Joomla is a highly popular open source software program. It is General Public Licence, or GPL, which means that it is freely distributed and can be downloaded without cost and used pretty much in any way you choose. Free templates for Joomla are available, as well as a range of modular extensions, which all combine to make this an extremely flexible choice.
The Joomla software comprises a content management system that is extremely robust and ideally suited for large websites. It can just as easily be used to create a simple one page website, though that is a little bit like using a sledge hammer to crack a nut.
The basic software should be considered as the basic building blocks of your website. It manages your content, which means everything on your website, controlling page flow, categories and the insertion of new pages quite seamlessly. Members of an organisation can be given access rights depending on which tasks they need to perform.
What makes any particular website different from all the others is primarily the template. This provides the look and feel of the entire site and as such it is an extremely important component. You can make your website quite unique by having a template specially developed. It won't come cheap though. However, there is a much simpler option: choose one of the many free templates for Joomla.
Perhaps you are wondering how a free template that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of others will also use can possibly produce a unique website. Granted that the degree of uniqueness will perhaps not be as great as when using a specially created template, but there are plenty of ways that you can customise free templates for Joomla to be your very own.
Templates that can be used in Joomla 1.5 come in two basic sets: site templates and administrator templates. The site templates control what the website looks like to the visitor, and the administrator template controls what the administrator sees, but not the visitor. It should be obvious that the site template is usually what we mean when we refer to free templates for Joomla.
Joomla templates each have a directory structure as they require more than one single document. The file that handles the presentation aspect of the template is the CSS, or cascading style sheet, file. This file controls the details of fonts, where margins begin and end, colours, and how lists are formatted, as well as many other things. With even a basic understanding of CSS you can quite easily customise a free template to be something surprisingly unique.
Of course, no template file should be modified in isolation. It needs to be edited in such a way that it agrees with all the other bits of information contained within the various other files. This is easier than it sounds, however. The trick is to change a little bit and check the result before moving on the change something else. Before long you will be making unique free templates for Joomla that will help you to create business class websites, and they will be totally free too!
David A Robinson
Looking for great FREE Joomla templates? Red Evolution have a great range available for immediate download plus a great free Joomla template support forum.