Not an easy response to this... but here goes.

All I wish to do is retrieve and show a listing of contacts found in Sales force on my small website (the web site operates on Joomla, however i just require fundamental web coding).

Please bare in your mind I'm a relatively newbie with Sales force!

Thanks ahead of time

I begin to see the following options:

  1. Produce a public site (setup-->develop-->sites). That's essentially a visualforce page which may be utilized using a public url. If you produce a simple visualforce page to show your contacts as you desire, you are able to IFRAME (or JS) embed it in your website.

  2. Make use of the sales force data api (http://www.sales to extract your contacts out of your website's after sales atmosphere.

From the way you phrase your question, I'd suggest you begin considering alternative 1.