{kun´ēzē}
27Sep2017

The furore and the fury about J! 3.8.0

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867 hits Updated: 27 September 2017

Joomla 3.8.0 is here.  What should we do about it?

Can we take parts of J! 3.7.5 and transplant them into J! 3.8.0?

The XAMPP—PC-hosted—“solutions”

“Me too”

J! 3.8.0 was released about a week ago and, as with any dot-zero release, the com­mu­nity’s initial reaction seemed to con­demn it rather than embrace or applaud it.  This article will look be­hind the storm of protest to examine the reasons why people have ex­perienced problems that, for the most part, were not caused by the release but were mainly the result of their ignorance about the update and why it is required.

The issues that people have complained about fall into two distinct groups:

  1. There are legitimate issues relating to the J! 3.8.0 release:  the Joomla developers have responded to them and the fixes for those problems will be included in J! 3.8.1.
  2. There are problems caused by the failure of a few third-party extension developers and, from what I’ve seen, those developers have already released fixes for their products.  Some extensions, however, may be incompatible with J! 3.8.0.  I don’t think it’s fair to lay the blame on anyone but I think that, in the first instance, we shouldn’t be too quick to accuse someone else for taking a wrecking ball to our websites.  We choose to use the software that we use and we’re ultimately responsible for taking appropriate steps to insure our sites against the possibility that one day they’ll go pear-shaped.

Despite these issues, J! 3.8.0 has been well received with nearly 6%[1] of [post J! 3.5.0] sites using this new release.  Installation, integration and implementation problems inevitably occur with new dot-zero releases.  We will examine a few of them in this article.

23Sep2017

Behind the scenes September 2017

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1317 hits Updated: 01 October 2017

Site makeovers

Documentation

Announcing an exciting new product

Free downloads?

Things have changed a lot in the three-and-a-half years since I created this website.  From starting out with the idea that people might seek professional help with with Ku­ne­na (as well as to give me an opportunity to derive a small income by writing software specifically for that product), I soon realised that a boutique website dependent on the success of Ku­ne­na was never going to be profitable.  It may have been a “good idea” at one time but, as I observed the withering interest in Kunena, I decided to broaden my horizons—extend the purpose of this site to webcraft more generally (with Joomla in mind, of course)—while still offering fearless, independent commentary about the issues of the times.

My own forum needs notwithstanding, other Joomla software vendors’ sites—associated with Kunena—still continue to use Kunena and most of those have updated to a more current version than what I saw during my examination last year[1].  But this article is not about Kunena; this article celebrates several achievements that I’ve made in the past couple of months.  I have much to celebrate and the future of this site is looking better than ever.  If you’ve been here before and you haven’t already noticed what’s different then read on; as I wrote above:  “things have changed a lot” …

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12Aug2017

Joomla maintenance strategy

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1209 hits Updated: 16 January 2018

What things do you have to do to maintain a Joomla website?

The four skills for highly-effective websites

What are the things … to be done to maintain Joomla website?forum user, Joomla Forum, 10-Aug-2017

The question of “website maintenance” (and Joomla website maintenance, in par­ti­cular) is a fairly simple one and, I suppose, anyone could scribble a few notes on a scrap of paper or point to articles posted online that itemise the first things coming to mind: security, backups, regular updates, etc.—the “usual” household chores.  Everyone has their own routine and there’s a general consensus about what matters should receive the highest priority.  However, when you really think about the subject seriously, most of us don’t plan for future-proofing our sites so that they can be maintained with relatively little effort.  Perhaps some projects commence that way but they evolve into a tangled web of complexity with internal dependencies that we wish, in hindsight, we hadn’t done.  The bottom-line is that no-one likes house­work; most of us don’t even enjoy any routine work.

In this article I will present the “four skills” strategy for highly-effective websites.  So, before you sharpen your pencils and take notes—or frame a printed copy of the article and place it on your desk—we will look at the big picture:  what do you re­quire—what skills do you require—to prepare a website effectively in order to maintain it efficiently?

02Aug2017

Site performance—caching and file aggregation—is it worth it?

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831 hits Updated: 10 January 2018

Disable Joomla’s cache features

CSS/Javascript file aggregation: who needs it?

I wrote previously about the general theory of website caching.  There are circumstances when site caching can be useful and there are other circumstances—especially when people are attempting to diagnose, analyse and solve operational issues—when caching can become a headache.  As a general point, caching can be useful where “speed”—as far as the end user is concerned—is the number one criterion.

Similarly, when people turn to Google for recommendations on ways to “improve” [the end user perception of] performance, we find suggestions about using file aggregation, minification or obfuscation methods.  These are not related to caching but they are involved in overall “site performance” for want of a better description.

The bottom-line is that website caching, data compression and file aggregation/minification/obfuscation may help—and there is empirical evidence to support that contention—but they add administration overheads and, ultimately, their presence may not be beneficial—and there is a body of anecdotal evidence to support this opinion.  The problems caused by caching et al are the subjects of thousands of discussions in online technical forums; in most cases these problems are quickly and effortlessly resolved by disabling or removing those facilities.  This article provides information on the common techniques that people employ in Joomla and how to disable such features that they’ve (perhaps unwittingly) enabled or installed.

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