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18
Apr
2016

A website story - part 2

Written by Nick A.

story2

Continuing where we left off, you have your Joomla website in place - with great content -  and Community Builder configured to handle the registration process and the profile pages of your community. All your members get their own profile page where they can update their data when needed. You have also created a number of user lists with searching enabled to let your users find others with similar interests.

From experience with other social netwrking sites (aka Facebook) you know that people should be able to hook-up with each other (social friends).

Back to the CB Primer Book you go and find Chapter 9 Working with Connections and start reading. Aha, Connections is the term used to describe this user hook-up. You read the chapter and watch the great #24 tutorial - and you quickly get this functionality configured on your site. You notice that connections can be bidirectional or unidirectional - but for know you decide to keep things simple. Bidirectional it is - if I am connected to someone, that someone is also connected with me. You have a test user configured and you establish a connection to test out the process. Email notification is sent, user receiving the connection request approves it and the connection is set and recorded in the new Connections tab.

 connections

Wow, that's cool you say.

As you were reading the CB Primer Book, you noticed that in Chapter 8 Working with Plugins there is a discussion about integration with a Private Messaging extension called uddeIM. "Hmm, why not you say .." and quickly read up on it and download it and get it configured and integrated. Another cool video - tutorial #21 - helps you in this process and you also quickly add new messages notification to your CB Login module.

Now you have a better way for your users to communicate with each other - directly on your site.

This is cool you think. I hope users can quickly take advantage of this new functionality. "Hmm, maybe I should create a new article describing Connections and Private Messaging". Yup, that is the way to go. So, back to Joomla to create new content. Great screenshots are taken and embedded in your awesome tutorials - this way your users will not have to experiment. All they need to do is read the new tutorials.

You scratch your head and ask yourself - "How can I let people now about this functionality and the great tutorials I created?"

Back to the CB Primer Book and to Chapter 7 Working with CB User Management where you find the Mass Mailer functionality. And of course you find another great video tutorial #38 to guide you through this task. This is exactly what I need you think - wow these guys have thought of everything!

So you quickly create your mass mailing message - add links to your new Joomla tutorial articles and bombs away!

And suddenly you realize: "Wow, and all of this is still FREE!!!".

Discuss this on our forums and stay tuned for next part!

 

 
11
Apr
2016

New CB Replacer 1.0 Released

Written by Nick A.

cbreplacer10

The New CB Replacer 1.0 release can be downloaded by Pro/Dev Members!

This new add-on is a Joomla content plugin that lets you define replacement parameters and their values. The replacement parameters will be identified and replaced by their respective values when found in Joomla content. Regular expression replacements are also supported.

This is a very efficiently written Joomla plugin that will really help you keep your content up to date.

Here is two simple use case examples that demonstrate the power and usefulness of this new add-on:

  1. If you are referencing a product version in multiple locations of a Joomla article or in multile Joomla articles, just use your defined replacer string - e.g. {VERSION} instead of hardcoding the version number 1.0 everwhere - and define your replacer string as {VERSION} = 1.0. This way when a new version of your product is released all you have to do is update a single value in the replacer definition (see first replacement in image).

  2. You can also define a regex replacement to convert your This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it email addresses to example AT gmail DOT com (see second replacement in image).

This new add-on does not require Community Builder. It is a Joomla 3.4+ compatible Joomla content plugin that you can install using the Joomla Extensions Manager and publis/configure from the Joomla Plugin manager.

Discuss this on our forums.

   
11
Apr
2016

Joomla 3.5.1 released!

Written by Nick A.

joomla releases 351

Joomla 3.5.1 has been released by the Joomla project.

Joomla 3.5.1 is a bug fixes release that fixes following Joomla 3.5 issues:

  • Root URL sometimes returns empty
  • Need to login twice when use session expires
  • SMTP emails failing
  • Session restarts caused PHP errors
  • Fixed insertid function returning 0 for PDO MySQL driver
  • Fixed Empty trash and unarchive button missing from com_banners

These annoying bugs that were introduced in Joomla 3.5 are now fixed. Check the Joomla 3.5.1 FAQ page for known issues list.

Community Builder 2.0.14 works just fine with this new Joomla release.

Discuss this on our forums.

   
03
Apr
2016

A website story - part 1

Written by Nick A.

vertical-logo-dark-background-enSo you have an idea and you want to build a website.

You discovered Joomla and you are very happy that you can quickly create something nice with almost zero knowledge of HTML, Javascript, CSS, mySQL and other technical jargon.

After playing around, reading available documentation, asking for help on the Joomla forums and experimenting, you manage to create your site content and organize it in Joomla categories and articles. You have mastered the Joomla page concept with the creation of menus and have your site navigation just like you want it.

You have also placed some cool modules on your pages to add more spice to your content layouts.

So now you take two steps back and start thinking about the next steps.

All the great content is in place and basically anyone can see it, but ... you have no idea who is actually looking at what.

Well, you could use some analytics tools to get some information about your visitors, but you want more than some anonymous reports based on IP addresses.

You want to engadge your audience and interact with your website readers. You want to find out who they are, what they like and dislike about your site, what they would want to see next. You want to address your content reader community at a more personal level.

cblogo-horz-color-1200x500p

After some research on the Joomla forums and the Joomla Extensions Directory, you discover the Community Builder listing page and check out the great reviews.

You are getting really excited about the possibilities. You download the latest Community Builder release and install it (video) on your Joomla site. You go through the Getting Started articles and grab the CB Primer Book pdf and start reading. While reading the book, you discover more cool video tutorials and spend some time watching and learning.

All of a sudden you realize that all of this is still free!

You create your new website CB registration form filled with extra fields that will help you learn more about your readers. First and last name fields, a birthday field (video), gender selector (video), interest multiple choice field, country location text field are extremely easy to add. You can even mark individual fields as required. And of course you have email contact information for all your registered users. Your now named-users can login to your website and see all the information they gave during the registration process on their own CB user profile page. You can even ask for more information about your users on their profile pages and let them upload their photo (video) or even a CV file (video).

userprofile

You can easily configure things so your users are activated only if they confirm their email address by clicking on a confirmation link (video) they get from your website.

Wow, you say - this is really cool!

You start thinking about your Joomla content and go back and update some of it so it is only available to logged in users. This gives people an incentive to register.

What other incentives could you give?

You go back to your CB Primer Book and discover the CB User list concept and start thinking. Why not make a nice list of already signed-up registered users and use it as a motivation incentive? So you create your first CB User list and make a new Joomla menu to it and make it public so your anonymous readers can see the list. But you are still keeping the CB User Profile pages private and only viewable to logged in users.

userlistYour website is now starting to look and feel much more engadging and interesting to your users and your brain is already thinking of ways to make things even more appealing.

(end of part 1 - to be continued)

Discuss this on our forums.

   
22
Mar
2016

Joomla 3.5 and Community Builder 2.0.14 Released

Written by Nick A.

j35cb2014c

Both PHP7 ready - Joomla 3.5 and Community Builder 2.0.14 are here!

Joomla 3.5 is now available with 34 new features and many bug fixes. But there are also some backwards incompatibilities that could influence upgrades and some third party extensions.

Community Builder 2.0.14 has also been released with new features and bug fixes. CB 2.0.14 is highly recomended for Joomla 3.5 as it addresses a "Failed to start session" error on logout introduced with Joomla 3.5.0.

About Joomla 3.5

The main new features of Joomla 3.5 are:

  • Drag and Drop images in TinyMCE editor
    No need to select and upload images in new editor. Just drag and drop an image from your computer to your editor window.
  • PHP 7 support
    Joomla will now work in PHP 7 environments which may lead to major performance improvements (up to double speed and half memory usage), but a backwards compatibility break had to be introduced to support PHP7.  We believe that this known B/C break will not affect the vast majority of extensions (CB is not affected).
  • Email notifications when new Joomla release is available
    This new feature will send website admins an email notification/reminder when a new release is available.
  • Editor Buttons added to the Toolbar
    You no longer need to scroll down the page to find the “readmore” or “insert image” buttons. Editor extension buttons that used to be placed below the text area can now be found in the toolbar where they belong.
  • Easily Insert Modules in Articles
    This lets you easily add a module into an article with a button directly on the editor toolbar.
  • Item counts in relevant Joomla administrative pages
    This new feature makes is easy to quickly see how many published/unpublished/trashed/archived articles each Joomla category. Similar functionality is also available in Contact, Banner and Newsfeed management pages.
  • User Status admininstrative module improvements
    The Joomla backend pages have a fixed footer strip with some useful info and links about your website. You now have more control on what is displayed.
  • Download system/environment info for support cases
    Help support teams to help you by including your website system information using this new functionality.
  • User CSS file for Protostar template
    No more hacking needed to add your extra css code in Joomla's Protostar template. You can now add your user.css file and it will be loaded.
  • Statistics gathering for Joomla usage
    Joomla 3.5's new statistics collection plug-in gathers the system environment in use. The raw data collected is anonymised before transmission and access to the compiled data is publicly available.

In addition to these features Joomla 3.5 has also fixes over 650 bugs.

So the $64K question ... what to do .. upgrade or wait?

As there are no reported high or medium level security issues, there is no security related need to rush and upgrade.

Some may choose to wait a few days (or maybe even for next Joomla 3.5.1) and others may choose to upgrade to Joomla 3.5.  But before upgrading your live sites you should follow the following 3-step guidelines:

  1. Check all thrid-party extensions you have installed on your website and check for Joomla 3.5 compatibility reassurance. If needed install new releases when available.
  2. Clone your website and perform that upgrade to Joomla 3.5 on the cloned environment and test everything before you updrage your live sites.
  3. Always backup your live site before you upgrade, just in case something goes wrong and you need to revert things.

About Community Builder 2.0.14

Community Builder 2.0.14 is here with 3 new features and 13 bug fixes. It also addresses a Joomla 3.5 backwards compatibility issue that caused an error during frontend logout.

The full CB 2.0.14 changelog is available in the forum discussion. CB 2.0.14 can be easily installed over any existing CB 2.0+ environment and will continue to work on Joomla 3.4.8 environments (in addition to the just released Joomla 3.5).

Please note that CB 2.0.14 continues to work just fine an older PHP versions (PHP 5.3.3 and greater).

Discuss this article on our forums.

   

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