Joomla 4 User Manual

Manual Index

Developer: File Structure


As an individual starting out with some Joomla development work on a personal computer, laptop or desktop, you need to set up a suitable file structure for your code. The location of your Joomla site is predefined by your operating system and Apache installation. The location of the code you create is up to you. It should not be in the web tree.

Test Web Site Location

The best advice for local development is to place your working Joomla test site in a sub-folder of your document root. That allows you to have as many web sites as you like for all sorts of different projects, including some not related to Joomla at all. For my work on a MacBook Pro laptop I have set up the document root to point to my Sites folder (/Users/username/Sites). On my Linux desktop I use my public_html folder (/home/username/public_html). This is a screenshot of part of my Sites folder list showing how many test sites I have created over the past few years:

Mac Finder Sites

Test Web Site File Structure

If you have not done so already, you will need to become familiar with the structure of your web site. The following illustration shows a typical clean Joomla file and folder tree, with the Administrator folder expanded to show its contents.

Mac Finder Joomla Tree

So that is where the working code will be. Your development code will be somewhere else.

Developer Code Location

The code of your extension is normally in your personal file space but not in your web site tree. I keep mine in /Users/username/git because I can spell git and I use git for version control. You do not have to do that - git will be covered in a later tutorial. This is a screenshot showing a partial list of projects:

Project folders

Notice that some of the folder names start with j4xdemos. I adopted that to use as the first part of the namespace used for projects created for Joomla tutorial purposes. It is not necessary as part of the folder name but it is something to think about: the first part of your namespace needs to be something unique to you or your organisation.

Project Folder Structure

In the illustration above, the j4xdemos-com-mywalks folder is shown expanded. Ignore all of the pale grey folders starting with a period(.) as they are related to Git and the Eclipse IDE that will be explained elsewhere. All of the code that will go into the extension is inside the com_mywalks folder. When this is compressed, the file is created. This is the zip file used for installation in Joomla. None of the other files in the root are included in the zip file. is markdown text containing a brief description of the extension. Resources contains some screen grabs used for documentation.

Project Code Structure

In the following illustration the com_mywalks folder is expanded to show the project code structure. The mywalks.xml file is a manifest file that tells Joomla what to install where. The admin and site folders contain code that will go into administrator/components/com_mywalks and components/com_mywalks. Except that language folders my go into administrator/languages and languages or they may stay in folders in the component.

Project folders

Ready to create some code?