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My name is Jim DeLaHunt. I live in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I'm a DreamHost user for my personal site,

Adventures getting started with Joomla!

This is a diary of my adventures getting started with Joomla! I hope it's helpful to others. If you have comments or suggestions, post them on my Talk page.


I want my domain,, to be run through a content management system (CMS). Partly this is so that I can post content there more easily, and partly I want to practice using the applications. I'm setting everything up on a staging domain,, then I'll make it the main site. I want the site to have search engine friendly URLs, made up of legible text rather than opaque numbers or worse yet query strings. I want this to be a multilingual site in at least English and Japanese.

I plan to use the following applications:

  • Joomla! as my content management system
  • OpenSEF to make the Joomla! URLs search engine friendly
  • Joom!Fish to help manage the multilingual Joomla content
  • whichever blog engine DreamHost supports, and try to integrate it in with the Joomla content. (An alternative is to use the Joomla blog facility.)
  • eventually, the photo gallery application which DreamHost supports

I plan to update the general docs on this wiki as I go.

Current issues

  • Update Joomla! to 1.0.15. Do this manually, since one-click install now offers Joomla! 1.5, and I'm not ready for that yet.
  • Update JoomFish to 1.8.
  • Update language translations for Joomla! UI, at least Japanese and German.
  • Installing SEF module on top of this (sh404SEF or Artio JoomSEF or other)
  • Get Wordpress blog working
    • with Wordpress
    • install Gengo for multilingual support
    • install Japanese, German translations to Wordpress UI
    • rationalise and UIs.
  • Get Drupal test site working.
    • Install Japanese, German translations to UI


Set up domain as staging area, using the Domains Control Panel. JimDeLaHunt 22:45, 28 May 2006 (PDT)

  • Kept default PHP setting of 4.4.2. Was that correct? Apparently yes.
  • FastCGI is off. Should it be on?

Used Goodies Control Panel to do one-click install Joomla! 1.0.8. It took quite a bit more than one click. Wrote detailed instructions about this in Joomla!, with some help from MySQL article. This stuff should be documented in Goodies Control Panel. JimDeLaHunt 02:22, 29 May 2006 (PDT)

Just minutes after I finish completing my Joomla! initial setup and mess around with the controls, DreamHost has hardware failure on one of their MySQL machines, and restore my database back to empty. I have to redo the installation. Not too hard, but tedious. JimDeLaHunt 11:00, 30 May 2006 (PDT)

Joomla! installation completed. "Installing Joomla!, its required PHP and MySQL" issue now closed. Reading user manuals. Registered a user ID with the Forums. Now working on making sure UTF-8 works on my Joomla 1.0.8, adding OpenSEF and JoomFish. I also need to find libraries of templates to get a look I can live with. JimDeLaHunt 17:28, 30 May 2006 (PDT)

How come won't save the first time I hit the "Save page" button. It usually takes me several tries. JimDeLaHunt 17:28, 30 May 2006 (PDT)

Took a look at a bunch of templates in the sites linked off Joomla! Forum FAQ "RESOURCES: Free Templates". At first glance none are perfect, but one may be close enough to serve with minor tweaks. At least to get me started. JimDeLaHunt 00:02, 1 Jun 2006 (PDT)

How to make Joomla! UTF-8. Following the article the article UTF-8 issues in Joomla! 1.0.x series from the Joomla! Help pages. Use PHPMyAdmin to see that the database has collation of UTF-8, but that the 35 tables have collation 'latin1_swedish_ci'.

  • Want them all to be collation 'utf8_general_ci', which implies charset 'utf8'
  • This SQL command changes the collation of a single table: ALTER TABLE `jos_bannerclient` DEFAULT CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_general_ci
  • Text in tables appears to be all ASCII anyway, since non-ascii content gets mapped to HTML entities or Numeric Character References.
  • Should I just delete all data, change the collation, then let Joomla! reimport the sample data? But the DB default was UTF8 apparently, and the tables still came in as latin1. Would it work? Hmm, per "server" tab of PHPMyAdmin, server is 'utf8'. Maybe it would.

JimDeLaHunt 00:02, 1 Jun 2006 (PDT)

Got UTF-8 in my database. How I did it:

  • Used PHPMyAdmin to delete the database
  • Oops, that deleted the database server name and user ID too. Probably should have put in a dummy extra database so that the server remains.
  • Used MySQL control panel to create new database, with parameters as instructed by the install instructions.
  • Used PHPMyAdmin to go to the database and set the database's ordering attribute to utf8_general_ci
  • Restored the installation/ directory and completed the installation
  • Use PHPMyAdmin to look at the database after Joomla! installed sample data. All tables now have utf8_general_ci collation. Done!

I haven't documented this in the installation instructions yet. JimDeLaHunt 01:02, 3 Jun 2006 (PDT)

At the same time, early AM 3 June 2006, I changed to be fully hosted, and to be a mirror of This means is no longer a staging area, I'm "staging" in the main directory ~/* . However, opening in a browser gets immediately referred to jdlh.palo-alto. I don't think Dreamhost is doing this, so may is doing that. Needs investigation. .... Ah! It appeared to be a cache problem with Firefox. Clear the cache, and appears just like a charm. --JimDeLaHunt | Talk 18:09, 4 Jun 2006 (PDT)

Finished documenting UTF-8 installation instructions in Joomla! article. I'm done with "Nailing down UTF-8 support in my Joomla 1.0.8 and database" now. Also installed Joom!Fish. Snags:

  • Joom!Fish is not installable, it actually contains another archive, Joom!Fish which is what you install.
  • Installation instructions on Joom!Fish site are minimal, and no clear path to contributing improvements.

Next problem: find translation files for the Joomla! UI, convert them to UTF-8, and install. --JimDeLaHunt | Talk 14:22, 5 Jun 2006 (PDT)

Cool, FAQ: CSS Text/Font Resizing (A+ A-) on Joomla Template. I want to do that! --JimDeLaHunt | Talk 14:49, 5 Jun 2006 (PDT)

Looking for languages.

--JimDeLaHunt | Talk 19:36, 5 Jun 2006 (PDT)

To adapt a language for UTF-8 Joomla use:

  • download the language module
  • Unzip the archive until you have a file with *.php and *.xml files, e.g. becomes German/
  • Duplicate the directory, and append _UTF8 to directory name, e.g. German_UTF8/
  • Open each file, determine its content, and save as UTF8 (no BOM). I used Text Wrangler for this, but any programmer's text editor or decent word processor should let you do this. Some languages (e.g. Japanese) may already be in UTF-8.
  • For the main language file (e.g. German.php) look for a line of the form DEFINE('_ISO','charset=iso-8859-1');, and change the charset to utf8. Save file as UTF8.
    • If you forget this step, then when you switch to the other language, Joomla will present the page in iso-8859-1 instead of UTF8, and UTF8 text will present as mojibake.
  • In the Joom!Fish language manager, change the entry for "Name" in the left-most column to the string you want the users to see in the language choice menu in the site's UI. For instance, change "German formal - Sie" to "Deutsch".

--JimDeLaHunt | Talk 19:36, 5 Jun 2006 (PDT)

Some things I want to get back to later:

--JimDeLaHunt | Talk 19:36, 5 Jun 2006 (PDT)

Installed multilingual menu manager. This appears to let Joom!Fish manage translation of menu items. Sadly, it seems that the Joomla! translations don't include translations for the menu items in the Joomla! sample data. It would be nice if they did. After installing, I had to manually publish the menu item. I'm not sure if that made a difference. --JimDeLaHunt | Talk 00:42, 6 Jun 2006 (PDT)

A lot of OpenSEF work. Read a ton of discussion on the OpenSEF forums as background. Installed OpenSEF per the installation istructions. Straightforward, except they leave out the following steps in their docs:

  • Modify your .htaccess file, commeting out the Standard SEF section and uncommenting the 3rd Party SEF or Core SEF section. This particularly applies if you are using Joom!Fish, which requires a .htaccess file. If you miss out this step, you will find that you get 404 errors on every page of your site after the root page.
  • Go to menu item Components -> OpenSEF -> Configuration, tab Basic, and set OpenSEF Enabled? to Yes.

Thus for it works for English and generates 404s or related errors for Japanese. Turned OpenSEF off while I diagnose that. There is related writing on the OpenSEF forum. For instance, a "OpenSEF Translation" forum. Got German translation strings from the OpenSEF language files download area. --JimDeLaHunt | Talk 16:16, 8 Jun 2006 (PDT)

The Joomla search engine friendly patch by JoomlatWork looks interesting. Gives control over the HTML page title, several meta tags, and other useful tweaks. --JimDeLaHunt | Talk 17:12, 9 Jun 2006 (PDT)

To offer a choice of languages, use the name of the language in its native orthography rather than flag icons. I'm changing the setting on at once. --JimDeLaHunt | Talk 20:53, 11 Jun 2006 (PDT)

A little bit of 404SEFx reading, downloaded the code to take a look at it, made initial version of the 404SEFx page. --JimDeLaHunt | Talk 22:45, 13 Jun 2006 (PDT)

Back after a hiatus. Want to upgrade Joomla! to version 1.0.10. It's supposed to be offered through the Control Panel.

  • Problem: my Joomla! installation wasn't listed in the Goodies control panel. Solution: filed a support request. They asked for some information then included me.
  • Problem: instructions recommend backing up your site before upgrading. How to do it? Answers documented in Backup, Backup MySQL. There are automated domain snapshots, described in article Backups. Writing that took some time.
  • Backups completed. --JimDeLaHunt | Talk 17:21, 7 Jul 2006 (PDT)

Completed upgrade to Joomla! 1.0.10. This required an upgrade to all non-English language kits. Wrote some instructions in the Joomla page about how to do this language kit upgrade. --JimDeLaHunt | Talk 03:18, 8 Jul 2006 (PDT)

In the last couple of weeks, I tried 404SEFx. It doesn't fail with Joom!Fish, but it does generate URLs with lots of numbered alternates. It doesn't seem to put language codes in the beginning of the URL the way I want (maybe I have to do that by hand). I got briefly interested in Plone, which claims to have good i18n, but apparently it's too resource-intensive for DreamHost use (see the Plone article). --JimDeLaHunt | Talk 12:08, 4 Aug 2006 (PDT)