Thursday, 25 September 2008 07:34
Feel like the backend of Joomla gets a bit slow sometimes? I know I do as I hop around menus, modules, and articles. Phil Taylor has helped fix this problem with the release of a plugin that enables Google Gears support, which will cache your Joomla administrator files to your local computer, greatly increasing the speed of Joomla. Learn more about the plugin or directly download it.
I've installed it on a test server, and here are my initial thoughts and impressions:
Once you have Google Gears installed, you can use it to speed up Google applications, use Google docs offline, or use it to speed up other applications.
To install it:
Here are some screenshots of the installation process:
Overall this is great news for the Joomla community. Have you installed it yet? What do you think about Google Gears for Joomla 1.5?
Thursday, 18 September 2008 17:42
Have you heard about the mobile web, or are you looking to build a mobile-optimized version of your website? Why would you want to do this in the first place? Well, there's a couple of reasons:
1. Millions of people are now surfing the web on their cell phones. However, screens on phones are not well optimized for regular websites. Even on the iPhone, which has the "real" internet, it can be a pain to constantly zoom in and out and scroll around.
I'll be discussing two extensions that can help give you a mobile site with Joomla 1.5:
The more fully featured plugin for mobile websites, PDA Plugin works quite well. It comes with two files, a template and a plugin. Install both and then visit Plugin Manager and click on PDA Plugin to set some options:
The settings above are the settings that I am currently using. First thing you'll notice is that this plugin was sort of rushed for Joomla 1.5 as it's still called "Mambot" rather than the preferred "Plugin."
The first two options are very important. You'll have to decide whether you want to give the choice for mobile users to visit your regular site and your optimized site, or if mobile users will always see the mobilized version. I prefer to give my readers the choice, so I've set it up that way, as it shows in the graphic above. To have two versions, you need to do some additional work: Create a CNAME in your web hosting control panels that maps m.yourdomain.com to yourdomain.com. I chose to use "m" as it's become pretty common on a lot of sites and it's shorter than the default of "pda." Remember that typing on a mobile can be a pain, so the shorter the better!
If you'd like to offer your mobile visitors the mobile site all the time, you won't have to change any of the settings. Just publish the plugin and you're done.
Next, visit the Template Manager and click on pda. From here you can customize how your template will appear to mobile users. You can specify which modules should show up (up to 5), so make sure to include one of your menus at least!
All together, this is a very nice solution to creating a mobile version of your website. Issues I can see in the future:
I believe the name of this extension had iPhone added on just to make it seems more useful for iPhone users, because it isn't specifically made for the iPhone. What it does do, is allow you to serve up to 3 different templates to users based on the browser they use. By default it allows you to target iPhone, Internet Explorer, and Mozilla users, but you could use this for users of other browsers as well.
Installation is sorta straightforward--installs as a module. Set it to a postion, set it to not show the title, and publish it. Oh wait, what's this? You also have to make a Joomla core file modification.
Note that this extension does not come with any templates, so you'll need to find one and install it separately.
There aren't that many native Joomla 1.5 Templates. If you know of any, let me know if the comments. Here's what I've found:
Don't have a mobile device but want to see if the plugin is working? You can see if the mobile detection is working by using these tools:
1000 mobile phones picture from Gaetan Lee.
Tuesday, 09 September 2008 14:48
Get it while it's hot, folks: Joomla 1.5.7 has been released. This is a security and bug fix release, so don't expect any killer new features. From the looks of it, this isn't as important as 1.5.6, but still--upgrade now!
Full release notes are available by clicking Read more:
Monday, 08 September 2008 23:18
I just spent the last 30 minutes answering questions on the Joomla Forums. If you know a bit about Joomla, why not give back and help out new users? I did and it makes me feel pretty good. Remember when Joomla was brand new to you?
Wednesday, 03 September 2008 21:47
It was just announced over at the Core Team Blog that Joomla 1.6 will feature a mechanism that will allow extensions to be updated from within Joomla itself--this is really great news if they can pull it off with a notification system. As I talk about in episode 5, I believe that automatic updates would be a great new feature for Joomla. What do you think? Could it be a security issue in itself?
UPDATE: I wondered how this would affect Intellispire, makers of The Joomla Podcast Extension of Week Joomla Updater. Luckily, Nick Temple from Intellispire was kind enough to answer this questions:
"Mike, I'd like to tell you how pleased I am to hear from you that updates will be in the Joomla! core where they belong - sooner rather than later. Joomla! has needed this for a long time.
While I can't claim any credit, I do hope that our innovative technology has helped fuel this decision to add update capability to the roadmap now.
The Intellispire Software Installer for Joomla!, is, at its heart, a software delivery platform and will continue to function as one through 1.6 and beyond, adapting to and embracing core technology changes as they become available."
I'm happy to see that Intellispire is pleased to see Joomla moving toward this direction of automatic updates.
Monday, 01 September 2008 21:59
Joomla started three years ago when its name was announced on September 1st, 2005. Congratulations to everyone that uses, creates, supports, or even talks about Joomla. Its future is bright and I can't wait to see its future.
Monday, 01 September 2008 13:50
If you are new to Joomla, you may be wondering where to start. Here are my top 5 things to do after installing Joomla. Disagree? Let me know what you'd put in the comments.
Take care of security with your site first. Use your hosting provider's control panel and add another level of protection to your Joomla site by password protecting the /administrator directory.
By default, Joomla creates the initial Super Administrator with the username of "admin." Make your site more secure by changing this to something else by visiting Global Configuration and update the username.
Ok let's move on to things to help us create content:
Joomla 1.5 ships with the TinyMCE 2.0 wsywig editor, which is a significant upgrade from the version shipping with Joomla 1.0. However, there's an even better editor: the Joomla Content Editor (JCE). The latest version has many more features and is easier to use than TinyMCE, especially for new users to Joomla expecting something similar to Microsoft Word. The big features that impress people in my classes is the ability to:
Let me know if you disagree, but I have to turn off the display of "Author Name," "Created Date," and "Modified Date" right away. It just makes the site look cleaner as I start to work with content. You can do this by visiting the Article Manager and clicking Parameters.
Finally, let's round it out with some SEO-ness:
Visit Global Configuration and enable Search Engine Friendly URLs. It'll make your URLs more human readable and search engines friendly.
Saturday, 16 August 2008 21:54
Just tried to visit joomlacode.org and found that the site is down. This hasn't been the best week for Joomla, has it? First there's a serious security issue, and now it's impossible to download Joomla from the official web server.
Update (11:08 pst): It's back up.
Saturday, 16 August 2008 17:50
Joseph LeBlanc, the creator of Podcast Suite (and Joomla! 1.5 Essential Training), emailed me to let me know that Podcast Suite for Joomla 1.5 has reached beta and has been released. I was privvy to a sneak peek of the software and have to say that I'm impressed. I'm working on a review of it now to show you how to get the most out of it.
Were you waiting to upgrade to Joomla 1.5 because of this extension. Joseph has a migrator for you.
Download Podcast Suite for Joomla 1.5 and let me know how it works for you!
Saturday, 16 August 2008 10:49
I think it'd be great to have a central location where people can find everyone that blogs about Joomla. Here's my list, please leave a comment if I'm missing anyone!
Compass Design--News, tips, more.
Alledia--SEO for Joomla
Bob's Joomla Blog--focused on VirtueMart, the eCommerce plugin for Joomla
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