Migrating my dev Joomla! personal website to Production

August 23, 2009 Leave a comment

After spending few more hours this week on my dev sandbox to add content and edit other configurations to the Joomla! personal website , finally I am ready to move the setup and data to a live location.

Following given steps worked for me for clean and successful migration.

1. Register a webaddress ( I had one registered already !)
2. Find a good web hosting provider who support Joomla! CMS (I am hosting at  SiteGround). This hosting provider support PHP, MySQL and Apache Server.
3. Install Joomla! CMS or you can work with web hosting provider to do that for you. SiteGround offers Fantastico in the CPanel to install Joomla! at your user account. I decided to install Joomla! on my own at my account. The reason why I didn’t go with Fantastico was, one I wanted a specific latest version of Joomla! to install and second, I didn’t want to install the sample content.

Sequence of installation steps I followed:

  • Download the latest stable Joomla! software (my version: 1.5.14 Full Package)
  • Upload the zip file to webhosting location using FTP client.
  • Unzip the Joomla! software zip file in the root location of the site or any in any folder you want to install.
  • Create a new MySQL database for the Joomla! installation on the hosting server.
    Create a new Joomla! superuser admin account on this new database.
  • And follow the Joomla! browser installation steps by accessing the url: http://<your-site-url>/ or http://<your-site-url>/<joomla-folder>/
    See Joomla! installation video tutorial here and Joomla! installation full documentation here.
  • I didn’t install the sample content while installation.
  • Now it is time to take a dump of the database from the dev MySQL Joomla! database
  • Using PHPMyAdmin I took the SQL dump of the database.
  • Connect to the Hosting server’s MySQL database admin online tool and using the PHPMyAdmin tool install the SQL dump in to the new Joomla! database.
  • Now move any template related changes, images and plugin related files to the file system location on the Joomla! installation root folders.
  • Access the site url now and see you see the same site as you developed and working in the dev sandbox
  • For me it was a single shot migration.

After I am done with the migration I started using the Joomla! admin tool to work on the content creation and adding new menu’s or adjusting the live content.

So,  after 3 weeks, I am done with the personal site development for my daughter. She will be happy to have her own place on the web. It will be fun and  helpful in her education from this year.

Here is the link to the new Joomla! Personal Website I developed.

Cheers,

Ramesh Dadigala

Front Page design and RSS feeds

August 18, 2009 Leave a comment

Now time has come to create a website logo (not a professional one). I tried to do it online, easily and quickly.
Here are the websites I tried:

Free Logo creator sites (great for starters):

Using the Web 2.0 Logo Creator online, I created a good looking transparent logo image.  To replace the Joomla default logo in the template (rhuk_milkyway), here is what I did.

Template folder location and folders: <Joomla install location>/templates/rhuk_milkyway

  • css
  • html
  • images
    Moved my logo image (png file) to this location: <Joomla install location>/templates/rhuk_milkyway/images
    Modifed this CSS file: <Joomla install location>/templates/rhuk_milkyway/css/template.css
    Logo section in the CSS:
  • Before
    div#logo {
    position: absolute;
    left: 0;
    top: 0;
    float: left;
    width: 298px;
    height: 75px;
    background: url(../images/mw_joomla_logo.png) 0 0 no-repeat;
    margin-left: 30px;
    margin-top: 25px;
    }
  • After div#logo {
    position: absolute;
    left: 0;
    top: 0;
    float: left;
    width: 298px;
    height: 75px;
    background: url(../images/MYLOGO_logo.png) 0 0 no-repeat;
    margin-left: 30px;
    margin-top: 25px;
    }
  • Changed some height and width parameters also to adjust the size of the log. The default logo size was:  width: 298px, height 75px
  • I did some search on Google and found this useful site to use free digital photos (not many to choose from) but it served my purpose.  www.freedigitalphotos.net
  • To make the home page look not just attractive, I wanted to add some widgets which are dynamic in nature and provide some valuable information. I decided to go with RSS feeds. But there is a limitation in the Joomla! to insert javascript or php code in the article section. The article editor TinyMCE saves the content in the html format in the database. But it removes all the non html code (javascript or php) and saves it. After some research I found this non-commercial Joomla! extension, called JIncludes, which enables the site to have javascript or AJAX code as snippet and with a unique key to identify the snippet.  To include a widget or RSS feed using AJAX on any page(Article) this is a very good extension. But this extension has a limitation of serving 30 code snippets only. More information about this extension is available here.
    Following RSS feeds and Widgets are used on the front page:
    1. Science Facts and Home work help tips
    2. Word of the day flash widget from www.dictionary.com
    3. Motivational Quotes
  • Joomla! offers a module to handle and display  RSS feeds, but I need some javascript to ready RSS xml feeds and display any where I want. Google offers a free service to generate AJAX code to read and display RSS feed by just  copy and paste the generated code online here, AJAX Dynamic Feed Control. Another online tool to generate the javascript for RSS feed display is  Feed Wind.
    Also I am planning to use some useful widgets from this site, Widget Box.

What’s Next: I still have to figure out whether I should keep the top tablet menu bar or not. If yes, what menu items need to be there!!

More to come…

— Ramesh Dadigala

Now it is time to put my Developer’s hat on !

August 15, 2009 Leave a comment

While doing the Joomla! installation there is an option to create sample data and content. I chose the option to create sample site content,  so that I could see how a website can be configured with different options. Infact, sample content does not cover all the features Joomla can offer, but I think it is good to have something to start with. My requirements for the personal website development doesn’t really require to explore a lot of options.

Then I started to understand how the site content, sections, categories, navigation  is organized and which administrative functionalities need to be used.
Here are the sequence of steps I did to understand and implement my plan.

  • First of all I wanted to understand what all the positions in the template(rhuk_milkyway) which I want to use, as it is elegent and fast to load.
    To see the positions of this position: in Joomla Administrator: Extensions>Template Manager>click rhuk_milkyway> and then click Preview Icon. This action will display the template with all the positions of the page.
    They are:
    1. top
    2. left
    3.right
    4.footer
    5.breadcrumb
    6.user1
    7.user2
    8.user3
    9.user4
    10.debug

There are Module, Extensions and plugins that are available to organize the content and make the site more dynamic with lots of features.
First, I started exploring the Module Manager. (Administrator: Extensions > Module Manager

You can sort the modules by the following options: template, position, type, state : enabled/disabled. I started with login functionality and wanted to disable it so that it won’t show on the left hand side of the Front Page(Home page). You can click the module to edit and see actually what can be configured, to learn more about this module if you want to use this feature. Click the green check mark icon under column Enabled to disable this login module from the front page.
So far I have disabled following listed modules, which I think not useful for my site.

  • user1:mod_latest_news (Latest News)
  • user2:mod_mostread (Popular)
  • right:mod_poll (Polls)
  • right:mod_banners (Advertisement) (Pages:varies) that means this module can be created n number of times with different parameters. Another example of mod_banners is Banners itself.
  • right: mod_whoisonline (Who is online)
  • footer:mod_banners (Banners)
  • to_mod_newsflash (Randomly pick one news item from News/Newsflash category)

Removing the text : Welcome to the Frontpage from the home page
Menus>Main menu > click on the Home menu > On the right hand side parameters list pick Parameters (System) , Change the Page title field : Welcome to Front Page to Welcome to my Personal place.

  • Changing the FrontPage layout (By default: Front Page Blog Layout)
    To change the  layout, Go to Home Menu and edit and change the layout if you want. But I wanted to keep the Front Page Blog Layout for now, but change some parameters to display in a different way.
    Parameters: Basic
    Leading:1
    Intro: 3
    Columns: 3
    Links:4
  • Change the site Metadata Settings:
    Global Configuration changes:
    Site>Metadata Settings > Global site meta data description > <enter site description>
    Site>Metadata Settings > Global site meta data keywords > <enough keywords about the site>
  • Change Global configuration to hide print , email and pdf icons (these are still controllable at menu level, but it easy if it is set at global level use the value :use global, when you set it at the menu level for consitency)
    Go to Article Manger and click the Parameters and change the settings in the pop-up screen
    To change at the menu level: eg. Main menu can click parameters (Component) and change the required settings to “Use Global” from the drop down box for a perticular parameter.
  • Created Sections and Categories

    Sections
    1. Home
    2. Education
    3. Fun
    4. ArtsCategories
    1. Home
    2. Education
         Education
         Geography
        Science
        Biology
        English Grammar
        Mathematics
        Chemistry
    3. Fun
         Fun
         Online Games
         Youtube videos
    4. Arts
         Arts
         My Art
        Music
        Painting
  • TIP: Before creating Menu items , crate dummy/place holder article for each Menu item, so that you can create Menu items and later add content in the articles.
  • Now created Menu items in the Main menu
    Go to Menu manager > and click on the Main menu’s menu items icon.
    Start adding new menu items under the Main menu.
    1. Home (It is already there, you need to change the new Article assignments later, when you write Front page related content)
    2. About me
    3. Education
        Sub menu:  Geography
        Sub menu:  Physics
        Sub menu:  Biology
        Sub menu:  English Grammar
        Sub menu:  Mathematics
        Sub menu:  Chemistry
    4. Fun
       Sub menu:  Online Games
       Sub menu:  Youtube videos
    5. Arts
         Sub menu: My Art
        Sub menu:  Music
        Sub menu:  Painting
  • And then assigned previously created place holder articles with each Menu Item
  • Sorted the order of the Menu items, in the Main menu, menu manager page.
  • Observation: Without an assignment to a Menu item an Article will not be published on the site. Unless it is a link to a document in the repository or from Media library.
  • Now it is time to remove articles and menu items that came with the sample data installation. But I would like to keep some articles and menu items to analyze more and use the same set in the future of the site.
  • Menu items I removed from the Main Menu.
    1. Joomla Overview (Article : Joomla overview)
    2. What’s new in 1.5  (Article: What’s new in 1.5) ( select the menu and click the Unpublish in the Main menu list)
    3. Joomla license (Article: Joomla License Guidelines)
  • Menu items I analyzed:1. More about Joomla (Section Layout) (Section:  About Joomla)
    Observation: When we select Section Layout for a menu item: and select a section, then system will display all the categories under that section and when user clicks one of the listed categories, it will display articles in a grid pattern.
    Unpublished the More about Joomla menu item.
    Unpublished all the 3 categories, under About Joomla Section.
    Unpublished About Joomla Section2. FAQ : Menu item (Layout: Section Layout)
         Unpublished all the 4 categories under FAQ section and FAQ section also.
         Unpublished the FAQ menu item3. The News: menu (Layaout: Category Blog Layout)
         This layout display an Article category in Blog format
          This menu shows articles in blog format from /News/Latest folder (News Section/Latest: category)
          Unpublished the Latest category. For now I keep the News section as it is, because there is another category here called, News Flash
          
    Unpublished the The News menu item

    4. Web Links: Menu (Layout: Web Link Category List Layout)
         This layout shows a list of all the Web Link Categories.
         This is great to show the Web Links in a list manner. And actually you can categorize it and display it. All the weblinks under the weblinks category:
         Components > Web Links > Links
         First Create Categories and then assign these new web links to one of those categories.
        Unpublish the Web Links menu item and remove all the web links and categories.
    4. News Feeds: Menu ( Layout: Category List Layout)
        This layout shows a list of all News Feed Categories.
        This will list all the news feeds from the : News feeds under: Components > News Feeds >Feeds, and assigned to News Feeds> Categories, in the News Feed    Manager.
    News can be RSS or any other form you can configure to display news from other interesting sites.
    Unpublished the News Feeds Menu item:
    Unpublished all the News Feeds > feeds and News Feeds> categories

  • Resources menu group
    All the items in the Resources menu group: are of type: External Link .
    Create a Menu item that links to another Web site.
  • Key Concepts menu group
    All the menu items under this section user Article Layout
    For now let’s go an remove the menu items and associations to articles and the menu group itself
    Delete is the only option I found to remove the Menu item group
  • Example Pages menu group
    The menu items under this group actually used to display the use of Section, Section Blog layout, Category
    layout, Category blog layout.
    I removed the group as well as all the menu items under this group.

That’s all for this blog post. My next work will be to work on creating a logo for this site and start writing some content for front page and desiging the fron page content display and type of content I need to put. Also I will start looking out on the web for content gathering for each menu item.  

    — Ramesh Dadigala

Planning site content, sections, categories, menu’s etc

August 7, 2009 Leave a comment

 After installing Joomla CMS on my sandbox I went through all the documentation, I could find on the Joomlasite and else where on the net. The documentation was really helpful to understand the Joomla frame work , features and admin functionality. Now it is time to think about what content I should plan to publish for this personal site. So I started putting my thoughts together and asking questions to myself !

This is how I did the brainstorming with myself 🙂

  • What is this site about?
    It is a Personal website for my daughter who is in 6th grade. Like any other personal website I would like to develop content and information for her interests. Would like to organize content and reference to other sites, which will be useful for her education and personal development. Not a big goal. Isn’t it!!
  • Why you want to build this site?
    It has been my plan for several years to start a website for my kids, but it never got realized. After I learned about Joomla CMS, I thought it is the right time to develop a site and write this blog. Developing this site not only gives me satisfaction but it is an opportunity to know more about Joomla and write a decent blog with all my learnings.
  • What kind of content you would like to put?
    I am not planning put a lot of content , but will try to make it more interesting to browse and find resources for kids and parents too!!
  • Which template you would like to use?
    Initially I thought of building or buying a Joomlatemplate but then realized this is going to cost my time and money. So dropped that idea for now. There are few well tested templates that come with the Joomla CMSinstallation. I decided to go with one of those, which suites to my content organization.
  • Tell me what sections you plan for this personal site?
    Well this will be an interesting one to answer. I googled a lot about how other personal websites are organized and found that there is no set rules or something is a hit. In my opinion personal website appearance and content should reflect that person’s, personality, interests, opinions.
    Keeping all these factors in my mind, I came with the following list (it may change later, but at leastI wanted to come up with a rough draft).
    Sections:
    Home > Home page (Images, links, quotes, educational findings etc and a welcome message)
    About Me > Details
    Education
    FUN
    ART
    Categories:
    Education
             Geography
             Science
             Biology
             English Grammar
             Mathematics
             Chemistry
    FUN
             Online games
             Youtube videos(songs, lessons etc)
    ART
             My art
             Online resources for learning arts (music, painting etc)
  • List the menu organization?
    Navigation would be pretty simple for this site as there is not many sections and categories. Following given is a fairly simple vertical and top horizontal navigation.
    Vertical
                   Home
                   About Me
                   Education
                   Fun
                   Arts
         There will be sub menus under this parent navigation.
  • Are you planning to put any youtube video integration?
    Yes. It is fun to watch selected youtube videos. I will find a plug-in to integrate some useful youtube videos to display on this website.
  • Tell me how easy or hard it is to work with Joomla CMS.
    Well I am at the early stages of working with Joomla CMS. But my initial impression is, it is not so hard for those who have some knowledge of how CMS systems work and how to organize content for web.Planning to use this weekend time to setup all the above mentioned items in the sandbox site.

              More blogging to follow after that…..

              Cheers,
             <Ramesh Dadigala/>

Tools/Software I installed to develop a Joomla! site

August 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Getting ready to list out all the activities that are needed to develop a light weight Joomla! powered personal website. I used my personal dell laptop (Windows XP, 1 GB RAM) to prepare a sandbox to play around and develop this site.

List of Tools/Software I installed: (all are FREE to download and open source software !)

  1. Installed Apache server, MySql database with the help of this great website, Apache Friends, with their Free download: XAMPP
  2. Joomla ! installation. Download Joomla software here. If you would like to take quick tour of Joomla installation and  and find out what are the next steps, read this document.
  3. Filezilla FTP client
  4. Aptana Studio, a Free Web App Development IDE. (For Joomla templates modifications and any PHP/HTML related development)

Joomla! is a open source Web Content Management System, developed using PHP language. But I don’t think , I am going to do any PHP coding. I see most of the website related dynamic content management features are already available as a package and ready to use.

I am going through the documentation and it is imperative that first I understand what are the core features/modules/components are available to use in this system.

Joomla Core Features:

  1. Components
  2. Modules
  3. Plug ins
  4. Templates

Read more…

Learnings from creating a new Joomla powered website

July 30, 2009 Leave a comment

It has been an year or so I was planning (just planning.. not executing, so sad) to write regular blog posts on my learnings and thoughts about EMC Documentum software. But thought, before I start on that journey let me put some learnings I am getting by developing a small personal website for my daughter, using open source content management software, Joomla.
I can simply say, it is the best, easy to use and implement open source web content management software out there in the market. And best of all it is FREE. Developed using PHP and other open source technologies like MySQL it is an easy to implement and free to use software developed by dedicated volunteers from across the globe.
I can go on and on appreciating the power of Joomla software but that is not my intent to write in this blog. I would like to put my learnings small and big here so that if somebody out there who are in the same need as I have, and needs to understand what is Joomla and how I used to my purpose.

What is my purpose?
It is simple. I wanted to develop a dynamic personal website for my daughter, which doesn’t cost much and no need for high maintenance. Also easy to use and be able to update the site regularly, by my daughter.

More to come…

<Ramesh Dadigala/>

Welcome to Dadigala’s Thoughts… in 2008

January 2, 2008 Leave a comment

Hello there…!

I’am really excited to see more and more Documentum related blogs are active now a days. It is been my wish to write a blog for years, but at last here I am trying to put my thoughts in my blog. I will share some of the lessons learned during my career while deploying ECM solutions and best practices I used and found useful. Also I would like my blog to be really useful for Documentum professionals at all levels.

More to come ….

< ramesh />

Categories: About