Test drive of Confluence on Amazon EC2

I took advantage of the bargain deal at Atlassian the other day; a 5 user licence for Confluence and Jira for $10. I’d been thinking of trying it out after a mention at the FOWA conference last year. So, if it involved EC2 as well that could be an ideal project.

Luckily there is a pre-built demo image that I could install on the Amazon Cloud so I just sped through the very quick tutorial by Adrian Hempel It was as easy as he says.

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MVC in .Net

Spent the evening with Cenk at the VBUG evening in London. It was at the offices of the Anteo group, who are a staffing agency. They gave a quick rundown on getting a new job in the current climate. Everything is drying up so take advantage of any training opportuities, C# and .NET is still buoyant and keep the skills up to date was the message.

Bem Gmedouye gave a talk on the Microsoft MVC framework.
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Another step to a new Joomla

Joomla brought out the new Beta two version. This is the new version of the Open Source Content Management System that grew from the great Mambo split of a year or two back. It has been rewritten extensively with a much more flexible approach. This will make it far easier for developers to develop to modern css standards and release us from the table designs of the past. The designers should love that, Continue reading “Another step to a new Joomla”

Joomla developers course

Spent the weekend with a dozen other people in Cheltenham. Phil Taylor offered to show people how to develop custom modules for Joomla, the open source Content Management System. It was a hectic weekend, up to our eyes in PHP code. I’m glad that I’d researched a little and had done a few templates. It helped, for sure, but there were a few experienced people there and it got quite detailed, deep under the hood. I think that we all thought it was a great experience though and that we all learnt a lot. There were people from the continent as well so it shows how popular these course can be.

Phil Taylor wasn’t quite so keen by then. He found it quite a struggle to keep up with a dozen different developers asking difficult questions. He vowed that next time he would keep the numbers down to only a few people. That would probably be just as good value. He will do consulting by the day, and talk about whatever the customer would like, within Joomla. He’s not too expensive so I would recommend taking him up on that. His technical knowledge is good, but I think that you have to be a developer with experience to get the most out of it. Check out his report.

We had some insight into using the Zend development system and that was the first time I’d seen it. That sould be the last time I’ll use notepad for PHP editing. Debugging looked useful as well, but it takes some knowledge to set up the sites to do this properly. Not quite as heavy as learning Visual Studio but going in that direction.

Joomla looks good underneath. We developed modules to do both admin and user interfaces but we shall probably have to let it sink in for a short while before going further. As with anything else, you need to do this stuff regularly to keep in tune. Joomla 1.5 will produce yet another learning experience. It will change quie a few things, but won’t solve all the problems. I need to make a chooice of whether to develop anything in 1.1, or to leave all the customisation to version 1.5. It’s hard to work out when there will be a stable production release of 1.5, so we’ll do some 1.0.11 work and then convert.

Joomla managed content

I wanted to have a look at the Joomla CMS ( all the developers came from the Mambo team, after the split with Miro , sad really ) , so to start with I set up apache, php, mySQL with the xampp package from apachefriends.org. It was very easy. Not very secure, with lots of cautions and red boxes, but great for a quick server. It can also switch between php4 and php5 so we can test both – a bonus. I installed on windows 2k, stopped all the IIS services and then ran xampp. It started up fine and the initial web page was just there on localhost. Everything can be run as a service as well.

Installed then checked the status. All seemed ok, apart from the SMTP mail not being there as default. I didn’t need this. Then downloaded Joomla and expanded it into a directory underneath the xampp/htdocs/ folder. Browse to localhost/joomla/ and the Joomla front page comes up. Joomla needs a password on the mySQL setup, so I looked at the command line app to do that, but before I did it, I checked the security page on the xampp opening screen. It shows 5 major Unsecure flages and gives a link to fix three of them. I did it this way. Added a weather secret password for the mySQL and similar for the xampp directory, admin user. It goes in .htaccess. Needed to do this on the localhost machine itself. Need to restart mySQL to pick this password up.

I’ll leave safemode OFF until I get used to joomla. It says that it may be used by some of the packages. Tut tut!

Php comes with the Ming Flash v0.3 module and it seemed to demo OK. Must try that sometime.

Joomla has a similar few pages to do the install, name the db, add the admin weather password etc. Pretty easy. Site came up and I needed to delete the installation pages. Delete the whole directory, refresh and we’re up and away. Glasshouse web site, news, rss feeds etc etc. This could be done in less than an hour!

Admin login to Joomla is site/administrator/index.php
Login to phpMyAdmin is root.

Q’s

Can we run two sites from the same Joomla installation pages?

cool software for Leo CMS

CMS systems are the way to push lots of data. Had a browse around several recently. Some seem to be simple to setup, others quite difficult, but have the flexibilty to grow and cope with what I’d like. Had a good look at Typo3. Looks good but quite hard to comprehend. Some good video tutorials. All went OK when setting up on the web. Didn’t need root access or anything like that. I’m not sure it could do easyIndex without having some specially written modules. Eventually found that it was taking too much time. Had to look at some thing more simple.

Had another browse around and decided to have a go at a version of Nuke. A good project was to setup a site for Leo’s warhammer. Chose to try CPGNuke for Leo-Cool. It was pretty good. Easy to setup, quite robust, member login, stats, voting, forums. Lots. The picture library is based around the Coppermine Photo gallery with sorting, voting etc. Quite straightforward once you get used to it. Lots of Warhammer pics on there now.