create a context-sensitive, cascading menu? (That is, one that expands "School Info" to show "Contact", "Directions", "Policies", etc.) If so, how?
- Can I create more than one front page within a single Joomla installation? (I need one for the school, a second one for the PTA.)
- How do I control when menus appear? For example, I want the PTA menu to appear on PTA-related pages, but not on school-related pages.
This stuff is probably all second nature to web designers and veteran Joomla users. But, as a newbie, I'm having to read between the lines a bit to figure out this broad overview stuff from existing FAQs, docs and books (unless I'm missing the "good stuff" hidden somewhere!)
Thanks for all your great work!