JoomlaDay UK – 13th February 2016

JoomlaDay UK is being held right in the heart of London, we are returning to a single day format with a programme suitable for beginner, developer and agency alike.

Source: JoomlaDay UK – 13th February 2016

This is the 7th JoomlaDay in the UK and we are returning to a single day format with a programme suitable for beginner, developer and agency alike.

There is a packed schedule including keynotes from Microsoft and Opera alongside some of the best Joomla! speakers available, now all we need is you!

Tickets start at just £20, so at this price there will be no discounts or 2 for 1 offers, we are practically giving them away already for a Central London venue!

So please buy your tickets as soon as possible to help us with logistics and ensure a smooth running event.

We look forward to seeing you in London.

Joomla Magazine News

Joomla produce a monthly magazine full of useful news and tips.

Here are a few highlights from February’s issue.

Joomla Resources Directory Updates

When we set out to create the new JRD there were over 350 submissions waiting to go through the approval process. We’re happy to share that we have reviewed of all of these submissions! Moving forward, our goal is to process each new submission within a two week period of time. Read More

WordPress to Joomla Migration Checklist

If you’re planning to migrate your WordPress website to Joomla for the wide range of features Joomla allows, here’s what to keep in mind as you map out the process. Why Joomla? Here are a few of Joomla’s unique capabilities:  Read More

Revealing Joomla’s SEO Secrets – Redirect Manager

One of the hidden gems which appeared with the 1.6 version of Joomla is the Redirect Manager – a simple system which allows you to identify and fix broken links. Before the Redirect Manager was introduced, the only way to find and fix broken URLs was to use a third party extension, an SEO scraper such as Screaming Frog, or looking in your server logs. Now it’s possible to identify and manage broken links within the administrator panel of your Joomla website. Read More

Public Intro, Restricted Article

There are times when the project of a site calls for the introduction of texts to be visible by general audiences, but if the visitor wants to see the full article, s/he must log in to the system. The full content is blocked and only after the visitor creates or is granted an access account will s/he be able enjoy the full content of the article. Read More

Interview: Alex de Borba

Alex was offering his help for anyone who had a question about Joomla. Here is the interview I had with Alex. Alex explains why he chose Joomla over WordPress, why he distains templates and cookie-cutter websites, why his site is green (yes really), and a great quote: “coders are the only ones capable to turn coffee into code”, and good coffee ain’t cheap. Read More

 

Joomla 2.5.28 released and what it means to you

The Joomla project has released Joomla 2.5.28 that has been tagged as the last release in the Joomla 2.5 series.

Officially, as of December 31, 2014, the Joomla 2.5 series will no longer be supported. This means that there are no new releases planned for Joomla 2.5, as the Joomla project is putting all its efforts in its Joomla 3.3 and upcoming 3.4 series

There are no security related fixes in the Joomla 2.5.28 release, so there is no real rush to upgrade. However as this is the last of the Joomla 2.5 series you should start planning to upgrade your Joomla 2.5 websites to the even more secure, feature rich and mobile ready Joomla 3.3.6 environment. From January 1st Joomla 3.X will be the only security maintained release.

Joomla have a mini-guide on the uprade process: https://docs.joomla.org/Planning_for_Mini-Migration_-_Joomla_2.5_to_3.x

Differences between Joomla 2.5 and Joomla 3.3

The main differences between Joomla 2.5 and Joomla 3.3 that will most likely influence your upgrade situation are:

  1. Joomla 3.3 uses Bootstrap, where Joomla 2.5 does not. The Bootstrap markup makes your Joomla website responsive, which means that your Joomla website should look great in all viewing devices (desktop, tablets and mobile phones)
  2. Joomla 3.3 uses jQuery, where Joomla 2.5 does not.
  3. Joomla 3.3 needs PHP 5.3.10+, but Joomla 2.5 will work on PHP 5.2.4+. (Please check with us if the server that runs your site now meets this requirement)
  4. Joomla 3.3 needs MYSQL 5.1+, but Joomla 2.5 will work on MYSQL 5.0.4+.

In addition to these high-level differences your upgrade process may run into snags due to one or more of the following issues:

  1. Extension compatibility (in case you have installed some third-party extensions on your Joomla 2.5 site that are not Joomla 3.3 compatible)
  2. Template compatibility (there are some differences in the Joomla templating system that will most likely make your Joomla 2.5 template not fully compatible with Joomla 3.3)

Planning your Upgrade

Before starting to upgrade, you should do your homework. You have a live website that you need to upgrade, so spend some time to carefully plan your upgrade project (yes, you should view it as a project).

Here are some planning steps that will help you:

  1. Verify that your hosting environment supports the Joomla 3.3 technical requirements (PHP 5.3.10+ and MYSQL 5.1+). If it does not ask your host helpdesk to upgrade your account appropriately.
  2. This is a great opportunity to remove any inactive extsnions you have on your Joomla 2.5 website. There is no need to keep old inactive extensions on your website and it does pose a security threat in the first place.
  3. Make a list of all your third-party extensions (modules, components and plugins) installed on your Joomla 2.5 website. Visit each extension provider website and make sure that you have the latest version and that this version is also Joomla 3.3 compatible. Some extensions might have a new – only for Joomla 3.3 – extension release. If this is the case, then download such releases and keep them handy for your post Joomla 3.3 upgrade steps. Some extensions (usually modules) might need post upgrade configuration changes due to the new CSS stylings (and Bootstrap) present in Joomla 3.3 – make a list of needed changes for each one.
  4. Contact your template provider and download the Joomla 3.3 template version or ask them for specific instruction on changes that need to be made to your Joomla 2.5 template once you have upgraded to Joomla 3.3.

 

Upgrade Steps

Once you have done your planning steps and have all your resources ready (e.g., new template, new extension, etc.).  you can follow these steps:

  1. Make a backup of your Joomla 2.5 website before starting – even better to clone your Joomla 2.5 website and test the upgrade process on the clonned site before replicating it on your production site.
  2. Verify that your Joomla 2.5 site is on using Joomla 2.5.28. If it is not, you can easily upgrade to Joomla 2.5.28 from your Joomla 2.5 Component → Joomla Update page
  3. Verify that your third-party extensions are the latest Joomla 2.5 (and Joomla 3.3 if possible) compatible versions. You should have done this in step 2 of the planning process, but you can also do a sanity check by making sure that there are no reported upgrades in your Joomla 2.5 Control panel Updates icon or your Extension → Extension Manager → Update tab.
  4. Go back to your Joomla 2.5 Component → Joomla Update page and click on the Options button and then change the Update Server parameter in your Update Source tab from Long Term Support (recommended) to Short Term Support and click the Save button. Please note that these parameter settings are no longer accurate as Joomla 3.X will be supported for at least 2-4 years.
  5. Your Joomla 2.5 Component → Joomla Update page should now show you the option to one click install the latest Joomla 3.3.6 (or better) release. Click in the Install the update button.

Your Joomla 2.5 website has been upgraded to Joomla 3.3 and you are now ready for your post upgrade process steps.

 

Post Upgrade Steps

Now that your website has been upgraded to the latest Joomla 3.3 release, you can follow these post upgrade steps:

  1. Visit your Joomla 3.3 Extensions → Template Manager and select the isis – Default template as your Administrator template.
  2. Install any Joomla 3.3 extension upgrades you identified during step 2 of your planning phase and/or make any post upgrade changes recommended by your third-party developers.
  3. Install your new Joomla 3.3 compatible template from your template provide and/or make any changes to your existing template.
  4. Test and inspect everything – frontend and backend.

 

Default Joomla Template Upgrade Steps

As indicated in step one of the previous section your Joomla 3.3 administrator template should be set to Isis – Default.

If your Joomla 2.5 website was using one of the built-in Joomla site templates, e.g., Beez2-Default, you can choose to use one of the Joomla 3.3 site templates, e.g. Protostar – Default. If this is the case, you may also need to change the position of your main menu module from position-7 (which was the case on your Joomla 2.5 default template environment) to position-1 (for the Protostar template on Joomla 3.3). You should also set your Menu Class Suffix on your main menu module to nav-pills to get the default menu styling on Joomla 3.3.

 

Conclusion

Upgrading from Joomla 2.5 to Joomla 3.3 is not as complicated as you may think. Proper planning and doing your homework should get you to your Joomla 3.3 – very secure and totally responsive – website.

Credits

Article adapted from http://www.joomlapolis.com/support/tutorials/95-installation/18478-migrating-from-joomla-25-to-joomla-33?pk_campaign=newsletter&pk_kwd=news20141215, Joomlapolis is the creator of Community Builder.

Joomla User Group Report

The London Joomla user group meeting took place on 21 October 2014. I went along and this is my report.

jugl

The London meetup takes place every month on the 3rd Tuesday. More details can be found at the user group’s dedicated website at http://www.joomlalondon.co.uk/

The meeting started with general news on Joomla.

We were reminded that several security fixes have been released recently and these should be applied by website administrators as soon as possible.

One of the meeting regulars, Hugh, is a JED maintainer (the JED is the Joomla Extension Directory and is where you’ll find all the possible extensions, plugins and components to Joomla). Hugh reported that there is a new version of the JED imminent. However unlike the last overhaul, extensions will not need to be resubmitted.

Our discussion then moved onto some general tips for Joomla developers.

A useful tip for developers was that right-clicking and viewing source in Firefox/Chrome will highlight in red any unclosed tags.

We learned that Chrome’s developer mode has an option for viewing a site as if it was on a mobile device, along with connection speeds. However some users said it wasn’t very accurate.

Phil and Joe from SoftForge demonstrated the useful ability to set breakpoints in code within Chrome, which is a useful technique for debugging Javascript – and extremely helpful if using AJAX.

Hugh gave us a useful demo of a recently built site for a client and demonstrated some beautiful design techniques.

We then listened to two talks which had been given at the recent Joomla Day event.

Hugh Douglas-Smith
Hugh Douglas-Smith

Workflows with Joomla and Administrator Shortcuts. Both presented by Hugh. Hugh’s company can be found at http://www.webappz.co.uk/

Workflows with Joomla

Hugh presented a walkthrough of creating a workflow using off-the-shelf Joomla components. The example given was a website that offers loan applications.

The workflow given was for a customer to apply for a loan and then the various steps of processing the application being setup and viewable.

The technique used was using User Groups to keep track of the different stages. Menu items are given permission such that they are only visible to specific user groups, and the user is moved from group to group as they progress through the process.

The first stage, where the user submitted the form required some custom PHP code to change the usergroup for the user, and to refresh the session so that the user immediately saw the updated menu.

Administrator Shortcuts

Too many to mention but a few highlights for me:

  • Parameters can be added to a menu link
  • User redirects on login
  • Language overrides can be used to include variables
  • Article Editor can be customised per user – very useful if giving to a non-skilled user
  • Removing Unused CSS Selectors from a Website – the Dust-me browser plugin http://www.brothercake.com/dustmeselectors/
  • What software is that website running – another browser plugin: https://wappalyzer.com/
  • Making notes/messages appear in Admin – this is done within the Module Manager.
  • Create a “Standard” install if you regularly build sites by using Akeebabackup.

For the final part of the meeting we talked about our favourite extensions and more Joomla news.

A particlualry useful extension which most of us had not heard about was Kazaaman automatic menu manager. Whenever a new article is created, this plugin will create a menu item for it.

This is a plugin that creates a menu, and automatically maintains it. You can see the menu in your Joomla menu manager, and use it exactly like any other menu. It is a tree menu, and it maintains your category and article tree structure perfectly in your new menu.

KazaamOf particular interest to me, was the revelation that Joomla is so dependent on menus that if you create articles that aren’t linked in menus (I tend to link only the top level of a site to the main menu, and then link within articles to other articles), Joomla really doesn’t like this and you will see in the url that it’s created a baffling structure of sub-categories. If however every article belongs in a menu, then this does not happen and you can control your url structure. The menu does not need to be shown – it can be inactive.

Finally, Joomla 2.5 LTS is coming to end of life in December 2014. This means the Joomla team will no longer be providing security and other updates to it. The LTS stands for Long Term Support, and there will be a version of Joomla 3 that will become the new LTS version in due course. The new mechanism for this is that Joomla 3.x will continue with regular releases until Joomla 4 comes along. At that point, the final released version of Joomla 3.x will become the LTS version.

If you’d like to know more about Joomla, need help with your website, or would like to see the services 2020Media offers for Joomla, please see: http://www.2020media.com/shared-hosting/joomla-hosting

CMS Updates

Updates for Joomla and WordPress users.

Today, WordPress 3.9 was released.

New features include:

  • Drag and drop images right into the editor.
  • Images formatted as galleries now show up in the editor.
  • Audio and Video Playlists.
  • Improvements to Widget editor and Themes with previews

wp-newThe built in updater will NOT upgrade your WordPress site automatically, this only works within the same point release. Contact 2020Media if you’d like us to backup, upgrade and test your site, or for just £12 let us do this for you for an entire year. See www.2020media.com/managedwp for details.

Joomla 3.3 is just around the corner.

An important change is that the minimum supported version of PHP will be PHP 5.3.10. Users who are unable to update to 3.3 due to the new PHP requirements are able to use the one click-click update, once they can update to PHP 5.3.10. You can quickly check this from your Joomla System – System information menu – last PHP Information tab.

The main features/changes of Joomla 3.3 are:

  • PHP 5.3.10 and above is now required
  • stronger password hashing storage
  • microdata implementation for Joomla content opens the door to better search engine experience
  • Replaces MooTools based JavaScript with jQuery equivalents
  • new cloud storage API

Read more on the changes at the Joomla Community site.