Archive for March 28, 2011

What Should I Look For in a Content Management System (CMS)?

March 28, 2011

A content management system has the power to turn your website into a highly flexible and powerful centre of information and interaction for your visitors. Perhaps even more importantly is how easy a CMS can make life for you, enabling you to control content and make changes without needing to know any programming or coding. There are a variety of different factors that you should be looking for when choosing between available content management systems.

As mentioned above, a CMS should provide an environment for you where you don’t need to have any technical expertise in order to update your website. This is the key advantage to the content management system. Everything is pre-coded into an existing template and framework, and all you have to do is update, add new content and move things around.

It’s an extraordinarily easy process and it will save you a great deal of time and hassle. Be sure that any CMS you choose does not require you to know any programming or to make any technical changes just to update the site itself. That takes away the entire point of the CMS, which is to make your life as easy as possible.

When choosing a CMS you also want something that will allow you a great deal of flexibility across many different levels. What is meant by this is that you should have the power to instantly add modules to your website that makes your site more rich and attractive. Examples of modules include discussion forums, which provide a place for your visitors to interact with one another and with you as well as providing FAQ modules which allow you to easily setup and maintain a database of frequently asked questions.

It’s also very important that your content management system provides a search engine friendly structure. Some content management systems have complicated structures that hinder the success of your SEO work. Therefore you should be looking for a CMS that is as friendly for the search engines as possible, with simple page naming structures and uncomplicated code that highlights the various SEO elements of your site and its content.

Another element to consider when choosing a CMS is the templates you are provided with. You want a template that is engaging and user friendly. You also want one that has some built in flexibility, allowing you to make small changes as you see fit or to move things around to highlight particular elements of your content.

When it comes to choosing a CMS, the main thing you have to keep in mind is its ease and its functionality. A CMS that is complex or doesn’t provide you with a lot of flexibility and power is a waste of time. Your CMS should provide an excellent template or multiple templates that makes your site attractive and keeps your options open. Choosing a CMS that makes your life easier, provides you with an array of options and maintains a SEO friendly approach will make your site much more powerful and successful. 
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Can Joomla Downloads Keep Up With Customer’s Requests?

March 21, 2011

Can Joomla’s developer team ever sleep? Talk about dedicated, this group walks the walk and delivers when it comes to taking care of their customers. Nothing demonstrates this more strongly than their production of extensions.

My definition of extensions is add-ons or accessories that make the Joomla experience richer and more fun. Much like the accessories on your Wii box. You just can’t get enough.

Here’s the Top Ten list of Joomla extensions as compiled by Oscandy.com

1: Quick Preview Button

2: Custom Quick Icon

3: JRE Cache

4: Website Validator Tool

5: JOSreplace

6: JoomlaStats

7: Diagnostics

8: Joomla MindMap

9: Jombackup

10: JoomlaXplorer

No matter how you do the math Joomla software downloads are keeping the developers busy….and we thank them:) My stats indicate there are 2686 currently active extensions which include at least 129 or so new extensions produced by Joomla since December 2007. (This count does not include dozens of extensions produced by others who use the open source software supplied by Joomla)

Here’s a group of extension categories for those of you who are into lists.

Admin Tools – include add-ons for backup, reporting, file management, statistics, etc. Banner Ads & Affiliates – include advertising banners and classified ads. Calendars – provide for your needs related to events (birthdays, event calendar etc.) and reservations (primarily useful for hotels or guest houses etc) Communication – provides for chat, comments, forums, polls, guestbook, newsletter, mailing list etc on your website. Content & News – this category of extension helps you include blog, clock, weather, quiz, news, RSS, e-cards, ratings and reviews, tips and notes etc in the website. Core Enhancements – group access, categories/sections, cache, credits, security etc. are the categories you may find here. Documentation/Document Management – this extension provides for FAQs, glossary and dictionary, bibliography, Wiki and downloads. e-Commerce – the extensions under these category are those pertaining to shopping cart, auction, payment systems, donation, electronic data interchange and Amazon. Extension Specific Plugin – These plugins can be used only when certain extensions are already installed as the plugins are for specific extensions. E.g. if you want to install BannersManager Plugins, then you need to install Banners Manager extension first. Other such plugins include AdsManager Plugins, Community Builder plugins, dcsFlashGames plugins, VirtueMart Plugins, DOCMan Plugins etc. Forms – this extension helps you create various kinds of forms (e.g. forms for surveys, guestbook, polls etc) Gallery & Multimedia – the extension category includes sub-categories like gallery, podcasting and streaming Media. These primarily help in adding pictures/images, audio and videos, providing radio and video streams etc. Intranet & Groupware – CRM, Contacts, LDAP, Project and task Management are the areas addressed by this extension category. It contains address book, blogs, calendar, organizers, etc. Languages – Languages extension is designed to help you with translation and also provides the option of multi-lingual content. Miscellaneous – help desk, religion, quotes, recipes, portfolio, sports/games, etc are the sub-categories included in this extension category. Search & Indexing – it comprises of Search, Site Map, Google and Directory. Vertical Markets – Vertical markets extension contains categories such as education, real estate, auto and vehicles, boat and yachting etc. WYSIWYG Editors – it helps manage editor profiles for the users, manage content, images, links, etc.

Joomla Strolls Down Memory Lane

From humble beginnings in August 2005, Joomla, an expanded evolution of Mambo, was developed. A team of developers formerly with Miro Corp created a product derived from the creative seed of thought that had been Mambo. By September 2005 Joomla was born!

Since that time Joomla has grown a vast number of add-ons, components, templates, modules, and a host of bots, bits and bites to become what could be the largest Internet industry since Microsoft.

What’s next?
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Open Source Customization Overview

March 3, 2011

What is Open source Customization?

Open source customization is a process of customizing open source content management system (CMS) or scripts like wordpress, joomla, oscommerce, mambo, phpbb and many more, in order to achieve desired functionality and look. Open source customization of this hugely popular CMS requires good knowledge of PHP, CSS, and HTML.

What can you do with the open source CMS like wordpress and joomla?
WordPress is most used blogging software in the world. Its’ seamless user interface makes content write-up, publishing and organizing very easy and enjoyable. WordPress can be used to make a full flange website with almost all the functionalities like ecommerce, forum and Job-portal. Website made with word press are search engine friendly and easy to share with other websites and users. WordPress is widely used for personal and community websites.

Joomla is award wining open source web based software that delivers website without touching a single line of html, css or php. Joomla admin interface is not as easy as wordpress but it gives more control over look and how your content can be viewed on different parts of your website. It has vast library of component, just like wordpress plug-in library. Through this library one can easily make website with almost all functionalities. Joomla is widely used for company and corporate websites.

Why you need customization of wordpress, customization of joomla and other CMS?
To achieve look and feel of the website as in the design files like photoshop .psd
To gain desired functionalities like contact form, navigation system, image slideshow
To retain all browser compatibility for your website, so no matter what browser user is using to view your website the look and feel remains consistent.
To enable website with search engine friendly features and techniques, that improves CMS website ranking in Google, yahoo and MSN.
To make sure that website displays content uninterrupted in all screen sizes.

How to customize joomla and wordpress?
Once you have joomla and wordpress installed in your hosting account, all you need to look for is design part and functionality part.
Design part is essentially look and feel of the website. Most of the CMS has their design files working separately then that of the programming. To customize wordpress theme you should look out for the theme folder and the style sheet in it. In case of joomla customization you have to search the template files which print the content in the screen with desired font colors, heading, list style and so on.

Functionality is something that prints the content in your site without any look and feel features. All the cms can be grouped in to dynamic websites as all the content are stored in database and then the CMS files written in php queries this MySql database and delivers the content to the real world. The Content that has been delivered to the screen can then appear into the page with the help of design part.

Let’s summarize the process step by step:
(1) Download the CMS
(2) Install it into the webhost’s server
(3) Check the basic version of the CMS without any customization in your domain
(4) Start customizing design part by modifying template/theme files.
(5)To achieve desired functionality in addition to what has been given by the default CMS, you have to make word press widget/joomla module/wordpress plugin/joomla component.
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