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The Ultimate Top 10 Joomla Extensions have been REVEALED and voting closed. See the results!

When we speak at events, or do Joomla training, one of the questions we get asked again and again is:

"What are your favorite Joomla extensions?"

There have been lots of people that have tried to answer this question, and its a hard one. One thing that I think makes it hard is the question isn't "what is the best extension?" That sort of question is really focusing on a particular scenario. The questioner perhaps means something like "what is the best comment extension?" The Joomla extension directory has lots of good information about this sort of question at the following pages:

I think what people are really asking are "what are the best extensions that you find yourself using again and again on many sites?"

OK, so lets try and answer that question!

One of the more exciting new releases for Joomla 1.5 recently has been K2 from Joomlaworks.

K2 is a content construction component, which lets you create custom content types (items) for your Joomla! website. With K2, build all sorts of different types of page: news, blogs, product catalogs, work portfolio, knowledge base, download/document manager, directory listing, event listing etc.

I thought I wold take k2 for a spin in a "raw" video review. I installed K2 and put it through its paces without ever having used it before. Raw look, no reading documentation, just install it and play!

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!

There seemed to be interest in my session on Socializing Your Joomla Site and I was able to give away some pre-release copies of the Joomla! 1.5: A User's Guide (2nd Edition) and Fundamentals of Joomla! (Video Training).

Of particular note was the one of the key notes by Wilco Jansen, the Joomla Development Coordinator and an OSM board member talked about the importance of engaging the community. He also answered questions about 1.6 on the experts panel, and talked a little about the GPL in his SDRnews interview.

You can also check out the CMS Expo 2009 Wrapup from John and Linda Coonen, also on SDRnews.

Joomla TrainingNeed Joomla training in 2009? Live in the U.S. or U.K.? You're in business!

Announcing the most complete tour of Joomla trainings ever- 25 sessions in 21 cities all spring and summer.

There are six sessions in New England with Joomlashack's own Barrie North (ok, five in New England and one in New York state), and a whopping 19 sessions all over the rest of the U.S. with our friends at

Most of the sessions are for beginners and intermediates, but there are some more advanced classes as well, in Joomla Template design and Joomla coding.

We're stoked for Joomlashack's master handyman and Joomla evangelist TJ Baker to teach two of the trainings in California, one in Los Angeles and one in San Francisco.

Need Joomla Training? Get going this spring and summer! More dates will be added, to keep coming back. It's a great time to invest in yourself and your Joomla skills.

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.

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

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

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


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

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

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:  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