This site is built using the Joomla CMS (Content Management System), which allows a number of authors to work more or less independently on maintaining different parts of the site. As well as Joomla itself, the site uses a number of Joomla Extensions, which provide specific functionality used by the site. The extensions used are as follows:

  • Extended Menu - This creates the site's main menu displayed down the left-hand side of every page;
  • DJ-ImageSlider - Used to display the rolling images of the village on the Home page;
  • Shadowbox Media Viewer - Used to display images and other media in a "lightbox";
  • JEvents - Manages and displays the village's event calendar;
  • Google Maps - Used to display the village maps;
  • ARK Editor - The editor provided so that page authors can create and edit content. Originally we selected the JCK Editor, but this is no longer supported;
  • Akeeba Backup - Used to create periodic backups of the site;

Generally, Joomla and these Extensions all update semi-automatically. When an administrator logs in, the system carries out a check, and alerts the administrator if any software needs to be updated. Links are displayed to allow the administrator to carry out the updates.

From time to time, support for a Joomla Extension ends (as happened recently with the JCK Editor, which was taken over by ARK and exploited in the rather more complex ARK Editor). When support ends, it becomes necessary to find an alternative Extension, from the list published by Joomla.

Major updates of the Joomla system (from version 1.5 to 2.5, and then from 2.5 to version 3) required significant effort and expertise. For site security, it is important to keep using well-maintained software, so these upgrades were entirely necessary. Joomla have suggested that future major upgrades will be done more automatically.

The layout of the site's pages (home page and other pages) is defined via a Joomla Template. A Template was originally written for us, to our specification, by Web Choice UK. As part of the upgrade from Joomla 1.5 to 2.5, significant changes to the template software were needed in order to achieve the same site design. A template called spatomic was developed, merging the special features from the Web Choice UK template into the "atomic" Joomla standard template. This template was usable with very little change when we migrated to Joomla 3.

The template files that implement the unique look-and-feel of our site are:

  • template.css, which contains the CSS definitions that format individual elements of the site. Recently the contents of template.css have been divided between two files; template.css containing format definitions required by the ARK Editor, and templateExtra.css containing definitions not required by the Editor;
  • a number of other CSS files, with names such as bkg_home.css, which specify the "watermark" image displayed as background to each page;
  • index.php, which contains code to write the page. There are separate sections of code to create the left-hand margin (with the main menu etc.), the home page, and all other pages.

These files can be edited from the Templates section (accessed via the Extensions menu). However, a good knowledge of PHP and CSS is needed before tackling maintenance of these files.