How to Create Select Lists in Joomla!

If you've worked with any kind of database-driven web application, you know that HTML forms are the foundation of the user's interaction with the database. Applications use forms to take input from the user and store it or use it to manipulate existing data. Unfortunately, HTML forms can potentially be quite tedious to write. In this article, we will look at a handful of helpful functions that Joomla! provides to save you time preparing your forms.

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Automatically Update All Your Social Networks From Joomla

Would you like to be able to update your Joomla site and automatically send that update to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, MySpace, Ning and dozens of other sites?

This tutorial will show you how.

Our first part will be to create an RSS feed to export all our new posts. From there we'll use and to distribute the posts to all our social networks.

Creating an RSS Feed

First we'll use Ninja RSS Syndicator to create our RSS feed. (it has the unusual name because it's developed by a company based in Japan).

  • Step 1: Go to and download Ninja RSS.
  • Step 2: Download Ninja RSS onto your desktop, and you'll see a file called Extract that package and you should see a new folder with a component and module inside.
  • Step 3: Go to Administrator >> Extensions >> Install / Uninstall and upload
  • Step 4: Go to Components >> Ninja RSS Syndicator >> Feeds and click "New".
  • Step 5: If you want to produce a feed of your whole site, simply enter a title and click save. Otherwise, scroll down and fill in the information requested. Most importantly, you can choose to hide certain sections, categories or articles:


  • Step 6: Save the feed, and you should see a screen like this:

    feed url

  • Step 7: Copy the entry in "Feed URL" and save it into a text editor. This will be the feed that is sent to Twitter and Facebook.

Sending your Feed to Twitter and Facebook

  • Step 8: We're going to use a service called Twitterfeed to send our news automatically to both Twitter and Facebook. The first step is to visit and register.
  • Step 9: Login to Twitterfeed and click "Create New Feed".
  • Step 10: You'll see a box like the one below. Enter the title, and then paste the RSS feed from Step 6:
  • feed url

  • Step 11: Click "test rss feed" to make sure everything is OK. If it is, click "Continue to Step 2".
  • Step 12: This next part allows you to send your feed to Twitter and Facebook amongst other options:

    feed url

  • Step 13: Twitter and Facebook will allow you to authenticate your accounts and link them to Twitterfeed directly from this page. You can also add "UTM" tags which are designed for Google Analytics. They will show in your analytics results, so you can see how much traffic has been sent from Twitter or Facebook. (Click here for instructions on using Google Analytics with Joomla).

    feed url

  • Step 14: The final step is a really powerful feature here that many people overlook ... If you create an account and authenticate it here with Twitterfeed, you can then pass on your updates to,, and dozens of others. There is a full list available here.

How's Your Patch Level? Establishing a Plan to Patch

Happy New Year - How's your patches?

It's about the middle of January of 2010 and in the news, Google was hacked by unknown's from China and Google is considering a few options, including a complete pull out of China. A large search engine in China (not Google) was defaced by the Iranian cyber thugs, Adobe was appartently targeted in the same attack as Google. And in other news the new BREECH report came out from the ITRC showing that overall while breeches were lower than the year before, the number of exposed records was higher. And as I write this article, this just came across my desk:

"Hackers have stolen the login credentials for more than 8,300 customers of New York's Suffolk County National Bank after breaching its security and accessing a server that hosted its online banking system. "

What does this have to do with your Joomla site? Everything. Today I am discussing patching and patch management with you. For the purpose of this article I am going to refer to my personal favorite work on patching from ProjectQuant - Measuring and Optimizing Patch Management: an Open Model. A must read in my opinion.

Read more: How's Your Patch Level? Establishing a Plan to Patch

Our SEO Community template better with Kunena

How do you make a SEO monster template built to work with the best Joomla community extension (JomSocial) even better? How do you set up SEO optimized Websites? Do you want to learn SEO? Would be interested in SEO lessons? SEO Courses? SEO video tutorials? SEO Training? Conversion optimization lessons? Conversion optimization courses. Conversion optimization video tutorials. Conversion optimization training.

Make it work with the outstanding forum extension, Kunena!

JS Community is a powerful, flexible, lean mean SEO machine. And now you can integrate two outstanding tools into your site- JomSocial and Kunena.

Unfamiliar with Kunena? It's an open source forum extension used on over 100,000 Joomla sites the world over. Check out our JS Community Kunena Demo to see it in action.

Read more: Our SEO Community template better with Kunena

Online Joomla Training at Joomlashack University

Ready to grow your Joomla business in 2012? Join our Joomla Training class at Joomlashack University, the premiere online Joomla learning center, and let us show you how! You'll enjoy our comprehensive array of learning content including Joomla lessons, Joomla tutorials, Joomla video tutorials, and full Joomla courses.

In October we launched as a "Joomla for Beginners" Joomla Training course, but with plans to become so much more. The incredible response (over 400 students in under 80 days) provided us with excellent feedback about ShackU and where we should take it.

What do our students want next? More learning! More Joomla lessons, more Joomla videos and Joomla tutorials, more information about how to grow their Joomla business in 2010. We've already doubled our Joomla training content in just 3 months!

Now we are pleased to launch our latest course, Intermediate Joomla Training, included as a part of your ShackU membership!

You're no Joomla beginner. What can ShackU teach you?

Read more: Online Joomla Training at Joomlashack University

Understand Joomla User Levels and Permissions

Our teachers like to explain in Joomla beginner classes is that we're not Joomla cheerleaders. We love Joomla, but it has strengths and weaknesses like all software. Perhaps the biggest current weakness is user levels.

Joomla has 8 user levels but they are both basic and also often difficult to understand. Here is an explanatory chart of the levels that some of our students have found useful. (Original source:
Understand Joomla User Levels and Permissions

Setting up a Joomla Business Directory or Yellow Pages

sobi1.pngThis tutorial which will show you how to create a business directory or Yellow Pages on your Joomla site. We're going to use a component called Sobi2, which is available from

Installing Sobi2

  1. Click here to download the Sobi2 component.
  2. Go to Administrator >> Extensions >> Install / Uninstall and upload the Sobi2 files.
  3. Click "Install Sobi2 data"
  4. Go to Menus >> Main Menu and click "New"
  5. Choose Sobi2 >> Frontpage or Selected Category for your menu link. Give the link a title such as "Directory" and click save.
  6. Visit the front of your site and click on the new "Directory" link. It should look like the screenshot on the right:

Configuring Sobi2 With Your Site Details

The first thing we'll do is put our own website's information into Sobi2:

  1. Go to Administrator >> Components >> Sobi2 >> General Configuration.
  2. Under the "General" tab, change the first field "Component Name" to reflect the name of your directory.
  3. Under the "Mainpage"tab, change the first field "Description of Component" to describe your directory.
  4. Under the "Mainpage" tab, you may want to change "Image for Description" to "- Select an Image -" so that you can hide the default image.

Creating Business Categories

Next, we'll set up the categories we're going to use for the businesses:

  1. Go to Administrator >> Components >> Sobi2 >> All Entries
  2. Click on "Add Category" and start to create your structure.
  3. If you already have a list of the categories you want to use, click "Add Multiple Categories" and you can insert a list.

Choosing Business Details

Depending on where and what kind of business listings you have, you'll need to collect different kinds of details. U.K. and Canadian sites might be happy with collecting "Post Code" but U.S. sites will need to change that to "Zip Code".

  1. Go to Administrator >> Components >> Sobi2 >> Custom Fields Manager
  2. Click on "Add New" in the top-right corner to add new details.
  3. You can choose to charge for extra information. For example, business might be an extra $5 to have their phone number listed and an extra $10 for their website link.

Collecting Payment

Yes, we did mention that you can have paid listings. That service is free with Sobi2. Once you've set up your fields using the above steps, you can enter your payment information:

  1. Go to Administrator >> Components >> Sobi2.
  2. Click "Configuration" on the left-hand side and then "Payment Options" will appear.
  3. PayPal is available by default so enter your business information including a Paypal email address in "Email Address" and a Thank You page link into "Return URL"

Place Modules Inside Joomla Articles

In our beginner classes we teach that module are small blocks of content around the outside of a Joomla site ... top, right, left, bottom.

Now that you're a little more familiar with Joomla, let's see an exception to that rule ... we can place modules inside regular text articles.

  • Step 1: In the administrator area of your Joomla site, go to Extensions >> Plugin Manager
  • Step 2: Find the plugin called "Content - Load Module" and make sure that it's enabled. On Joomla 1.0 its name is "Load Module Positions"
  • Step 3: Go to Extensions >> Module Manager and find the module you'd like to place inside an article.
  • Step 4: Open the module and click on the "position" dropdown.
  • Step 5: Choose a position that doesn't appear on your template. Remember that you can check this by adding /?tp=1 to your site.
  • Step 6: Save that module in its new position. In this example we've saved it in "User1"
  • Step 7: Go to Content >> Article Manager and open the article you're using.
  • Step 8: Place this code into the article: { loadposition user1 } ... remove the spaces between the brackets and the text. If you're using Joomla 1.0, then the code is {mosloadposition user1} .
  • Step 9: Save the article and check your handiwork on the front of your Joomla site.

Video Showing How to Place Modules Inside Joomla Articles

Joomla Training Cheat Sheet

Joomla Training Cheat SheetFor the first time we're not sending a tutorial this week, but a download link:

This is a condensed version of the beginner class. All the most important information is contained in just two PDF pages.

Please feel free to print this out and keep with you whenever you need reminding of Joomla's core concepts.

How to Use Joomla's Module Suffixes

Joomla templates allow you to redesign your site easily. How to Use Joomla's Module Suffixes They also allow you style your modules. Your login box can have one color, your "Latest News" can have another color and your "Most Popular News" can have third.

This image is an example using the Bolt template.

  • Red header, white background.
  • Orange header, orange background.
  • Yellow header, white background.
  • Green header, green background.

Here's how you do it

  1. Go to the administrator area of your site and Extensions >> Module Manager.
  2. In the parameters of your module, on the right-hand side, you'll see a box saying "Module Class Suffix".
  3. You'll have to read the documentation for your template to know what to enter - each template is different. If you're using Bolt you could enter any of these:
  • -red (Red header, white background)
  • -orangebg (Orange header, orange background)
  • -yellow (Yellow header, white background)
  • -greenbg (Green header, green background)
This example would give us a red header and white background: