Joomla Developer’s Toolbox


Joomla is a popular free and open-source content management system (CMS) that can be used to power all kinds of websites. After we published developer’s toolboxes for a variety of other CMS’, many readers requested a collection of resources for Joomla users and developers, so here it is. Joomla grew out of the Mambo1 CMS and has since built a large and loyal group of users, much like the other popular open-source options. What this means for users and developers is that there is a wealth of information and resources available, and in this post we’ll take a look at many of the best.

Other developer’s toolboxes from Smashing Magazine:

1. Official Resources

Although the Joomla community of users provides plenty of valuable resources, there are also some official resources from Joomla that are worth noting:

Joomla Home7
The official home of Joomla, where you can get information about the system and download the files.


A wealth of information that should be bookmarked by any Joomla user or developer.


Joomla Community Magazine11
A great resource for Joomla users and developers to stay up-to-date.

Team Blogs12
Each working group within the Joomla community maintains its own blog to communicate with the community.

Joomla Forums13
If you’re looking for support or just a place to pose general questions to the community, this is the resource.

2. Getting Started

If you’ve decided that you want to give Joomla a try, take a look at these three resources to help you get started the right way:

Getting Started with Joomla14
If you’ve never used Joomla before, this is a good starting point.

Getting started15

Joomla 1.5 Installation Manual16
If you need help getting Joomla installed, this provides you with instructions.

Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Joomla17
A great resource for those who are just getting started; includes information on installing, admin options, the templating system and more.

3. Tutorials

If you’re looking to learn more about working with Joomla-powered websites, developing your own templates, working with plug-ins and more, here is a collection of categorized tutorials:

3.1 Working with Templates

Joomla Template Tutorial
Learn how to create a Joomla template in the developer network.

Template tutorial

Edit Template18
Shows you how to edit your template from the admin panel.

Edit template19

How to Determine Which Page You Are on from within a Joomla 1.5 Template20
When developing templates, you may want to style pages differently. This tutorial will help.

Which page?21

Editing the CSS File22
A visual guide to making basic changes to Joomla’s CSS file.

Editing CSS files23

Understanding Output Overrides in Joomla 1.524
An explanation for designers and developers about the output generated by Joomla.

Understanding output25

Paging in Joomla26
For Joomla developers who need help creating pagination.

Page Titles in Joomla 1.527
A look at working with page titles and modifying them to suit your needs.

Styling Front Page a Different Way28
A quick tutorial on applying different styles to the front page of a Joomla website as compared to other pages on the website.

Custom 404 Error Pages29
How to set up your own custom 404 error page on Joomla.

3.2 Working with Databases:

Export Joomla Database30
The basic steps for exporting your database with phpMyAdmin.

Joomla Coding Practices: Tables and Primary Keys
Some helpful information about naming tables.

3.3 Website Administration

How to Change the Administrator Template in Joomla 1.531
Learn how you can make changes to your admin interface to suit your needs.

Change admin theme32

How to Change Your Default Images Directory in Joomla 1.533
It’s possible to change your image directory in a Joomla website, and this article shows you how.

Change img directory34

Import Your WordPress Blog into Joomla35
If you’re interested in moving from WordPress to Joomla, this article shows you the steps to take.

WordPress to Joomla36

Keeping Your Joomla Installation Safe Against Hacks and Exploits37
Some quick advice for securing your website.

Securing Your Administrator Directory Using .htaccess Files38
A quick tutorial on securing your Joomla website against hackers using .htaccess.

Moving Joomla Websites39
Changing Web hosts or domain names can be very frustrating. This article shows you the process for a Joomla website.

3.4 Working with Feeds

Leveraging Feeds in Joomla 1.5
A helpful guide to working with feeds in Joomla.

How to Have RSS on Any Page of Joomla 1.540
A very quick tip for getting an RSS feed from any page.

3.5 Working with Modules, Plug-Ins and Components

Module Manager41
A simple guide to Joomla’s module manager.

Module manager42

How to Create a Joomla Plug-In43
Are you looking to enhance the core functionality of Joomla for yourself or others? Here is a look at the basics.

How to create a plugin44

Include Any Module Within Content in Joomla 1.545
A tutorial on integrating AdSense, PayPal and AdBrite within Joomla content.

Introduction to Joomla Component Development46
A basic look at the subject of component development.

3.6 Other Tutorials

The Super Secret Site Map Trick
Get a site map without installing any extensions.

Joomla Performance Tuning: Module Cache47
Learn how to improve your website’s performance with this tutorial on module caching.

How to Embed a YouTube Video in an Article in Joomla 1.548
This article shows you how to use a simple plug-in to insert YouTube videos easily.

Joomla Search Engine Optimization49
A five-step approach to optimizing a Joomla-powered website.

4. Joomla Templates

The Joomla community has already created thousands of templates. There are several different websites that offer premium theme membership clubs, and there are also plenty of free templates available. Here we’ll look at some of the best places to get free and premium templates.

JoomlaJunkie offers club memberships that give users, designers and developers access to premium templates, and it also offers several free templates51.


Best of Joomla53
Developers can submit free templates here to be downloaded by others. Best of Joomla also offers some additional resources aside from free templates.

Best of Joomla54

Provides more than 1,500 free Joomla templates.


Design for Joomla57
A large collection of free templates for downloading.

Design for Joomla58

Funky Visions59
Offers a number of free templates for downloading.

Funky Visions60

IbolDesign offers some free templates for downloading.


Rocket Theme63
Rocket Theme is another premium template club; it also offers four free templates.

Rocket Theme64

Joomla Shack65
A marketplace for free and premium templates.

Joomla Shack66

Joomla Jet67
A premium theme marketplace that offers three different levels of membership.

Joomla Jet68

Joomla Art69
Another premium template club; it also provides some tutorials and additional resources.

Joomla Art70

Blank Joomla 1.5 Template71
A free starting point for your template development.

A collection of free user-submitted templates, among other resources.

This hosting company provides a number of free templates for Joomla users.

A home for free and premium templates for Joomla, WordPress and Drupal.

5. Extensions, Plug-Ins, Add-Ons

Like any other open-source CMS, Joomla comes with certain features and functionality out of the box, but additional features are available through extensions, plug-ins and add-ons. Like the templates, some are free and some are premium. In this section, we’ll include links to the best places to find the right extensions for your projects.

Joomla Extensions Directory75
The official directory of extensions.

Joomla Ext Directory76

Joomla Add-Ons77
An excellent collection of free components, modules and plug-ins, as well as some for sale.


JoomlaWorks sells some premium plug-ins, but it also offers a number of useful plug-ins for free downloading.


Joomla Bamboo81
Joomla Bamboo offers premium extensions and templates, but it also has some free resources.

Joomla Bamboo82

VirtueMart is a free open-source e-commerce solution for Joomla and Mambo websites.


Directory of user-submitted Joomla modules.

A third-party extension directory is available at iJoomla.

A collection of Joomla add-ons, some free and some premium.

A blog that includes a number of free extensions.

6. Inspiration

If you would like to see what other designers and developers have been able to accomplish with Joomla, you’re in luck. There are several websites dedicated to Joomla inspiration, and a few others that include Joomla along with inspiration from other CMS’.

Joomla Based89
A large showcase of Joomla-powered websites.

Joomla Based90

Joomla Showcase91
A Web design gallery specifically for Joomla-powered websites.

Joomla Showcase92

Best of Joomla93
An inspirational gallery that also provides free templates.

Best of Joomla94

Joomla Case95
Another design gallery just for Joomla.

Joomla Case96

CMS Showcase97
There are currently almost 40 Joomla-powered websites featured on CMS Showcase.

Joomla Showcase98
The Joomla forums include an area for showing off custom Joomla templates and getting inspiration from the work of others.

Joomla Zone99
Joomla Zone includes a Joomla Powered section, where website owners and designers can submit their Joomla-powered websites to be displayed

7. Compared to Other CMS’

If you haven’t used Joomla before, you’re probably wondering how it stacks up against other CMS options. The following resources, featuring the opinions of others on Joomla and other open-source CMS’, should help. Keep in mind that each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and no CMS is right for every project.

Joomla vs. WordPress100
A discussion thread on the SitePoint forums.

Which CMS? Joomla vs. Drupal vs. WordPress101
This video discusses each of these three open-source options.

WordPress vs. Joomla: A Handy Guide102
This post on YOUmoz looks at the topics of usability, versatility and SEO.

Why Can’t We Be Friends? Joomla vs. Drupal103
A balanced article that looks at the pros and cons of each.

Joomla and Drupal – Which One Is Right for You?104
This article is about two years old, but it may still be helpful if you’re trying to compare.

8. Developer Resources

These resources don’t fit very well in the other categories in this post, but they’re all worth pointing out, and they all focus on meeting various needs of Joomla developers.

JoomlaCode105 is a resource for developers to build and manage open-source software projects centered on Joomla.


Freelance job marketplace for Joomla developers.


Joomla Developer Resources109
A resource for developers who are developing, or want to develop, custom components and add-ons for Joomla.

Joomla Developer Resources110



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Steven Snell is a Web designer and blogger. In addition to maintaining his own blog and writing for a number of other top design blogs, he also manages an online shop that offers premium graphic design resources.

  1. 1

    this is a very best article

  2. 102
  3. 203

    Love for Joomla ! Anytime ! :) Good post …

  4. 304

    If your looking for a commercial support company for Joomla! you should consider host

    I think some of these people saying rude things here about Joomla! have no clue what they are talking about. Joomla! is a very powerful Frame Work with a wonderful community.

    Go Joomla!

  5. 405

    I’ll plug open-source concrete 5. The interface is great and installation, upgrading and templating is pretty easy. It also has page versioning, a decent set of permission tools, a bunch of useful core modules/blocks you can pop into the your content areas (autonavs, search, contact forms, polls, video, audio, maps, etc.) and a click and drag sitemap to help you organizing content intuitively. And no, I’m not a member of the concrete 5 dev team, lol. Just someone who really likes the CMS in comparison with Drupal. and joomla. That said, I’m still going to use Drupal for large community content driven sites but concrete5 is a great choice in my opinion for small to medium sized sites.

  6. 506


    Another useful module tutorial that does more than just create “Hello World” can be found at:

    It will show you how to use the Google Analytics API in a module so that you can display your visitor numbers on a world map.

  7. 607
  8. 708

    Have a look at K2, flexicontent etc

    Great article though

  9. 809

    Joomla is seriously a total nightmare and I’m completely baffled as to why it gets such rave reviews from everyone. It’s like the Star Trek 2009 of the CMS world. Not only is this thing over six megs (even when packed… what exactly am I installing here?) its code habits and syntax are so ass-backwards and counterintuitive that I almost get the impression a team of coders were split and locked into separate rooms and told to come up with something that’d be put together after the fact. The templates and plugins are so poorly documented (following Joomla’s lead I suppose) and clash with each other so badly that you can actually spend months rewriting code that would’ve taken less time to just develop yourself from scratch.

    Mystery to me.

  10. 910
  11. 1011

    I worked with mambo and joomla since very long and In my view Joomla is the best known CMS around on web and the beauty is that it’s free for everyone.

    I like to thank Steven for his hard work in compiling such a good list but I’m still wondring that how he missed so many other good Joomla resource sites operated by core Mambo and joomla team members like YooTheme, Gavik etc..

    Anyway… Still got good resource list here…Much appreciated effort !!

    Thank you Again,


  12. 1112

    joomla developer

    April 7, 2011 4:35 am

    The various features provided are very helpful from the developers point of view and will make the new learners aware of the tools which they need to be familiar with.

  13. 1213

    It is time to update to Joomla 1.7

  14. 1314

    I think that I`m a little old to learn joomla coding but I`m an ambitions old man. I`m still looking for new resources to learn more. If you are curios of my process you can check my site .

  15. 1415

    Codefire Technologies is providing joomla plugins to block access of the site from any IP in in certain countries and to display author details on Joomla articles.


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