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Web Development

Creating an Article/Page or Blog Post in Joomla and WordPress

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Because Joomla! is a lot more powerful than WordPress, it is perhaps a smidgen less user-friendly. After all, a menu item in WordPress can only point to a ‘Page’ (called ‘Article’ in Joomla!), a ‘Link’ (called ‘External URL’ in Joomla!) or a ‘Category’.

However, in Joomla!, a menu item can point to any one of so many different sorts of page or other item – highly extensible via 3rd party extensions.

Admittedly, the blogging system of Joomla! is far from the best. WordPress was built for blogging and had website capabilities tacked on afterwards. Joomla! was built for powerful site construction and had blogging capabilities tacked on, later.

For this reason, I am using a 3rd-party blogging component, called CJBlog, for my latest site. It has the advantage of just manipulating the built-in Joomla! ‘Articles’ system, to turn normal articles into a good blogging system, rather than re-design the whole thing, as so many other such components do.

Using CJBlog, it is essentially the same to make a blog post as an article. Only the configuration is a bit different. The end result is very different. A post does not look the same as a normal static article and it certainly doesn’t behave the same, behind the scenes – same for all CMSs.

There is not any major difference between the way that WordPress distinguishes a ‘Page’ from a ‘Post’ and the way Joomla!/CJBlog distinguishes an ‘Article’ from a blog post. It’s mostly to do with the topology, which is the main difference in WordPress also. BTW: Joomla! ‘Articles’ (‘Pages’ in WordPress) also have to be in the flexible topological schema, unlike WordPress where ‘Pages’ don’t need to be categorized and the schema is quite flat.

To write a ‘Post’ in WordPress, you have to give it one or more categories, from a list. In Joomla!, you have to give it a single category, but from a nested set of categories – more powerful, but ever so slightly less obvious.

In Joomla!, you also have to say who can access the menu item and the ‘Article’ and in which way they are allowed to interact with it. The powerful access contorl list (ACL) of Joomla! is one of its most important features, way ahead of anything WordPress can do.

Also, in Joomla!, there are a multitude of other options, most of which can be left as default, but some should be set manually e.g. which language, whether it is ‘Featured’ (e.g. a blog post).

For multi language, I also have to set the ‘Association’. This associates a page in one language with the equivalent in another, so that, if the language is switched, it goes to that page instead of just starting the user at the home-page, again.

Web Development

Creating a Dynamic Copyright line in Joomla

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Joomla CMS

Joomla CMS

Artisteer template designer

Artisteer template designer

In many Joomla templates, including those generated by Artisteer, there is a standard copyright notice, which one can set to something like © 2014 My Company Name. Mostly, this is not updated, automatically, so that, when 2015 comes around, you will have to manually change the copyright notice. It is usually quite un-customisable and I like to have this incorporated into a nice footer.

So, here’s a trick that I use, that will automatically update the copyright notice and allow it to be used as part of a more extensive footer:

I always use custom modules for my footers, at Position-27 (in Artisteer), so I get a ‘no worries about copyright year’ result, but I don’t have to edit the templates, to achieve this. Therefore, I can regenerate a new template and use it at any time, without having to customise it again.

Joomla Content Editor

Joomla Content Editor

For JCE users, the Super User profile must be set that PHP is allowed. Then you should edit the module as an SU. Otherwise, you have to use no editor, so raw PHP code will be accepted.

DirectPHP plug-in for Joomla

DirectPHP plug-in for Joomla

Now the excellent free plug-in DirectPHP should be installed, in order for PHP to work within Joomla content.

N.B. DirectPHP is very sensitive to the syntax you use for your PHP statements. For a date, you should use <?php echo date( “Y”); ?>, as you suggest. More modern OOP ways of doing this, like <?php echo (new DateTime)->format(“Y”); ?> will probably not work. I did some experiments.

e.g. the code for my company site http://goaheadspace.com looks like:
<p>All content is © 2009-<?php echo date( “Y”); ?><strong> Goaheadspace</strong> All rights reserved.</p>

It is part of a more extensive footer custom module, which is another advantage of this method. You can put whatever you want into your custom module and not have to accept the template’s formatting.

This may sound complicated, but, once you have done it, you can save the JCE settings and use them on any site.

Quickly install DirectPHP, load the JCE settings, create a custom module in position-27 and make the footer content, including <?php echo date( “Y”); ?> where appropriate. Then it all works – at least in my experience.

Web Development

Two Factor Authentication

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Authenticating yourself (proving that you are who you say you are), on websites, is showing cracks in the system!It is no major problem, when authenticating yourself on an unimportant site…

A normal password-only log in screen.

Authenticating yourself (proving that you are who you say you are), on websites, is showing cracks in the system!

It is no major problem, when authenticating yourself on an unimportant site – provided you do not use a password that you use elsewhere – but what about sites where access is critical, such as banking, social networking sites and even shopping sites.

If another person could fool the system by pretending to be you, they could also purchase goods in your name, steal your money or identity, use your computing device for nefarious purposes or do even worse things that can impact on your life in a serious way.

Heartbleed

The recent HeartBleed scandle has shown us that even Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) may not be sufficiently secure. SSL is what is used to pass information around the Internet, in an encrypted way, such that,

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Web Development

The giants of code

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There is a fascinating discussion, on the LinkedIn forum, “Web Designer and HTML/CSS Developer“, that I never noticed before and unusually, for such an interesting subject, haven’t participated in.I’ve been…

There is a fascinating discussion, on the LinkedIn forum, “Web Designer and HTML/CSS Developer“, that I never noticed before and unusually, for such an interesting subject, haven’t participated in.

I’ve been very busy, lately, as can be witnessed by the lack of posting here, in recent times.

The discussion concerns replies to the initial posting “Just curious, but how many of you develop web sites from scratch (coding the HTML, CSS, JavaScript from scratch.)” from Tom Field.

Just to give my take – most of this discussion concerns templates (i.e. HTML, CSS & JS in some sort of framework). Well, I’ve been around for a long time. My first web site (all about me) was built in notepad, in the late 1980s.

I absolutely believe in the re-usability of code – and it doesn’t have to be written by me. I use CMS frameworks, such as Joomla and WordPress, so that I can pay

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Web Development

How to start learning to build Joomla! web sites.

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An artist asked, on a forum, for advice about template creation and plugins that would be helpful for an artists portfolio site, built using the Joomla! CMS. He said that…

An artist asked, on a forum, for advice about template creation and plugins that would be helpful for an artists portfolio site, built using the Joomla! CMS. He said that he doesn’t know HTML or coding, but would like to build it, for the most part, himself.

This is my brief reply to him:

You don’t need to know HTML thoroughly, to use Joomla. The only place, where some knowledge would be needed, is for the construction of articles or modules that contain text and images. Even there, there are tools to help you.

 

I recommend the ‘Joomla Content Editor’ (JCE), which can replace the primitive editor, that comes with Joomla (MCE).

N.B. In case you don’t know, the editor is the software that allows you to write pages in a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) window, whilst it constructs the HTML, behind the scenes, for you.

With a bit of study,

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Web Development

Printing a web page

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A client has asked for a button/icon within each page, that will allow a screen-shot of the page, to be printed by the site visitor.I have thought and thought about…

A client has asked for a button/icon within each page, that will allow a screen-shot of the page, to be printed by the site visitor.

I have thought and thought about him wanting to give the visitors the capability of getting a printout of a web page, as if it were a screen-shot. I wondered why I couldn’t find any useful information on the subject, in spite of a lot of research.

Then it came to me that the request, itself, is 1) technically non-feasible 2) not really useful to the visitors. That’s why no-one has considered the possibility.

Let me explain:

A website consists of a ‘design’ and ‘content’, each of which (in the modern web world) is not essential to the other.

A design, with its layout, style etc. – i.e. template – can be used with any content.

Similarly, site ‘content’ can appear in any template, so styled differently. To understand this best

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