How to add a widget to a module

Wikipedia defines a widget like this:

A web widget is a portable chunk of code that can be installed and executed within any separate HTML-based web page by an end user without requiring additional compilation. They are akin to plugins or extensions in desktop applications. Other terms used to describe a Web Widget include Gadget, Badge, Module, Capsule, Snippet, Mini and Flake. Web Widgets often but not always use Adobe Flash or JavaScript programming languages.

For example, the "Help Azaria" module in the left column of this site uses a widget from ChipIn.com (to test it, make a donation to Azaria's Dolphin Therapy fund to see the progress bar go up - wink wink). Many "web 2.0" sites offer widgets for blogs and other sites to display their content or tools for performing a specific task (like raising money via the ChipIn widget). It is a great way to add content or functionality to your site with very little effort. The process for embedding a widget to your site is usually just copying and pasting a snippet of code into the appropriate location.

The problem is, Joomla!'s built-in WYSIWYG editors strip out parts of the widget's code causing it to work improperly. With this article, I will explain how to work around that problem and get the widget embedded into a user module without stripping out code.

Read more: How to add a widget to a module

Joomla! CSS Guide

I just read about the Joomla! CSS Guide over at Joomla.org. It is a new website that spells out all of the CSS classes and id's used in the core Joomla! HTML output. This is a great resource for template designers. Check it out.

How to make your site more secure

I am not a security expert, so I am always on the lookout for information that will help me keep my site more secure. Today, I came across a couple of great tutorials from Joomla-Addons.org that explain ways to make your site more secure. Check them out.

While you're there, check out some of the many extensions that they have created. Thanks for all of your hard work, Joomla-Addons.org!

How to turn on SEF URL's

SEF URL's are just a way to make your URL's look nice. The default SEF URL functionality in Joomla! takes URL's that look like this:

"index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=40&itemid=29"

and makes them look like this:

"content/view/40/29/"

This article will show you how to turn on the basic SEF URL functionality built into Joomla!, and it will also provide a list of SEF URL extensions that you can use to gain further control over your URL's. For this article, I am assuming that you are running your website on an Apache web server.

Read more: How to turn on SEF URL's

Joomla! Jargon

Dictionary.com defines jargon like this:

1. jargon: -noun, the language, esp. the vocabulary, peculiar to a particular trade, profession, or group: medical jargon.

It also defines jargon like this:

2. jargon: -noun, unintelligible or meaningless talk or writing; gibberish.

Joomla!'s roots go back a few years, and it definitely has a language all its own. Seasoned veterans are fluent in Joomla! jargon, but for "newbies", that second definition is probably the most appropriate definition for what Joomla! jargon really is. For that reason, I have decided to attempt to compile a list of the most commonly used words and/or phrases in Joomla!, and give them a definition that actually means something to a non-veteran Joomla! user.

Read more: Joomla! Jargon

How to use the syndicate (RSS) component in Joomla!

Website content syndication has been around for a while in the form of RSS, or "Really Simple Syndication." If you want to know more about RSS, you can either ask the source of all knowledge (search for "RSS"), or read about it at Wikipedia. For the sake of brevity, I will only discuss how to use Joomla!'s Syndicate component and third-party RSS services, and I will try to provide a list of other RSS components for Joomla!

NOTE: This "How-to" only applies to Joomla! 1.0. It does not apply to Joomla! 1.5.

Read more: How to use the syndicate (RSS) component in Joomla!

How to find the right tool for the job

One of the most common questions I see in the forums is, "Is there a component/module/mambot/plugin that does (insert your function of choice here)?" Whenever I see a question like that, I head over to the Joomla! Extensions Directory (JED), perform a quick search, and find a list of components that either meet the person's need, or come really close to what the person wants. At the time I am writing this, the JED lists 947 Joomla! extensions.

My point is, if you ever find yourself needing a specific function, head over to the JED and do a quick search. Chances are, if you can't find it there, you can't find it anywhere.

How to view your site with a differnt template without changing templates

Here's a useful little trick if you want to try out and debug a new template on your site while your visitors still see the live template. Simply add "index.php?jos_change_template=new_template_name" to your domain name.

Examples:

How to display a component's output and nothing else

I know it sounds weird, but I came across a situation in which I needed to see a component's output and nothing else. That allowed me to better debug the HTML that was coming from the component.

Special thanks to Dean Marshall for showing me this nifty little trick.

It's pretty simple, just follow these steps:

  • Create a menu item that links to your component.
  • Once you have created your menu item, click on that menu item in your Menu Manager like you were going to edit the menu item.
  • Next to "URL", you should see something like "index.php?option=com_yourcomponent&...". Copy that URL.
  • In the browser address bar, type the domain name and path to your website along with the URL information you copied in the previous step.
  • Change "index.php" to "index2.php", and voila! You are now looking at just your component's output.

Joomla! 1.0.11 User Manual

Just in time for Joomla! 1.5, the documentation team has released the Joomla! 1.0.11 User Manual (link to large pdf file). Better late than never, right? I haven't had a chance to read through it yet, but it's 183 pages long, so I'm guessing it's pretty thorough.