joomla world conferenceThe second Joomla World Conference is due to take place in November this year and will be held at Harvard University in Boston on 8-10 of the month.

This year’s focus will be on networking, knowledge, sharing and community and is the biggest Joomla event in the world. The conference is tailored towards the Joomla community and the “spirit of open source technologies”.

Networking

This will include the attendance of vendors and event sponsors and will be available over two levels of the venue space. Attendees will get the chance to chat with their favourite vendors and it’s thought that many of the vendors will have special offers and some free offers. Vendors and sponsors will also be available for questions and consultations too.

Knowledge

At the second Joomla World Conference, the organisers are reaching to educational faculties in order to encourage students and local universities to get to know the CMS software. Anyone in the local area that is interested, be it a teacher or student, should get in touch with the organisers for further details, or visit the conference website.

This is an ideal opportunity for students who are interested in becoming a developer and want to learn how to use Joomla.

Sharing

According to event website, the ‘sharing’ aspect of the event is designed for those devs who have formed a relationship over Skype chats, forums or mailing lists to meet each other in person.

At a recent Joomla event, one of the organisers overheard a conversation which likened events of this kind to a “family reunion”. This underlines the fact that Joomla is a strong community and a relatively close knit group, but one that opens newcomers with welcome arms.

Submit a Session

Anyone can speak at the conference and calls for speakers began last week. Prospective speakers should consider if the subject they want to talk about is appropriate, thinking beyond the obvious. The event is looking for innovative speakers who can really inform, educate and engage with the Joomla developer audience.

Tickets for the event are already on sale on the conference website at the special early bird price of $249 for 3-day entry.

extension-devMany developers think about creating commercial Joomla extensions as an additional form of revenue, but don’t quite know where to start or what needs to be considered. Bearing this in mind, we’ve put together a few tips to help you get started as a Joomla developer.

Firstly, do your research, if you’re thinking of developing a calendar for example, then check out what else in on the market. It’s going to be a lot harder to market an extension that’s going up against a highly recommended and popular one.

Once you decided on what you’re going to develop, the next step is to think about what you’re going to call it. Make sure that you don’t violate any trademarks and use keywords whilst trying to come up with something memorable.

Take your time

Don’t be in a rush, the idea is to release a product that people will want to subscribe to, not a buggy and unrefined one. Make sure you have the funding in place to develop the extension and if you haven’t enough, think about crowdsourcing or even getting a business loan.

Once the extension is under development, test it rigorously along the way, using regression and usability testing. Once you’re relatively satisfied, choose a group of friends or colleagues to carry out further testing for you using their own Joomla installations and machines. This will allow you to test the extension thoroughly in different environments.

Payment models

You may have noticed that some extensions are free, whilst others charge a one-off fee and further more use subscription models. For paid versions especially, you are the one who is going to have to provide support and future releases, so factor all of this in.

You can also consider providing a free version, which has cut down features to a paid premium model. This is a good marketing tactic as those who like an extension will often pay for an upgrade if they want to keep it and have more functionality.

Support and new releases

Support is incredibly important for paid models, as nobody wants to pay for something that doesn’t work for them properly. Commercial products require ongoing and buyers expect a high level of support to be offered. Develop a decent user guide to complement the extension and ensure that you will have the time to devote to support in the future.

Extensions always seem to need new releases too, generally because internet technologies move fast these days and whilst your extension might be as solid as rock, you will need to make improvements at some point.

Submitting to Joomla

Once your extension has been built and you’re sure that support is in place and you've tested as much as you can, it’s time to submit for approval. The Joomla extension directory (also called JED) is always going to be the place where the extension receives the most attention, so ensure you submit properly.

Choose the correct category and ensure that you read the terms of service before submission. It usually takes somewhere between 3-21 days for an extension to receive approval, so don’t waste yours and someone else’s time by doing it wrong.

Make sure that you:

  • Pay attention to different license types
  • Ensure you have GPL headers in your files
  • Ensure the domain is Open Source Matters approved
  • There is no direct link to your own domain
  • Ensure all PHP files use the JEXEC test
  • Place the empty index.html file in every folder of your shipped extension

Once you have successfully submitted, then always keep an eye on reviews and it’s also worth asking friends and colleagues to review the extension if they liked it during the testing process.

It’s not a straightforward matter, developing and submitting a Joomla extension, but it’s a good exercise and should bring in an additional revenue stream.

wp-jo-drWhen it comes to building a website, many people become confused as to which CMS (content management system) they should choose. Bearing this in mind, we’ve taken a look at the two of the other most popular CMS alongside Joomla to help you make a decision.

Firstly, we’ve chosen Wordpress and Drupal as these are the two other major open source CMS on the market. All of them are developed by a community of thousands and are free to download and use.

What is open source?

For those who are not familiar with the term open source, it is simply software that is freely distributed and not subject to licensing fees. As well as being free, the beauty of open source software is that it is continually worked on and improved by developers from all over the world. This means that regular improvements are made to ensure the software is continually evolving in line with technological advancements.

With the three CMS models we’re discussing, developers are also constantly writing add-ons and extensions to improve the software, some of which may be subject to subscription charges or a one off fee.

All of the CMS models we’re concentrating on have a huge online community of dedicated developers and users, making it a simple matter to find support. There is a plethora of online documentation to help you use the software, as well as forums and books.

Which should I choose?

This will depend largely on a couple of things, the first of which being how technologically minded you are. For beginners, Wordpress is a good choice, as it’s very easy to use yet has the flexibility to be capable of running complex websites.

Drupal is much more complex and more suitable for those who require a highly customised site with a large amount of content to organise and scalability. However, it’s not the easiest to pick up quickly, so if you consider yourself something of a Luddite, this probably isn’t for you.

Joomla is somewhere in between the two, being easier to pick up than Drupal but with more functionality than a basic Wordpress installation will offer.

One thing’s for sure, all of these platforms are highly popular and unlikely to disappear from the internet scene any time soon. This means you have plenty of time to build a site, add to it and learn all about the CMS that you’re using to build it.

Functions and usability

If you have little or no experience in web development, then Drupal is not for you. Whilst it’s capable of helping to build extremely complex sites and is a very powerful CMS, Drupal is best used by those with some expertise in web design and development.

It’s becoming easier to use with each new release, but unless you have the time to commit to learning complex and powerful software, then it’s not a great idea even now.

Joomla is the middle ground between Drupal and Wordpress as it is more user-friendly than the former, whilst retaining the ability to build a more complex site than you would be able to with Wordpress. Joomla has strong social networking capabilities and speedy page loading, as well as a more advanced content organisation structure that is found with Wordpress.

Wordpress is suitable for beginners and those who can alter the code within the installation to further customise it to suit their needs. The ease of use makes it ideal for smaller sites, such as blogs and ideal for web designers who want to hand the upkeep of the website to the client.

Whilst all three are excellent CMS platforms, what they will be used for with regard to websites and user experience will both make a difference to which one you should choose.

bootstra joomla 2.5Since Joomla 3 is bootstrap from Twitter an essential library to build responsive web sites. But what happens with your extension when you want it to be responsible on Joomla 2.5 too? Here at Digital Peak we have one install package per extension which installs in Joomla 2.5 and 3. The challenge was to backport bootstrap to Joomla 2.5 the way that it will not interfere with the template and wreck up your web site. We came up with the following solution. We created a modified version of bootstrap which adds it's styles only to elements within a certain container with a special class on Joomla 2.5.

Install the less compiler

To install the less compiler on your Ubuntu machine execute the following commands.

$ cd /tmp
$ apt-get install git-core curl build-essential openssl libssl-dev
$ git clone https://github.com/joyent/node.git
$ cd node/
$ make
$ make install
$ node -v // should show you the node version like v0.11.2-pre
$ wget https://npmjs.org/install.sh
$ sh install.sh
$ npm -v // should show you something like 1.2.18
$ npm install less

Download bootstrap

Download the most recent version of bootstrap from here and extract it on your Ubuntu machine (for example to /tmp).

$ cd /tmp
$ wget https://github.com/twitter/bootstrap/archive/v2.3.2.zip
$ unzip v2.3.2.zip
$ cd /tmp/node
$ cp -R /tmp/bootstrap-2.3.2/less/ .

Recompile it

Now create a file with the following content in the folder /tmp/node with the name demo.less.

.my-bootstrap-container {
@import "less/bootstrap.less";
@import "less/responsive.less";
}

WIth one command you can create your custom bootstrap version.

$ node_modules/less/bin/lessc demo.less -x > demo.css

You can also grab the minified version from here and search for .dp-container and replace it with .my-bootstrap-container.

How to use it?

Now you can include your demo.css file into your extension. What you can do in the default.php (or how your layout name is)

$j = new JVersion();
if substr($j->RELEASE, 0, 3) == '2.5) {
JFactory::getDocument()->addStyleSheet(JURI::root().'components/com_demo/libraries/bootstrap/css/bootstrap.min.css');
JFactory::getDocument()->addStyleSheet(JURI::root().'components/com_demo/libraries/bootstrap/js/bootstrap.min.js'); } else {
JHtml::_('bootstrap.framework');
}

The HTML of your output has to be wrapped in the new container div

<div class="my-bootstrap-container">
<div class="row">
<div class="dp-grid__col-4">...</div>
<div class="dp-grid__col-8">...</div>
</div>
</div>

We are using it on GCalendar, the GCalendar Action Pack and DPCalendara responsive native Joomla calendar.

 

Exchange-Kampagne-bigDPCalendar, one of the most popular Joomla calendars on the market, has signed up for crowdsourcing with Indegogo in order to raise funds to integrate Microsoft Exchange into corporate events in Joomla.

One of the reasons that DPCalendar is so popular with its users is its ability to integrate popular external calendars, such as Google Calendar, Facebook events and iCal files. However, this isn’t enough for many users and we have had countless requests to add Microsoft Exchange into the mix.

This is a challenging task, hence the need for a crowdsourcing campaign.

What will be done?

Just like any other DPCalendar plugin, a Microsoft Exchange plugin will display events from your current Exchange setup. These will appear in DPCalendar like any other events much as it is displayed at the moment.

This means that the familiar and easy to use DPCalendar layout will be just the same, but with even more functionality! This includes everything that you’re already familiar with, such as caching or recurring events support and it will be possible to add up to 10 MS Exchange calendars simply by providing a host, username and password.

The technical part

This will be done by utilising the Microsoft Exchange web service API to gain access to calendars. DPCalendar will use this to retrieve events and this means that your Joomla web server will need to be able to access the MS Exchange server.

The new plugin will be available to DPCalendar Premium subscribers only, so if ever you needed an excuse to upgrade, this could be it.

What if we raise more cash than we need?

We will take the opportunity to add even more functionality, such as the ability to create, edit and delete Microsoft Exchange events directly from within DPCalendar. We would also love to add more, such as displaying user credentials, but for that we’ll have to see how the funding goes.

We’ve been bringing you high-quality advanced Joomla extensions now since 2007 and this is your chance to get involved and get the features you most want added to our incredibly popular Joomla calendar.

We’re excited about the chance to further develop DPCalendar and thank you for your support in advance. We’ve already raised $500 and those who contribute that much will be eligible to claim a lifetime subscription to the new DPCalendar, as well as a link back to your site.

Contributors of $150 will be able to enjoy a full, one-year subscription to DPCalendar plus link, and those contributing $50 will be able to claim 3 months free plus link.

There’s still 58 days left to get involved, so what are you waiting for! Make your contribution today!

What if the campaign doesn't reach the funding goal?

All contributions (money) will be returned to the funders without any fee.

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