I know that a Joomla is “off-topic” for TechTraction, however, if you read my previous post about creating a WordPress staging/development server and installed a WampServer, then why limit yourself to just using that WampServer for WordPress? Tap into the full potential of that installation and use it to test drive another content management systems (CMS) such as Joomla? If that sounds like something you want to do, then keep reading because this article will walk you through setting up Joomla on an existing WampServer installation.
What is Joomla?
Joomla is an open-source content management system (CMS) used for building web sites and other online applications. While WordPress is mostly a blogging platform with basic CMS capabilities, Joomla is primarily about CMS with “blogging” being a CMS feature you can add to a Joomla installation. Based on my Joomla and WordPress experience I prefer WordPress for blog specific or small simple purpose web sites. Anything on a medium to large scale, with limited to no blogging requirements, is better served by a CMS application such as Joomla.
If you haven’t setup a WampServer on your home computer, start with my article detailing the necessary steps for installing your own WampServer. After reading that article, you’re ready to install Joomla.
Step 1: Download Joomla
Start by downloading the latest stable build of Joomla. At the time of this article version 1.0.12 was the latest stable build; however, follow the Joomla download link and you quickly see several download options. Assuming you plan to install Joomla on a WampServer, and you haven’t installed a previous version of Joomla, download the latest “full package” with a zip extension. Other options on this page are for Unix based installations or patches from an older version to the latest version. Don’t get overwhelmed by the available options — simply read the complete file name and you’ll easily find what you need.
Step 2: Create a Joomla Installation Directory and Uncompress
Next, use Windows Explorer and navigate to the “www” directory under your WampServer installation directory (in my case the complete path was c:\wamp\www). Now, create a new directory called “joomla” in the “www” directory (that left me with a complete path of c:\wamp\www\joomla). Using whatever method you choose, uncompress the downloaded file into this new directory.
NOTE: You can name the uncompressed target directory anything you want. You don’t need to use “Joomla” — just make sure it’s located under the “www” directory of your WampServer installation directory.
Once the download is uncompressed, start your WampServer, open a browser, and enter “localhost” in the URL address and press enter. You should now see the WampServer welcome page and a new option under your projects section: Joomla
Step 3: Joomla Pre-installation Check List
Once you select “Joomla” from the available projects section of the WampServer screen, the Joomla pre-installation check list screen appears. On this screen you should see four sections:
- Required Settings Check
- Security Check
- Recommended Settings Check
- Directory and File Permissions Check
Depending on any customizations you may or may not have made to your WampServer installation the pre-installation check list will display different items that might need adjustment. In my case I needed to turn off the Regular Global Emulation option in the Joomla global.php file. I knew that because under the Security Check section I saw a message instructing me to disable this setting.
To disable this setting I located the global.php file in the Joomla directory (in my case c:\wamp\www\joomla), opened it in a simple text editor (I used WordPad because it formats the file better than NotePad), and searched for RG_EMULATION.
Near the top of the global.php file I found where the RG_EMULATION gets enabled and disabled. The default setting appeared as follows:
define ( 'RG_EMULATION', 1 );
Going with typical boolean logic, I assumed that “1″ meant “on” (aka true) so I switched it to “0″ (aka false) to turn it off as instructed. My edits appeared as follows:
define ( 'RG_EMULATION', 0 );
I continued to search the global.php file for other occurrences of this setting and only found it one other time. This other appearance was part of a conditional statement and did not need any alteration.
Once you’ve made all the necessary edits, click “check again” in the upper right portion of the screen. If you adjusted everything as instruction (in my case it was just the one RG_EMULATION change), the Security Check section disappears and all other sections have nothing but “green” on the right hand side signifying everything is good to go. Click “next” to continue and the general license screen appears. Click “next” again on this screen to continue.
Step 4: Joomla MySQL Configuration
On the MySQL configuration screen you are prompted to enter five pieces of information:
- Hostname: Enter localhost.
- MySQL User Name: Since Joomla is getting installed on top of an active WampServer installation on your home computer, just enter “root”
- MySQL Password: Leave this blank
- MySQL Database Name: Originally I tried to call it “joomla” but that caused this part of the installation to fail. To correct the problem I changed the name to “joomtest” and everything worked fine. You can call your database anything you want — except for Joomla.
- MySQL Table Prefix: Accept the default prefix
Click “next” to continue.
Provided everything was entered correctly, you get a “success” screen and an option to give your site a name. Don’t confuse the site name with the URL of your site. In my case, I called the site “Joomla Test Site” and pressed “next” to continue.
Step 5: Confirm Installation Settings
In this step you are prompted to confirm the “URL” (in my case http://localhost/joomla yours may differ if you selected a different installation directory) and the “path” (in my case c:\wamp\www\joomla). On this screen you can also enter the email for the Joomla administrator. You can put a real email address in there or something fake. In either case, email notifications won’t get sent because you probably haven’t configured an SMTP outbound mail server. Finally, an auto generated admin password is displayed. I suggest you change the password here to something simple. Again, since Joomla will be running on a WampServer on your home computer, most likely, go ahead and use something simple such as “password” for the actual password. Leave the file and directory permission settings to the default settings and click “next” to continue.
A final screen appears and reminds you of the username and password for the administrator account and instructs you to remove the Joomla installation directory.
You also have two options on this screen:
- view the site
- administer the site
I selected “view site” and was reminded again to delete the installation directory.
Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the Joomla directory under the “www” directory of your WampServer installation (in my case c:\wamp\www\joomla). In this directory look for the “installation” directory, select it, and press delete. Now, go back to the browser and refresh the page. If you did everything correct, you’ll see a generic Joomla server index page.
At this point I suggest you refer to the Joomla web site for further information about this CMS application. Also, for anyone interested, I located two Joomla specific books at Amazon:
Personally, I have no direct experience with either of these books; however, the second book, Beginning Joomla!: From Novice to Professional (Beginning: from Novice to Professional), comes from the publisher Apress and I have had good luck with other publications from that publisher. If anyone has either of these books and can offer any insight, please feel free to leave a comment for the benefit of other readers.