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”

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Midnight fan site

We adapted the Midnight shop site to be more like a fan site. Francis Lee decided to go another way with the shop and he made instant decision to use whoever offered to do it for nothing. Not sure that I’m impressed by the result, but let’s see what results they get.

We devceloped the template for the version 1.0.10 of the Joomla Content Management system. It took quite a while in the end, because we wanted a particular effect. Based on a template from ….(?) I took that apart and resized, made it float in the centre and chaged the graphics to suit Midnight. Looked quite good but took a little while to load the first time, perhaps because it is made up of so many parts. We should try preloading some of the images to get the whole set displaying at the same time.

Not sure that I understand Joomla’s SEO features and I don’t want it any slower so I shall leave it as the default to start with. Have a look at the MidsnightFan site

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?