Joomla!

This week I have spent a couple of days teaching myself Joomla! Joomla is a commonly used content management system which enables users to rapidly create webpages using a PHP based interface . You can use many templates which are available for free to define how your website looks. I am quite pleased with myself actually since I really feel like Ive grasped the main concepts of using something which at first looked very intimidating indeed. I’ve read the book called Joomla! explained and this made downloading the mamp Sever package and installing Joomla! PHP on my machine pretty easy. I use freehostia for my main website, but running the Joomla! interface on an overloaded server via an Sub Atlantic link is a bit painfully slow when you’re just playing around to find out what it does!

I now think that I will use Joomla! to create my first webpage which I am going to use to link to my other web content. I have finished with the ‘Head First web design’ book for now. Well I have read most of the chapters which interested me and I can really recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the design and usability aspects of the web.

Another book! I am skimming my way through JavaScript pocket reference which is the cutdown version of the complete reference I have already read. They say repetition teaches you things and it’s amazing how much you forget if you do not use knowledge on a regular basis. Having been swotting up also on Java since I read the ‘complete reference’ last year I feel I can compare and contrast the two languages now and also I have a better understanding of the concepts of object-oriented programming. JavaScript is a great language to learn though since almost every web page uses it and it’s the most popular programming language in the world.

I am reading all of these books on my new iPad. One thing which I never realised was that books are so much easier to read at getting on to 300 pixels per inch! Web design takes into account that most people will be viewing pages on a low resolution computer monitor and the fact that this causes eyestrain radically changes the way people read text on a screen compared to a printed page. Well designed webpages are designed to be scannable and use bullet points and short sentences to improve the situation. They also put the important content and a summary towards the top so the user can see if the page contains information which is relevant to them.

Time to apply some of this new knowledge on page layout to my CV I think! I am still in a knowledge acquisition phase however the plan is that at some point I will have so much information about developing for the web in my brain that actually creating webpages and projects will be pretty easy! I must have read five also books on CSS and HTML so far and I am only now really starting to feel like I understand what goes on here . I guess it’s my personality, but I do like to feel like I understand things. I remember as a kid having the ZX spectrum and just typing programs into it from magazines got me interested in programming. This week I have been typing some example HTML and CSS in form a book and the thrill of seeing a decent webpage appear from your code was definitely worthwhile.

Anyway here’s hoping for some decent weather because I am itching to get to the Lake District to do some camping and hillwalking! My iPad is fully loaded with books and will be coming along with me.

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