TYPO3 Intro and Resources

TYPO3 is a free and open source content management system (CMS), licensed under the General Public License 2. TYPO3 provides a powerful set of tools designed to manage large amounts of data — making it easy to develop websites and web applications. The software has many useful functions for business, with scalable features for:

  • Website deployment
  • Website management
  • Security
  • Personalization
  • Development.

As one of the most popular CMSs in use today, TYPO3 is a lightweight alternative to other systems like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla! Anyone can use it to deploy a professional website without having to code any HTML, PHP, CSS, or JavaScript. It's not hard for a tech savvy user to learn TYPO3, and power users will be able achieve incredible feats of data management with minimal effort.

Humble Beginnings

One man's passion for programming and sharing is what sparked the development of TYPO3. While it may not be the most well-known CMS on the planet, the project has been slowly growing in the shadows like a dark unicorn on a magic truffle hunt. What started out as a lone geek's pet project became a worldwide phenomenon.

In 1997, a developer from Denmark named Kasper Skårhøj began the TYPO3 project to scratch an "itch." He saw the need for software like TYPO3 to help businesses maintain their websites. Skårhøj's decision to keep the software free and available to everyone in the year 1999 may have the most significant factor to shape the future of the CMS. Apparently, hundreds of thousands of other people had that same itch.

Although Skårhøj is the face of TYPO3, it wouldn't have been possible without such a robust community of volunteers and loyal developers. Since 2007, Skårhøj has stepped away from the project to pursue his other interests. The future for the TYPO3 project looks promising. Widespread use of TYPO3 started in Europe, Germany, and Thailand. But over the years, active users throughout the world have dedicated their talents to the TYPO3 project.

  • History of TYPO3: checkout this official timeline of milestones, releases, and major events related to the development of TYPO3.
  • Kasper's Korner: hear it straight from the horse's unicorn's mouth. Skårhøj gives some insight into his motivation behind his work and gives a personal account of the early days of the project.
  • Case Studies: these live examples show the power and flexibility of the platform.
  • TYPO3 YouTube: this is TYPO3's official YouTube channel. You will find useful introduction videos and tutorials here.

How Does it Work?

TYPO3 allows you to manage the look of your website independently from the content elements. Separating the presentation layer (layout design, colors, etc) from content (ie, text, images, video) may be a standard web development paradigm nowadays, but this wasn't always the case. A good CMS lightens the burden of tasks like updates.

TYPO3 is free and open source, and it requires a LAMP/LEMP software stack. Written in PHP, TYPO3 can run on virtually any modern operating system (Unix, Windows, Mac OS X). It connects to numerous data sources and includes support for Apache, IIS, and Nginx.

The extendible core of TYPO3 is huge, which eliminates the need to download tons of extra software. Features you get out-of-the-box include:

  • WYSIWYG editor
  • Built-in versioning functionality
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Built-in support for multi-lingual sites
  • Granular admin control
  • User management options (roles and permissions)
  • Front-end editing
  • Well documented APIs.

There are many more features included in the core and through extensions. In the world of TYPO3, "extensions" are programs that extend functionality. Use them to do anything that isn't included in the core.

  • Complete Feature List: this is an exhaustive list of all the features available.
  • The TYPO3 Demo: take it for a spin. This demo gives you access to a live installation of the CMS. Take a tour of the TYPO3 front-end or backend.
  • Introduction to TYPO3: this video is a bit dated, but it still provides a good introduction to the TYPO3 CMS.
  • Download TYPO3: download the latest stable release of the TYPO3 CMS for free.
  • TYPO3 for Cloud: download one of these installers to run on a cloud based hosting setup.
  • TYPO3 Local Installer: this is a complete localhost setup to run on Mac, Windows, or Linux. These are all older versions. A quick and easy way to test offline.
  • Older TYPO3 Versions: here you can find legacy releases. TYPO3 has a great track record when it comes to backward compatibility.

Getting Started — TYPO3 Guides and Tutorials

The documentation for TYPO3 is well written and extremely large. At times, it can be hard to sift through documentation, but if you look in the right places you can find answers to your problems. Although the documentation is updated regularly, the best way to understand how TYPO3 works is to get your hands dirty. Below are some useful links to help you get started.

  • Tutorials: beginners start here. This is where you can learn the basics and get tips on how to build up your chops.
  • TYPO3 Documentation: this is TYPO3 bible. You will find answers to many problems when you consult the documentation.
  • Guides: documentation for installation, workflow, front-end localization, and rendering.
  • Extension Repository: here you will find officially aproved extensions for TYPO3. Find extensions to help you build templates, fight spam, add shopping carts, and so on.

Next Steps

There are lots of opportunities for those interested in contributing to the TYPO3 project. The global TYPO3 community continues to drive the evolution of the CMS. Participating is a smart way to learn and connect with a true open source community.

  • Cool Stuff for Nerds: special templates for advanced REST users.
  • TYPO3/Surf: learn about Surf, a tool to automate deployment.
  • Fluid: power users can do some heavy lifting with this templating engine for TYPO3.
  • Certification: a TYPO3 CMS certification holds some weight in the IT industry. Learn about the official certification programs.
  • API Documentation: developers can use this as a reference guide when working with TYPO3 APIs.
  • Latest News: stay up to date with happenings in the TYPO3 universe.
  • TYPO3 Comminity: see the community goals, values, and learn how to get involved.

Putting It Into Practice

Now that you have a good idea of what TYPO3 is, you can put that knowledge to good use. So, go on — manage data in a more effective way. And good luck!


Further Reading and Resources

We have more guides, tutorials, and infographics related to website development and management:

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