Archive for October 25, 2012

CMS Review – PHP Nuke

October 25, 2012

Today we are going to review the PHP-Nuke Content Management System (CMS). PHP-Nuke is best used for a community website, or a website focused on different information (including articles, guides, etc.) that users can interact with.

Simply put the main focus of PHP-Nuke is to manage your web site’s pages through the use of modules. There are many different modules available, and as PHP-Nuke is open source many people create thier own module and release them (there is also a new feature on the PHP Nuke Website, where users can sell custom modules).

In this article we will dive deep into PHP-Nuke and explore some of the various features available in this free Content Management System.

Before we continue on the requirements for setting up PHP Nuke should be stated. Firstly you will need some type of web server (Apache is recommended), along with some time of SQL database (MySQL is standard and best used with PHP Nuke), you will also need a PHP version of at least 4.

For this article we will assume you are using a shared hosting account with FTP enabled, although if you have an Apache server on your computer the same steps are used. Below is a summary of the installation instructions as stated on the PHP Nuke website, if you already have nuke installed you can skip this section.First of all you are going to need to download a version of PHP-Nuke, you can download the latest version on the official web site. Now if you are using a shared hosting account you will need to unzip the PHP-Nuke package, and upload via FTP to your server. You can put PHP Nuke inside your document root or create a directory such as ‘nuke’ if you only wish to use PHP Nuke for a sub area of your web site.

If your server is on a UNIX of Linux platform (shared hosting most likely is, if unsure ask your host), you will need to edit the file permissions. I will not go into detail here but, files will be set to chmod ‘644’ and directories will be set to ‘755’.

You will now need to create the appropriate database structure for PHP Nuke, the easiest way to do this that requires little MySQL knowledge is to use the PHP Nuke database creation package file, nukesql.php.

Now before we dive into working with your newly installed PHP Nuke site you just need to edit the config file. You will need to enter your MySQL database information, it should be easy to see where to enter the information via the comments in the file.

We now go to the Home page created by PHP Nuke, and there is a little message there with a link to create a superuser (an admin with all the admin powers, is referred to as a superadmin). After the user is created login to the admin page (yoursite.com/admin.php) using your newly created superadmin: god with the password ‘password’ (you should change theses immediately, and remember to use a complicated alpha-numerical password).You now have a PHP Nuke website setup and ready with a superadmin account setup for you. You might now want to check out the following sections on the official PHP-Nuke website to get some basic concepts on your new content management system:
The Add-Ons download section. Here you can browse the different categories for add-ons that may interest you. The Themes download section. Choose a different theme to make you PHP Nuke website more attractive. Questions. A selection of questions and answers relating to PHP-Nuke.PHP-Nuke comes built in with a statistics module, it shows some basic stats of your website such as the number of registered users or the the number of posts made. But also shows a breakdown of what operating system and internet browser you visitors have used.

Probably the module you are likely to use first, is the pre-installed News module. Using this you can add news items under different categories and this news is sorted on the front page of your website by date. There is also a great archiving feature which allows for easy indexing by search engines and users. You can see an example of the news module on the front page of your PHP-Nuke installation, the news items are edited via the admin page. Users are also able to submit news which is moderated by admins and decided upon whether it will be added to the website.

Built into PHP Nuke is also a surveys module. Using the admin control panel you can create new polls which can be answered by visitors to your website. When a new survey is created the previous survey is then sent to an archive where the results (in graph form) are browsable.

The different modules are usually positioned on the left and right side of the page, and the order along with which modules are active is set using the admin panel on the modules page.

Finally is our review on the PHP-Nuke content management system. For an overall look we would rate PHP Nuke 6/10, it is coded well and looks professional but the entire them is missing the whole Web 2.0 look. For features and modules we give a rating of 7/10 as there are many different features and add-ons available to make the site perform specific activities. For an overall review of PHP Nuke we give a rating of 5/10 as you have to create special skins (themes) for PHP-Nuke and it is hard to incorporate it into an existing web site.

If you are interested in learning more on PHP-Nuke along with documentation and how-tos then please feel free to visit the official PHP-Nuke web site.
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Choosing a CMS in 10 Steps

October 21, 2012

Picture this:  you have a great website contract, a stunning design, and everything is ready to roll. Except for one little problem: which content management system (CMS) should be used?

There’s no real right or wrong answer to this question, but it can certainly cause a lot of grief if you’re battling the technology rather than being assisted by it. So here’s a couple of handy pointers to help with the decision:

1. Blog or CMS?

If the website is primarily going to handle ‘posts’ – journal entries spread out in time – then a blog is more appropriate. If on the other hand you need to organise a quantity of more structured articles, such as sales literature or support documents, a CMS is going to be your best bet.

There’s actually a fair amount of crossover between blogs and CMS systems these days, but you may as well start out with a tool that’s specialised for the task at hand.

WordPress is becoming fairly ubiquitous for blogging, with a vast range of third-party themes and plugins available.

2. Self-hosted or cloud-hosted

‘CMS as a service’, where the software is pre-installed and ready to use, is becoming increasingly popular.  Available at a whole range of price points, from web-builder type software with pre-designed templates (such as Jimdo) right up to fully fledged business solutions. 

For blogging, there are popular pre-installed choices such as WordPress.com and Blogger.com.

If you are planning to write your own modules, in a language such as PHP or ASP.NET, or require bespoke database interaction, you’re probably going to require a self-hosted solution.  Popular solutions here include Joomla, Drupal, and Expression Engine.

Cloud-hosted CMS platforms usually benefit from being very quick and easy to set up, but it’s important to check what data backup procedures are in place since you most likely won’t have direct access to the hosting environment.

3. Programming Language

For cloud-hosted solutions this isn’t an issue, but if you’re installing it yourself the language the CMS is written in (as well as the database that persists it) is going to be an important factor – especially if the client already has a server they wish to use.

Popular choices here include PHP, ASP.NET, Java, and Ruby is spreading quickly too.

4. Built-In Features

You might find it useful at this stage to draw a spider diagram with ‘Website’ in the middle, and broad technical requirements on each of the spokes.  Keep going out until you’ve exhausted every possible situation.

Which CMS seems to fit the bill most closely?  The closer the match, the better.

Here’s a couple of the more obvious features:

Allow for easy management of articles, and the publication of new ones Upload and manage images and files Customisation of templates (whether in vanilla HTML or a scripting language such as PHP) Blogging or news-posting RSS feeds Embedding of custom HTML such as YouTube video or Google Maps Contact forms Galleries Website login accounts, with the ability to set user-only content E-commerce facilities Forum SEO tools such as meta and title tag control Permissions – the ability to allow only certain users to control certain articles or features Workflow tools – allowing a logical flow to the creation and approval of content Document lifecycle tools – keeping a record of all revisions made to a particular article
5. Page-centric or content-centric

Some CMSs have the ‘page’ as the unit of content.  In others, content exists in units independent of pages, with one or more content items being displayed on a particular page.

The former method is definitely easier to grasp, and works well if the website is relatively small or the end user is not technical.  The latter is more powerful, and can support ‘content-reuse’, where blocks of content can be reused on other pages or even websites in multi-site implementations.

6. Usability

Who is going to be using the CMS on a day-to-day basis?  If they’re not particularly technical then this is a crucial point, otherwise you will be inundated with support requests.

For example, not all CMS’s allow for WYSIWYG editing, meaning the user is going to have to learn either basic HTML or a similar in order to format their content.  Are they capable?  How much training will they require, and who’s going to perform that training?

Choose a CMS which is appropriate for the end-user.

7.  Support and Documentation

This is a crucial one too – how much support and documentation are available to you as a developer while you build the website?  You don’t want to be left high and dry with important deadlines to meet.

What are the ongoing support costs from the vendor, and does this cover software upgrades?

8. Compatibility

Most CMS systems run in the browser – it’s worth checking what operating system the end-user has, and what browser they have installed.  Unfortunately some corporate users may not have administrative permission to install the browser you wish they had!

Does the CMS need to interface with any other business software – the most obvious being Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software?  It’s definitely a bonus if after filling in an online contact form, the customer’s information is seamlessly imported into their CRM profile.

Thanks to XML and web services, the CMS can work as part of a larger whole rather than being a single silo of information.

9. Accessibility

It’s a legal requirement in many countries that a website is accessible to users with various disabilities such as visual impairment.  So be sure that your chosen CMS can publish content meeting relevant accessibility legislation.

Typically this means meeting the WCA guidelines with a double-A rating.

10. Advanced Features

Is your website going to be serving content in different languages, content that is targeted to a particular geographic region, or publishing content to multiple websites?  Does the CMS support the character set of all the target languages?

This makes the CMS implementation considerably more complex, and will narrow the choices quite considerably.

Summary

There are many factors to consider when choosing a CMS, and it’s not likely you’ll find a perfect match, particularly for more complex projects.  The key is to prioritise requirements and find a solution which offers the closest match.  I hope you’ve found the pointers above useful in choosing a CMS for your project.
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Joomla Designing – Add Flexibility to Your Websites

October 21, 2012

Joomla is being touted as the most suitable and user friendly open source content management system (CMS). It is used in web development as well as various corporate applications. It is a system that you can rely on and which can be easily installed and managed even by a non-technical person.

There is no dearth of software that are used to design websites but Joomla software stands out in comparison. Jooomla designing techniques make web development easy and convenient. Now, web designers are feeling a sense of relief as joomla web designing tools give them more options to design websites and add suitable features to them.

Joomla designing techniques can be used in varied portals and newsletters, which are used to explain a company’s objectives in a very effective way. Now you can design a website that are easy on your eye and easily extendable within a short span of time using joomla. The best part of joomla designing is that websites created using this technique are easily located by the search engines.

Joomla web designing is becoming extremely popular in the online industry because online businesses are now able to get websites designed that are customer friendly. Websites created using this technique are far more user friendly than websites created otherwise.

You can easily maintain and update your website by adding or deleting new web pages, all thanks to joomla. It being an open source, you are not charged any licensing fee. Joomla’s functionality can be further extended to create anything ranging from a brochure website to interactive membership website.

Joomla templates add flexibility to websites. You can easily change the overall look of your websites without having to redo it all over again. The whole graphic design can be changed within seconds without having to make any modifications in the website content.

You can also create your websites using joomla web designing without taking help from web designers. You can load it up and see for yourself how it works. You are bound to replace all your other software with joomla if you want to create websites that are more functional and fabulous than websites designed using other techniques.
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how to move my joomla website from one server to another ? ?

October 16, 2012
hi all ,
i have an old joomla website , and want to move the site to the new fast servers i just bought, but the problem is that joomla uses database, and its not all about copying files from directory to another in the other server,,,

my question is , how exactly do i copy the database to the new server ?

i am defenitly not gonna add the post one by one !!! because there is more than 5000 posts in the website already , and this gonna take month for me if i add them one by one ..

please help me with alot of details

thanks
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Is there a joomla component for direct marketing & Affiliates?

October 6, 2012
Good evening all,

I an very new to the Joomla! Game. After much research, I have discovered that Joomla! just may be the best option for what I want to accomplish as for my site.

However, there was one thing that was missing…maybe, Direct Marketing Capability.

I am looking for an extension that would allow for upsells as well as affiliate/ppc tracking. I want to be able to pay those who are driving traffic & Sales to my site (once it’s up) for assisting me.

I also want to be able to upsell someone to the next product after they have bought one.

Is there a component out there that will do it.

I greatly appreciate all the help.

Carl
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Should I Use a Content Management System?

October 3, 2012

Once upon a time, most websites were created as a static product, one that contained different types of code that made management a total nightmare. That code – using JavaScript, Flash, HTML – was very difficult for many web servers to handle. If you were a web geek, like me, you took the time to learn all the coding techniques that, hopefully, added to you resume, thus fattening your bank account. Plus, without proprietary software and training, these documents were virtually uneditable by site owners. You had to keep someone like me “on the payroll” to make periodic updates and changes. Consequently, they were expensive to maintain so, unless a site owner could handle the task, someone with the skill, knowledge and software had to be hired to perform the necessary maintenance.

Therefore, a need existed to create a system on the “back end” where site owners could perform maintenance activities such as copy replacement, image replacement and add to the existing content without knowing any difficult coding. New technology, called Content Management System, or CMS, was developed. At the core of the system is employment of a database where the user can store content – copy and images – to retrieve and edit. Every site page is stored as simple text. The system converts this simple text into the appropriate HTML and JavaScript when a visitor lands on the page. The system also allows for the integration of a variety of features such as interactive event calendars, log ins with user names and passwords, news feeds, blogs, photo galleries and more.

If you are experiencing a great deal of difficulty maintaining a static site, it may be time to “upgrade” to one that can be controlled through a Content Management System. Here are some of the problems associated with a static website that if you recognize as aggravating, might be that sure indication it is time for a change:

Problems

-You have no control concerning updates and either need to go through your designer/host or not make any at all
-There is no search function available on your site to allow users to find specific content
-Limited features – if any – like logins, contact or request forms, forums, blogs, mailing lists, calendars ort other interactive features that elevate the level of user-friendly available content

Solutions

-Install an open source Content Management System (CMS)
-Transfer all your available content to the new system
-Learn how to use the system to perform your own maintenance (Can you use Word?)

So, what are the benefits from using a CMS?

First, you gain the ability to manage, update, change add or delete your own content. Additionally, through use of a CMS, you will be displaying content that conforms to present web standards. Which is important. Using current web standards will increase your accessibility allowing for your content to not become obsolete. Whenever an upgrade is issued for the CMS, installation is normally but a “click” allowing your site to stay in web compliance. Furthermore, CMS has embedded site search capabilities.

Ted Smolkowicz
KAT-enterprises.com
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