2 Day Special: Get our 18 extensions, 20 templates and 500+ training videos for as low as $97!  Sale ends in 1 Day
Joomlashack

2007 Joomla User Survey Says: Who uses Joomla?

Who is using Joomla? Does our survey tell us?

2007 Joomla User Survey Says: Who uses Joomla?In April and May of 2007, Joomlashack conducted the first ever major survey of Joomla Users. Over 3,600 people filled out 31 questions ranging from how many Joomla sites they managed to what Joomla tasks they do most often.

The Joomla survey results confirmed many things about this powerful open source CMS, and also had a few surprises. Here are the results with some Joomlashack editorial observations!

Write comment (0 Comments)

How do I get Support at Joomlashack?

Joomlashack prides itself on its support. During the last several years we have used our forum to support our customers needs in many aspects, and as a result have the largest membership base after joomla.org and have helped thousands of users build a professional looking Joomla powered web site.

Write comment (0 Comments)

Joomla Template Tutorial

Reprinted with permission from Compass Design: Valid W3C joomla template designs for your website

As part of the Official Joomla Documentation program, this tutorial has been developed by Barrie North of Compass Design. As well as here at the official Joomla Dev site (dev.joomla.org) it is also available at www.compassdesigns.net in various complete formats, Word, PDF and HTML.

In this tutorial, we'll go through the steps of creating a joomla template. Joomla is an open source Content Management System (CMS) that is freely (literally) available and supported by a large on-line community. Specifically, we will create a template that uses cascading style sheets (CSS) to produce a layout without use of tables. This is a desirable goal as it means that the template code is easier to validate to World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards. It will also tend to load faster, be easier to maintain and perform better in search engines. We will discuss these issues in detail later in the tutorial.

Write comment (1 Comment)

3 column template tutorial

Tutorial 5: Making a 3 column joomla theme for your website

Reprinted with permission from Compass Design: Valid W3C joomla template designs for your website

In this joomla tutorial, we will look at a 3 column theme for your joomla website. Most joomla websites use 3 columns and having the theme start with that is a good foundation. Then later we can hide side columns if there is no content in them for that page.

Let's face it, making a joomla theme with tables is easy. That's why we all did it (may we hang our heads in shame). Achieving the same using CSS is much harder. The learning curve is steep and there are lots of issues with how browsers interpret the CSS. We mentioned this some in our joomla tutorial: Joomla, doctype and the blank joomla template.

I am going to move quickly on to the actual layout possibilities, but I recommend reading at least one "beginners guide to CSS" if new to it. Here are a few suggestions:

Kevin Hale's - An Overview of Current CSS Layout Techniques
htmldog's CSS Beginner's Guide
Mulder's Stylesheets Tutorial
yourhtmlsource.com

Ok, so now we have done some bedtime reading, or knew some of CSS to start, its time to look at our layout choices. Here is a decent list of all the CSS template /CSS themes I have come across:

Although its worth taking a while to look some of these over. This list is more of a resource you can bookmark and come back to later. You could use any of them to make a joomla website.

A Three Column Joomla Theme through CSS

After reading through any of these CSS guides above, or know a little youself, you will know that there are a number of ways to layout a page. Now, for those with a little CSS background already, you might want to wander over to csscreator.com; http://www.csscreator.com/version2/pagelayout.php. Its a great tool where you can make an assortment of layouts and it will generate the CSS for you, don't leave home without it!

However, for the purposes of this joomla tutorial, we are going to be using a different layout technique (csscreator uses floats), that being absolute positioning. I think that using this CSS is perhaps the easiest model to understand for beginners. Quite simply you specifiy exactly where the "box" of content will be on the page. So for example:

#leftcontent {
position:absolute;
top:20px;
left:50px;
width:200px;
}

will make a box that is 200px wide, and starts 20px from the top and 50px from the left. Now, 50 pixels from what I hear you ask. Well, there is a trick here, normally it will be 50 pixels from the top of the viewport (browser window). However, if the parent selector (the box the leftcontent box is in) is also positioned, then the leftcontent style will be relative to THAT. OK, you can go grab another beer/chai/sherbet, that made no sense to me either! Let's add another style and draw a couple of pictures...

This will be the parent box:

#wrapper {
position:relative;
width:560px;
margin: 50px auto;
}

If curious, we have changed the type of positioning from absolute to relative (there is also fixed). We are getting into what is called "document" flow and how elements effect other elements. Read any of the layouts above and you will find discussions on this. OK, let's use this html as out first example:

<div id="wrapper">
Text in wrapper, blah, ipsum stuff
</div>

<div id="leftcontent">
Leftcontent text, blah and domini and what is the url to generate that random latin?
</div>

Based on our two CSS rules above, this would look like:

joomla design

OK, not much use. Now let's put the leftcolumn div inside the wrapper (hey, why do you think we called it "wrapper"?)

<div id="wrapper">
wrapper text, blah, blah and ipsum stuff
<div id="leftcontent">
Text in leftcontent, blah, blah and ipsum domini and what is the url to generate that random latin
</div>
</div> <!-- End of the wrapper div-->

Now it should look like this:

joomla design

Much better. Now the text is all ontop of itself, but we don't need to worry about that at the moment. We can now look at the CSS we will use for our page. Note this gets put in a seperate CSS file called layout.css, which is then imported into template_css.css. I tend to seperate layout from typography in design, then put together for production. One reason is to try and reduce browser errors. Many of these errors are when you try and combine positioning with padding and/or size. Try to avoid applying padding/borders and a fixed width to an element. By putting all my positioning in this sheet and all my padding and borders in another, it forces me to do this (I combine the sheets later). Steps like this make validating your joomla website much easier.

So, with that bit of explanation, here is our 3 column joomla theme:

/* Basic 3 column joomla theme*/
body {
margin:10px 10px 0px 10px;
padding:0px;
}
#leftcontent {
position: absolute;
left:10px;
top:100px;
width:200px;
background-color:#fff;
border:1px solid #000;
}
#centercontent {
background-color:#fff;
margin-left: 211px; /*1 more than 210 because we have to count the border*/
margin-right:211px;
margin-top:7px; /* Margin here to line up center content with side columns */
border:1px solid #000;
}
#rightcontent {
position: absolute;
right:10px;
top:100px;
width:200px;
background-color:#fff;
border:1px solid #000;
}

An adpatation of a layout used a few places round the web, you can read more about it at http://glish.com/css/7.asp. Note we have dropped a large amount of the CSS to make it simpler and because we are not going to be supporting IE5.X with this site.

Its not *quite* simple absolute positioning (you didn't think it would be that easy did you?). The leftcontent and rightcontent is positioned as we just saw. But the center content seems to have no positioning at all. What gives? Well, absolutely positioned elements are taken "out of the document flow". This means other content will just get placed as though these absolute elements were not there. We saw this in our example above when our text overlapped. We are doing the same thing here, but have been crafty by using left and right margins for the centercontent the same width as the left and right columns. This means that the center column content will squeeze in between the two side columns even though it doesn't know they are there.

Right, so its live site design time (drum roll). Remember, our index.php file currently looks like this:

<body>
<?php echo $mosConfig_sitename; ?>
<?php mospathway() ?>
<?php mosLoadModules('top');?>
<?php mosLoadModules('left');?>
<?php mosMainBody(); ?>
<?php mosLoadModules('right');?>
<?php mosLoadModules('bottom');?>
<?php include_once('includes/footer.php'); ?>
</body>
</html>

Now we will put in some positioning with our new CSS:

<body>
<?php echo $mosConfig_sitename; ?>
<?php mospathway() ?>
<?php mosLoadModules('top');?>

<div id="leftcontent">
<?php mosLoadModules('left');?>
</div>

<div id="centercontent">
<?php mosMainBody(); ?>
</div>

<div id="rightcontent">
<?php mosLoadModules('right');?>
</div>

<?php mosLoadModules('bottom');?>
<?php include_once('includes/footer.php'); ?>
</body>

OK, so now we have a 3 column joomla theme, not bad. Let's take a quick look; livesite.compassdesigns.net . Well, our columns are there, and the right places.Resizing your browser you will see that the size of the middle column adjusts. Commonly called a fluid CSS layout. Taking a quick look in Internet Explorer 6 we see some weirdness going on with the bottom of the left column, but hey, weird and IE often occur together in a sentence!

Does it validate?

Yes, we still have a W3C Standards Compliant CSS Joomla Website . OK, I grant you it doesn't look that amazing right now, but hey, that's what next week's installment is for!

A preview from our next joomla tutorial

Tutorial 6: Enhancing a Template for Joomla SEO
So we have a very basic shell of a web site. Doesn't look very interesting does it. Well, we can soon change that, let's make a few changes. We will also optimize the template for SEO. Joomla has some challenges compared to a static website, but techniques such as those we describe here can improve your joomla SEO efforts.

Joomla template design from Compass Design� 2005 Compass Design/Barrie North, December 2005.
Barrie creates valid joomla template designs at his consultancy, Compass Design
Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you'd like to use this article on your site

Write comment (0 Comments)

The Blank Template CSS for Joomla

Tutorial 4: The Blank Template CSS for Joomla

Reprinted with permission from Compass Design: Valid W3C joomla template designs for your website

In an earlier section, we discussed a slightly different design process. Instead of creating the design and then doing the CSS layout, we will be doing it the other way round, the Joomla CSS first. We are doing this because we want to make an blank CSS template file that can be reused by anyone.

Let's startout with a basic blank template, no layout, just all the font typography styling. This is a blank template to help speed production of a site. Its not a production template CSS file , all styles shouldn't be filled in, ones that don't get used should be deleted before using. This blank CSS file has several features:

CSS Shorthand

There are 'shorthand' styles at the beginning of each style definition. Once you have figured out the styles, fill the shorthand versions in and delete the long versions. The syntax is:

font: font-size |font-style | font-variant | font-weight |
line-height | font-family

Here is an example, rather than this...

font-size:100%;
font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;
font-style:italic;
font-weight:bold;
line-height:130%em;

Have this:

font: 100%/130% Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif italic bold;

Read more at An Introduction to CSS shorthand properties about this syntax.

Global CSS Reset

At the beginning of this joomla CSS file is a few styles that set all styles to certain characteristics. You then have to over-ride these later on. The first key global style is:

* {
margin: 0;
padding: 0;
}
body {........
font-size: 76.1%;........

Everything is given a zero margin and padding and then font size is set to 76.1%. The reason font is set here to 76.1% is to try and get more consistant font sizes across browsers. All font sizes are then set in em's further down. A link that discusses this idea:

An experiment in typography at The Noodle Incident (Owen Briggs)

Header Tags and Joomla CSS Titles

Sometimes I will have Joomla titles turned off and use h1/h2 tags in content. Usually I am doing this to get a SEO bonus*. To get some consistancy across titles depending whether I have the off or not, I'll define the Joomla CSS alongside the hX tags. For example:

h1,.componentheading {...

This is personal preference, you could certainly separate them out.

*I have realised I could get a further SEO bonus by keeping the Joomla titles to show in parameters and then hiding them through a CSS style, and making the titles linkable. Any of these would work:

display: none;
height:0;
text-indent: -3000px;

Note that there is some discussion regarding hiding text with CSS. Please read this if you are considering it!

Joomla Rounded Corners

Towards the end of this blank template CSS file is the code to have rounded corners. Its the same technique used at joomla.org and requires the module suffix contained in index.php file to be "-3".

OK, ready? So here is the blank CSS template. Note it doesn't include any layout, we'll be looking at this next time.

The blank template CSS file for joomla is free for you to take and use. If you do, maybe drop me an email to show your project.

Now, how to use this blank CSS file? Well, after you have done all your joomla CSS styling, your file will have all that extra empty CSS. Just use this tool to get rid of it. Be careful and do a test to make sure you know what it does first!!

CSS Formatter and Optimiser

A preview from our next joomla tutorial

Tutorial 5: Making a 3 column Joomla Theme for your joomla website
In this joomla tutorial, we will look at a 3 column theme for your joomla website. Most joomla websites use 3 columns and having the theme start with that is a good foundation. Then later we can hide side columns if there is no content in them for that page.

Joomla template design from Compass Design� 2005 Compass Design/Barrie North, December 2005.
Barrie creates valid joomla template designs at his consultancy, Compass Design

Write comment (0 Comments)

Presenting at Dutch Joomla Day

The second Dutch Joomla! Days will be held on December 8th & 9th 2006, in Den Bosch, The Netherlands. Day one will focus on Joomla! in business. The second day will be the Joomla! Community day. Several key Joomla! community members will attend the conference - among them six core team members and a surprise guest.

Our own Barrie North will be at the event, presenting a brief outline of some of the new features of template design in 1.5. If you are in the area, drop by and say hi!

Write comment (0 Comments)

Community Announcement

Greetings and Happy New Year to all!

This purpose of this letter is just to fill you in on some changes to come in 2006 and to recap our first year with the Joomla! community.

Community AnnouncementA lot of us have a new sense of freshness, especially since the Joomla/Mambo rebranding and Id like to personally thank the entire community for such a great success on the behalf of Joomlashack. There are so many success stories I can't even begin to list them individually. Because of you, in just the past 3 months we were able to move our data do a dedicated server, create 8 free templates for the community, 20 variations of commercial templates and assorted modules as well as helping to launch over 60 Joomla powered sites, assist in the development of 3 community sites and donate over $1,000 in donations to victims of hurricane Katrina. Again, thank you! This would have never been possible without such a dedicated community and excellent camaraderie among other Joomla! developers..

Write comment (0 Comments)

Server Updates

Rochen HostingIf you're a frequent user here at joomlashack you may have noticed our server was performing rather slowly and sometimes not at all for the past few days. Those days are over now. Thanks to Brad Baker and Chris Adams of Rochen, we are back on track with a lighting fast system in a brand new home right next door to Joomla!
Rochen Engineered Hosting is the same great company that houses the websites at joomla.org and we're proud to support them. Thanks for bearing with us while we migrated over. We hope this didn't set anyone back. You can now browse this site with better speed and reliability.

Write comment (0 Comments)

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.

Write comment (0 Comments)

 

 

Since 2005, Joomlashack has been a leading supplier of free and commercial Joomla templates, Joomla extensions, and Joomla Training.
Joomlashack.com is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Joomla! Project or Open Source Matters.
The Joomla! name and logo is used under a limited license granted by Open Source Matters the trademark holder in the United States and other countries.