Principles – Important!
Before you can understand how to operate Mambo, you need to understand
the basic principles that underlie the system. If you skip this section, you
will probably have difficulties later on.
As a ‘Content Management System’, Mambo is about organising your
This means you have to think about your website in terms of the content
structure, rather than the end result (the web pages). The actual ‘look and
feel’, or theme of your website is completely separate from the content – the
colours, fonts, alignment, positioning, etc. are all governed by the template you apply
rather than being built-in to your content. Thus, by assigning a different
template to your website, you can give it a completely different look and feel
without having to amend any of the content.
Creating a template is a fairly technical exercise (but not too
difficult) which requires some knowledge of XHTML and PHP. If you don’t know
anything about those two languages, you are probably better off using one of
the many freely-available open source templates – or hiring a professional to
design a template for you according to your requirements, or in line with your
existing ‘corporate image’. For details on how to install and apply a template, see
appendix A at the end of
this document (you might not need this if someone else has already set up the
system for you).
After you have chosen and installed a template, you can begin to work
on the content. Your content can be organised into sections and categories:
Sections are containers that hold one or more Categories.
Categories are containers that hold one or more Items.
Items are the articles that make up your actual website content.
For example, if you were a financial advisor who wanted to publish
articles that give advice about different investment options, you might have a section called
‘Investments’, containing categories
such as ‘Life Insurance’, ‘Savings’, and ‘Stocks and Shares’. Within the ‘Life
Insurance’ category, you could store various items relating to that category, such as
‘Endowments’, ‘Annuities’, etc.
To add a new article to your website, you will have to assign the
article (or item)
to a category,
and the category to a section.
This means that you must think carefully about what sections and categories to
create before you start adding
content. It is possible to move things into different categories and sections
after you have created them, but it is much easier and less time-consuming to
think about and define your content structure first, and then add your items.
After you have defined a section, added a category to it, and added an
item to the category (details on how you actually do this in Mambo come later),
the item will not be visible in your website unless you publish it. This is
handy, because it means you can store content in your website which nobody can
see until you are happy that it is ready for general release. You can also
specify in Mambo that an article be published on a particular date in the
future, and expire on another date – which allows you to control the release of
Even when a section, category, and item are all ‘published’, you still
need a way for your visitors to navigate to the content they want. This requires you to
build a menu
system, and link your content to it. Your menu system does not have to exactly reflect the structure of
your sections and categories, although this is usually the easiest way to do
it. The section/category/item structure is mainly there for your benefit as the administrator. The
visitors to your website will see your content by means of your menus, so these
are like a controlled ‘window’ into your content.
To summarise then, as an administrator, you build and view your
website’s content in a hierarchy of sections, categories, and items. When you are
happy with your content structure, you create menu items, and link these to your
content. A menu item can point to a section, a category, or directly to an
item. Where a menu option links to a container (ie. a section or category),
the end user will be presented with a list of the items contained within that
section or category when they select that menu option, as well as any
introductory content you may define for that section or category.