Review of the Joomla Admin Manual by Barrie North

Barrie NorthBarrie North from sent me a copy of his “Joomla Admin Manual” a long time ago and I promised to review it. Yep … I’ve been slack. It was only when a client told me earlier this week that he’d been reading it and found it useful, that I realized I needed to get my butt in gear and read it myself.

First Thoughts

  • The book is huge. Its 262 PDF pages long and comes in .zip file to save.
  • Heavy on images. Part of the reason its so big is that its packed with images. Especially in the introductory chapters screenshots take up at least as much room as the text. This is undoubtedly a big help to Joomla beginners.
  • Mix of new and old material. The book appears to have been built in the same way as our Joomla SEO eBook: as a compilation of past writings (blog posts, tutorials, reviews, other ebooks) which have been organized and fleshed out with several extra chapters. If you’ve been reading Barrie’ work for a while, some of this will be familiar but theres lots of new material too.


  • Content Management Systems and Joomla: The introductory “What is a CMS?” and “What is Joomla?” chapter.
  • Basics of Administration: Your first walkthrough of the Joomla administrator section.
  • Organizing your Content: Understanding sections, categories and static content.
  • Menus, Links and Navigation: Controlling your menus and the parameters inside menu links.
  • Adding, Revising and Maintaining Content: Everything from? to WYSIWYG editors to metadata and the parameters inside each content item.
  • Components: Overview of recommended components.
  • Modules: An overview of common Joomla modules and how to use their sometimes confusing parameters.
  • Getting Traffic to Your Site: SEO for your Joomla site.
  • Creating a Custom Template: create your own 3-column Joomla template.
  • Creating a School Website with Joomla: walks you through a real site set-up with a school site as an example.
  • Creating an Ecommerce Website with Joomla: focuses on a ebook site with affiliate program.
  • Superuser Admin Control Panel Functions: overview of what a superadministrator can do inside Joomla.


  • Comprehensive. Its detailed in its view of what someone needs to know to run a Joomla site. With so much to learn its easy to get distracted. Barrie focuses on the core knowledge without trying to explain whats not needed. Each chapter has a concluding paragraph called “The Least You Need to Know” that neatly sums up what has gone before.
  • Formatting. Some of the chapter layout ideas are very well done. For example, one part of the administration chapter runs through the administrator panel from the point of view of a Super Administrator, an Administrator
  • Great Graphics. For a beginner the visual relationship between what they see online and what they’re reading is great.
  • Price. $27 isn’t bad for this quantity of information.


  • More detail needed in some areas. There’s inly a cursory overview of third party components and modules with some of the most famous (Fireboard,? Docman etc.) not included. This is a tricky topic for every Joomla book but a little more detail might be useful.
  • Presentation. Having seen some of the presentation formats rolled out recently by people such as the CopyBlogger with his materials, I realise that my SEO eBook and Barrie’s both probably need a style update.
  • Cross-promotion. Quite a few mentions of “our other products”.


Overall the Admin Manual does a good job of introducing Joomla to newcomers answering the most frequently asked questions that they have. I’d be more than happy to give this book to clients as a learning guide.

There are alternatives for Joomla 1.0 in paperback format such as “Building Websites with Joomla!” by Hans Graf and “Beginning Joomla!” by Dan Rahmel, but in terms of getting a book downloaded quickly and into the hands of someone wanting to learn Joomla quickly, the “Joomla Admin Manual” is a great option.

Click here to pick up the Joomla Admin Manual in PDF format or click here to get it in hardcover.

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