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Review "Joomla! 1.5 Site Blueprints"

Review "Joomla! 1.5 Site Blueprints"

Yes, I have heard the rumors. Joomla! 1.6 is out. So why review a book on 1.5? My main two reasons are: 1.) If you want a “production” site working now with a stable version of Joomla! and stable versions of the extensions used. 2.) This book is a great starting point to get into Joomla!. Yes, it is called “Joomla! 1.5 Site Blueprints”, and even author Timi Ogunjobi states that this book is not an introduction to Joomla!, nor an in-depth manual for using Joomla!; but... it's the book I wish I had picked up when I first got started with Joomla!.

Today, I would recommend this book to anyone getting started with Joomla!. It will guide the reader through building the foundation for 11 purpose specific websites. Which extensions to use, and how to configure them to the site's specific need. Even if your site's needs may not exactly be like the ones in the book's examples, you will most likely find your needs covered by doing a mashup between the 11 site blueprints covered in this book.

This book will teach the reader to build a sound structure using basic templates. The sites are not great looking, but that is beside the point, as the user can just choose any other community or commercial template to change the look of the site.

I find the step-by-step approach to each project very valuable to anyone starting with Joomla! as it will guide the reader not only through how to work with Joomla!, the relationship between article(s) – menu item and module. It covers the installation of many extensions and how to configure them, something most new users to Joomla! seem to struggle with. And even if you just want to learn how to manage web sites with Joomla! and you do not have much time, I do recommend this book.

Let's get started...

Chapter 1 covers the basics of installing Joomla! on both a remote server and localhost.

Servers can be the culprit of many issues with any LAMP website, so it's nice that there are several links of where to find more information. This chapter also holds valuable information on how to trim off Joomla! sample data should you have installed it, and it covers several extensions any website should have or could benefit from.

Chapter 2 shows us the first blueprint for building a company site that includes:

  • An "About Us" page describing the business
  • A repository from where the company's brochures and software can be downloaded
  • A "Latest Company Information" blog to tell the world what the company is doing
  • A contact form that the site visitors can use to send e-mails to he company

This blueprint uses the DOCman extension to build a document repository.

Chapter 3 is a blueprint for a club site that include:

  • Member will be able to create blog entries, categorized by content, and be able to post photos into these entries
  • The latest blog entries will automatically be promoted on the front page
  • Site users will be able to comment on these blog entries
  • Link will be provided to show page views of blog entries, categorized by continent.

This blueprint uses the JComments extension.

Chapter 4 covers a blueprint for news paper style site with the intention to make a news site which can be easily updated on a real-time basis. Typically stories will be posted from various contributing authors, and are approved by the editor before they are promoted to be published.

This blueprint also covers install and configuration of the Agora forum extension.

Chapter 5 will guide you through building an events site where users can create events categorized by content.

Using this blueprint you'll learn how to configure and use JEvents

Chapter 6 is "Joombook", building a community site where users will be able to reate a detailed profile page for themselves. Users can create blogs, there is a forum, users can create polls and have access to a real-time chat.

This blueprint covers the install and configuration of Community Builder, JComments, Simplest Forum and jPFChat.

Chapter 7 is the blueprint for "Joomgets, Inc.", an e-commerce site. The functionality of this site includes: Simple page views of the store from the links in the Main Menu and Top Menu. A billing system with the automatic addition of flat shipping cost for all items, and a shopping cart with checkout that uses payment processing by PayPal.

This site is built entirely around VirtueMart.

Chapter 8 is the blueprint to build a site where people can freely post details of accommodation available for rent, share and sale all over town.

This blueprint used the Sobi2 extension.

Chapter 9 will guide you through building a photo sharing site where users will be able to submit photos for other members to rate using a five star system.

This blueprint covers the install and configuration of Phoca Gallery.

Chapter 10 is the blueprint for an "Alien-Spotting" site. A site where users can aggregate occurrences of alien sightings all over the world. This site enables users to add descriptions of encounters with aliens, include photos if available. It will allow for users to comment on stories, with recent comments showing in the site bar. A front-page world map, with each documented encounter appearing on this map as a marker.

This blueprint uses the ContentMap module, JComments and JComments Latest module.

The last blueprint is for building a news aggregating site where the site will be entirely derived from RSS feeds from several sources (each feed being automatically fetched and its items displayed on the site). This blueprint uses the 4RSS extension to aggregate RSS feeds and create articles from them, and JCron Scheduler to manage cron jobs through the Joomla! frontend interface at preset intervals.

As the individual blueprints are based around one major component, it is easy for users to combine one or more of the blueprints into one site. Some of the components used here are fairly complex and while the blueprint doesn't cover every detail of those components, it still provides a solid foundation, and fast way for a new Joomla! user to set-up and deploy Joomla!

The Facts...

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (May 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849511705
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849511704
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Available at: publishers website at packtpub.com, major bookstores and online retailers like Amazon.

About the author

Timi Ogunjobi is a Technical Writer, Web Developer, and Open Source evangelist. Trained as an engineer, Timi has been developing web applications on several frameworks for more than five years, and has also been writing for more than a decade on a wide variety of topics, including fiction, business, and technology.

Timi balances his time between programming, reviewing, writing, and contributing to interesting web-based and community projects. When he isn't working (which isn't that often) he enjoys playing jazz guitar and getting involved in outdoor activities-principally cricket, golf, and swimming.

Timi is the principal architect of websesame.com - which is a web programming firm. He is also the CEO of Xceedia Ltd.-xceedia.co.uk- which is a software development and training firm that undertakes CMS-, LMS-, and ERP-based projects and web applications in particular.

Timi has previously had two Drupal books published, titled “Drupal Website Models” and “Drupal 6 Site Blueprints”, as well as one Joomla! book, titled “Joomla! Website Models”. He has also published several fiction and nonfiction books, and has been featured in several anthologies.


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