In a recent article the author discusses building a website on a weekend. The system he thought might work best was the popular CMS (content management system) Joomla. CMS, you see, lets you build websites without having to learn all that coding stuff. At least that's the kind of thing we're being told about Joomla. Well, maybe he could build a website in a weekend with Joomla, but I have to think that the average human being is going to need more than a couple weekends just to figure out how to use it. The learning curve was a lot steeper than I thought it would be and I've been at this sort of thing for a while.
It's true that Content Management Systems like Joomla are a great way to build your own website. You can download them for free, there are loads of free tutorials on the web and several reasonably priced books at Barnes and Noble.
But getting a book on Joomla is just the beginning. The books seem to think you already know all about Mysql, PhP and XAMP. What are Mysql, Php and XAMP, you ask? Well, if you have to ask you're not ready for Joomla. XAMP acts as a remote server until you get your Joomla website up and running. PhP is the code that finds your content in the Mysql database. It's going to take most of that magical weekend I mentioned just learning how to download this stuff; actually working with it will come a bit farther down the road.
And all that nonsense about not having to know how to code with Joomla … forget it! You're not getting anyplace you'll want to be without some knowledge of HTML and CSS.
Of course you do not need a book. There's tons of information on the web about Joomla: what is Joomla, how to install it, how to build with it, how to work through the problems you absolutely will encounter. The trouble with the information on the Joomla forums is that once again the writers tend to think you know what you're doing. They speak a technical "Joomlaese" that is almost impenetrable for the uninitiated. Another weekend shot!
I do not mean to speak disparagingly of Joomla. It is a powerful system and maybe in time it will further evolve into the easy answer to web building we're all looking for. At the moment, however, it is not the best way for most of us to build a website in a weekend.