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To look at any website it needs to be stored on a web server. Someone wanting to see the website either clicks on a link (perhaps generated by Google or similar) or enters a website address (known technically as a URL) The web server sends the page requested to the reader's computer. The page is produced by the information put on the server by the website author.

In a simple setup the author creates the whole website on their computer, then copies it to the server. Very straightforward, especially for small websites.

If however the website is too complex for one designer to handle, or needs input from more than one person, matters become complicated if this system is allowed to continue.

Practically speaking there are difficulties because each person who uploads anything on the website needs to liaise constantly and on every occasion of any amendment with all others.If they don't, then all the files will become out of synch.

A content management system (CMS) overcomes this problem and thus makes it possible for a community to alter its website. Provided a user is authorised, that user can alter some of the website without the need to refer to every other author.

As the website is not stored on any local computer, the author can use any computer with Internet access to alter the site.

This sums it up in essence, but most website owning communities need to specify not just who can update the website, but whether the author in question is allowed for example to alter another author's content, or submit a potential new page for review and so on, and set up a system to take care of these matters.

Joomla is such a program. It generates a page when requested by referring to information uploaded, normally known as articles, and then formats the article's appearance by reference to a template.

This makes it easy to change the appearance of a website by specifying a different template, and more importantly makes it easy for an author to get content on the website.

It is also very good for very large websites, and small websites where different types of contributor exist: e.g. publisher/editor/contributor/administrator.

The important point to remember here is that the website contents are generated on demand. For example the home page main article can be changed immediately by anyone with the neccessary authority.

There are numerous CMS systems available, commercial ones tend to be very expensive as they are targeted at large institutions with large budgets. Joomla is a community developed CMS which is very adaptable and very low cost (in fact it's free)

If you decide to use a CMS you may wish to research other systems such as WordPress, Drupal, and Typo3 which are some of the more popular free CMS's. There are numerous articles on the Internet offering often biased comparisons between the systems. Comfy Computing Ltd recommends Joomla from experience, and has numerous clients using Joomla for websites.

We can however provide facilities for lots of other CMS systems.

Tip of The Day

Save as.doc Word 2010 can save documents to older Word formats. Click File followed by Options and then click Save on the left. Choose ‘Word 97-2003 Document (*.doc)’.