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Tutorials, reviews, case studies and other tips to help website owners and website developers master the Joomla content management system.

ACL (Access Control List)

ACL (Access Control List)
ACL (Access Control List):
Joomla's ACL offers a way of securing content and "controlling access" to certain objects and functions within a website. There are two aspects to the ACL in Joomla, who can view things and who can do things in regards to content and various actions available to users.

Joomla's Access Control List determines things like who can see certain articles and other media published on a website as well as who can add and edit content and media. It also determines who can access the Administrator and what they can see and do while they are logged in.

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Template

Template
Template:
The visual display of Content Management Systems like Joomla is powered by Templates. Joomla Templates are Extensions that are comprised of related PHP, CSS and JavaScript files that work together to present images, Articles and other media to an end user or administrator.

While the basic functionality of a Template is somewhat similar across developers, the look and feel can be dramatically different. Templates are used to display and access the content in the CMS, but the visual aspects are entirely up to the designer.

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Section

Section
Section:
In Joomla 1.5 and earlier, Sections were used as top level organizational units in the Joomla Article storage system. Each Section contained Categories, which then contained Joomla Articles.

The removal of Sections along with the ability to nest Categories was one of the most helpful improvements made to the newer Joomla Article storage system. Beginning with Joomla 1.6, website owners had much more flexibility with the layout of their content than they did in previous Joomla versions.

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SEF

SEF
SEF:
An acronym which stands for Search Engine Friendly in regards to website URLs. While not a Joomla specific term, it does apply to dynamic websites such as those built on Joomla. URLs from dynamic websites are often not Search Engine Friendly and need to be altered in some way to make them "friendly" to search engines such as Google.

Dynamic websites put together web pages by pulling data from a database, and often the resulting URL, or web page address, is not humanly readable. They may have a string of numbers and characters that have nothing to do with the content on the page. This is why search engines such as Google and Yahoo have trouble with them.

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PHP

PHP
PHP:
PHP is the programming language used to create many of the web's dynamic applications, including the Joomla Content Management System. It is a server-side scripting language, which means that all of the code is interpreted on a webserver which then serves an HTML web page. PHP is Open Source and free to use.

PHP is a recursive acronym which stands for "PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor." To serve web pages built with PHP, a package of resources is necessary. In addition to the PHP engine that translates code, we also need a database to store data and a webserver to serve the pages. Common solutions are stacks such as LAMP, WAMP and MAMP.

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MVC (Model-View-Controller)

MVC:
MVC is an acronym for Model-View-Controller, which is a popular programming architecture also used by Joomla and its extensions that enables software developers to separate "business logic" from display and interaction.

Through the use of the MVC architecture, Joomla's code is very compartmentalized and reusable. Each different aspect of what Joomla does is contained within its own code. For instance, just one of the main benefits of this type of programming is that it is possible to create many different views or layouts without ever needing to change the way data is accessed or acted upon.

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Plugin

Plugin
Plugin:
A specific type of Joomla Extension that provides some functionality or behavior in the background of a Joomla website.

In the early days of Joomla, plugins were called mambots. Since version 1.5, the name was updated to plugin as their power and versatility increased. Joomla comes installed with several core plugins, such as Load Modules and Pagebreak, but many other third party plugins are available.

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Module Position

Module Position
Module Position:
Areas within a template that control the location of a module's output on a Joomla web page.

Pages driven by Content Management Systems such as Joomla rely on templates to control the layout of each page. Within each template are specific positions that website builders can assign modules to in order to control the exact layout and display of information and media.

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Module Class Suffix

Module Class Suffix
Module Class Suffix:
A parameter than can be set in the Joomla Administrator that adds CSS code to a Joomla module in order to change its styling or display.

A Module Class Suffix allows website developers to change the look or layout of their pages on a module by module basis simply by creating a new class in their CSS file and then referencing it in the Module Manager. Some basic CSS knowledge is recommended, but this level of customization is suitable for most Joomla end users.

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Module

Module
Module:
A module is one of the smaller extension types, generally used to help with page display. A website administrator can "place" modules in various positions on a web page through the Module Manager in the back end of Joomla.

Through the use of Modules, the front end and the back end of Joomla really come together. Modules can display specific information from the Joomla database in any number of ways and depending on your template, in any number of locations on the page. Some examples of Joomla Modules include Banners, Menus and Contacts.

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