How to Contribute to Joomla! Documentation

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Joomla! Documentation is powered by the same software used by Wikipedia. It's growth and success is dependent on individuals like you. Thank you for taking the first step towards contributing to the Joomla! Project. This page will show you how to get started and several ways of helping the documentation effort.


Getting Started!

There are a few things you will need to do first.

Read the Wiki Policy

You need to review the Joomla! Docs Wiki policy before you start editing.

Create a User Account

To edit the Joomla! Documentation Wiki, you will need a user account. You may register for one here. Afterwards make sure to confirm your e-mail address. Confirmation of your e-mail address will give you permission to edit any page except for a few that are protected.

Create a User Page

After you have created an account, confirmed your email address and logged in, you should create a user page. A quick cheat to start your user page:

Join the Documentation Mail List

You should join the Docs mail list. It is not required but there are discussions you will miss out on which are relevant to documentation.

What Should I Do First?

There are several areas of documentation which always need attention. You can start by picking the one which is the most comfortable for you to work on or you may get more involved by working on several at a time. Once you have a wiki account, you are free to work on any aspect of the documentation that takes your fancy. Even the simplest contributions such as spelling corrections and grammar fixes are a tremendous help!

  1. Help with documentation content.
  2. Maintenance Tasks.
  3. Join or start documentation project.
  4. Help with Help Screens.

Help Manage Our Content

  1. Editing, rewriting and reorganising pages. Check our Needs pages for areas needing immediate help. They are called 'Needs pages' because they are in need of small tasks to complete them. Some of them are as simple as reviewing content or adding an image. Others require more content or improvements. Pick a few, give them a little love. This is a tremendous help to Joomla! users who rely on our documentation.
  2. Have some fun and browse for articles which are redundant, out of version(i.e. 1.0 and 1.5), or need to be split up because of version specific information. Then feel free to make use of the {{delete}}, {{merge}} or {{JSplit}} templates on the articles. Click the previous template links to see how to use and apply them to articles you think need these marker templates. Add them to the very top of a page and the page is marked.
  3. Create a new page or tutorial. If you want to start a new page, do some extensive research first. Try not to create a new article if one already exists. Use the search feature of the Docs Wiki to see if your topic is already in an article. Duplication will be merged and/or deleted. Don't be afraid to modify, reformat or improve someone else's work on the Joomla! Docs Wiki! This is a collaborative documentation wiki, just make sure you are following our policy and guidelines.

Wiki Maintenance

Maintaining a wiki and keeping it organised takes a lot of continuous work on the part of administrators, editors and users. There are always tasks needing attention such as: Categorisation, attending to pages with needs, that are under construction, or by marking pages for deletion, merging or splitting. For all maintenance tasks and ideas of how you can help, please visit our Documentation Maintenance page.

Documentation Projects

  • The docs team is working on Beginner Tutorials. Our goal is to make them easy to understand and navigate, something a Beginner can follow easily and learn basic concepts. Think back to when you were new to Joomla! and add a topic about something you struggled with as a beginner to the page. Better yet, join the Beginner Tutorials Project.
  • Join the Developer Tutorials Project and share your knowledge. Sign your name using 4 tildes ( ~~~~ ) on the Developer Tutorials Project page and list what you might be able to do. Feel free to add some tutorial topics to the suggested topics list.

Help Screens

Unknown to many, all Help Screen pages are created and served to every Joomla! Installation worldwide from this wiki! They are necessary for beginners and even those with intermediate knowledge of Joomla!

The Joomla! 2.5 Help Screens are complete but Joomla! 3.x are still being worked on! The contributions you give to them will be appreciated by many users worldwide. You can find the matrix of 3.x Help Screens here. Some just need to be reviewed and marked complete in status, others need to be started, completed, have images uploaded(670px max width), etc.

Things to Remember

Here a a few things to remember as a Joomla! Docs contributor.

  • Don't be afraid to break a page, if you do and something has gone really wrong, revert your edit. Click the page's View History tab and you will see links to undo and revert.
  • Write articles with a sense they will translated to another language. Using slang or local dialect may not translate to another language or its inferences be understood.
  • Don't be afraid to download and read the general Editorial Style Guide (PDF) that applies to all Joomla! Documentation. There are helpful hints on how to write for Joomla! Documentation.
  • Words to watch when writing, read the full guideline … or for instant feedback use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browsers. They both have built-in spell checking which underlines a misspelled word.
  • Don't forget to add the {{inuse}} template to an article you are going to be working on it for a long period of time, more than a minute. It helps to prevent editing conflicts.

Help, I don't know Wiki Markup!

If you are new to the use of Wikis and the simple markup to create pages, then you can use the following for help.

  • New WikiEditor contains buttons and quick links to make building pages easier. Click the word 'Advanced' for a drop down of more buttons and quick formatting links.
  • Use the JDOC's Wiki Cheatsheet to learn the basic syntax commands. There is also a drop down of the common markup in the editor. Just click the word 'Help' once and it will appear.
  • Still afraid? Try these tools to help you create great wiki pages.
  • Microsoft Word Add-on for Wiki Markup, save Word Docs in Wiki Markup.
  • versions 2.4 and later have a MediaWiki export filter built in. Just open a Writer document and click File - Export. Then, change File format to MediaWiki.
  • Here is a list of tools available to convert other formats to wiki markup, e.g. HTML, Excel, CSV. Some of them are online converters, cut and paste HTML for an output in wiki markup.