On monday, I was asked if I’d be interested in testing Joomanuals. As I’m always ready and willing to test anything Joomla-related (yes, that’s a hint for any other Joomla developer out there) I couldn’t say “no”. It was the first time ever I heard about Joomanuals – you’d be surprised how many cool add-ons for Joomla manage to fly below my radar.
So I did some research. Joomanuals isn’t an add-on an sich, but it’s a web-based application. It targets people like you and me who build websites for customers. One of the parts of delivering a “complete solution” is providing your customer with a proper manual on how to use Joomla. I’ll admit that I’ve been lacking in this department. And, from what I’ve heard / seen; many of you lack the time or skills to write a good manual*, too. You’d be amazed how many excellent developers / site builders find it to be impossible to write down how Joomla works!
That’s where Joomanuals comes in. Joomanuals is an online tool that can generate manuals for you! To start using Joomanuals you’ve got to buy a 1-year subscription which costs $ 25. This’ll allow you to use the service for a full year; for as many times as you want / need.
How it works
Once signed in, you’ll be taken to the control panel to start creating PDF manuals. This is an amazingly simple process: All you do is provide some information (name of the customers’ site, their username, password…), choose what sections you want in the manual (how to manage articles, menu’s, users…) and add additional information to the manual. When you’re done providing the information; you can start generating the manual.
This went faster than I had expected. After only a few minutes, your manual is ready to be downloaded.
The resulting manual
Of course, I had to be critical when reading the manual. But aside from a single typo, and a small error that was fixed five minutes after I reported it (In your face, Microsoft / other software company!) the content of the manual was… great. The instructions in the manual were clear and well-written. Because it’s using your own data; the manual allows users to better understand what to do. Hell, they could even use the manual to guide them step by step if they want to. Because of the level of detail; even a complete beginner shouldn’t have a problem working with the Joomla website you built (unless you screwed up, of course).
Something I like about the manual, is that it offers just enough information. It will allow users to manage their site, without overwhelming them with information they won’t need. Or – I’m speaking for myself here – you don’t want them to have; like installing add-ons; messing with the configuration settings; making changes to the templates…
Joomanuals is a great tool for anyone building Joomla websites for others. It’s easy to use, and the result is a clear step-by-step manual that’s customized for your customer and ready to be sent to them straight away. The price tag of 25$ a year is almost trivial, if you consider how much time you save by not having to write a complete, professional manual. I honestly believe everyone building Joomla websites should consider using this tool.