How to build a Social Intranet with Joomla in 10 Steps
Joomla is one of the most robust content management system that you can get on the Web. It may not be too much of an eye candy like WordPress, but it definitely gets the job done. And with over 5000 extensions in its directory, it is possible to build just about anything with it. From a website, e-commerce website, Helpdesk, booking website, just name it.
Joomla has been around for a bit and has had its fair share of its time in the sun. Who uses Joomla? Nearly all the government’s websites in Africa. Half of the commercial banks in Nigeria use Joomla, Schools, etc, you name it.
It makes more sense to compare Joomla to Drupal than comparing it to WordPress. However, this article is not a comparison but how to actually build a Social Intranet with Joomla. An Intranet connects employees in a workplace, allowing them to share information which enables their work. Intranet platforms have applications forms, e-Learning, event calendar, etc.
So we are not only going to build a basic Intranet, we will add electronic forms, Document Management, polls, e-learning, calendar and events, IT helpdesk, case manager and of course, a social network to make it social.
This tutorial is not for beginners, an overall understanding of how Joomla works is needed. You must know how to install Joomla, templates and extensions. You should also know how to work with components and position modules. You should also have a clear understanding of how Access Control Level works in Joomla.
Step 1 – Download & Install Joomla
Download and install Joomla either on your local system or online. Preferably on your local PC. Make sure it’s the latest version of Joomla.
Step 2 – Theme/Template
While this tutorial is mainly concerned with the Intranet functionality and not the looks, I would still recommend you get an attractive template. Maybe something from Joomlart or rocket theme. Looks really matter. Make sure you also get documentation for your theme. This will help you with customization and module positions. Get a template that is mobile friendly or else what’s the point.
Step 3 – Social Network
Easy social is a social network extensions made for Joomla that allows you create and manage your own social network. Though they are other Social Network components like JomSocial and Community Builder, feel free to chose, my favourite is easy social.
Step 4 – Calendar and Events
JEvents: JEvents is one of the finest calendar and event extension for Joomla, it is easily configurable and customisable. This will handle events and calendars on your intranet.
Step 5 – Document Management
J Downloads: JDownloads is one of my favourite file management component for Joomla. You can categories document, do front-end uploads, captcha protection, Access rights, user groups and a whole lot of other features. Other options for document management extensions for Joomla include Docman and Phoca downloads.
Step 6 – IT Support helpdesk
You can build your own Zendesk using Freestyle support portal or Helpdesk Pro. These extensions will help you build an integrated IT support ticket for your organisation’s intranet.
Step 7 – Electronic Forms
Forms are a critical part of your Intranet, Joomla has a wide range of choices when it comes to forms, Some forms include Breezing Forms, RS Forms, Chronoforms, Forms, Pro Forms, Etc. My best without any doubt is Fabrik, which is not just a form builder but an application builder.
Step 8 – Learning Management System (LMS/e-Learning)
There are quite a number of e-learning e-components for Joomla, however, I cannot recommend anyone because I had used LMS king and had a bad experience with the product and their customer service. Though the reviews for Joomla Guru is quite good, you can give it a shot.
Step 9 – Active Directory Integration
If you want to integrate your Intranet with your Active Directory, there is JMapMyLDAP, a nifty Joomla plugin which allows connection to your network domain and allows Single Sign-on.
Step 10 – Backup
You need to keep your Intranet Backed-up in case of unforeseen circumstances. The Joomla king of Backup is Akeeba Back, Akeeba does Backup and migration easy.
This article does not recommend any extension. Look for the one that works for you. Do not try this in a production environment if you are not a Joomla expert, if you must consult a professional. If you have questions you would like to ask me, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.