Chicago CMS Expo wrapup

Just got back from a great two days at the 2009 Chicago CMS Expo, the 3rd CMS Expo in the US since inception in 2007. It was great to see dev's from Drupal and Plone rubbing shoulders with the Joomla regulars. As were the previous two , the event was another successful, well orchestrated event. We even had Joomla and Drupal songs!

There seemed to be interest in my session on Socializing Your Joomla Site and I was able to give away some pre-release copies of the Joomla! 1.5: A User's Guide (2nd Edition) and Fundamentals of Joomla! (Video Training).

Of particular note was the one of the key notes by Wilco Jansen, the Joomla Development Coordinator and an OSM board member talked about the importance of engaging the community. He also answered questions about 1.6 on the experts panel, and talked a little about the GPL in his SDRnews interview.

You can also check out the CMS Expo 2009 Wrapup from John and Linda Coonen, also on SDRnews.

Read more: Chicago CMS Expo wrapup

Announcing Joomla Trainings in the US and UK Summer 2009

Joomla TrainingNeed Joomla training in 2009? Live in the U.S. or U.K.? You're in business!

Announcing the most complete tour of Joomla trainings ever- 25 sessions in 21 cities all spring and summer.

There are six sessions in New England with Joomlashack's own Barrie North (ok, five in New England and one in New York state), and a whopping 19 sessions all over the rest of the U.S. with our friends at JoomlaTraining.com

Most of the sessions are for beginners and intermediates, but there are some more advanced classes as well, in Joomla Template design and Joomla coding.

We're stoked for Joomlashack's master handyman and Joomla evangelist TJ Baker to teach two of the trainings in California, one in Los Angeles and one in San Francisco.

Need Joomla Training? Get going this spring and summer! More dates will be added, to keep coming back. It's a great time to invest in yourself and your Joomla skills.

Guest Post: How to make your Joomla! admin panel rock!

Kyle Ledbetter - JoomlaPraise.com

JoomlaPraise.com, started a little over a year ago by the guys at PixelPraise.com, is a relative newcomer to the Joomla! template club industry, and they've carved out a niche for themselves developing simple yet appealing templates that are not only attractive, but also what I like to call "developer friendly," meaning that they are easy to customize and easy to work with. JoomlaPraise's most recent endeavor is the release of AdminPraise 2, an updated and improved version of their first Joomla! administrator template, AdminPriase.

The original AdminPraise template really pushed the boundaries of what a Joomla! administrator template can do, and AdminPraise 2 has taken the concept even further. I have asked Kyle Ledbetter from JoomlaPraise.com to write the first ever guest post on HowToJoomla! to explain some of the top features of AdminPraise 2 and how it can benefit you in your efforts to administer your Joomla!-powered website because I believe this is a revolutionary new way to think about Joomla! administration.


If you've ever wanted more control over your Joomla! admin panel's appearance, shortcuts, menu, or acl, JoomlaPraise's AdminPraise2 is just what you need.

At first glance, AP2 is just a drastic change in the overall appearance of the admin site, but once you dig into it you'll find it's a very powerful tool.

Read more: Guest Post: How to make your Joomla! admin panel rock!

Joomla Day Las Vegas, Success!

JDay Las Vegas Over the past weekend I had the privilege of attending the Las Vegas Joomla! Day and the previous day's Joomla training.

Attendees were treated to an "un-conference" facilitated by the great Allen 'Gunner' Gunn, including sessions from a packed house of knowledgeable Joomla individuals. From Joomla Core Team members, Working Group members and professionals who work with Joomla on a daily basis, the talent gathered in the room was immense.

For those who've never had the chance to attend a Joomla! Day, I highly recommend looking for one near you. The events are a great opportunity to gather and learn, to share input, and to give back to the project.

Major props go to Toni Marie who organized the event, and all who attended and helped to make the event such a great success.

I can't wait to attend another!

Read More about Joomla Day Las Vegas.

View Photos of the event here.

Joomla 1.5.10 released with security in mind

The Joomla Project announced earlier this week the release of the latest version of Joomla 1.5, Joomla 1.5.10 (Codename Wohmamni- meaning unknown.)

Read more: Joomla 1.5.10 released with security in mind

XHTML Validation

Validating a Website's HTML

One of the first things that should be done after a site is constructed, and repeated at various steps as things are changed/updated, is the validation of the site's HTML. In the case of a Joomla powered site, HTML errors can come from 4 places:

  1. Templates
  2. Components
  3. Modules
  4. Articles

Why Validate?

It's simple really; HTML errors can present unwanted issues with your site, and is the leading cause of issues with template display that we see. These issues present themselves even more so when a 'pure CSS' template is in use, as CSS is unforgiving of left out closing brackets (>) and other often overlooked HTML errors that are introduced by extensions or other invalid code inserted in articles. While extension code is not the ONLY vehicle by which invalid code can make its way into a site, it has become one of the leading cause of issues that we have seen.

How to Validate?

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has provided a handy tool to run your site's HTML output against the standards for validation which may be accessed at https://validator.w3.org

Testing your site's validation is as simple as putting your site's URL in the Address field and clicking 'Check':

W3C Validation Service

After the service runs you'll be presented with a 'results' page. If the site is free of HTML errors you will see a message of congratulations and some nice buttons you can proudly display on your site if you wish:

Successful Validation

If there are errors, you will be presented with a results page that outlines the errors:

Errors in HTML

Error Outlined

What to do With This Information

Seek and Destroy! Or better put, find and fix the errors.

The 'Validation Output' that is presented will show all of the errors that are found, although using the info with a Joomla powered site may not be as simple as if we were validating a static HTML site. This is because in Joomla there really are no 'pages' except for the one that is presented to the viewer at the time of viewing. The Joomla 'page' is a collection of output items from the database, presented and laid out within the confines of the template. The Validation Services runs the presented 'page' against the standards and outlines the errors on the presented 'page', but in our instance the items on our 'page' could come from any number of sources. For instance, if you have a website that has a calendar component, a commenting component and a component to manage your advertisements you not only have the default Joomla output in the form of articles on a 'page', you also have the output that is coming from three other sources -- any of which could present an error or multiple errors. The validation service does not point out which is the offending source of output, only the errors and on which line they appear.

Seeking out the reported errors can be a very time consuming process, however, there are some steps that you can do to help with your process.

The first thing I do when checking for the source of a site's errors is to 'rule out' possible sources. As I know in the case of a site with a Joomlashack template that the template is not the cause, I check that one off. I would next go to the code I inserted in articles and rule them out by unpublishing ALL articles and checking the validation. If the errors are gone, publish one article at a time until the offending code is found. If errors still persist after articles are ruled out, I next go to components as a possible source. One quick way to check components is to use a bit of code at the end of your site's URL that will remove the template and show the output of the site presented only as the output from the components in use. To do this, add the following at the end of your URL: /?tmpl=component So for example, if we wished to check the Joomlashack site's HTML with only the output of components in use we would put this in the Validation Service: https://www.joomlashack.com/?tmpl=component If that fails validation we know the offending code is coming from a component. If it's a simple site and does not have too many components in use or is a site still under development, I would recommend uninstalling ALL user installed component, reinstalling one at a time while checking the validation after each component is reinstalled. Doing this should help you pinpoint the offending code.

In the case of already developed sites or sites with large amounts of components installed the process above might not be possible, in which case it may be necessary to hire a professional to help you seek out the offending code. You may also wish to seek assistance in the Joomlashack Community Forum

New England Joomla Day Sold Out in Just 17 Days!

New England Joomla daySOLD OUT is the first New England Joomla Day at the incredible Marlboro Graduate School in Brattleboro (also the meeting place of the New England User Group).

We Vermont-based Shackers are pretty proud of our not-so-little local user group. Thanks to the leadership of Marlboro professor and Joomla developer Jen Kramer McKibben, the user group has really launched this past year. Its first-ever Joomla Day is totally filled up more than two months ahead of time. There must be some seriously pent-up demand for Joomla training and networking in our region!

On the agenda for Joomla Day New England:

Speakers include:

Joomlashack's Barrie North will be presenting (see above) and hanging out. If you wanted to attend but didn't register in time, let the user group know and maybe they'll put you on a list for last-minute cancellations. Hope to see you there!

Joomlashack's Latest 1.5 Template, Inspirion

Inspirion TemplateGot a medium-sized Web site in need of a good-looking template?

Our latest Joomla! template (Inspirion) is built on the popular 960 grid system. The 960 grid promotes balance, consistent white space, and usability.

Inspirion is XHTML Strict, CSS/Tableless, and makes use of semantic headings (h1-h3) Joomla! overrides for improved SEO.

Inspirion is medium-sized template integrated with IE transparency, CSS dropline menu system, excellent typography, and is available in multiple color styles (with PSD source).

Key features of Inspirion:

Read more: Joomlashack's Latest 1.5 Template, Inspirion

How to embed an RSS feed into an article in Joomla

In my most recent blog post about my 10 favorite Joomla! extensions, I embedded a news feed from Twitter to show the latest posts using the #t10jx tag on Twitter. Initially, I thought about finding a plugin that handled displaying an RSS feed in an article, since that would be the easiest way to accomplish what I wanted. Then I remembered the "Load Module" plugin and the "Feed Display" module that are part of a core Joomla! installation. I realized that I could embed the feed without installing any 3rd-party extensions. Read on to find out how to do it.

Read more: How to embed an RSS feed into an article in Joomla

2009 Joomla Training Survey

In 2008, our sister site, Compass Designs ran a series of successful single day training classes for Joomla across new England. One question we was asked again and again was "when will you be running classes in 2009?"

People had mentioned interest in different types of classes and perhaps different locations. So, we have created a survey for anyone interested in Joomla training to fill out, and from that we'll be determining the most popular combinations of location and class type.

If you are interested in expanding your Joomla knowledge in 2009 make sure you enter in your choices!

Read more: 2009 Joomla Training Survey