Joomla 3.0 has a much more compressed GUI installation than previous versions; there are now three screens to step through instead of the old six screens. Despite the compression of discrete steps, the installation is still straightforward.
The first screen of a Joomla installation.
Especially welcome is the very complete Configuration review screen, which precisely outlines which features you selected for your site. It's not new, but the layout, like many of the design changes in this new version of Joomla, is easy to read and confirm.
As with past versions, Joomla's last installation screen also requests permission to install sample data in the new Joomla site, which is encouraged for beginners, but not for anyone else.
Why? If you're a beginner, these examples allow you to judiciously replace them with the content, layout and templates for your own Web site. That's why the material is there. But -- and this is a strong but -- if you have any experience with Joomla, then you will definitely not want to apply the sample data, because it will burden your site with a taxonomy of content and content categories that you probably will not want. Undoing all of these elements is possible, but time consuming, so think about building from scratch if you're comfortable with Joomla.
The only problem that I experienced with the install process was in the very last section: After finishing, Joomla requires you to remove the \Installation directory, because leaving it in poses a big security risk. Clicking the Remove button on the browser screen failed to work, so I had to use the command line to remove it myself. This is nothing that couldn't be done in a few second's time, but it would have been nice for the function to work as advertised.
I have always been a fan of Joomla's back end, because frankly, it's what a site administration control panel should look like: A single set of segregated pages that collects all the administrative tools in one place.
Joomla 3.0 is no exception. However, right out of the gate, anyone with any experience in CMSes is going to ask themselves, "Who spilled WordPress all over my Joomla?"
It's not that Joomla 3.0 copied WordPress' control interface. But there's a definite WordPress feel to the new control panel. The general layout has similarities: Controls are organized in blocks rather than the multi-column, very horizontal method found in previous versions of Joomla.
The reason for this new design is simple: It's much easier to display controls in a reactive design when the content is displayed vertically. The net effect is that controls and tools are formed to fit in much narrower areas in order to work better on screens that are taller than they are wide, like those on mobile devices.