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Joomla! 1.6 First Look

Joomla! 1.6 First Look

A concise guide to everything that’s new in Joomla! 1.6.

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(For more resources on Joomla!, see here.)

Question: What are the server requirements for installing Joomla! 1.6 on a web hosting account?
Answer: The following system requirements have remained the same since the 1.5 release:

  • Apache 1.3.x or higher. Apache is the web server software that processes the PHP instructions for how to pull in contents from the database and display a web page.
  • XML and Zlib support. Your host’s PHP installation should support XML and Zlib functionality.

But the PHP and MySQL requirements have changed.
To enable you to run a Joomla! 1.6 powered website, your web hosting account should support:

  • PHP 5.2 or higher. PHP is the scripting language that Joomla! is written in.
  • MySQL 5.0.4 or higher. The MySQL database is where Joomla! stores its data (the contents of your site).


Question: What are the changes for templates in Joomla! 1.6?
Answer: Templates created for version 1.5 can’t be used in Joomla! 1.6. The new release uses clean, semantic HTML code, without using tables for layout purposes. This is good news, as template developers are no longer required to add so-called template overrides in order to achieve a semantic design. However, it is one of the reasons that developers will have to upgrade their existing code to move a 1.5 template to version 1.6.
Joomla! 1.6 also introduces some other nice template features, such as the ability to use ‘subtemplates’ (called Template Styles in Joomla!). This new feature allows you to easily create individual styling for parts of your site.


Question: What’s new about categorizing content in Joomla! 1.6?
Answer: The main thing that a content management system should help you in doing is of course to publish content and to manage existing content with minimal effort. Joomla! 1.6 allows you to organize content exactly as you want. Up to Joomla! 1.5, you could only classify your content in three levels: sections would contain categories, and categories would hold articles. Although this didn’t pose problems for most sites, it was nevertheless a strange restriction. That’s why Joomla! 1.6 introduces a more flexible system of classification. Categories can now hold an unlimited number of subcategories. This means that you can have a hierarchy.
A category can hold as many subcategories as you need. This concept is called “unlimited nested categories”. In most cases you won’t need more than two or three subcategories, but if you do, there’s nothing to stop you. You can check the content category hierarchy in the Category Manager. Child categories are displayed indented, with small gray lines indicating the sublevel:

Joomla! 1.6 First Look

The above screenshot shows the nested categories contained in the sample data that comes with Joomla! 1.6. As you can see, all article content is stored in subcategories of the main category Sample Data-Articles.


Question: What’s the difference between Root user, Super Administrator, Super User, Admin?
Answer: When you install Joomla!, there’s always one root user, allowed to do anything in the administration area. In Joomla! 1.5, this root user was called Super Administrator. In Joomla! 1.6, this name has been changed to Super User.
Another point to note is that the root user is always a Super User—but there can be more Super Users who aren’t root users. The root user is a unique Super User who can assign new users to the Super User group. But there’s always just one root user created when installing Joomla! Only this root user can change another Super User’s details. (You can always identify the root user in the User Manager by his fixed ID number, which in Joomla! 1.6 is always 42).


Question: What’s the use of the new User Permissions tab?
Answer: When browsing the Global Configuration screen, you’ll notice that there’s a new tab called Permissions. It’s where you set all site-wide user permissions. In Joomla! 1.6, you have much more control over user permissions. You can create new user groups and set permissions on different levels- not just site-wide, as was previously the case in Joomla! 1.5.

Joomla! 1.6 First Look


Question: What are the changes in the article editor?
Answer: Creating or editing an article in Joomla! 1.6 will seem very familiar to 1.5 users. Go to Content | Article Manager | New or Edit to display the article editor screen:

(Move the mouse over the image to enlarge.)

On closer inspection, you’ll notice some items have been renamed or rearranged:

  • In the New Article section, you can set the article to be Featured. This is just another word for what was previously called ‘Front Page’ or ‘Show on Front Page’.
  • In the Article Options, references to sections have gone. The Show Category option allows you to show the Category Title of the current category. The Show Parent option allows you to also show the parent category title among the article details.
  • In the Article Options, references to sections have gone. The Show Category option allows you to show the Category Title of the current category. The Show Parent option allows you to also show the parent category title among the article details.
  • In the New Article section, there’s a Permissions button that jumps to the separate Article Permissions section at the bottom of the screen. As you can see, the new user permissions options are available on many levels in the Joomla! 1.6 interface. Here you can set user permissions to delete or edit the current article.


Question: What’s the Options button In the Menu Manager: Menus screen about?
Answer: In the Menu Manager: Menus screen, there’s a new button called Options:

Joomla! 1.6 First Look

Clicking on it will open a pop up screen allowing you set all default User Permissions for all menus.


Question: What’s new about the Access Control Levels system?
Answer:In Joomla! 1.5, a fixed set of user groups was available, ranging from “Public” users (anyone with access to the frontend of the site) to “Super Administrators”, allowed to log in to the backend and do anything. The ACL system in Joomla! 1.6 is much more flexible:

  • Instead of fixed user groups with fixed sets of permissions, you can create as many groups as you want and grant the people in those groups any combination of permissions. ACL enables you to control anything users can do on the site: log in, create, edit, delete, publish, unpublish, trash, archive, manage, or administer things.
  • Users are no longer limited to only one group: a user can belong to different groups at the same time. This allows you to give particular users both the set of permissions for one group and another group without having to create a third, combined set of permissions from the ground up.
  • Permissions no longer apply to the whole site as they did in Joomla! 1.5. You can now set permissions for specific parts of the site. Permissions apply to either the whole site, or to specific components, categories, or items (such as a single article).


Question: How can we set access levels for users?
Answer: By default, three Viewing Access Levels are available: Public, Registered, and Special. Go to Users | User Manager and click on the Viewing Access Levels tab to see these levels:
This is what the three default Viewing Access Levels mean:

  • Public means that there are no special viewing permissions involved. It’s the set of permissions for the Public user group, who are only allowed access to the public site.
  • Registered is the set of permissions for Registered Users. These by default are allowed to log in to the site to view the site parts that are set to the Registered access level.
  • Special is the set of viewing permissions for all users that can log in to the backend (Manager, Administrator, Super User)


Question: How can I customize the logo on the site?
Answer: You can customize the logo just by changing the Template Style settings. Let’s find out how this works:

  1. Navigate to Extensions | Template Manager. Click on the Styles tab and then click on the link Beez2 – Default. The Template Manager: Edit Style screen is displayed.
  2. In the Advanced Options panel, locate the Logo option and click on Select.
  3. A pop-up screen appears. In the Upload files section, click on Browse to select a logo file from your computer. For best results, use a PNG file with a transparent background applied, with a maximum height of about 65 pixels. Select the image file and click on Start Upload. The message Upload Complete is displayed:

    Joomla! 1.6 First Look

  4. Click on the logo image to select it and then click on Insert in the top right corner.
  5. In the Edit Style screen, click on Save and then click on View Site. The new logo image is displayed and replaces the Joomla! logo:

Joomla! 1.6 First Look

To further customize the logo and header area, enter a short description of your site in the Advanced Options | Site Description box. This will replace the site tag line, just below the logo.


Question: What is the Redirect Manager?
Answer: A new addition in 1.6 is the Redirect Manager, which you can find in the Components menu. This application can be quite useful, especially if you’re migrating a 1.5 site to 1.6. When changing to a new site, many URLs from your old site are bound to change. This can result in lots of broken links from other sites that still point to the old URLs. The Redirect Manager helps you to direct visitors who come to your site through outdated links. In the Redirect Manager, just enter the old links and tell Joomla! what new pages it should show instead:


Question: What are the new module features in Joomla! 1.6?
Answer: In Joomla! 1.6, using modules is more flexible:

  • You can schedule the time during which a module should display. In previous versions of Joomla!, you could set a start date and an end date for publishing articles. Now this is also possible for modules.
  • Modules are always assigned to one or more menu items. However, when editing a menu in Joomla! 1.5, there was no way to find out or change which modules were assigned to that menu item. You had to leave the menu item edit screen, navigate to the particular module’s settings in the Module Manager, and check the module’s menu assignment there. In Joomla! 1.6, you can set what modules are assigned to a menu link directly when you’re editing a menu link.



In this article we covered some of the most frequently asked questions on Joomla! 1.6.

Further resources on this subject:

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