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We just had this wonderful email from one of our Joomla training clients. Paulo and his team came to the class knowing nothing about Joomla, but on a

"Just wanted to share our success. :)

Back in December 10,11 we (my coworkers and I) went to a Joomla Training and we had nothing. I think I even told you that we needed the website up by the end of January, and you're like... "that's gonna be hard". Well... it was, but we did it. :)

I'm still implementing more functionality to the site and giving more power to the editors, but we have the site up and running beautifully, with 277 articles, 25 sections, 88 categories, and around 40 editors. The church purchased CommunityACL and It really works well. Every user has access to only their areas and JCE lets them have access to only their folder in the server.

So, that's it... We did it.

Check out: http://www.fba.org

Thanks!

Paulo"

| Drupal

This tutorial was written after a request in one of this week's Drupal classes: "How do I show different Drupal themes on different pages?". The answer is a module called "Sections":

Installing Sections to Your Drupal Site

  • Step 1: Click here to download the latest version of "Sections".
  • Step 2: Extract the files into a folder on your desktop. The folder will be called "sections".
  • Step 3: Login to your site's files via FTP and navigate to /sites/all/. If there isn't a folder called /modules/ here, create one.
  • Step 4: Upload the "sections" folder to /sites/all/modules/
  • Step 5: Go to Administer >> Site building >> Modules. Check the box next to "Sections" and click Save Configuration.

Showing Different Drupal Themes on Different Pages

Now that Sections is set up, we'll be able to use it to place different themes on different pages:

  • Step 6: Go to Administer >> Site building >> Themes. Make sure that all the themes you want to use are enabled.
  • Step 7: Go to Administer >> Site building >> Sections and click "Add Sections".
  • Step 8: Give the section a name, click "enabled" and choose the theme you want to use.
  • Step 9: At the bottom of the page you'll see an area called "Page specific visibility settings". This is the same option you have with Blocks. Enter the pages you'd like this theme to appear on, click save and you're done!

| Drupal
One of things we often do for our training clients is simplify the admin area for them. There is a module that allows users to manage their site via a clean, dropdown menu. It has proven so popular that companies such as Acquia provide it by default to all their customers:
Here's how to install it:
  • Step 1: Click here to download the latest version of "Admin Menu". Choose the top link under "Recommended releases".
  • Step 2: Extract the files into a folder on your desktop. The folder will be called "admin_menu"
  • Step 3: Login to your site's files via FTP and navigate to /sites/default/. If there isn't a folder called /modules/ here, create one.
  • Step 4: Upload the "admin_menu" folder to /sites/default/modules/
  • Step 5: Go to Administer >> Modules >> Administration menu and check the box.  
  • Step 6: Click 'Save Configuration" at the very bottom of the screen.
  • Step 7: Go to Administer >> Site configuration >> Administration menu and there are some settings you can edit.

Once you've followed those seven steps, your dropdown menu should appear at the top of the page.

Drupal Admin Menu

| Drupal

In this tutorial we'll show you how to place an RSS feed inside a block. You can then display that RSS feed anywhere around your theme. We don't need any extra modules this week as we'll be using the core Aggregator Module:

Setting up the Aggregator Module

First of all, we're going to set up the Aggregator module so that it can handle the RSS feeds for us.

  • Step 1: Go to Administer >> Site building >> Modules. Check the box next to "Aggregator" and click Save Configuration.
  • Step 2: Go to Administer >> click "By module" at the top.
  • Step 3: Find the "Aggregator" area right at the top and then click on "Feed aggregator":

  • Drupal Aggregator Module

  • Step 4: Click "Add Feed" along the top and enter the address of your RSS feed:

  • Drupal Aggregator Module

  • Step 5: Click "Save" and then "update items". That will load the latest articles from your RSS feed.

Placing the RSS Feed in a Block

Now that Aggregator is handling the RSS feeds for us, we'll go and place it into a block on our site:

  • Step 6: Go to Administer >> Site building >> Blocks. Scroll down to find the block with the same name as the feed your created in Step 4. Aggregator has automatically created this for you.
  • Step 7: More than likely, you will need to click "Configure" next to the block and choose a new title. Aggregator creates a default title of "[feed name] feed latest items".
  • Step 8: Publish the block and check to see how it looks on your site:

  • Drupal Aggregator Module

| Drupal

What is a WYSIWYG Editor and Why Do You Need It?

So your site users don't have to use code. Its as simple as that.

WYSIWYG stands for "What You See Is What You Get" ... if you select some text and click the "bold" button, that text will be bold. If you select some text and click the "italic" button, that text will be in italics. There's no messing around with HTML. That will be a relief to some of you and more particularly ... your clients and site visitors.

Installing the WYSIWYG Module

First of all, we're going to install a WYSIWYG module that will allow Drupal to install a range of different editors.

  • Step 1: Click here to download the latest version of "WYSIWYG". Choose the top link under "Recommended releases".
  • Step 2: Extract the files into a folder on your desktop. The folder will be called "wysiwyg"
  • Step 3: Login to your site's files via FTP and navigate to /sites/all/. If there isn't a folder called /modules/ here, create one.
  • Step 4: Upload the "wysiwyg" folder to /sites/all/modules/
  • Step 5: Go to Administer >> Site building >> Modules. Check the box next to "Wysiwyg" and click Save Configuration.
  • Step 6: Go to Administer >> Site configuration >> Wysiwyg and you should see a screen with several suggested editors. One option is TinyMCE and that is the example we will use:
Adding a WYSIWYG Editor to Your Drupal Site

Installing TinyMCE

Now we're going to install the TinyMCE editor itself:

  • Step 7: Click on the "Download" link or go directly to http://tinymce.moxiecode.com/download.php
  • Step 8: Download the latest TinyMCE to your desktop and extract the files. The folder will be called "tinymce 2". Rename this to simply "tinymce"
  • Step 9: Login to your site's files via FTP and navigate to /sites/all/. If there isn't a folder called /libraries/ here, create one.
  • Step 10: Upload the "wysiwyg" folder to /sites/all/libraries/
  • Step 11: Go back to Go to Administer >> Site configuration >> Wysiwyg and screen we saw before should now look like this:
Adding a WYSIWYG Editor to Your Drupal Site
  • Step 12: Save these settings and now when you go to edit an article, you should see a fully-fledged editor:
Adding a WYSIWYG Editor to Your Drupal Site

| Drupal

Why Block Spam Comments?

MollomIf you site is new, this might not be too much of a problem. However, as your site grows, it will increasingly be seen as a valuable target for spammers. If they succeed in placing links on your site, they may get a couple of benefits:

  • Search engines may rank the spammer's site more highly
  • Unsuspecting users may click on the link and visit the spammer's site.
Perhaps the best solution available for Drupal sites is Mollom - a module created by Drupal's founder. It automatically filters out spammers who try to register, comment or contact you.

Install Mollom to Your Drupal Site

  • Step 1: Click here to download the latest version of "Mollom". Choose the top link under "Recommended releases".
  • Step 2: Extract the files into a folder on your desktop. The folder will be called "mollom"
  • Step 3: Login to your site's files via FTP and navigate to /sites/default/. If there isn't a folder called /modules/ here, create one.
  • Step 4: Upload the "mollom" folder to /sites/default/modules/
  • Step 5: Go to Administer >> Site building >> Modules. Check the box next to "Mollom" and click Save Configuration.

Setting Up and Enabling Mollom

  • Step 6: Go to Mollom.com and create an account.
  • Step 7: Once you have logged in to Mollom.com, click "Manage sites" in the upper right menu.
  • Step 8: Select "Add subscription" to create a new key pair for your website (or "edit subscription" to access a subscription for an existing site tied to your account).
  • Step 9: Go back to your Drupal site and visit Administer >> Site configuration >> Mollom.
  • Step 10: Enter the key pair that you created in Step 8.

Once the module is active you can log back in to Mollom.com in future weeks to track how much spam has been prevented on your site.

| Drupal

Why Add a Sitemap?

I'll be honest and say that I don't believe sitemaps improve your ranking in search engines. However, they do make sure more pages get indexed and that they get indexed more quickly. This article presents evidence that the difference is astounding:

  • Google with a sitemap: 14 minutes
  • Google without a sitemap: 1375 minutes
  • Yahoo with a sitemap: 245 minutes
  • Yahoo without a sitemap: 1773 minutes

How to Add a Sitemap to Your Drupal Site

  • Step 1: Click here to download the latest version of "XML Sitemap". Choose the top link under "Recommended releases".
  • Step 2: Extract the files into a folder on your desktop. The folder will be called "xmlsitemap"
  • Step 3: Login to your site's files via FTP and navigate to /sites/default/. If there isn't a folder called /modules/ here, create one.
  • Step 4: Upload the "xmlsitemap" folder to /sites/default/modules/
  • Step 5: Go to Administer >> Modules >> Administration menu and check the box next to "XML sitemap" and click "Save Configuration".
  • Step 6: After saving you'll presented with more options. Checking all the boxes would be a good choice.
Drupal Sitemap

Submitting the Sitemap to Search Engines

Drupal Sitemap

| Drupal

In this tutorial we'll show you how to place a Twitter feed inside a block. You can then display that Twitter feed anywhere around your theme. There are many different Twitter options out there but most have a couple of limitations:

  • They post tweets as nodes rather than in a block.
  • If they post to a block, they require very complex setups normally involving creating Views.

Thanks to Expedition Post, we're going to suggest a much simpler way to show tweets in a block on your site. They've created a script that is very cleverly called "Twitter Block".

Installing Twitterblock to Your Drupal Site

  • Step 1: Click here to download the latest version of "Twitter Block".
  • Step 2: Extract the files into a folder on your desktop. The folder will be called "twitterblock".
  • Step 3: Login to your site's files via FTP and navigate to /sites/default/. If there isn't a folder called /modules/ here, create one.
  • Step 4: Upload the "twitterblock" folder to /sites/default/modules/
  • Step 5: Go to Administer >> Site building >> Modules. Check the box next to "Twitter Block" and click Save Configuration.

Placing Your Twitter Feed in a Block

Now that Twitter Block is set up, we'll go and place it on our site:

  • Step 6: Go to Administer >> Site building >> Blocks. Scroll down to find Twitter Block.
  • Step 7: Click "Configure" next to the block and enter your Twitter username and password:
  • Drupal twitterblock Module
  • Step 8: Click "Save Block", publish the block and check to see how it looks on your site:

  • Drupal twitterblock Module

| WordPress
Perhaps the #1 most common question we get from beginners is: "How do I change the logo on a Wordpress theme?" This tutorial is the answer:

  • Step 1: Go and download the Firefox browser, if you haven't done so yet: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/personal.html. Firefox is much better than Internet Explorer or Safari for working on websites.
  • Step 2: Start Firefox so that you're browing the web with it. We're now going to install an extra toolbar for Firefox. It is called the "Web Developer" toolbar. Visit this page: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/60
  • Step 3: Click "Add to Firefox" and follow the instructions, including restarting Firefox.
  • Step 4: The next time you open Firefox, you will see a list of links that starts with "Disable", "Cookies", "CSS" and ends in "Options":
Wordpress and Firefox Toolbar

  • View Image InfoStep 5: Browse to the website where you want to change the logo. We're going to use http://wordpress.org for this example.
  • Step 6: In the toolbar, click on "Images" which is the 5th link from the left. Then click "View Image Information" from the dropdown.
  • Step 7: You will now see a list of all the images on the site.
  • Step 8: Scroll down until you see the logo. You will see two pieces of information about it: Location ( http://s.wordpress.org/style/images/wordpress-logo.png ) and Size ( Width = 301 pixels, Height = 52 pixels ).
Wordpress Logo
  • Step 9: You need to make a new logo that is the same width and height as the old.
  • Step 10: Use your favorite file manager to upload the new logo to the location you found in Step 8. It is better to rename rather than delete the old logo. You could call it logo-backup.png for example.

A detailed look at the Wireshark protocol analyzer

Greetings, In this article I want to discuss the other powerful tool a systems administrator should know about. It is called Wireshark (from Wireshark.org). Wireshark is in essence a sniffer, in that it can listen in on the packets on the wire and tell you whats what. Officially its called a protocol analyzer which is more true to its mission. In this article I want to share with you a few items of value about Wireshark, and why you should get to know this tool better.

I think that as technical people we get lulled into a dull sense of safety with tools, for example a reliance on a control panel tool that identifies bad guys by their actions and blocks their IP's. This is for sure a good thing, but it is not the only thing. With tools like Wireshark, we can peer into the activity of our server and see what is going on at the packet level. A client some months ago came to JoomlaRescue.com and was having a problem with continually being hacked. We tracked it down to a compromised (vulnerable) FTP software that had allowed them in. However we found they were using FTP through the use of Wireshark.

This is important because if you were unfortunate enough to have a bad guy insert this INTO your network he could eavesdrop on everything you do. However - in this use case, it is being demonstrated as diagnostic tool.

For the purposes of this article I ran Wireshark on MY personal machine only. It was never allowed  outside my network, so in other words, everything you see here came to my machine using normal, everyday browsing techniques.

Read more ...

In our previous articles, we discussed at a high level a few tools, the first of which was Nmap from insecure.org. In this article I want to give you a short primer on Nmap and some of the popular methods to use this powerful tool.

Read more ...

Good Day to you!

In my last article, I introduced you to NMAP, WIRESHARK and NETCAT. These fall in the category of diagnostics and troubleshooting. The next two tools known as vulnerability scanners. They check your server, code and in the case of the second tool - Accunetix  - it scans your "code" for such things as SQL Injection flaws and Cross site scripting.

Read more ...

Good Day to you and welcome to Tools you need to know about.

This article is part one of the TOOL Series. In this I want to introduce you to some of my favorite tools. In the first few articles, I will discuss them generally, then in future articles, I'll spend time discussing each one.

The tools discussed will be both GPL and NON-GPL tools as well as Joomla based tools.  Your comments are welcome and I hope that you find this series helpful.

Read more ...

HTML form data can be retrieved and processed in many different ways, for example

  • by using a scripting language,
  • a server-side language such as PHP,
  • or any of the many programming languages of choice.

In this tutorial, we're going to walk you through on how to access or retrieve form data with PHP, and show you the different methods that can be used.

Read more ...

We Use, Trust and Recommend Rochen

10 years is a long time in this business.

Since we started in 2006, we've dealt with a lot of people and a lot of companies. Business relationships have come and gone. Not many have endured for 10 years. Our relationship with Rochen is one of the few that has.

For the last 10 years, we've hosted all our sites at Rochen. This site is running on Rochen right now.

We use Rochen ourselves, and we recommend them to our customers. Over the last 10 years, we've experienced a lot of hosting companies. Though during these years we’ve occasionally recommended hosting companies, we stopped doing so because of the negative customer feedback we received. However, when we send people to Rochen, they come back happy.

Read more ...

Hey! DrupalCon Denver is almost here... and I'm leavin' on a jet plane! (yep - I'm old enough to remember that song)

This will be our 4th DrupalCon, and for the 3rd time Steve and I are teaching the "Absolute Beginner's Guide to Drupal" at a DrupalCon. The training is on Monday, but I'm afraid it sold out three times.  We'll then enjoy the conference for the rest of the week with some of the geekiest people in the world! It's going to be a great week!

If you can't make it to Denver, check back often this week. If you're interested in Drupal, we'll be live blogging many of the sessions we attend including, of course, the keynote on Tuesday by Dries.

If you can make it to Denver, we'd love to meet you. Here's how to find us and get some great freebies.

Heading to DrupalCon Denver
(Dries keynote at DrupalCon London - August 2011)

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