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| Joomla

Bolt is professional template that we provide free to our training students. It's simple, fast and loads as fast as a lightning bolt (hence the name!)

Because Bolt is not a complex template it's a great place to start learning Joomla template design. This tutorial will show you how to modify the column widths in Bolt. Hopefully it will also give you a good example of one method for creating flexible layouts:

Default Three Column Layout

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The first thing you should know is that the Bolt template is 960px wide. That's how much space we have to work with. By default, there are three elements taking up that space - the left column, center column and right column,. They are controlled by only four CSS elements.

First of all we have the left div. This div is straightforward and the most important element is the width:

#left {
 float:left;
 font-size:1.2em;
 overflow:hidden;
 width:160px;
 }

Next there is a second layer of CSS added to the left div. This only happens when there are three columns live on the site. The margin is 660px from the edge of the right column and actually controls the placement of left column. If this number were -770px then the left column would disappear off to the left-hand side of the site.

.threecolumns #left {
 margin:0 0 0 -660px;
 }

This is the CSS that controls the main body text. The left margin of 170px keeps the main body out of the way of the left column which is 160px wide.

.threecolumns #center {
 margin:0 10px 0 170px;
 width:480px;
 }

Finally we have the right column. This is even simpler than the left column - the main element is the width of 300px.

#right 
 {
 float:left;
 font-size:1.2em;
 overflow:hidden;
 width:300px;
 }

Change the Right Column Width With Three Columns

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We're going to reduce the right column size so that it is only 200px wide rather than 300px. Here's what we need to change.

Remember that the left column position is definited by its margin from the right column. So if the right column shrinks, we need to increase the margin if we want the left column to stay in the same place. Because the right column is shrinking by 100px, we're going to increase the margin by 100px from 660px to 760px.

.threecolumns #left {
 margin:0 0 0 -760px;
 }

Also, we're going to allow the center of the site to take up the extra 100px so let's increase its width from 480px to 580px:

.threecolumns #center {
 margin:0 10px 0 170px;
 width:580px;
 }

Finally, we actually need to shrink the right column from 300px to 200px:

#right 
 {
 float:left;
 font-size:1.2em;
 overflow:hidden;
 width:200px;
 }

Change the Left Column Width With Three Columns

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We're going to increase the left column size so that it is 260px wide rather than 160px. Here's what we need to change.

Remember that the left column position is definited by its margin from the right column. However, the controlling element is the left-hand side of the left column. That's not moving. Neither is the right column. So we can leave this part alone:

.threecolumns #left {
 margin:0 0 0 -660px;
 }

We do need to change the width of the left column. This is fairly simple: we just change 160px to 260px:

#left {
 float:left;
 font-size:1.2em;
 overflow:hidden;
 width:260px;
 }

We're going to take that extra 100px from the center of the site so let's decrease its width from 480px to 380px:

.threecolumns #center {
 margin:0 10px 0 270px;
 width:380px;
 }

Finally, we can leave the right column alone:

#right 
 {
 float:left;
 font-size:1.2em;
 overflow:hidden;
 width:300px;
 }

Default Left Column Layout

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Whereas the three column layout can be tricky, the two column layouts are much more staightforward. We're just using simple widths for the two columns:

#left
 {
 float:left;
 font-size:1.2em;
 overflow:hidden;
 width:160px;
 }

.leftcolumn #center {
 margin:0 0 0 170px;
 width:790px;
 }

Changing the Left Column Width

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We're going to increase the size of the left column by 100px so let's increase the width from 160px to 260px:

#left
 {
 float:left;
 font-size:1.2em;
 overflow:hidden;
 width:260px;
 }

For the center column we need to reduce the width from 790px to 690px in order to add that width to the left column. We also need to accomodate the left column by increasing the margin from 170px to 270px:

.leftcolumn #center {
 margin:0 0 0 270px;
 width:690px;
 }

Default Right Column Layout

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Again, the two column layout is staightforward. We're just using simple widths for the two columns:

.rightcolumn #center 
 {
 margin:0 10px 0 0;
 width:650px;
 }

#right 
 {
 float:left;
 font-size:1.2em;
 overflow:hidden;
 width:300px;
 }

Changing the Right Column Width

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We're going to make the right column narrower by 100px. So in order to fill up that space, let's make the center column wider by 100px:

.rightcolumn #center 
 {
 margin:0 10px 0 0;
 width:750px;
 }

Now let's remove 100px from the right column.

#right 
 {
 float:left;
 font-size:1.2em;
 overflow:hidden;
 width:200px;
 }

| Joomla

User Meta is a small plugin that allows you to collect extra information from your users.

Most solutions to this problem require you to install a large and complex extension. Although User Meta does require a little coding it is a small and lightweight solution. Here's how you use it.

Download User Meta

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Go to Joomlacode.org and download the User Meta plugin.

Upload User Meta

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In your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Install/Uninstall and upload the User Meta plugin. Then go to Extensions >> Plugin Manager and enable the plugin.

Setting Up the User Fields

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Next, we'll go and set up our extra user fields. Open your file manager and browse to /plugins/system/usermeta/. Open the user.xml file.

What you'll see are the current parameters that users see. These are "Back-end Language", "Front-end Language", "WYSYWYG Editor for this User", "Help Site for this User" and "Time Zone for this User":

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Add Your Own Fields

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You can create your own parameters in here using Joomla's default system. It's the same plugin language used for all templates and extensions. I've chosen to use a radio button for this example, hence type="radio".

If you have any predefined choices you can save them using options as in the example above. When you save your user.xml file, go and login to the front of your site and visit the normal Joomla user account page. It should look like the image below:

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Adding the Fields to Your Site's Registration

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You can also add these fields to any Joomla layout page. However, it makes sense to add it to the registration form so you can collect this information when people join. All you need to do is insert: {UserMeta}. In order to use it in the registration form, I've edited /components/com_user/views/register/tmpl/default.php. The result is shown below:

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Remember Not to Hack Core Files

If you do use this last technique for your site's registration, rather than hack the core registration file, it's best to just override it. Copy the file from /components/com_user/views/register/tmpl/default.php to /templates/your-template-name/html/com_user/register/default.php

| Joomla

One of our Joomla students was wondering what options they could set up for their site's users.

Joomla comes with eight different menu links for users to interact with. 6 of them allow users to control their account by logging in, registering or editing their account. The other 2 links allow people to submit information.

Here are the 8 links with the administrator view first (Menus >> Main Menu >> New) and then the front-end view that your users will see.

Default Login Layout - Allow People to Login to Your Site

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Default Registration Layout - Allow People to Register on Your Site

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Default Remind - Recover Your Forgotten Username

If you've forgotten your username for your account, Joomla will send a reminder to your email address.

  • If you've forgotten your email also ... you'll have to ask the site administrator.
  • If you are the site administrator and you've forgotten your username and email (!), try this tutorial.
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Default Reset Layout - Reset Your Lost Password

Many people will use the same password on many sites (it's not a good idea, but people do it anyway). So for security reasons Joomla will create a new password for you rather than send out the old one. First, you'll have to enter a token that Joomla send to your email address.

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Default User Layout - Just a Simple Welcome Message

To be honest, this is not much use. Sorry.

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tutuploadsmedia_1284151586132.png

User Form Layout - Allow Users to Edit Their Account

If you'd like to turn off the bottom 5 dropdown boxes from Back-end language down to Time Zone, you can do that by going to Site >> Global Configuration >> System >> Front-end User Parameters >> set that option to "No".

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Article Submission Layout - Allow Users to Send in Articles

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Web Link Submission Layout - Allow Users to Send in Weblinks

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| Joomla

UPDATE: Firebug is not supported anymore. Please try Dev Tools in Firefox, or Developer Tools in Chrome instead.

Firefox is a great browser for working with Joomla templates.

In another tutorial we covered the Webdeveloper plugin. In this tutorial we'll cover the Firebug plugin which allows you to debug and edit your template's HTML and CSS files:

Install the Firebug Plugin

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Click "Install Firebug For Firefox". You'll have to restart your browser for the installation to finish. When it is over, you'll see an extra Firebug icon in the bottom-right of your browser.

Enable Firebug

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Click on the icon and it will be enabled.

Reload Your Page

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Refresh your page and you'll see Firebug starting to do it's work in a new panel at the bottom of your browser. There are lots of features in Firebug. We're going to use a couple that will allow us to analyse our Joomla template.

Use the Firebug Inspect Feature

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In the bottom-left hand corner of your browser, click on the blue arrow. You should get a pop-up message saying "Click an element in the page to inspect". That's what we're going to do.

Click the Logo

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Click on the Joomla logo. There will be a blue box around the outside. At the bottom of the page, you'll see Joomla's HTML layout on the left and its CSS on the right. We can see that the logo area is placed on the page using this HTML:

. We can also see that it's controlled by the CSS i div#logo

tutuploadsmedia_1284145350669.png

Edit the CSS

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Put your cursor into the background CSS and it should pop-up as in the image above. You can edit any part of this. I'm going to choose to edit the image. I'm going to replace it with the Google logo: http://www.google.com/images/logos/ps_logo2.png

tutuploadsmedia_1284145692246.png

When you've done that, click your cursor somewhere else on the page and you should see that your change has taken effect:

tutuploadsmedia_1284145833414.png

OK, that's great, but the image is still too large. Let's go back to the CSS. I'm going to change the width of the logo to 498px and also change the height of the logo to 140px.

tutuploadsmedia_1284145897594.png
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Refresh your page and you'll be back to the design. All those changes only took place in your browser. No-one else saw them.

Fixing CSS Problems

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Imagine that I have a problem with the CSS in my template ... I'd like to change the color of my links. To get started, enable the Inspect feature and click on a link. The CSS will appear beneath. This image above shows all the CSS affecting the link, regardless of what file it appears in.

tutuploadsmedia_1284146509272.png

If you want to know where the CSS is stored so that you change it, Firebug will tell you exact file location and line number. However, first we need to make and test our changes. All you need to do is click on and change the color CSS:

tutuploadsmedia_1284146655488.png

I'm going to change #135CAE to #FF0000 and that will change all the links to red:

tutuploadsmedia_1284146772920.png

| Drupal

This tutorial will show you how to move your Drupal site from one server to another. This example uses two live servers, however the same principles also apply for moving to or from a local server.

Your Drupal Site

tutuploadsmedia_1284064777892.png

I'm going to move a straight-forward Drupal install to a new location. Each Drupal site has two halves - the files and the database. We're going to move one and then the other. Finally we'll make sure they can talk to each other.

Download the Files to Your Desktop

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Step 1 is to download all of your Drupal site's files to your desktop.

Upload the Files to Your New Server

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Step 2 is to upload them all your new server.

Export Your Old Database

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For accesing the Drupal database I'm using phpMyAdmin which is commonly used by hosting companies and localhost setps. Find your site's database and click on "Export".

tutuploadsmedia_1284065288199.png

You'll need to export your database as SQL. I've chosen to also compress it using Gzip so that the process is a little quicker. Finally click Go.

Import to the New Database

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I'm also using phpMyAdmin at the new site. Click "Import".

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Choose the file that you just exported and click "Go" to import it into the new database.

tutuploadsmedia_1284065582137.png

Check to make sure that all the tables have imported sucessfully.

Change Settings.php

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Finally we need to make sure that our files and database can talk to each other.

Login to your site's files and go to /sites/default/ and open settings.php. There are two things you'll need to change.

On line 92, chang the $db_url line to reflect the new database name, username and password.

tutuploadsmedia_1284066088958.png

On line 125, change $base_url to reflect the location of your new site.

That's it. Visit your Drupal site in it's new location and it should be live.

| Joomla

We had a question from a Joomla student:

"Several articles are locked. The message says: Checked Out (name) (date) (time). That particular person is logged out of the administrator. Why are these articles locked and what does Checked Out mean?"

Read on to find the answer:

Padlocks in Joomla

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Sometimes when you look at a a Joomla article you'll see a little yellow padock next to the article. Hover over the padlock and you'll also information about a particular use together with a date and time. This is what the student mentioned when they asked about "Checked Out (name) (date) (time)"

tutuploadsmedia_1284062575844.png

You can also see the same effect on modules ...

tutuploadsmedia_1284061337774.png

... and menu links.

What Does This Mean?

When a user edits an article, module or menu link, Joomla! changes the file's status to Checked Out (represented by the padlock). The file is locked and only the User who has checked it out can modify it. This is a safety/security feature that prevents two Users from editing an Item at the same time, thus preventing the loss of any data upon saving.

Now here's the important bit that can often be confusing: the article, module or menu link remains "Checked Out" until the User clicks Apply, Save, or Cancel while editing it. If they don't (for example if they hit the back button instead) the padlock will stay for quite some time.

Removing the Padlock

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Fortunately removing these padlocks is very easy. Simply go to Tools >> Global Check-in. Joomla will then show you all the items that are now free for editing as below:

tutuploadsmedia_1284063088181.png

However, if you have a site with multiple users, please be careful to ask your colleagues before doing this. If people really are editing the item, you don't want to bump them out before they've finished. If you do have large number of writers on your site, you might consider using this AutoSave plugin to avoid such mistakes.

| Joomla

Before you start to build your Joomla site, I recommend you delete all the sample content.

Is this a common problem?. A quick search for some of the default text shows over 4 millions sites who have forgotten to remove it. Also commonly indexed are Newsfeeds and Weblinks. The Joomla sample data isn't relevant to your site and can often clog up up the administrator area.

UPDATE: Mass Content is now called OSContent and is available from http://joomlashack.com.

Read more ...

| WordPress

This tutorial will show you how to install WordPress locally on your P.C..

We're going to use WAMP for this task. WAMP stands for "Windows, Apache, MySQL, PHP" which are the different elements that allow you to run WordPress on your computer.

Here's how you do it:

Video on How to Install WordPress Locally on a P.C.

Step 1: Install WAMP

  1. WAMP ServerDownload WAMP to your computer.
  2. Run through the WAMP installation process.
  3. In your taskbar, down the by the date in the bottom-right hand corner of your screen, look for the WAMP icon. Click on that icon.
  4. You should see a popup. Click "Start All Services" and then click "Localhost."
  5. Hopefully you'll see a white screen with the Wampserver logo in the top-left corner.

Step 2: Download WordPress

  1. Download WordPressGo to WordPress.org and click on the blue button saying "Download WordPress 3.0.x".
  2. The file you download should have a name like wordpress-3.0.1.zip

Step 3: Move WordPress to WAMP

  1. Click on the WAMP icon in your taskbar again and now click "www directory". This will take you to the folder where WAMP stores its websites.
  2. Move your WordPress folder from Step 2 into this directory.
  3. Extract the WordPress folder.
  4. It will be confusing to keep accessing the website through a folder called /wordpress-3.0.1/ so rename the folder to something simple such as /wordpress/

Step 4: Set up our database

  1. Click on the WAMP icon in your taskbar again and now click "phpMyAdmin". This will take you to the software where WordPress's databases are managed.
  2. Find the field labelled "Create new database" and enter "wordpress". Click "Create".
  3. Hopefully you'll see the name "wordpress" appear in the left column.

Step 5: Install WordPress

In your browser, visit this address: http://localhost/wordpress. You'll see the the WordPress installation screen as below:

Installation Step 1

On the first screen, simply click "Create a Configuration File".

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Installation Step 2

On the second screen, simply click "Let's Go!".

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Installation Step 3

Here you will need to enter the database information:

  • Host Name: Localhost
  • Username: root
  • Password: [leave this blank]
  • Database: wordpress
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Installation Step 4

Simply click "Run the install".

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Installation Step 5

Enter the name of your site plus the password and email you'd like to use.

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Installation Step 6

You should now have a shiny new installation of WordPress on your P.C. where you can develop your website securely in your local environment.

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| Joomla

It's really useful for writers on a website to be able to easily find and manage their articles. With Joomla, there's no central control panel for writers to do that. Fortunately there's an outstanding, free extension called Frontend User Article List which solves that problem. Here's how to use it:

Download Frontend User Article List

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Click to download the component. The current version is com_frontenduserarticlelist_v2.0b.zip.

Install Frontend User Article List

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In your Joomla site administrator, go to Extensions >> Install/Uninstall and upload the file that you just downloaded. Then go to Components >> Extensions >> Frontend User Article List. There's almost nothing to control here except "Parameters" in the top-right corner.

Create a Menu Link

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Go to Menus >> Main Menu >> click "New". Click "Frontend User Article List" and then choose "Default Layout".

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Give your menu link a name. Also, set "Access Level" to "Registered". This is important because this component will only be useful to people who have accounts on your site. Click "Save".

View Frontend User Article List in Action

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Visit the front of your site and login. Click your new "My Articles" link and you'll see a page like the one above. People will be able to manage their articles including clicking "New Article" to submit new ones.

| WordPress

Rokbox is a popular plugin made by Rockettheme for Joomla. It allows you to display images inside a stylish pop-up. You can see the Joomla version of this tutorial by clicking here.

However, there is also a WordPress version available and here's how to use it:

Download Rokbox and Upload to Your Site

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Click here to download the Rokbox plugin for WordPress. You'll then need to extract the folder onto your desktop. Upload it to the /wp-content/plugins/ folder on your site

Activate Rokbox

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In your WordPress site admin area, go to the Plugins and click "Activate" next to RokBox Gallery

Add an Image to a Post

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Go to one of your WordPress posts and click the "Add an image" button. Insert an image into your post. It end result should look like it does below:

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View the HTML

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Click the "HTML" tab in the top-right of your post.

Insert the RokBox Code

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Insert rel="rokbox" into the HTML. The best place to do this is right after the opening Using Rokbox in Wordpress

| Drupal

The purpose of this tutorial is to show you how to find and fix problems with your Drupal templates. We're going to focus on CSS issues such as fonts, colors and padding.

Download and Install Firefox

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No question about it, Firefox is the best tool you can find for fixing problem on your website. Download from http://www.mozilla.com/firefox and install.

Install the Web Developer Plugin

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Firefox is useful for the same reason as Joomla ... it has 1000s of amazing addons. The one we're going to use is called "Web Developer". Visit https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/60 in your Firefox browser and click "Add to Firefox".

Visit Your Joomla Site

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We're going to use a default Drual install for this tutorial.

Diagonse Your Problem

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In this example, our welcome message is too small. We'd like to have "Welcome to your new Drupal website!" in larger text.

Start the Webdeveloper toolbar

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Click "CSS" in the toolbar and then click "View Style Information"

Click the item you want to edit

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Hover your mouse over any part of the page and a red box will appear around it. Click on that area.

See the CSS Code at the bottom of the page

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At the bottom of the page you'll get a lot of information about why that item on your site looks like it does. Here's what's controlling the "Welcome to the Frontpage" line:
1: The file with it's exact location
2: The exact line number inside that file
3: The code at that line number
In this case you can see that the font-size is 170%. We now know exactly which line in which file to edit.

| Joomla

This tutorial will show you how to create a development site in Joomla. You can make changes to your test site and then, when you've tested and are happy with them, automatically push out those changes to your live site. This is professional development behavior, because it reduces the potential for mistakes and allows you eliminate most errors before they become public.

To create a development site we're going to use an extension called Working Copy.

Install Two Joomla Sites

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In order to synchronize a Joomla live site and a Joomla development site, you first need to make sure you have both of them. So, I've installed a live site and then a development site inside it, in a folder called /child/. You can use other arrangements, but this is a simple way to get started.

Note: Please make sure that you keep your development site private from visitors and from search engines. That means at least password-protecting the folder.

Getting Working Copy Set Up

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We need to install Working Copy on both of our Joomla websites. When we've done that, login in to one of them and go to Components >> Working Copy >> New.

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There are three pieces of information you need to enter in this area:

1) Choose a name for this entry and enter the path to the child website.
2) Enter the database information for the child site. If you don't know it, you can find this in the site's configuration.php
3) Enter the database information for the main live site.

That's all you need to do here. There other, more advanced settings, but that's enough to test Working Copy and get it working.

However, don't forget to enter this exact same data into both your live site and your child site.

Make a Change To Your Child Site

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Now let's make a change on our child site - it doesn't need to be large. In fact, to test Working Copy, I recommend making only a minor alteration. In this case I modified the name of one article. I then went to the front of the site to check that the change was complete.

Seeing the Changes in Working Copy

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Now in your child site, go to Components >> Working Copy >> Differences and you'll see a list of the things that have changed. In this case it will an update to the jos_content table (when I edited my article) and an update to the jos_banner table (when I visited the site and saw the advertising banners).

Applying Changes to the Live Site

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Select the changes you'd like to see made on your live site and click "Commit". You should see a blue "Commit completed" message.

Check Your Changes

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Go to your live site and check to see whether the change has been made.

Changing Files

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OK, OK, you might say. That was fairly simple. We were able to move some database tables over. Well, let's have a look at how can we also move over file updates.

For, this example I've uploaded a module from Rockettheme to my child site, but any extension will do. You can see that 2-15 are file changes and 16-17 are module updates.

Check the Changes

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Now, go over to your live site and look for the new extension. It should have been successfully transferred.

Commit the Changes

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Now select those changes, click "Commit" and you should get a message saying that you've successfully moved the test changes to your live site.

Webinar by the Creator of Working Copy

| WordPress

This tutorial will show you how to find, install and activate free themes for your WordPress site.

Video on Installing WordPress Themes

Go to the Themes Area

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In the admin area of your Wordpress website, click on the "Appearance" tab and then click on "Themes".

Go the the Install Themes Area

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Click "Install Themes" in the top of the themes area.

Choose a Keyword or Set of Features

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One way to search for a theme is to enter a keyword and click "Search".

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Alternatively you can choose the features you'd like and click "Find Themes". Be careful not to check too many boxes or you'll end up with few results when you search.

Theme Search Results

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WordPress will return all the themes that match your search. Click on either "Install" if you know you want the theme or click "Preview" to see what it will look like. We're going to click on "Install" next to "Desk Mess Mirrored"

Install the Theme

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You'll see a screenshot of the theme and a few details. Click "Install Now" to complete the installation or "Cancel" to go back.

Installation Complete

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You'll hopefully get a message saying "Successfully installed the theme [THEME NAME]". Click on "Activate" to make the theme live.

Current Theme

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You should now see your theme under the "Current Theme" heading. Voila! Your theme will now be live on your site.

| Drupal

This tutorial will show you how to create a custom RSS feed in Drupal. To do this you'll need to have the Views module uploaded and installed.

Add a New View

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Click Administer > Site building > Views > Add

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Enter a name for your new RSS feed, choose "Node" and then click "Next"

Create an RSS Feed View

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On the left-hand side, choose "Feed" from the dropdown and click "Add display".

Choose the Types of Node Shown in Your RSS Feed

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On the right-hand side, click the + icon next to "Filters". Choose "Node" from the dropdown menu and then check the box called "Node: Type". Click "Add".

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Choose the node types that you want to include in your RSS feed and then click "Update default display".

Choose the Parts of the Node Shown in Your RSS Feed

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On the middle of the Views screen, click the + icon next to "Fields". Choose "Node" from the dropdown menu and then check the box called "Node: Title". Click "Add".

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You can change some of the setting for the RSS feed display here, but the first time you do this its best to click "Update" and move on.

Set the Path of Your RSS Feed

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At the bottom left of the Views screen, click the "None" text next to "Path". Enter a path (URL) for your RSS feed and click "Update".

Set the Style of Your RSS Feed

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At the top left of the Views screen, click "Missing style plugins" next to "Row style". Click "Update".

View Your Completed RSS Feed

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Click "View "Feed"" in the top-right corner of the Views screen.

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Your RSS feed should be ready!

| Joomla

This is Part 3 of a series of tutorials on Joomla's offline page:

Joomla allows a site to be taken offline with a setting in the Administrator Global Configuration panel.  When this happens, frontend access is no longer permitted and a special offline page is displayed. 

How is the Offline Page Created?

By default, the offline page is created from the System Template.  You'll find a file called offline.php in the /templates/system/ folder. The file itself is fairly straight-forward and can be divided into five parts:

Joomla Offline Page

Part 1. This single line provides error messages, for example if you try to login but enter the wrong information:

<jdoc:include type="message" />

Part 2. This places a Joomla logo on the page:

<div id="frame" class="outline">

<img src="/joomla_logo_black.jpg" alt="Joomla! Logo" align="middle" />

Part 3. This places your site name on the page:


<h1> <?php echo $mainframe->getCfg('sitename'); ?> </h1>

Part 4. This places an offline message on the page:

<p>

<?php echo $mainframe->getCfg('offline_message'); ?> </p>

Part 5. This final and longest part of the code places a login box. This code runs from:


<?php if(JPluginHelper::isEnabled('authentication', 'openid')) : ?>

all the way down to:
<?php echo JHTML::_( 'form.token' ); ?>
 

Creating Your Own Joomla Offline Page

You could of course just edit the default offline.php but you'd lose any changes as soon you upgraded your Joomla site. The best way to do this is to create a file called offline.php in your template folder. Copy the following files:

  • /templates/system/offline.php
  • /templates/system/css/offline.css
  • /templates/system/css/offline_rtl.css

and add those file to:

  • /templates/your_template/offline.php
  • /templates/your_template/css/offline.css
  • /templates/your_template/css/offline_rtl.css

This will give you a platform to safely customize the files.

| Joomla

MVC can be a scary acronym for the uninitiated.  It stands for Model-View-Controller and the concepts behind MVC are responsible for the extra flexibility that is now afforded to the designer.  While parts of the theory can be rather involved and complicated, the only part that the designer need worry about is the V for View.  This is the part that is concerned with output.

Different extensions display output in different ways.

Components

Components are fairly complex and have the ability to display different information in different ways.  For example, the Articles Component (com_content) is able to display a single article, or articles in a category, or categories in a section.  Each of the ways of representing the different types of data (an article, or a category, or a section) is called a view (this comes from our MVC terminology).  Most components will have many views.  However, the view doesn't actually display the output.  This is left up to what we call a layout and it is possible for a view to have a variety of layouts.

The main thing to remember here is that components can have multiple views, and each view can have one or more layouts.  Each view assembles a fixed set of information, but each layout can display that information in different ways.  For example, the Category view in the Articles component assembles a number of articles.  These articles could be displayed in a list or in a table (and probably other ways as well).  So this view may have a list layout and a table layout to choose from.

Modules

Modules, on the other hand, are very simple.  They generally display one thing one way.  Modules don't really have views but they do support a layout.  Some developers might even support a choice of layouts through module parameters.

Template versus Layout

It is very important to distinguish between the role of template and the role of layouts.  The template sets up a structural framework for the page of the Web site.  Within this framework are positions for modules and a component to display.  What actually gets displayed is governed by the module layout, or the combination of view and layout in the case of the component.

The following image shows the structural layout of a typical Joomla! template (rhuk_milkyway, the default for 1.5).  The module positions are displayed by adding tp=1 to the URL (eg, index.php?tp=1).  You can clearly see where the module output is contained within the overall template, as well as the main component output starting in the lower-centre region.  However, what is actually output in those regions, is controlled by the layouts.

Screenshot

Ancillary Customisation

While not strictly related to the MVC, there are two other important areas to consider when looking at customising the output of Joomla!.

In addition to layouts, modules have what we call chrome.  Chrome is the style with which a module is to display.  Most developers, designers and probably some end-users will be familiar with the different built-in styles for modules (raw, xhtml, etc).  It is also possible to define your own chrome styles for modules depending on the designer result.  For example, you could design a chrome to display all the modules in a particular position in a fancy javascript collapsing blind arrangement.

In the screenshot above, you can just make out the names of some of the built-in module chrome used (rounded, none and xhtml).

The second area has to do with controlling the pagination controls when viewing lists of data.

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