Everything you need to know to get started using the Joomla Administrator.
Joomla's backend management interface, Administrator, is one of two sides of Joomla. The Administration area plays host to virtually every type of control and management process you need to configure your site and create content.
Simply put: If the visitor side of the site is like the Wizard of Oz's grand hall, the administration side makes up the space behind the curtain.
Navigating through the backend of your site is easy, once you get used to the quirks of working within Joomla.
Joomla version 2.5 (above) and 3.x (below) have very different default user interfaces, though much of the same basic principles apply to each. Both of these interfaces will require you to close specific menus before you can skip around to another, provide a dashboard complete with frequently accessed menus and general site information, and enable you to manage virtually every aspect of your site.
Along the top of the administrator area of the site is the Admin Menu. This menu, along with Quick Icons on your main Control Panel, makes it easy to get from one area of the administrative site to another.
This menu is split into seven main categories. Each category plays host to several different submenus, with each submenu having potentially several pages within. Below, we will take a look at the Admin Menu and how it can help get more done while you are in the backend of your site.
The Admin Menu, as it is commonly referred to, is a quick way to navigate through your site's backend. While the links on the main Dashboard / Control Panel take you to some of the more frequently visited areas within the administrative site, the Admin Menu can take you pretty much anywhere you need to go in one or two clicks.
Here is an overview of the primary categories within this menu.
The View Site button allows you to quickly open a new tab to the visitor side of your Joomla site. It is a quick way to check on the changes you are making within the administrator area without leaving the page you are currently on to do so.
The System menu is home to administrative pages that impact the Joomla system as a whole. This includes the Control Panel (also called the Dashboard), Global Configuration page, Global Check-in, cache controls, and System Information page.
The Users section includes any areas of Joomla's backend that deal specifically with users, user groups, access levels, and mass mailings. It is where you would go to look for the User Manager in the event that you need to change or remove a user's standing or profile.
Menus are very important pieces of the Joomla puzzle. In order for something to appear properly on a page, it needs to be set up in the Menus system. Here, you can configure the Main Menu as well as any additional menus. You can also access the primary Menu Manager which gives you additional administrative controls over any menus set up within your site.
At the heart of your Joomla site is its content. This is the meat and potatoes of what your visitors come to see. Here, you can access the Article Manager, Category Manager, Featured Articles, and Media Manager where you can manage any images, videos, or audio clips you have uploaded.
The Components area of the admin menu gives you quick access to configuration pages for various components presently active in your site. Your site's Contacts and Joomla! Update are found here. It is a quick access menu for all the specific mini-applications that make your site, and many of its extensions, do what they do.
Extensions gives you access to the Extension Manager, Module Manager, Plugin Manager, Template Manager, and Language Manager. This is where you would go if you needed to install or remove an extension, configure options for specific extensions, change languages on your site, and manage your site's template. It will likely be your most visited area in the admin menu while you build and configure your site's layout and style.
Help is an often overlooked, yet extremely powerful tool for site managers. It gives you access to Joomla's main Documentation Wiki, as well as resources, translations, and developer resources. The Official Support Forum for Joomla is also available here.