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Tuesday, 21 April 2009

outsourcing conspiracy bannerBrian 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.

Tuesday, 07 April 2009

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.

Written by TJ Baker
Thursday, 02 April 2009

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.)

Written by TJ Baker
Thursday, 26 March 2009

Twitter Follow Joomlashack on Twitter and you might just find yourself winning awesome prizes- over a $1,000 given away yesterday. How do you get in on the next Joomlashack Tweetaway?

Written by TJ Baker
Thursday, 26 March 2009

CMS EXpo

CMS Expo- April 30 & May 1st in Chicago!

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.

Friends of Joomlashack get a special $25 off the registration price. Check it out and register now- space limited!

 

Written by TJ Baker
Tuesday, 24 March 2009

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.

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 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':

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: 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

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
Tuesday, 24 March 2009

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!

Written by TJ Baker
Monday, 23 March 2009

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:

Written by TJ Baker
Tuesday, 17 February 2009

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!

Written by TJ Baker
Thursday, 15 January 2009

You may have noticed that Joomlashack is now running on Joomla 1.5. We did a stealth migration yesterday.

We had one problem we needed to address, and it took a while to figure out, so we thought we would share the solution for others.

Our old site used Joomla 1.0, as I have mentioned before, we wanted to make sure we did a 301 redirect of the Joomla URL's so Google would quickly pick up the new ones and pass the pagerank to the new pages. The problem however was that our 1.0 site used the raw URL:

http://www.joomlashack.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=37

We rapidly discovered that mod-write unfortunately will basically ignore all the php parameters here. You can't get rewrite to pay any attention to them.

Written by TJ Baker

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