8 minutes reading time (1583 words)

RTL Administrator Template, and More!

RTL Administrator Template, and More!

What do you think about the administrator panel of Joomla! 3.x? The opinions are split. I for one got some serious negative feedback from my clients not wanting to upgrade, saying that the panel is not user friendly. Some of them said they were used to the old panel and it's hard for them to make the learning curve once again. Add to that the fact that most templates are not designed for RTL (right-to-left) languages, and in an RTL country like Israel, you are stuck. 

After a very inspiring talk by David Hurley at the last JoomlaDay in Israel (10/10/2013), and with the full support of joomla.org.il and its comuunity, Shmulik Dorenbaum and Itamar Elharar decided to take matters into their own hands and design and build a FREE Joomla Administrator Template that would be RTL supporting. Later on, Dror Landman also joined the group.

So what is this template all about?  

JIsrael is a brand new, free Joomla Administrator Template that has been developed for Joomla 3.x. It is based on the ISIS Template and has full responsive capabilities.

What we were trying to achieve is making the Joomla! administrator view more welcoming while putting our focus on optimizing usability, improving efficiency, and maintaining functionality and customizability.

The primary goal of JIsrael is to make Joomla more enjoyable to administrate and to make the job of configuring a Joomla-based website easier and more efficient. The JIsrael template is packed full of features to help achieve these goals, and once you've started using it, you'll find it hard to use anything else. Trust us!

The JIsrael package installation file includes:

  • the template

  • a CPanel Icon module – new module which handles the admin homepage display

  • the AdminTask Component – a simple component for the admin side only, that manage tasks by categories

  • an AdminTasks module – latest tasks module

  • a Template override for com_cpanel on admin homepage

  • a Template override for mod_latest


I’ve asked Shmulik, Itamar and Dror to answer a few questions about the process and the template:

Where did the idea come from?

Shmulik: The idea was mine.  I am dealing in my day to day work with a lot of clients and they all were working with Joomla! 2.5. When the visual change happened in the upgrade from 2.5 to 3.0 I got a lot of complaints about the new system (as if I created it). They complained that the new administrator panel is not user friendly. I actually understood them. The system is great, but it is not user friendly for the common user.

Itamar: When Shmulik presented the idea, I loved it! I suggested we will build it as a community project under these assumptions:

  1. Community Project – open source code, free, hosting will be provided by the Israeli community website.
  2. A responsive template, using a clean and professional look and supporting RTL languages.
  3. Using CSS rather than images and basing the template on Bootstrap.

The process:

Shmulik: I designed the template after making a poll of 20 site owners and confiding with them about the design. I looked for a UI that would have a friendly and clear design.

Itamar: I based the template on the wonderful ISIS template that comes built in with Joomla 3.x. Basically I’ve saved the structure of the ISIS template, and used the tools of Joomla! to implement the visual change.  

The goal was to create a solid template that we can upgrade and make better in every version of Joomla that will come out. We received that effect by separating the core of the ISIS template from the visual side that the user is going to see.

Dror join in later to help with the update of the new release of the template that will come out soon.

What is the template's main goal?

Shmulik: Giving the end user an easy way to work with the system. To do so I even designed a new module called “notes” that will be presented on the homepage and  will give the site owner a place to write notes to himself.

Itamar: I have three diffrent goals:

  1. To give back to Joomla!
  2. To create a first of its kind of Joomla! Israel User Group community project that would be updated by its members.
  3. I really love Joomla and don’t need a specific reason to work with Joomla!

Dror: Whenever I build a web site it is really important for me that the customer will use it. If the admin panel isn't friendly, the customer won't create new content, and the site will become a dead thing. If he can do it easily the site will blossom and the customer will eventually gain more customers or followers, and the site will truly achieve its goal.

What does Joomla! mean to you?

Shmulik: Joomla! is the way to show business owners that they can build a website without necessarily spending thousands of Shekels (Israeli currency) on a website.

Itamar: I’ve been involved with Joomla! since its Mambo days when I was a student. Today, as a business owner, Joomla! is the basis for everything we do. I really do love Joomla!. It's elegance, power, open source code, and not to forget the Joomla! community. The Israeli User Group and the larger one. There are not so many projects that can be proud of the product as well as the community that stands before it. I am very proud to be part of it.

Dror: When I hear some customer requirements I wonder how the hell I'm gonna implement that, when, in most cases it was already implemented by Joomla itself, and it's a feature I wasn't familiar with, or somebody has already found a solution for that, and if not, a few hours of coding will solve it. I LOVE this system because it allows me to do whatever I want to.

Why invest in a  community project?

Shmulik: There is a reason that Wikipedia is one of the biggest websites out there. It was based on sharing. It is a great pleasure to give back and help the community, expecting nothing in return.

Itamar: This is not an investment. It is a donation to the community, and a way to unite the community in Israel around a specific project. It gives the community a product to use, and implement the idea of Joomla! as an open source community.

I believe in the business model of the open source and Joomla!. I have no doubt that these projects help us to make the community stronger and expand the number of websites built with Joomla!. at the end the model proves itself – for every module, plugin, template, etc. that you put in the community as a project, the people involved will get work out of it.

Dror: Why not? And because we can! And now seriously I'm a true believer in open source. Many things nowadays are free due to open source, due to people who choose to share their work. We can all afford enjoy the internet, enjoy video and music without paying much or even at all. Contributing to the community pays back. Many times I helped others without asking for payment and later that person recommended me as a professional and the contact was made.

How can the world wide community help?

Itamar: I would like to see the translation of the template to all RTL languages, development of the AdminTask component and its module, and new members joining the project. I have tons of ideas to develop the template – accessibility support, different styles, open source RTL fonts, and more.

Shmulik: I would like to see more RTL templates. I would like to design templates if I knew that someone would develop them into fully working templates.

Dror:  I would like to have more and more people testing it and send feedback and ideas. Probably there are needs out there we never thought of which would make the user experience more effective, more comfortable and we would find more ways to use the template effectively.

Some personal details about you?

Shmulik: I’m a web designer and seo specialist and building websites. I work as a team manager for SEOisrael, and a freelancer graphic design. At the last JoomlaDay I gave a talk about SEO in the Joomla environment.  

Itamar: I’m 34, married +1, and a moshav member from northern Israel. I breed sheep, have an organic chicken coop, and grow olives for organic oil. I am a member of the Joomla! community and the Joomla! User Group in Israel since the day they were founded. I am a developer specializing in Joomla and have owned a mostly Joomla-based business for the past eight years. I am a regular speaker at JoomlaDay Israel.

Dror: I'm Dror and I live in Holon,  a small city next to Tel Aviv with my beloved and our 3-month newborn baby girl. I'm familiar with Joomla for five years now, but started really developing modules and templates in the last three years, and a new component in the last two months. Most of my income comes by developing and SEOing Joomla websites. At the last JoomlaDay Israel I gave a talk about a popular CCK, and hope to continue lecturing at future JoomlaDays.

Want to know more about the template? 

You can find the demo and download the files on github.

We would love to hear from you, come and join the project with us!


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