My Joomla! installation review…

It all started a long time ago… nah… everything starts with my mania to fiddle with stuff… and this means also my website. For the last few months I had Geeklog installed as my CMS (Content Management System) but, really, I wasn’t very satisfied… it had issues with Opera (MY choice of a browser) and sometimes it would never save an article I was working on… the result was frustration and finally giving up uploading and creating new articles. While looking for alternatives I found out that my host was offering the possibility of installing Joomla!. I had heard a lot of good stuff about it, so I decided to give it a shot.

First, a test installation to a temp directory to get the hang of it… Seemed nice. Very good administrating interface and it looked very straightforward. I started looking for a skin (template if you prefer) of my liking and I did find it here. So everything had to start…

Let’s follow my steps…

1) FULL backup of everything… files, images, database… you never know what happens…
2) Open Fantastico (my host’s management system) and install Joomla!

oops No. 1…
Message from fantastico … ” You cannot install more than one script in the root directory of a domain.”
BUT MY public_html IS EMPTY you piece of crap! Not so fantastic after all… Started looking around… At the folder “.fantasticodata” of my account I found a zero length file named “installed_in_root.php” hmmmm lets see what it does if we delete it… (I actually renamed it – the result was the same) Installation succesful!!! yipeee… let’s move on now. 3) Skin installation… Perfect, flawless…

4) Menu customization – piece of cake! The administration front-end is really perfect! These guys have done a great job.
5) Moving my (very few) old articles from Geeklog’s database to Joomla!’s. I hadn’t used phpMyAdmin before, but it turned out to be a simple task. Once I found the right table to put my data of course 😉
6) Hmmm what else to do? We’ve got plenty of free time (2 days before a midterm!) so let’s install a comment system… AkoComment it is.

oops No. 2…
Message from Joomla! Something about permissions, safe php mode…

Warning: copy(): SAFE MODE Restriction in effect. The script whose uid is ##### is not allowed to access (some path)/com_akocomment owned by uid 99 in (some path)/components/com_installer/installer.class.php on line 356

Warning: copy((some path)/components/com_akocomment/akocomment.php): failed to open stream: Permission denied in (some path)/components/com_installer/installer.class.php on line 356

CRAP! What is this now? Searching over the net I found other people with the same problem but only one solution. Manual installation. This meant copying a bounch of files to the correct locations (ok) and doing modifications at my database (not so ok). After some trials and a lot of failures I finally managed to make it work.

7) Installing the script to save me from spam comments… same case here, permissions problems. Now I had become an expert though! In half an hour the thing was up and working.
8) The writing of this.

To sum up, I really like the way Joomla! handles the website material. Menus, content, everything. However, I think it would really benefit from a better installer for the modules and components (maybe a unified installer?).
For people who want to set up a nice-looking website easily and manage it with even more ease I highly recommend it. However, if you know nothing about php and dynamic website management, and all you want to do it simply a website to say hi to your friends without wasting time setting it up, Frontpage will do.

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