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Joomla! books reviewed

930 hits Updated: 09 February 2018

A list of useful books on Joomla!

When I first became interested in Joomla I knew very little about it.  Until that time I had created intranet websites “by hand” using nothing more than a text editor, a web browser and an understanding of Microsoft IIS.  Therefore, when someone suggested that I look into GUI-driven website creation (based on Apache, PHP and MySQL) I had no idea how out-of-touch I had been.  That was over 10 years ago and today, even though I don't buy new books on Joomla, it’s been one of my unfulfilled intentions to share the names of a few books that I've purchased on the subject.  I suspect that most people reading this list will probably find that some of the books are outdated (and there are probably better other titles on the market).

This article is a “bookend” to my earlier article on books about webcraft in general.

This article contains a list of books about the Joomla! content management system:  the list includes user guides as well as some more specialised aspects about building extensions for Joomla.  The following books are from my personal library—sorted alphabetically by title by publisher—together with a few notes about each of them.

Beginning Joomla!: From Novice to ProfessionalBeginning Joomla!: From Novice to Professional

Dan Rahmel
Apress, 2007

This was the very first book I purchased on Joomla.  At the time of its publication, J! 1.5 was very new but, as a general introduction, the book is written in an easily understandable way with pictures, examples and tips on how to get up to speed fairly quickly.  There’s a useful chapter at the beginning of the book that explains how to install XAMPP on your own PC—to allow you to experiment with Joomla at your own pace before you start looking at commercial webhosting solutions.  Again, even though the version of XAMPP is outdated, the general principles haven’t changed.  The book explains how to create your own web content, building web-based commuties through to web analytics, e-commerce and search engine optimisation.

Using JoomlaUsing Joomla

Ron Severdia, Kenneth Crowder
O’Reilly, 2009

Aimed at the Joomla site administrator, this book covers the essential features that allow people to build “powerful and efficient websites”.  The book written with J! 1.5 as its centrepiece and, from that viewpoint, many of the constructs will seem foreign or outdated a decade later.  There is a chapter on “Joomla 1.6 and beyond” but it’s very introductory.  Unfortunately, many of the tricks, tips and techniques that are described in this book have been overtaken by subsequent developments in Joomla; nonetheless, there are a number of useful ideas and references to other resources that may be useful.

Using Joomla!, 2nd EditionUsing Joomla!, 2nd Edition

Ron Severdia, Jennifer Gress
O’Reilly, 2014

Ron’s second book on Joomla is quite different from the first.  The book’s subtitle is “efficiently build and manage custom websites” and focuses on J! 3.x although, at the time it was written, J! 3.3 had been released, J! 1.5 was dead and J! 2.5 was about to be retired.  It's worth noting that, in the 3-4 years since this book was written there have been three dozen or more subsequent versions released.  I like O’Reilly books because the editorial standards and overall quality is very high; that aside, this book is a useful primer for people who are new to Joomla and wish to understand how the system works from a site administrator’s perspective.

As an aside, I even make a tiny appearance in the book (p. 224), but that’s not the reason I bought it.  Covers the principles of site administration, SEO, content creation, e-commerce, setting up a blog, events calendar, image galleries and discussion forums.  Recommended.

Learning Joomla! 1.5 Extension Development Learning Joomla! 1.5 Extension Development

Joseph LeBlanc
Packt Publishing, 2008

One of the biggest problems in J! 1.5, from a developer’s perspective, is the absence of focus on MVC approach to component development  Therefore, if you’re looking for information about how to build a Joomla component and you’re using J! 3.x, this is not a book you should buy.  The general principles for creating modules and plugins, however, remain similar although some of the API information is outdated.  Worth a look if you’re interested in how Joomla extensions are created but I wouldn’t recommend it as serious reference material.

Joomla! A User's Guide: Building a Successful Joomla! Powered WebsiteJoomla! A User's Guide: Building a Successful Joomla! Powered Website

Barrie North
Prentice Hall, 2007

When J! 1.5 was released people had a very limited selection of books to choose from to learn how to use Joomla.  There was Dan Rahmel’s book, that I mentioned earlier, and there was this book.  Both books cover the same content and it’s entirely a matter of personal choice which one is the better.  At the time when I was a Joomla beginner, my main interest was in learning how to implement a discussion forum on a website; this book mentions the use of forums in one paragraph.  There are many useful tips about what to include and what not to include on a website and, in those respects, they’re worth a read.  Although the author did subsequently write a book on J! 1.6, this book is something of a curiosity these days.

Programming Joomla PluginsProgramming Joomla Plugins

Jisse Reitsma
Yireo Education, 2014

Seriously good reference book for people who want to know how to develop Joomal plugins.  Years ago I was told that Joomla plugins were probably the easiest extensions to build; perhaps they were easy for some people but, until I read this book, they were a complete mystery to me.  This book has rescued me from more design mistakes that I am prepared to admit.  For serious Joomla developers only, of course, and not for novices.

About the author:

is a Joomla professional and former member of the Kunena project for more than 8 years—a substantial contributor to the original Kunena documentation project with over twenty thousand messages posted at the Kunena forum. The opinions expressed in this article are entirely those of the author. View his profile here.

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