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!
Brian Clark and Jon Morrow over at Copyblogger just released an interesting free 31 page report about outsourcing for web entrepreneurs. I think there has definitely been a growth in the perception that outsourcing is the secret to being successful these days:
All the "get rich quick" gurus seem to have outsourcing as a key part of their business model
Overseas "rent-a-coder" type sites that offer cheap labor are becoming more and more prevalent
Quite a few Joomla-based shops even have outsourcing as a key aspect of running their company business
Even design is getting outsourced, as evident by all the PSD to HTML sites that have sprung up
Brian and Jon make the argument that outsourcing is not all that its cracked up to be, especially for those who 'they" say its best for... new people with a new idea they are trying to launch.
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.
Our friends at the CMS Association are back this spring with another spectacular conference for Joomlaheads and open source CMS fans generally- the second annual CMS Expo in Chicago!
Here's how they explain what CMS Expo Chicago is:
The CMS Association invites you to come for two high-energy days of training on top CMS solutions Joomla, Drupal and Alfresco. With over forty CMS learning sessions in six training tracks, CMS Expo has all you need to get up to speed on the latest content management techniques and trends.
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:
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 http://validator.w3.org
Testing your site's validation is as simple as putting your site's URL in the Address field and clicking 'Check':
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:
If there are errors, you will be presented with a results page that outlines the errors:
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: http://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
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!
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!