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Up and Running with Joomla by R. Allen Wyke, Skip Matheny

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Section 4: Templates and Extensions

Two of the more exciting features of Joomla for advanced users are templates and extensions. We covered templates early in this Short Cut and certainly touched on them throughout, but there is significantly more you can do with them once you understand them. Extensions are similar—they’ve been touched on, but there’s a lot more you can do once you understand how they work.

Understanding Templates

To help you understand, edit, and eventually create your own Joomla template, let’s start with learning the fundamental parts of one. It’s best to note from the outset, however, that building Joomla templates can be a world unto itself, and not easy to fully grasp in a quick read. If you’re new to building web-templates for database-driven sites, it’s best to learn the fundamentals over time by trying to build a simple template yourself. It is especially useful to look under the hood, or at the code and CSS of working templates, and templates that you like. Though we will cover the appropriate steps here to starting your own template, a beginner/intermediate working knowledge of HTML and CSS will certainly help your understanding of this process.

An index.php file:

/templates/your_template_name/index.php

is the basic framework of our page. It is similar to an HTML page; however, in addition to HTML language, it includes some dynamic Joomla module elements, written in PHP. This document necessarily has the .php ending, since the Joomla pages must be interpreted ...

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