Version 1.6 was released January 2011 and is not supported anymore.
Version 1.7 was released July 2011 and is not supported anymore.
Version 2.5 (long-term-support (LTS) version that replaced versions 1.6 & 1.7) was released January 2012.
Version 3.0 was released September 2012 and is not supported anymore.
Version 3.1 (short-term-support (STS) version in anticipation of Joomla 3.2 and 3.5) was released April 2013.
There are many similarities between the versions but they are presented separately to newcomers to Joomla! in order to use 'hands-on' material.
Who is it written for?
The series is for anyone who wants to use Joomla! at a number of levels. Its main focus is:-
on people with limited computing experience
on using Joomla! for a small web site, such as a club or association or small business
there are sections which will be useful to experienced designers and developers.
At the start of each article there is an indication of who it is aimed at and, on occasions, about the pitfalls for the inexperienced or unwary.
Details about the intended readership
Is someone with no previous experience of adding content to a web site but has some basic email and editing skills. They need to know how to edit and add content. They have enough previous experience to follow step-by-step, hands-on instructions.
Is used to laying out text, but has not previously added content to a Joomla! Web site. They need to know how to do as much as possible with the editing facilities available on their web site and may move on to managing the structure of the site. This could include multi-lingual content.
A person with some computing background and has added to a static web site but is not familiar with HTML, scripting or CSS. They need to know how to do as much as possible with the editing facilities available on their web site. They may want to manage the site and even be able to develop an 'out-of-the-box site themselves.
Inexperienced with a CMS:
Someone with previous experience with managing a static web site, has used HTML or a scripting language, but not a lot of background knowledge. They need to be familiar with the editing facilities but their focus is likely to be on managing a site and to develop an 'out-of-the-box site themselves.
Someone who has used a CMS previously and needs to maintain a Joomla! site. They need a broad awareness of Joomla! and may move towards doing more developpment. They can explore the menus of a site with understanding.
A person with experience of programming with PHP and can cope with modules and templates. They also need to be able to do backups, installations and upgrades.
Someone with wider programming experience and who is technically aware. Experienced with Operating systems, files installing software and much more. Needs to be able to get started with Joomla! in order to develop and manage complex sites.
Introduction to the Getting Started series
Joomla! is introduced using detailed 'hands-on' instructions about adding, altering and manipulating content. At the same time, general points about Joomla! are made which are intended to help people to learn more and do more. As the tasks require more background knowledge, so there are fewer hands-on instructions and more general pointers to the extensive documentation available for Joomla!
The series divides into four parts:-
Hands-on a Joomla! site: There is an initial section on how to get 'hands-on' a Joomla! site. This is followed by practical instructions about doing key tasks needed for adding, altering and manipulating content on an existing site.
Setting up a Joomla! site: This has background information about the design of a Joomla! Web site. There is a hands-on section on the mechanics of creating a new site using the core features that come with Joomla!
Looking after a Joomla! site: This is a brief introduction to the day-to-day adminstration of a Joomla! web Site.
Doing more and learning more: The final part links into other documentation and is intended as a guide ahead for taking Joomla! beyond the basics.
Hands-on a Joomla! site
You must have the use of a Joomla! Web site to use 'hands-on' instructions. There are several possibilites:-
Use the Demo on the Joomla! site. - Probably not doing this for version 1.6 Some example sites needed even if not interactive.
Hands-on adding and altering articles
Start here no matter what your previous experience. Articles are the building blocks of any Joomla! web site and everyone needs to know the basics of how to edit and create them. And doing this helps you to understand the inner workings of Joomla!
How to edit an Article - aimed at helping everyone to use the editor and understand what articles look like and where they are stored.
There is a distinction between the mechanics of setting up a new site and the things you need to know before you set up a site. There is often a trial and error process involved in doing this, with muddle and frustration as a result. The problem is that you cannot design a site without knowing some background: and it is often easiest to learn the background by using a site. So this series presents the background to understanding how Joomla! sites work separately from the mechanics of creating a site. It emphasises that some initial thought can save hassle later.
Background - things you need to know
These are hands-on documents to familiarise you with designing a new site. The background is separate so that the flow of creating the site is not interrupted by asides. The background is aimed at helping you to understand what is going on, whether you have a large or a small site.