Since the release of Joomla 1.6, and now 1.7, most people are aware of the major changes and features that were added to this great CMS platform since the 1.5 version, such as infinitely nestable categories (and the removal of sections), the powerful Access Control List (ACL) system, and the modifications made to the layout of the admin interface of Joomla.
There’s a number of new features that are less well known, and I thought I’d give them a little love in this post. Here’s a list of several new and useful features in Joomla 1.6/1.7 that you may have not been aware of.
Every month it seems I end up in a conversation with a new friend or acquaintance that has a website built on Joomla, and when they find out that I train people how to use Joomla, I invariably find myself telling them a handful of things that I feel are essential things to get in order if you have a Joomla powered site.
The list of things I mention is most often the same, so I thought I’d share it in hopes that it might help you with your own Joomla powered site.
Without a doubt, the first thing I suggest to people is to get their site moved to a webhost that is known to work well with Joomla and that has taken great steps in creating a secure server environment.
My top choice, and the host I always recommend, is Rochen. I’ve been using them for years, we host the Joomlashack sites there, the main Joomla websites are hosted there, and I’ve never had any major problems with any sites hosted at Rochen.
Here's a 12 minute sample of one of our latest video tutorials at Joomlashack University called "Automating daily site backups with Akeeba Backup Pro."
Akeeba Backup is one of the most popular and most helpful extensions for Joomla that there is.
With Akeeba Backup Pro, the paid version, you can make it even more useful by setting it up to automatically make daily backups of your site and have those backup files sent to a server of your choice, such as an Amazon S3 or Rackspace Cloudfiles account.
In this video lesson, you'll see how to set up a Cloudfile account and how to configure Akeeba Backup Pro to automatically send it's daily backup files to the Cloudfile account.
For one reason or another, you may come upon the situation where you’ve lost your ability to login to Joomla with your super admin login information.
If this happens to you, here’s how you can reset the password:
1) Login to the control panel of your web host account and open phpMyAdmin:
2) Open up the database for your website:
3) Find the table that ends in “_users.” It will most likely start with “jos,” but it could start with some other letters.
When you find it click on the Browse icon just to the right of the table name:
4) Find the user whose password you want to change in the list on the next page and click on the pencil icon:
5) On the next page, in the password row, select MD5 as the password type and then enter in your new desired password in the password field:
and then click on Go at the bottom to save this change.
6) Go back to the Joomla administration login page and login with your username and the password that you entered in the last step, and you should be able to login now.
For one reason or another, American's preferred date format (e.g., February 25, 2010) is not an option within Joomla.
I know there's many people who use Joomla who are not in the U.S., but for those of you who are, if you'd like to change the date format in Joomla to the American format, this one's for you.
You can see the date format appear in a number of different places, but one common place you'll see it is in an article's date created information:
The date format you see in the above image is Joomla's default date format, which is the international date format.
I'll show you two ways you can change this date format: 1) By editing one of Joomla's core files, and 2) installing a US language pack.
Here's how to change the international date format to Month Day, Year (while also removing the time stamp) by editing one of Joomla's core files.
1) Using your ftp software, such as Filezilla, navigate to the en-GB.ini file, which is in this location: your root directory/languages/en-GB/en-GB.ini
2) Open the en-GB.ini file with your plain text editor and look for this line of code towards the top of the file:
DATE_FORMAT_LC2=%A, %d %B %Y %H:%M
3) That's Linux date format code, and you'll need to change it to this:
DATE_FORMAT_LC2=%B %d, %Y
4) Once you make that change, save the en-GB.ini file and upload it back to the en-GB directory.
5) Go back to the front of your site and refresh the page. You should see this date format now:
Now, here's an important note to keep in mind: when you make this change, you're editing a core Joomla file. When you upgrade Joomla, there's a chance that there will be a new language directory, a new en-GB directory, or a new en-GB.ini file.
If that's the case, when you upgrade, your date change will be lost, since the en-GB.ini file that you edited will be overwritten by the new one in the Joomla upgrade package.
If you're fine with potentially needing to make this simple change each time you upgrade, then you're fine.
If you want to avoid that, there's another way to make this change: install the American Language pack by Dave Morgan.
1) Go to this page and download the language pack by clicking on the download link:
2) Install it in Joomla by going to Extensions>Install Uninstall.
Click on Browse, find the language pack file you downloaded, and double click on it when you find it.
Then click on Upload and Install on the Extension Manager page.
3) After it's been successfully installed, go to Extensions>Language Manager.
4) Check the radio button next to English(United States) and then click on the Defualt icon in the upper right of the page to make this language pack your default language pack.
5) Then, go to the front of your site and refresh the page, or navigate to a page that has a date showing and you should see a date format like this:
If you want to edit how that date format is appearing, such as taking the time stamp off, go to language/en-US and open the en-US.ini file. Change the date format for LC2 in a similar way that I described above for editing the en-GB.ini file.
For example, if you wanted to remove the time stamp, you would delete the %H:%M on the line of code for the DATE_FORMAT_LC2 within the en-US.ini file. Currently, that line of code is on line 11 of that file.
When you update Joomla, your date format changes will remain in tact as long as the core Joomla team doesn't create a new language directory named en-US as a new option.
One of the handiest tools you can have in your Joomla toolbox is the ability to put the contents of a module right into the body of an article. (The article you're reading now is using this method. See the message in the box right above this sentence? That's actually content from a module being loaded right into this article.)
This can be a significant timesaver, since you can create a module one time in the Module Manager and then simply place it into any number of articles on your site.
That means you wouldn't have to set up that content individually in every article: you do the work once and then simply tell Joomla where you want that module to appear.
To show you how to do this, I'll show you an example of using this method to put a newsletter sign up form right in an article.
Here's a look at the end result:
Here's how to do this:
1) In Joomla go to Extensions>Module Manager. Then click on New to create a new module.
2) Select Custom HTML from the list of available modules. (You can put other types of modules in articles, but for this example I'll show you how to do this with a custom HTML module.)
3) Name your module. In this example, I named the module "Newsletter sign up."
4) Set show title to "No."
5) For the module Position (and here's the key of this trick), put your cursor in the field next to "Position" and type in a new position name. In this example, I've called the new position "newsletter."
6) For the menu assignment, you can leave it set to All.
7) In the Custom Output area, enter in whatever content you want to have in this module. In this example, I've got some code entered that's creating the iContact newsletter sign up form:
8) When you're done, save the module.
9) Go into the Article Manager (Components>Article Manager) and open up an article where you'd like to put this module.
10) Wherever you want the module to be, type in this syntax (which is sometimes referred to as the "loadposition syntax") :
Replace "newmoduleposition" with the name of the new module position you created when you typed in the new position name in the custom HTML module.
For my example, this is how my article with the newsletter module in it looks when opened up in Joomla:
11) Save the article and check how it looks on the front of your site. That's it!
Now, whatever article on your site that you want to have this module appear in, all you have to do is enter in the loadposition syntax and it will appear.