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Want to learn more about how to build professional websites with Joomla? Then check out Joomlashack University, the #1 Joomla online training program in the world.

This tutorial will show you how to make custom image based modules in Fireworks using masking techniques aimed at the Luhs template design. Navigate to your downloaded package to the Graphic Source Files folder and open custom_module_graphic.png in Fireworks.

If you would like to see a video of this tutorial as well you can download the QuickTime movie here.

Small 640x480 (1.5 mb)
Large H.264 1080 (13.5 mb)

You will see a screen similar to this one.
(click for larger)

Choose the SubSelect tool.

Draw a box over the shape just large enough to select the corner nodes as shown below.

The corner nodes are sub-selected.

Hold down Shift to keep the mouse straight or use the arrow keys to resize the shape vertically.

The shape is resized.

Choose the select tool.

and select the top shape.

Choose Edit > Cut.
The shape is loaded onto the clipboard.

Select the image and resize it. (Cmd+T)
You can temporarily lower the opacity in the layers palette to see the underlying shape.

Once resized, choose Modify > Mask > Paste as Mask.

You can return the opacity back up.

Tutorial Image

Use the text tool to add some graphic text to the image.

Image 14

Select all by choosing (Cmd+A) , then right click the graphic and choose "Insert Rectangular Slice"

Whwn the popup appears asking you to choose Single or Multiple slices, choose "Single".

Image 15

Name the slice in the properties palette to "custom_mod"
*If not shown choose Window > Properties to show the palette.

The last step is to export the image to a place on your local computer by choosing File > Export.

Choose "Images Only" and make sure the name of the file is "custom_mod.png"

 

To convert to a module just log in to your Joomla admin console and choose New.

Paste the code below into the editor ( in html edit mode) with these settings and save.
Show Title = No
Published = Yes

<div align="center"><img style="margin: 0px;" width="194" height="173" src="http://yourdomain.com/path/to/images/stories/custom_mod.png" alt="Alt Description" title="My Description" /></div>

Important. Modules in the Lush Template right hand position must be no larger than 194px wide!

Want to learn more about how to build professional websites with Joomla? Then check out Joomlashack University, the #1 Joomla online training program in the world.

Written by TJ Baker

Introducing the fastest template in the world!

From our popular Joomla template tutorial series, we are proud to announce that CSSTemplateTutorial2 clocks in at under 30KB, making it the fastest joomla template in the world!

And its free!

Written by TJ Baker

iContact have recently released the second version of their API, and along with it, we upgraded our popular email component for Joomla we call JContact.

iContact were running a contest for API applications, and we are excited to announce that we grabbed second place!

Email marketing service iContact announced the winners of their API Challenge, a contest for partners and customers of iContact that asked them to build an integration between third party applications and iContact.

2nd place was given to Joomlashack, a team of designers, developers and technicians in the Joomla community, which came up with JContact.  They received $2,000 cash. Barrie North, a user and designer of JContact explained: “We have been long-time fans of iContact. We built a component called JContact that leverages the new iContact API to integrate Joomla registration with iContact, and uses best industry opt-in practices to do so. We also gave it away for free!”

Written by TJ Baker

Want to learn more about how to build professional websites with Joomla? Then check out Joomlashack University, the #1 Joomla online training program in the world.

Setting up JContact to work in your Joomla is a several step process. To get the maximum benefit of the iContact API, you need to enable the JContact component in your iContact account and enter some settings into the JContact Joomla component.

Before you start, head to iContact and grab a free trial.

You'll also need to download a copy of the JContact component.

Once installed, you will need to configure the JContact main settings: Components > JContact > Main Settings.

To enable the component, change "Add Newly Registered Users" to yes and click save.

Main Jcontact Settings

You will then need to enable the component for the API in your iContact account. To do this you will see a link, highlighted below. First log into your iContact account and then click or browser to that URL.

Note that the API URL can be changed to work with the iContact dev sandbox should you wish. For now, just leave that URL as is.

The iContact API link

Once at iContact, you will need to give the application (i.e. JContact) a name, and make sure you are enabling it for the 2.0 API.. Remember your API username and password, the key and then click on the link to enable the AppId.

Registering the App at iContact

You can now go back to you settings screen and enter in the values from iContact for the username, password and Key.

Then click save!

Save the API settings in JContact

Once you have saved this information, you should be able to click on choose and a box will pop up with your iContact lists. If you get an error here, there is some sort of problem communicating with the iContact API, Check your passwords etc.

Choosing the iContact list

By default, all registered users will get added to your selected list. You can add a field that gives users the option of whether they want to sign up or not.

Optional Sign up field

At this point you should also create a registration email that will take the place of the core Joomla one.

The last step is to create a link to the special registration page.

JContact must use its own registration page to rather than the core Joomla one in order to work properly. You can create a menu item to the component as normal.

Creating a Joomla menu item

Note, that if someone happens upon your Joomla core registration page and uses that, they won't interact with iContact. Site visitors can possibly stumble across this from the login module/form. You might want to consider a template override to change that link, or an htaccess redirect.

Want to learn more about how to build professional websites with Joomla? Then check out Joomlashack University, the #1 Joomla online training program in the world.

Written by TJ Baker

Today and tomorrow are the last chances to get the early bird pricing for the beginner/intermediate Joomla training class in Hartford, CT on September 17th.

If you book now, you'll get $150 off the regular price and reserve a spot for only $249.

As well as a full day of expert Joomla instruction, all students will leave with goodies worth over $400!

Written by TJ Baker

Right now the hottest online businesses are online membership websites. Whether learning how to create email newsletters or networking for partners, subscription based membership sites are *the* way to generate revenue from your own expertise.

The two pieces to the puzzle to be successful with your membership website are expert help and guidance, and a powerful platform.

Keep reading and I'll tell you how you can get both, a world renowned expert who will teach you, and a complete powerful turnkey membership website, and you'll get the site free for life!

Written by TJ Baker

Teaching Sells

There are a few people whose every word I follow and try to incorporate into my business, and Brian Clark of CopyBlogger.com and Teaching Sells is one of them.

In 2008, Brian launched his Teaching Sells course. A complete guide to setting up and running and online paid membership websites. It was insanely popular, I joined up right when his doors opened, and so did people like Aaron Wall (of SEO Book).

After 2 rounds of students, Brian closed his doors and has been busy improving it, until now, when he has opened them up again. He only has 500 spots, and I reckon this course will soon be full and you'll have missed your chance. His last round sold out the 300 spots at $997 a pop in about 48 hours!

Head to TeachingSells.com and check it his new video.

Teaching Sells Video
Written by TJ Baker

A few weeks ago we blogged about our adoption of Uservoice to get feedback from you to help us better meet your needs.

We have been working hard on some new Joomla templates, both free and commercial, but we also want you to tell us what kind of templates you want.

Simply head over to our template feedback and share your ideas for themes, site types, colors, extension, whatever you'd like to see.

joomlashack.uservoice.com/pages/20904-joomlashack-templates

We'll be be selecting 3 people at random for a free copy of our upcoming release!

Written by TJ Baker

What Joomla-powered sites have the highest Google PageRank? (Hint: Joomlashack's PageRank is 9. Think we made the top tier?)

How many Joomla-powered websites in the world are there? And how many of them are highly trafficked, really successful sites?

A group of Joomlaheads led by Alex Red has set out to answers these any many other questions about the size, depth, and characteristics of the Joomlaverse. Their site is www.joomla.me

Joomla.me is a directory of Joomla-powered websites. The team analyzes and makes some interesting claims using data from the directory, including:

Written by TJ Baker

Want to learn more about how to build professional websites with Joomla? Then check out Joomlashack University, the #1 Joomla online training program in the world.

So you want a website, and you have heard some of the buzz about open source.

Joomla, Drupal and Wordpress have all been mentioned, but you are lost and confused.

No problem, this guide is an easy 10 step process to getting started with building a website with Joomla and some insider tricks and tips to make sure you are making best use of it.

We are going to look at the following things:

  1. Why do you need a website, and why use Joomla?
  2. What actually is Joomla?
  3. How do I install Joomla?
  4. How should I set up my site?
  5. Picking a Template
  6. Organizing Content
  7. Creating Navigation
  8. How can I add features to my site?
  9. How can I make Joomla better for SEO?
  10. How do I keep my site updated, and what lies ahead (Joomla 1.6)

You think you need a website but why?

Joomla vs Drupal vs Wordpress

Unless you have clear goals, your website will not have any focus, and not contribute to your organization's goals.

  • A restaurant might want to increase onsite foot traffic
  • A non-profit might want to increase donations
  • A consultant might want to increase sales leads
  • A school might want to communicate better with parents

But unless you identify your goals, you are building your site blindfolded!

But what shall I use?

Joomla, Drupal or Wordpress?

Why Use Joomla?

Joking aside, Joomla is an excellent solution that lies in the middle of Wordpress's ease of use and the flexibility of Drupal.

Resources

 


Joomla is an open source content management system.

So what does that mean?

  • Open Source means that anyone can contribute to the code, improve it, or distribute it. This means the platform is a living project being created and improved by a community of developers all over the world.
  • A content management system uses a database to place content into designated places on the web page. Its dynamic and in real time.

Let's look at a forum as an example

Example of a database website

Joomla works the same way, the template creates "buckets" or "placeholders" for content, and then the CMS pours content into them as needed.

Example of a database website

Here, the articles are being dynamically generated as well as the bottom lists of links.

Joomla is

  • Easy
  • Powerful
  • Cheap (not free!)

Barrie North's 80/20 rule

  • 80% of what you want to do will take 20% of the effort
  • You don’t really know what your site visitors want

Resources

 


To install Joomla, you need a web account with a MySQL database.

Or you can set up what is know as a localhost.

  1. Download Joomla files
  2. Either
    • Upload file package to server then extract
    • Extract then upload individual files
  3. Create a database
  4. Browse to site and run installation wizard
  5. Pray to all you hold holy that permissions are ok
  6. Delete installation folder

Resources

 


One of the hardest parts to Joomla is setting up the site. To start, there are so many options it an be overwhelming.

The three elements of a Joomla site are:

  • Template (the look and feel)
  • Content (the "beef")
  • Modules (the gravy round the outside)

Elements of a Joomla website

 


Joomla comes with three templates:

  • Milky Way
  • Beez
  • Purity

To get started, just use one of these, then you can graduate to a 3rd party template of which there are thousands. You can get free ones or professional ones ranging from $25-$70

Of course www.joomlashack.com, but others of mention:

  • www.joomlapraise.com
  • www.rockettheme.com
  • www.joomlart.com
  • www.joomlajunkie.com

Commercial innovation has driven Joomla templates much quicker than some other content management systems.

 


The main "meat" content is made up of articles.

Content, or articles need containers, these are called Sections and Categories, and must be set up first.

  • Section
    • Category
      • Article

Joomla content structure - sections and categories

 


Nothing can been seen on the webpage until it is linked to. Next you must set up navigation.

There are no Joomla pages


 

Joomla has thousands of 3rd party extensions, from forums and shopping carts to lacrosse league managers or women's menstrual cycle trackers.

Some are free, some are commercial. Some are GPL, some are proprietary (no, these are not the same thing!)

Lets add some extensions!

Resources

 


Joomla holds its own for SEO!

Joomla has something called SEF (Search Engine Friendly URL's) that turns complex url's into easy to understand ones.

Google doesn't care now anywhere, so SEO is not SEF.

Joomla SEO is not SEF

  • Keyword Use in Title Tag (4.9)
  • Global Link Popularity of Site (4.5)
  • Anchor Text of Inbound Link (4.4)
  • Link Popularity within the Site's Internal Link Structure (4.1)
  • Age of Site (4)
  • Topical Relevance of Inbound Links to Site (3.9)
  • Link Popularity of Site in Topical Community (3.9)
  • Keyword Use in Body Text (3.9)
  • Global Link Popularity of Linking Site (3.7)
  • Topical Relationship of Linking Page (3.6)

Source:http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors

Concentrate on creating relevant titles for your articles

Create Relevant Article Titles

This will mean your pages have a strong foundation for SEO and will be accessible and usable.

Good Article Titles mean good SEO and usability

Resources

 


One of the challenges of open source is keeping up to date with the more frequent patches and security fixes. Someone on your team will have to know how to do these.

Joomla.org releases patches which are a bunch of files that need to be applied/ftp'ed onto your server.

Major releases come around every year or so with many new features. The current version is 1.5 and 1.6 will be released in the next 12 months.

There are some extensions and services that will keep you site updated for you.

Resources

Want to learn more about how to build professional websites with Joomla? Then check out Joomlashack University, the #1 Joomla online training program in the world.

Written by TJ Baker