46 Joomla Questions Answered

Q&A Session for Joomla! 1.5: A User’s Guide with Barrie North Date: August 19, 2009

  1. Q: What do you recommend for e-commerce, selling things or subscriptions online?
    A: those are two different systems – ecommerce – there’s really only virtuemart.net,
    subscriptions – there’s at least 5 good ones, I like CB Subs (simplweb.com/membership-websites)
    A: extensions.joomla.org/extensions/e-commerce/paid-access-and-content
  2. Q: What do you recommend for a forum that’s simple to adminstrate for a newbie?
    A: forum: kunena or ccboard
  3. Q: How about an online, interactive community? What do you guys recommend for that?
    A: free: Community Builder
    A: commercial: jomsocial
  4. Q: I am trying to use Joomla as a form of file sharing for common projects. Can I configure the ability to allow file (.wav, project files, pdf’s, etc) upload/download based on user permission/account type? If so, how?
    A: not easily – complex user permissions is Joomla’s achilles heel at the moment. The next version (1.6) will fix that. The CB subs plugin coould probably handle this though.
  5. Q: Is it real to change path to administrator panel ? Not www.sitename.com/administrator ?
    A: yes, try JSecure Authentication, though I am not sure there is a real need to.
  6. Q: Yes…we are already using Jomsocial (www.cfaith.com), but we are looking to incorporate more blog & threaded discussion features into the mix. Any ideas for an external module that would work with Jomsocial?
    A: Myblog is from the same people as Jomsocial and integrates well
    A: Getting them both isn’t cheap (by Joomla standards) … $200 or so) but its good quality
  7. Q: would local host be only used in a local wampserver setup
    A: no – many hosting companies also are using localhost in their server setup
  8. Q: I host my site on Godaddy. Whenever they install a new Joomla project, the sample data is installed, too. Is there an easy way to zap the sample data?
    A: yes, try Mass Content, but its best to install Joomla manually rather than use hosting one-clickers
  9. Q: Sorry, what is ‘mass content’?
    A: extensions.joomla.org/extensions/2514/details
    A: it has a "delete content" option
  10. Q: Please tell us the name of the software needed to run joomla from a Mac Desktop again.
    A: MAMP
  11. Q: How can I tell what modules are in a template that I bought if they did not include a list?
    A: example.com/?tp=1
  12. Q: Were can you go to learn about choosing a template with the correct and flexible content locations?
    A: there’s not a single place unfortunately because there are so many templates and so many people with different needs
    A: The documentation for each template should show width options and content locations
  13. Q: How can you tell what positions on the page exist in the template?
    A: example.com/?tp=1
  14. Q: I read there will be no Sections in Joomla 1.6
    A: correct – it will improve and there will be an unlimited number and level of categories
    A: no more being stuck into Section >> Category >> Article
  15. Q: What is a section/cat/article? Would help me as a newbie
    A: www.compassdesigns.net/tutorials/103-content-is-kinga-beginners-guide-to-organizing-content-in-joomla.html
  16. Q: There are alot of 1.5 extension that rely on section> catagroy in the backend to display there content, will they work on 1.6?
    A: The section > category for extensions is separate from the section > category for content
    A: however some extensions will need code overhauls to be ready for 1.6
  17. Q: can I set the default page at any menu instead of mainmenu?
    A: unfortunately not
  18. Q: would running the Legacy plugin in 1.6 work to run these extensions
    A: talk at the moment is that there won’t be a legacy plugin in 1.6
  19. Q: I have the 1st edition of the book, major diffs with the 2nd ed? thx!
    A: www.cmswire.com/cms/web-cms/barrie-north-on-books-videos-and-joomla-004827.php
  20. Q: If we compare 2 websites of the same size, one designed with joomla and the other one with plain css, which one is faster to display on the browser?
    A: that’s a "how long is a piece of string question" … depends on your server, your internet connection, current traffic to the site etc, the plain xhtml/cc will probably load faster, but be nowhere near as powerful!
  21. Q: Best way to use Joomla for an ecommerce solution? Guidelines?
    A: for a fully-featured ecommerce site, there’s only Virtuemart, some people love it, some people hate it. I am leaning towards using 2rd party interations like Shopify.
  22. Q: Is there a way to tell what extensions have been installed on a site? (Being new find sites that I like and don’t know how they created it).
    A: Go to Extensions > Install/Uninstall in the back end
  23. Q: What risks exist pertaining to Joomla and hacking?
    A: security? the only difference from a regular HTML site is that you need to update regularly your core Joomla and your extensions. Most hacking intrusions come from older 3rd party extensions. You can also check out a new product – www.joomlashack.com/joomla-extensions/386-review-of-new-joomla-security-extension
  24. Q: Extensions specifically.
    A: install as few extensions as possible, check to see how active updates are for the extensions you use
  25. Q: Wouldn’t using an automated MetaTag module for your articles help more than the SEO of Joomla?
    A: doing something by hand is always better than doing it manually, but for a large site or one with a lot of user generated content, automatic metadata is inevitable. Though is generally accepted now that meta keywords and description are not much use. The title tag is critical though and Joomla handles that already.
  26. Q: Does Joomla offer any sort of Web Service API for accessing content from another site or application?
    A: it does, check the XML-RPC plugins
  27. Q: how do you upgrade to a new version
    A: Basically you get a patch and over-write the files – www.joomlashack.com/tutorials/372-how-to-update-joomla-15-versions
  28. Q: will the template development for Joomla 1.5 differ from the Joomla 1.6 one ?
    A: yes, it may well. That’s still in flux
  29. Q: does patches include changes at DB structure?
    A: no – doesn’t touch the DB (usually)
  30. Q: Okay so just overriding the old files on the server
    A: yes, exactly
  31. Q: How soon before we can expect the final 1.6 release?
    A: uhhh … pass …. :)
    A: there’s an alpha now, its possible it will go stable this year, but I wouldn’t bet my house on it
  32. Q: in 1.6, if there are no more sections and I am using a section blog layout to list all the categories under the section, then how will that work?
    A: it will be a link to a category blog
  33. Q: but I show multiple categories on a single page
    A: you’d link to the category containing those multiple categories
  34. Q: so, it is safe to install a DB from any 1.5.* joomla site to a newer one, isn’t it?
    A: yes, if the DB is solid and secure, it will be fine to move it
  35. Q: As a followup to my question on file uploads/downloads, aside from acl, what joomla feature or plugin would i refer to support file upload, perhaps associated with a blog entry and/or adding to an article?
    A: Rubberdocs, Rokdownload, Docman, try K2, there’s also extensions that allow attachments to articles
  36. Q: Where can we get the ALPHA of 1.6?
    A: joomlacode.org/gf/project/joomla/frs/?action=FrsReleaseBrowse&frs_package_id=3585
  37. Q: wouldn’t it be better to uncategorise all articles when migrating?
    A: migrating to 1.6? brian.teeman.net/joomla-gps/should-i-wait-for-joomla-16.html
  38. Q: How can I add ‘tags’ to articles so they can be indexed/listed under multiple topics?
    A: MyBlog has a built in feature for this
  39. Q: off-topic question, is it possible to display an article inside a module that is still editable at the publisher level? i.e. sidebar that contains the article
    A: would a custom_html module work?
  40. Q: Will 1.5 still be supported with patches once 1.6 is relaesed
    A: yes, for at least 2 more years
  41. Q: Would you recommend Joomla for an ecommerce site?
    A: its not Joomla’s strength. If you need a professional shop you may need a dedicated ecommerce platform
  42. Q: How can one integrate twitter/FB or other social networks?
    A: all sorts of ways – twitter probably has a dozen extensions for joomla
  43. Q: where can I find a tool… that logs the changes to joomla to assist in the development of our sites?
    A: no tool that will record every change unfortunately. Some record article changes
  44. Q: what about support for google ads?
    A: extensions.joomla.org/extensions/ads-a-affiliates/google-ads
  45. Q: yes, I have used the custom_html module, but setting it up as a module does not allow the publisher access to modify it from the front end
    A: That’s right, its just how Joomla currently works. No real way around it unfortunately
    A: Its coming in 1.6 hopefully: community.joomla.org/blogs/community/819-frontend-editing-reloaded.html
  46. Q: Can I add Flash to Joomla site?
    A: yes, most WYSIWYG editors have a flash embedder