I decided the other day to try out Joomla, as there are a couple of modules which I think may be useful for a couple of my portal sites. However, so far I have found Joomla! to be a little problematic. I have installed Drupal on several sites now, and always with no problems at all. Just FTP the files to the server, set up a MySQL database, then open the browser and navigate to the domain, and from there everything is straight forward.
With Joomla things were not as simple. First of all I tried to install version 1.0.15 (full version) as this was the first one on the Joomla downloads page (I assumed that they had placed the latest stable release at the top of the list). I FTP’d it to my web host, and started to install it. Everything seemed to go fine, until I attempted to install a module. I navigated to the Administrator pages, then Installers > Modules. But I did not see the file browser box from here, just the same control panel menu with the 12 items (i.e. “Add New Content” to “Global config”). Not being able to install the one module that I really wanted to try out (endurancelog)caused me much frustration. I requested help and guidance on the Joomla forums, however I received no replies to my post.
By the time I had done some more investigations, I realised that there was a more recent stable release – Version 1.5.2. So I downloaded that, unzipped it on my pc and then FTP’s it to the server, using CoffeeCup Free FTP, as usual.
This time on attempting to install Joomla, I received a 404 error – something from /libraries was missing. Now I was suspicious of the upload. I soon realised that CoffeeCup Free FTP had failed me, and some files were missing from the upload. I made several more attempts to upload the Joomla directories, but kept getting the same problem in different directories. I decided that a more robust approach was required.
I knew that it was possible to install from the command line in Linux. I did attempt this, by accessing my server using PuTTY using wget, but the location came up as not recognised.
So I then moved to plan C. I FTP’d the zipped file (Joomla_1.5.2-Stable-Full_Package.zip) to my server, then unzipped it using the command line, i.e. I navigated to its location (var/www/domain/joomla/) and then simply typed “unzip Joomla_1.5.2-Stable-Full_Package.zip”. This unzipped the contents onto my server, and I was happy that no files could have been lost on the way. Still no idea why CoffeeCup lost some on the transfer. Never happened with Drupal.
OK, so I then I started to install it again (after dropping the previous MySQL database) and received two more errors, one about cookies, and another relating to the web server again, and permissions. This seemed odd, so I had an idea. I was using Firefox, so I decided to give it a go in IE. It worked. I finished the install, then downloaded the module that I wanted to try, and installed that using the administrator pages, and everything is up and running.
Still to test and configure, but at least the core of the site is working.
So, tips for installing Joomla. If you are struggling with strange errors, first upload a compressed version of the latest stable Joomla CMS. Then unzip it on the server using the command line, using PuTTy if you do not have a Linux OS at home. And then everything should be OK. And if you run into problems installing it using Firefox, use Internet Explorer. I may post a question on the forum asking why it did not work in FF, but probably will not bother them with it.
Now time to play and tinker with Joomla!