Adding a Joomla Template Variation

This tutorial was written for a student who wanted two copies of this template - one narrow and one wider. More advanced frameworks such as Gantry can do this, and Joomla 1.6 will be able to do it.

However, the easiest way to do this in Joomla 1.5 is to make two copies of your template that you can modify separately. Here's how to do it:

Login to Your Hosting Account

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You can login via your hosting company's site or you could go via FTP. Essentially you just need a way to get to your files.

Find Your File Manager

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Every hosting company should give you access to your files, althought the access may be in different places with each host. This is an example from the popular CPanel software.

Find Your Templates Folder

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We're going to open up the folder that contains our templates.

Copy Your Template

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Select the "rhuk_milkyway" folder and click "Copy"

Choose a New Template Folder Name

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Choose a new name for the folder. In this case, I'm simply going to call it "rhuk_milkyway_copy" and click "Copy File(s)"

Open Up Your New Template Folder

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Open Up the templateDetails.xml File

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Check the box next to "templateDetails.xml" and select any of the editing options. templateDetails.xml is the table of contents for our template and contains all of the identifying information that Joomla needs.

Change the template name

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Inside the fields, change the name of the template to something that clearly identifies it as a copy.

Access Your Template Manager

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Now if you go to Administrator >> Extensions >> Template Manager you should see the two copies of the same template.

Move a Joomla Site from Test Directory to Live

This tutorial will show you how to move a Joomla site from one directory to another using CPanel. One common reason for doing this is to move Joomla from a test folder and make it live. Joomla 1.5 makes this process very easy.

Login into your CPanel

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Often you can access your CPanel just by adding /cpanel to your domain name ... example.com/cpanel

Access the File Manager

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Although your screen may not look 100% identical to the one above, every version of Cpanel does come with a "File Manger" option somewhere.

Choose to Go to the Webroot

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Open Your Test Folder

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Select All the Files

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Click on Move File

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Move to /public_html/

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Check Your Site

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Visit the front of your site in its new location and verify that everything is working correctly.

Login to Your Joomla Site Administrator

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Go to Site >> Global Configuration

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Change Path to Log folder

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Change that setting to remove your /test/ folder

Change Path to Temp-folder

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Change that setting to remove your /test/ folder. Click "Save" in the top-right corner.

Find the Right Width for Your Site

This tutorial will show you how to find the right width for your site.

Find Your Own Screen Width

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First, we'll find the current width of your screen so you can have an idea of how large these sizes are. Most of the time it will be in your computer settings:
- For my Mac its Apple icon >> System Preferences >> Displays
- For my PC its Start >> Control Panel >> Display >> Settings
In this case my screen is 1680x1050.

Find Your Visitors Most Common Screen Sizes

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Your own screen probably isn't the best width to use. I'd go to Google Analytics and check what the most common screen sizes are for your site visitors. Go to Visitors >> Browser Capabilities >> Screen Resolutions.

Examine the Screen Sizes

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Generally the more tech-savvy your visitors, the large the screen. In this case it wouldn't make much sense to have a narrow website width. Ideally our site will be at least close to 1000px. Increasingly widths of around 960px are common.

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404 Not Found in Joomla Administrator - JSecure

This is one common solution if you're getting a "404 Not Found" error when visiting your Joomla administrator area. The problem often lies with a good and useful product called JSecure. You normally have to remember a specific URL that was set in the administrator area. For example: mysite.com/administrator?mysecretcode. This stops people from trying to guess your login, but if you forget your secret code ...

Do you see this screen?

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If you do, the problem is JSecure. Have you really forgotten your secret code? If so, read on ...

Login to Your Hosting Account

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Or you could go via FTP. Essentially you just need a way to get to your files.

Find Your File Manager

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Every hosting company should give you access to your files, although the access may be in different places with each host. This is an example from the popular CPanel software.

Browse to /Plugins/System/

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You need to access the /plugins/ folder than then the /system/ folder.

Find JSecure.php

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Rename the File

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Just give jsecure.php a different name and save it. Next time to try to access your site, the 404 error should have gone.

Find and Edit Joomla CSS Problems

This purpose of this tutorial is to show you how to find and fix problems with your Joomla templates. We're going to focus on CSS (or Cascading Style Sheets) because they control very common 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 https://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 the default Joomla 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 the Frontpage" 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 1.5em. We'll need to increase that number.

Login to Your Joomla Site

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Go to Extensions >> Template Manager inside your site

Click on Your Template Name

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Click "Edit CSS"

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Open Your Template' CSS File

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Browse down to find the template you saw in the previous step called "Find the CSS code at the bottom of the page". Click "Edit" in the top-right corner.

Copy Your Test into an Editor

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I'm using Notepad in this example, but any text editor will do. If you have a code editor with line numbers, even better!

Backup, backup, backup, backup, backup, backup!!!

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If you're doing this for the first time, you will make mistakes. Backup your file so that you can roll back those mistakes when they happen.

Find Your Code to Change

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Search for the code that you find earlier in the tutorial.

Change the Code

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Especially when you're getting started, this may involve some trial and error. In this example, I'm going to increase the font-size from 1.5 to 1.7.

Paste Back into Your Joomla Site

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Paste the code back into your Template Manager and click "Apply".

Check the Change

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Great - in this case the change worked and text is larger. If you the change isn't just what you want, you'll need to go back a few steps to "Change the Code" and try again.

Some Notes

1) This is a process of trial-and-error. Don't expect to get it right first time, ever time.
2) Make one change then check. Make one change then check. If you do that, it's easy to spot a mistake. However, if you make wholesale changes before checking, it will be very difficult to find where you went wrong.
3) If you want to move faster, get an FTP Editor that will allow you to edit this files more quickly and accurately. That however, is for another tutorial :)

Change Joomla htaccess.txt file to .htaccess with CPanel

Changing your htaccess.txt file to .htaccess is important in Joomla because it allows you to enable Search Engine Friendly URLs. It's also an important step to help keep your site safe. Here's how to do it.

Login into your CPanel

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Often you can access your CPanel just by adding /cpanel to your domain name ... example.com/cpanel

Access the File Manager

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Although your screen may not look 100% identical to the one above, every version of Cpanel does come with a "File Manger" option somewhere.

Choose to Go to the Webroot

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Find htaccess.txt

Your files and folders will be listed alphabetically. Scroll down until you find htaccess.txt

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Check the box next to htaccess.txt and click "Rename" at the top of the page.

Change the file name to .htaccess

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Enter .htaccess as the new file name and click "Rename File"

Showing a Google Calendar Inside Joomla

This tutorial will show you how to display a Google Calendar inside your Joomla website.

Go to Your Google Calendar

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Go https://www.google.com/calendar, login and and click "Settings" in the top-right corner.

Find the Calendar ID

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Click on "Calendars" and then click on the name of your calendar. Scroll down to "Calendar Address" and copy the "Calendar ID" to your notepad. It will have a long string of characters and then @group.calendar.google.com

Make the Calendar Public

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Click "Share This Calendar", check the box next to "Make this calendar public" and click "Save".

Download the GCalendar Component

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Now that you have your Google Calendar set up correctly, we're going to install the necessary Joomla component. Visit https://g4j.laoneo.net to download the GCalendar component

Extract the GCalendar Folder

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Click on the GCalendar folder and extract it so you can see the various extensions inside.

Install GCalendar

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Go to Extensions >> Install/Uninstall and click "Browse" to upload com_gcalendar

Go to the GCalendar Component

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Go to Components >> GCalendar >> GCalendars

Creating a New Calendar

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Click "New" in the top-right corner. You'll see three fields. You only need to give the calendar a title and enter the "Calendar ID" you found and saved earlier. Click "Save"

Make a Menu Link to the Calendar

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Go to Menus >> Main Menu >> click "New" >> choose "GCalendar"

Choose the Calendar

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Choose the calendar you created and click "Save".

Your Calendar Should Be Ready ...

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Using Docman to Handle Documents in Joomla

Docman is perhaps the most popular way to handle documents in Joomla. This tutorial will show you how to use it.

Download Docman

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Visit https://www.joomlatools.eu/docman-14.html and download Docman v1.4.0. There is a more modern version of Docman that is commercial. We're using the free version in this tutorial.

Enable the Legacy Plugin

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Login to the administrator area of your Joomla site and go to Extensions >> Plugin Manager. Click to enable the "System - Legacy" plugin.

Install Docman

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Go to Extensions >> Install/Uninstall and click "Browse" to upload Docman

Add a New Category

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Go to Components >> Docman >> Categories and click "New" in the top-right corner.

Name and Save the Category

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Give your new category a name and click "Save" in the top-right corner.

Start Uploading Documents

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Click "Files" and then "Upload" in the top-right corner.

Choose Upload Option

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Normally you'll want to keep this option as it is and just click "Next>>>"

Upload Your File

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Browse to find your file and then click "Submit"

Choose to Make a New Document

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Once you have uploaded your file, the next step is to create a "Document" out of it. That simply means giving it a name, description and other details. Click "Make a new document entry using this file."

Add Details to the Document

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Make sure that both "Approved" and "Published" are set to "Yes". Then click "Save".

Verify that Your Document is Created

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Hopefully your new document will appear as above.

Make a Menu Link to Docman

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Go to Menus >> Main Menu >> click on "New" >> choose "Docman". Choose a title for your menu link and click "Save".

View Docman On the Front of Your Site

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Click "Preview" in the top-right corner and you'll see your new menu link. Click on it and you'll see your Docman category. Open the category to see your file

Extra Feature: Docman Groups

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Docman also has a very powerful permissions system that allows you to control who can and cannot access documents. Start by going to Components >> Docman >> Groups

Creating a Docman Group

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Click "Add" in the top-right corner". You can create a group of users simply by moving them from the "users available" list to the "Members in this Group" list.

Giving Groups Access to a Document

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Now when you open up any document you can click "Permissions" and give access only to a certain group of users.

Place an Image Inside a Joomla Module

This lessons will show you how to insert an image into a Joomla module and make it appear to your site visitors.

Go to the Module Manager

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Go to Administrator >> Extensions >> Module Manager

Click to Create a New Module

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Click "New" in the top-right corner

Choose "Custom HTML"

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We can choose to create any kind of new module here. We'll choose "Custom HTML".

Find Your Image

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Click the Image button at the bottom of the page. You'll see a pop-up window. Either choose an image from here or click "Browse" and upload your image.

Insert Your Image

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Click "Insert" and your image should be in the text editor.

Configure the Module

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Choose your module position from the dropdown and then click "Save"

See the Image On Your Site

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Visit the front of your site and the image should now appear on the page.