Joomla! 1.5 Cookbook review

Your now reading my Joomla! 1.5 Cookbook review. The book was released in October this year.

The Joomla cookbook is one of Packt Publishing’s cookbook series meaning that it contains recipes. This book contains over 60 different recipes to execute basic and advances Joomla queries. Each recipe is a small articles/paragraphs with an idea and how to work it out. Just like a regular cookbook.

I`m Ramon van Belzen, a 22 year old webdesigner from Vlissingen, the Netherlands. I’m surfing the web since 1997 and I` been programming HTML since 1998. Today I use web technologies like HTML 4, HTML 5, CSS 2 / 3, microformats, JavaScript, AJAX, jQuery and PHP/MySQL . I currently run over 10 websites, most of them as webmaster and webdesigner. The CMS systems I use include Joomla, WordPress and Drupal.
I have been offered the chance to review this book by Packt Publishing Open Source.

The book is about Joomla! 1.5. Joomla is an open-source award-winning PHP/MySQL based content management system (CMS). Since its available under the GPL license it`s free to download, modify and use it for your website.
The book contains guides how to manage your Joomla site easily and conquer difficult situations.
It`s written for beginning and advanced Joomla users, with or without experience with CMS systems and webdesign (HTML) knowledge.

The first chapter of the book contains guides how to install Joomla 1.5.x using two widely used methods (cPanel and GoDaddy). It teaches how to upload, set file permissions and create a database using phpMyAdmin.

The second chapter dives deeper into phpMyAdmin`s functionality. It teaches you how to export (backup) and import (recover) databases. It also explains the basics of the MySQL database like how to view, modify and delete a table.

Chapter three explains how to install, manage and choose a Joomla! template. The chapter also mentions some sites where you can find (free) Joomla templates. Also inside the chapter is how to attach a template to a certain section of your website. Another recipe explains how to chance the template`s logo to yours.
If you want to know more about Joomla! templates have a look at Joomla! 1.5 Templates Cookbook.

Next chapter (four) is about content and menu`s. The chapter starts with changing the default WYSIWYG editor. Next is managing sections and categories. Following these recipes is the article creation and management part. Next up are the menu`s (no I’m not talking about food, although it are recipes!). Further this chapter tells you how to setup your Joomla site as a blog and how to create menu`s for extensions.

The fifth chapter is all about managing links, users and media (pictures, video, audio). It starts with explaining how the user management part works. This includes the creation, modification, deleting and blocking users. Of course it also explains how to use user groups.
Next recipes are about media management and uploading and using the link manager. The final recipe in this chapter is how to recover a lost super administration password.

Chapter six is about components, extensions and modules. It starts with the basics of modules; what they do, the difference between them and how to install/delete/manage them.

The seventh chapter explains the K2 Content Construction Kit. The K2 CCK is a nifty tool for managing websites with loads of content. First steps are the installation and configuration of this extension. Next recipes explain the use of this extension. Further in this chapter are extensions for the K2 CCK, modules like the tag cloud  and comments are explained.

The following chapter (eight) teaches how to use several handy third-party extensions like a file manager, calendar, content uploader and an improved comment system.

This book also contains an important guide how to troubleshoot website problems. This is done in chapter nine. It starts with making a plan for troubleshooting and debugging. Next are repairing database related problems and extension related problems. Following these parts are the FTP and SSH problems.

Security of your site is chapter tens content. Recipes include setting permissions, patching Joomla, blocking known bots and IPs by using a .htaccess file, blocking directory viewing, adding an error page, blocking the servers banner and changing php.ini for security reasons.

The final chapter of this book (number eleven) is about the future version of Joomla, 1.6. it starts with the Access Control List followed by working with the new category manager and it ends with the new extension manager.

The book promises that it will give solutions to all basic and advanced queries you could encounter while running a Joomla! Website. I have the idea it did. It teaches you how to make content, sort it, use several plugins, make backups and explains all features you should use if you run a Joomla! site.

What I liked about this book was that there was a picture every step. Therefore it`s difficult do make a fault with each step.

I can recommend this book for everyone who wants to learn the basics of Joomla.
As expected the book won`t tell you much about SEO, template or other advanced topics (like modules and extensions). Packt Publishing has plenty of books regarding those topics. (have a look here if you want to know more about these books)

What would I do to improve the book? I can`t think of anything right now.


The Essential Guide to HTML5

Next month I will be reviewing The Essential Guide to HTML5: Using Games to learn HTML5 and JavaScript by FriendsOfEd. The review will be available on this site.

What you’ll learn from this book:

  • Use HTML5 and JavaScript to create interactive web sites
  • Program in JavaScript with the new HTML5 features
  • Draw on canvas and place text on the canvas
  • Create animated scenes using timing events
  • Handle mouse events for interaction with the user/player
  • Important concepts useful in any programming language/environment
  • HTML tags, canvas, Math.random, setInterval, setTimerout, addEventListener, Date, localStorage and other features

More information about this book can be found at

Packt Publishing 2010 Open Source Awards Winners

The Packt Publishing Open Source Award 2010 winners are know known!

Open Source CMS

  1. Winner: CMS Made Simple
  2. 1st Runner up:  SilverStripe
  3. 2nd Runner up:  MODx

Hall of Fame CMS

  1. Winner: WordPress
  2. 1st Runner up:  Drupal
  3. 2nd Runner up:  Joomla!

Most Promising Open Source Project

Open Source E-Commerce Applications

  1. Winner: PrestaShop
  2. 1st Runner up: OpenCart
  3. 2nd Runner up: Tomato Cart  

Open Source Graphics Software

  1. Winner: Blender
  2. 1st Runner up: GIMP
  3. 2nd Runner up: Inkscape

Open Source JavaScript Libraries  

  1. Winner: jQuery
  2. 1st Runner up: Mootools and Raphaël

More information can be found at

Joomla! 1.5 Cookbook

Next month I will be reviewing the Joomla! 1.5 Cookbook by Packt Publishing.
This book has the same structure as the Joomla! 1.5 Templates Cookbook I reviewed earlier this year.

The book contains over 60 practical recipes covering a range of site management and core Joomla! activities and guides to use several handy Joomla! plugins.

This book is written for beginning and intermediate users of Joomla! 1.5 and 1.6 with or without knowledge about webdesign.

What you will learn from this book :

  • Install Joomla! on two different but common types of hosting; setting up the database on two common hosting platforms, cPanel® and®
  • Know your way around phpMyAdmin for some of the tasks you may face.
  • Install your template, assign it as the default and make changes to it.
  • Setup the basics of a Section and a Category to hold and manage content with.
  • Manage links, users and media
  • Install, assign, and create Modules and Components
  • Install and use K2
  • Install, configure and use of some select extensions.
  • Learn how to do the easy and medium difficulty tasks, designed to eliminate  a few of the issues you may experience.
  • Look at recipes that cover the portions of Joomla! 1.6 that are brand new

More information about the book can be found at Packt Publishings product page.

You can expect the review on my site within a month from today.

Pro HTML5 Programming: Powerful APIs for Richer Internet Application Development review

If you haven`t heard of HTML you shouldn`t be reading this. HTML is the mark-up (programming) language for websites. Together with CSS (for the styling of sites) and JavaScript it forms the base of the internet. HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and 5 is the latest version.
The latest official version is 4.01 which dates 24 December 1999. The specifications can be found at if you’re really interested.
HTML 5 is the long awaited follow-up of HTML 4 and XHTML 1.1. It`s been more than ten years ago since the last update in version 4.01 and technologies have evolved. The editor’s draft of HTML 5 can be found at
HTML 5 drops some out-dated elements and attributes while adding new ones and improving already present ones.
Example: Back in 1999 most people where browsing the web using a dialup connection. You would be happy if your download speed passed the 4 kb/sec mark. Now it`s “normal” that you download music and watch videos on the internet on sites like YouTube.  Therefore new HTML tags like <audio> and <video> are introduced (since these were far from necessary in 1999). This way the problematic embed tag can be removed.
Enough tech talk, time for the review!

I`m Ramon van Belzen, a 22 year old webdesigner from Vlissingen, the Netherlands. I’m surfing the web since 1997 and I` been programming HTML since 1998. Today I use web technologies like HTML 4, HTML 5, XHTML 1.1, CSS2 / 3, microformats, JavaScript, AJAX, jQuery, PHP/MySQL, XML. I currently run over 10 websites, most of them as webmaster and webdesigner.
I have been offered the chance to review the book by Apress.

As I`ve mentioned before, this book is about HTML 5. It`s not about the basic elements already present but about the new ones and the APIs introduced along with it. In very short, this book is about the canvas, audio and video tags and the geolocation, communication, WebSocket, Forms, Web Workers, Web Storage and Offline Web Application APIs.
Apress also released another book, together with this book, which is all about the HTML 5 elements and CSS 3: Beginning HTML5 and CSS3: Next Generation Web Standards.

The book promises you will learn to develop web applications and sites using HTML 5 features and APIs and how to combine these (with other) web technologies.

This book is written for intermediate level programmers who are familiar with HTML 4 and/or 5 and knowledge of JavaScript is recommended.

The first chapter is an overview of HTML 5, containing answers to the who/what/where/when/why questions about HTML in the past and present. It also describes many of the new HTML elements and shows examples how to make your first HTML 5 page and enhance it with tables, CSS and JavaScript.

The following chapter explains the canvas API. With the canvas API you can dynamically generate and render graphics, charts, images and animations by using HTML 5 and JavaScript. Topics and examples shown in the book are from drawing a line to drawing advanced items (like a Christmas tree) to using multiple images and adding shades. The chapter ends with a mouse tracker – drawing a heat map.

Chapter three is about working with HTML 5 audio and video elements. It explains the valid HTML5 media types (codecs) and attributes. The next part is about the JavaScript control functions which you can use to start, stop, and pause audio and video files. Following the control functions are the attributes which can be used.

The fourth chapter is about the Geolocation API. As the name might reveal is about the use of your location in and on websites. This function is very interesting for mobile phones, laptops and can be widely used in e-marketing. The chapter starts with how the location is determined including de pros and cons of each setting. Next is the implementation of the location API by showing your current location on a page. Following the previous part is a real life example, which uses the geolocation to calculate the travelled distance while being on the site. The last part of the chapter describes how to link the HTML 5 Geolocation API with Google Maps to show your current location on the map.

The next chapter (five) is about the communication APIs including XMLHttpRequest level 2 – the follow-up of the famous AJAX API. With these new API`s it’s possible to use cross-site scripts and build things like status updates, chat boxes and much more. The chapter ends with a cross site data uploading script.

The WebSocket API is explained in chapter six. With the WebSocket API it`s possible to replace the HTTP protocol with the WebSocket protocol to reduce traffic and latency and use a full-duplex connection. With the WebSocket protocol is also possible to SSL encrypt the connection, just like HTTPS. The chapter explains the basics of the WebSocket API, how to write your own WebSocket server in Python, where to download a ready-to-go WS server and how to implement it, including references to previous topics to merge everything into one script.

Chapter seven is about the new Forms API. Form functions have been present in HTML for a long time, but form validation and things like calendars where not possible using HTML only. Many sites use JavaScript to enhance a forms functions. With the new Forms API it`s not necessary to introduce complex JavaScript codes. The chapter starts with the new form elements which are present in HTML 5. Next in the chapter is the use of a range selector, the calendar, the placeholder, autocomplete , autofocus, min/max, step, list and required attributes. Also new in HTML 5 is the forms validation possibility. Of course this is also explained in the book.

On to chapter eight, another much requested feature in HTML is Web Workers, which allow multiple JavaScript threads to be run simultaneously. First the basics of the Web Workers API are explained. Later on a CPU intensive JavaScript image blur effect is programmed and later on sliced into pieces which use the Web Worker API.

The Web Storage API is explained in chapter nine. The Web Storage API replaces cookies. With the new API the limitations of cookies are past. The API can also be used as a caching API so websites respond quicker. The chapter begins with setting and receiving a session storage item. Later on local storage is explained. As an example a distance away from finish is used. This uses content discussed in previous chapters to demonstrate a site which uses multiple techniques like web workers, the geolocation API and web workers.
At the end of the chapter the browser database storage “Web SQL” and JSON is explained.

Chapter ten is about creating offline web applications using HTML 5. Offline web applications are different from the web storage API. With the offline web application API it`s possible to create a fully working site using HTML, JavaScript and CSS. The chapter starts with creating a simple updateably site. Next step is adding content introduced in previous chapters and linking it together.

The final chapter (eleven) is about the future of HTML 5. It contains information about WebGL, the audio data API, touchscreen support and peer-to-peer networking and it contains examples if possible.

What I did like about the book is the how clear every chapter is. Every chapter starts with an introduction, a bit about which current browsers support the codes in the chapter, a workaround to check if the user is able to use the code and every chapter ends with a summary.
The images are a necessary to show things without the need to reprogram a piece of code. Like most programming books, the codes which are used in the book are available as download on the publishers website.

The book promises you will learn to develop web applications using HTML 5 features and APIs and how to combine these (with other) web technologies. After reading this book I felt that I now have the skills necessary to develop websites which use the new HTML 5 APIs.

After reading this book I didn`t feel like there was stuff I don`t know. The only thing left for me to do is reading Beginning HTML5 and CSS3: Next Generation Web Standards – which came out at the same time as this book.

Why would you buy this book? The is no other book on the market right now which is as good as this one when it comes to the HTML 5 APIs. The book doesn`t explain HTML 4 content, as I hoped for.

Did I like the book? Yes, and I’m very happy to have this book. I’m very sure I am going to use this book a lot in the next few months.

Are there any things I would like to see improved in this book? Since HTML 5 is very experimental, I think a re-issue of this book could come out after a few years featuring some new things which are going to happen in that time spam.

More information can be found on the official Apress book link.

Pro HTML 5 Programming: Powerful APIs for Richer Internet Application Development

By Peter Lubbers, Brian Albers, Frank Salim

ISBN13: 978-1-4302-2790-8

ISBN10: 1-4302-2790-7

304 pp.

Published Sep 2010 by Apress