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One of the most annoying things about Joomla! (in my opinion) is that the default images directory (or folder, whatever you want to call it) is yoursite.com/images/stories, and the default directory for the media manager is yoursite.com/images. That makes no sense to me. Read on to find out why this makes no sense, and how you can easily fix it.

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I recently read an article over at blog.joomlatools.eu that shared an ingenious method for creating a site map in Joomla! using your existing menus, menu modules, and the built-in Joomla! plugin that enables you to load a module position within a content item.

Super Secret Sitemap Trick - by Mathias Verraes

Thanks for the tip, Mathias!

Update: (12/26/2008) The JoomlaTools team have changed their TLD from .org to .eu. The links in this article have been changed to reflect this new TLD. Thanks, Alpine, for the heads up.

| Joomla

Joomla! comes with a plugin/mambot called GeSHi that comes in quite handy if you have a site in which you share code snippets with your readers. I recently tried to use GeSHi on a Joomla! 1.5 site, and I found that it works differently in Joomla! 1.5 than it does in Joomla! 1.0. Read on to see how to use it in both.

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Here is a neat little trick I picked up last Friday at the Joomla! 1.5 bootcamp in Austin led by Johan Janssens.

In Joomla! 1.5, if you simply want to display your component without any modules and without your template styles, all you have to do is add "?tmpl=component" or "&tmpl=component" to the end of the URL, depending on whether or not there are already other parameters on the end of the URL.

For example, if you just want to view the component on the home page of the new community.joomla.org site, you simply add "?tmpl=component" to the URL like this: http://community.joomla.org/?tmpl=component.

This trick is really useful for template designers because you can isolate the HTML used in a specific component, so you can determine how best to set up your CSS for styling that component.


OK, I admit it. This isn't exactly a "How-To" article, but I wanted to draw everyone's attention to an upcoming event in Austin, TX that I will be attending. It is called "Joomla! 1.5 Bootcamp," and it will be held on Friday, July 18 from 8am to 4pm CST (GMT -6) at the Doubletree Hotel Austin. I want to strongly encourage anyone who can make it to come to this event. The keynote speaker/teacher for this event will be none other than Johan Janssens, one of the lead developers of Joomla! The event is being put on by Chris Justice (a.k.a. MegaJustice) from Sparksight.com.

Click "Read More" to see more information about the Bootcamp.

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| Templates

One thing I often need to do while developing a template is change certain parts of the template depending on which page I am on. For example, let's say I am developing a template for a site that runs Virtuemart, and I want to have 3 columns on every non-Virtuemart page, and 2 columns on every Virteumart page. A solution that I often like to use is to make the column "collapsable" when the value of "option" is "com_virtuemart". When "option" is equal to "com_virtuemart", that simply means that the Virtuemart component is loaded.

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| Templates

Today I created a blank template for Joomla! 1.5. My main purpose for creating the template was to give myself a basis for creating future templates, since it contains the basic necessary files for creating a template. This template loads the component and the "debug" module position. There are no CSS styles in the template.css file, but the file is referenced in the index.php file. The template is released under the GPL, so feel free to use it however you want in accordance with the GPL.

Click here to download the template.

We've all done it. There's nothing to be ashamed of. Have you ever installed Joomla!, only to realize that you've forgotten your administrator password? When that happens, there is nothing you can do but re-install Joomla, right? Wrong. Here is a website with a great explanation of how to reset your super administrator password, even if you can't log in to the administrator control panel.

Don't thank me. Thank them.

The word "favicon" is short for "favorites icon", and it is the 16x16-pixel icon that is associated with your website and appears in the browser address bar and favorites menu (and in Firefox and Internet Explorer 7, it also appears on the browser tab). For this website, I am using the default Joomla! favicon because this site is a site about Joomla! The image below shows what your browser's address bar should look like when visiting this site.

How to Change Your Joomla Favicon

All Joomla! installations come with that favicon installed, and a common mistake by many webmasters is to ignore the favicon, thereby keeping the default Joomla! icon for their site. Unless your site is about Joomla, you should not be using the default favicon. A good habit to get into when developing sites with Joomla! is to change the favaicon and use something more fitting for your site, like your logo. This article will explain how to create a favicon and then how to replace the default icon with your icon.

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Packt Publishing has released an updated version of its popular Building Websites with Joomla! book series written by Hagen Graf to cover the release of Joomla! 1.5 Beta 1.

This book starts with the basics of what the term "content management" means, the structure of a content management system and features of Joomla!. Then it thoroughly covers topics such as installation, front-end and back-end tours, administration and configuration, and customizing extensions and components. It even has a chapter on creating your own template.

If you follow Joomla! development, you probably already noticed a problem with this book, though. Joomla! 1.5 Beta 1 was released back in October, and the development since that time has resulted in a many changes that could make the information in the book obsolete. Well, the people at Packt have already thought of that, and they are offering the opportunity to buy the book now and receive free e-books covering all future updates to Joomla! 1.5. Great idea!

I recommend this book for anyone looking to learn more about building their own website with Joomla!. Thanks to Hagen Graf and Packt Publishing for producing another one of the many valuable resources available for learning how to use Joomla!.

Click here for more information on Building Websites with Joomla! 1.5 Beta 1. Cost: $40.49 for the book or $29.99 for the ebook.

I just got a copy of the new Joomla! Search Engine Optimization (SEO) book at Alledia.com. In his book, Steve Burge does a great job of breaking down the concept of SEO and providing simple, easy-to-follow steps for implementing SEO techniques in your Joomla! website. The book costs $37, so if you care about SEO for your website (and you should care about it), then I recommend heading over to Alledia.com to buy Steve's book.

As you may know, I have been working with JoomlaShack for close to a year now. Before I started working with JoomlaShack, I knew about Barrie North from CompassDesigns.net and JoomlaShack. I knew about him because he has provided loads of free tutorials for the Joomla! community on his website. I learned much of what I know about template development from his Joomla! template tutorial.

Barrie is selling his 100+ page e-book, The Joomla! Admin Manual, at his website for $27. If you're like me, and you know the high quality of the tutorials produced by Barrie, then you know that $27 for a 100+ page e-book written by Barrie is a real bargain. I strongly encourage you to take a look at his site and decide whether or not this book is for you.

| Modules

Almost four years ago was the first time I ever used Mambo (the predecessor to Joomla!). As I played around with my newfound toy, I thought the template chooser was one of the coolest modules available. I could just imagine the possibilities. Users could customize the look of my site for how they wanted to view it. I could install 100 templates and let the visitor choose which one he or she liked best.

However, over time I came to realize that the template chooser module was a relatively useless feature that was very difficult to manage. Sure, I could install 100 templates and give users a choice, but those 100 templates would likely have very different layouts and include different sets of module positions. For example, one template might put the "left" module position in the left column while another template would place it at the bottom of the layout while yet another template might not include the left module position at all. You can imagine the headaches this type of situation might cause.

When developing your site, you should give careful consideration to where you want your modules positioned on the page and how you want your site to flow. It's difficult enough to accomplish this with one template, much less several templates. Also, your site's brand identity is dependent upon the design of the site. Giving your user multiple layout options only dilutes your brand and sends mixed messages to the end user.

You might have a valid reason to use the template chooser module, although at the moment I cannot think of an example of a good reason. If you do not have a specific reason to use the template chooser module (other than the "hey, that's neat" factor), my advice to you is not to use it.

| Components
Quick Tip: Use JoomlaXplorer to modify your template.

I often find that the template manager is not very useful in terms of making modifications to a template. When you click "Save" in the template manager after editing the template HTML (index.php) or CSS (template_css.css) file, the manager takes you back to the list of installed templates. If you need to make another change, you have to re-open the Edit CSS or Edit HTML screen, which adds an extra step.

Another drawback of the template manager (in Joomla! 1.0.x) is that it only allows you to edit the "index.php" and "template_css.css" files. For some of the more advanced templates, there are more files that you may need to modify. You might also need to upload some more images for your modification.

That's where JoomlaXplorer comes in. It is a file manager that enables you to upload, modify, and delete files from your Joomla! installation via the administrator control panel. I use it every time I want to make a change to a template. For one thing, when I make a change to the HTML or CSS, it stays on the editor page. That way, I can check to see if the change I made produced the desired outcome or if I need to make more changes, and I can quickly go back and make more changes if necessary. It also allows me to edit any file in the template's folder and not just "index.php" and "template_css.css". Finally, it gives me the opportunity to replace images by uploading or deleting images based on my requirements.

So, if you haven't done so already, head over to the Joomla! Extensions Directory and get yourself a copy of JoomlaXplorer. It is the most useful component for web administrators available for Joomla!, and it will help you make changes to your site's template.

3 out of 4 members use OSTraining at least once a week. You can build great websites. We can help.   Plans from $4 per month