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.

If your curios after reading this review, you can find a sample chapter here.

Details

Solaris 11 Express SAMP installation guide

Aside

To install Apache 2.2, PHP 5, MySQL 5.1, Perl 5.8 on Solaris 11 Express just follow these steps:

  1. Install Solaris 11 Express (I won`t provide help with this step)
  2. Start Solaris and login as the main user
  3. Start the terminal, if not done already
  4. su
    (and change the password)
  5. pkg refresh
  6. pkg install amp
  7. svcadm enable apache22
  8. svcadm enable mysql
  9. cd /var/apache2/2.2/htdocs
  10. rm index.html

All PHP files etc can be placed in /var/apache2/2.2/htdocs

WordPress 2.8 Themes Cookbook review

When you look for a WordPress theme design books, there isn’t much choice. I looked at the country’s best book store and found nine books when I search for “WordPress themes”. Five of them are published by Packt Publishing. Some of these books only feature a chapter about WordPress theme design or studies, only some are actually interesting.

Packt Publishing offered me  the chance to review “WordPress 2.8 Themes Cookbook”. And that’s what you’re reading right now!

A little about me:
I am Ramon “Ramoonus” van Belzen. A 22 year old webdesigner (HTML, CSS, microformats, Javascript, AJAX, jQuery, PHP/MySQL) and hobby programmer (Visual Basic) with over 10 different WordPress installations online. I`ve been creating webpages since 1997.

The WordPress 2.8 themes design cookbook is one of Packt Publishings cookbook series meaning it contains loads of recipes. Each recipe is a small articles/paragraphs with an idea and how to work it out. Just like a regular cookbook. I haven’t got compression material to compare the book with others of the same topic.

The book is called “WordPress 2.8 themes design cookbook”, which means it’s all about WordPress 2.9 theme designing. After reading the book you should be able to create and modify WordPress themes.

I bet you’re wondering if it’s outdated already since the release of WordPress 3.0? No it’s not. The book is actually until WordPress 2.9 and it should remain usable for the next several point releases. It contains the use of all implemented theme design features in WordPress 2.8.
For the book you will need to have prior knowledge of WordPress (how to use it) and experience with HTML, CSS and basic PHP knowledge. The PHP knowledge isn’t required but trustsme, it’s useful when it comes to debugging typos. Experience with Javascript and frameworks like jQuery is handy but not required. There is no knowledge of WordPress theme design needed.

The first chapter takes you through the basics of WordPress themes and mentions how to use some basic strings you’ll need in every template. It also describes how to make your first theme style.css, how to make a child template and how WordPress template files are organised.

The second chapter helps you create a navigation menu in several ways (horizontally and vertically) and tells you how to implement a search area in your template.

Chapter three explains “the loop”. The loop is the part where a page or post(s) show up. There are multiple ways of displaying the page content for category or tag archives and the homepage. It’s also possible to style sticky pages differently. Finally the chapter explains how to implement advertisement between posts.

The next chapter explains how to implement template tags like an edit button, previous/next link, using an excerpt and such. One of the most handy things is probably a search highlighters. No more use of third party plugins which break down too often!

The fifth chapter explains how to implement WordPress commenting features in your template.

Chapter six is also an important one (isn’t every chapter?!) since it explains how to work with sidebars. Sidebars can contains widgets by default or manually. The chapter also explains how to use multiple sidebars and pre-install widgets.

Chapter seven explains how to use custom page templates like a photo album or archive page.

The following chapter (eight)  explains how to use CSS and PHP to style images in the theme. It ends with implementing video`s in pages and posts.

Next chapter guides you through author pages and adding custom user fields (like a Twitter field). Creating a custom author page gives the author its own short page about himself.

Chapter ten is one of those you’ll probably need when your theme is nearly finished. Its about adding JavaScript effects to the theme. It also guides you through a simple installation of already in WordPress implemented JavaScript libraries like prototype, scriptalulous and jQuery (UI). This is followed by a JavaScript post slider (skinable), toggle-able widgets and a font-size toggle. Handy functions for every theme!

Template eleven is called Advanced WordPress Themes. It explains how to use a theme options page, use multiple color schemes, create a default theme avatar, how-to localize the theme, implementing your own shortcodes and information on publishing the theme to wordpress.org

The final chapter (twelve) contains more advanced features like a rotating header image, centring the main content, making draggable items, creating a tabbed navigation and adding a global toolbar to the theme.

I’m glad I got this book. After reading this book (in just a couple of hours – which is good) I can say to people I can design, create and modify WordPress themes.
The images included really show you what’s the point of what you’ve done and are a good addition to the text.
If you’re looking for a book about WordPress theme design to get started with modifying and/or creating themes, this is the one you should consider buying.

The book should be available at all good book stores right now. You can also order it online (on paper or as E-Books) at https://www.packtpub.com/wordpress-2-8-themes-cookbook/book. This is also the link for more information. A sample chapter (chapter 3 – the loop) can be found at https://www.packtpub.com/sites/default/files/8440-chapter-3-the-loop.pdf

Review by Ramon “Ramoonus” van Belzen

Written by Lee Jordan & Nick Ohrn

Book published in July 2010, by Packt Publishing (Open Source). 296 pages. Paperback

ISBN13: 9781847198440

How-to setup Fedora 13 as LAMP server

Aside

This short guide demonstrates how to setup Fedora 13 as a LAMP server containing Apache, PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby and MySQL.

yum install httpd
yum install php php-devel php-gd php-imap php-ldap php-mysql php-odbc php-pear php-xml php-xmlrpc php-eaccelerator php-magickwand php-magpierss php-mapserver php-mbstring php-mcrypt php-mhash php-mssql php-shout php-snmp php-soap php-tidy curl curl-devel perl-libwww-perl ImageMagick libxml2 libxml2-devel
yum install mysql mysql-devel mysql-server
yum install httpd-devel ruby ruby-devel
yum install mod_python
yum install mod_perl
yum install perl-HTML-Parser perl-DBI perl-Net-DNS perl-Digest-SHA1 perl-ExtUtils-AutoInstall perl-NetAddr-IP perl-Archive-Tar
/etc/init.d/httpd restart

Now you have got everything installed except for mod_ruby;

cd /tmp
wget http://modruby.net/archive/mod_ruby-1.3.0.tar.gz
tar zxvf mod_ruby-1.3.0.tar.gz
cd mod_ruby-1.3.0/
./configure.rb --with-apr-includes=/usr/include/apr-1
make
make install

/etc/init.d/httpd restart

You have to add mod_ruby by hand in /etc/httpd/conf.d/ruby.conf
By adding

LoadModule ruby_module modules/mod_ruby.so

OpenX Ad Server: Beginner`s Guide by Packt Publishing Review

This is my review of the book “OpenX Ad Server: Beginner`s Guide” written by Murat Yilmaz and published by Packt Publishing (Open Source).

OpenX is an open-source PHP/MySQL based advertisement platform which supports unlimited advertisers, campaigns, banners, zones and websites. You can use OpenX to structurize the advertisement on one or multiple sites with one or multiple advertisers and several campaigns and banners. It’s also possible to use OpenX for your Google Adsense or other 3rd party advertisements.

Why would you believe my review and more important: who am I? I`m Ramon van Belzen, a 22 year old web designer from Holland. I’ve been using OpenX (formerly OpenAds) since 2006. I never got in-depth with it but I’m familiar with most of the functions. I use OpenX to structure my Amazon campaigns and zones on multiple websites. You can find more about me on my blog www.ramoonus.nl
Packt Publishing asked me if I would like to review this book.

The book is a beginner’s guide to the OpenX Ad Server platform. Since the book is a beginner’s guide you don’t need to have any experience with online advertisement, webdesign or the OpenX platform. Currently there aren’t other OpenX books around. Packt has the scoop.

Every step in the book includes a screen-shot and some describing text along with it. At the end of every chapter there’s a question which summarizes the chapter. At the end of the book every question is answered with a full explanation —why; what’s good and what’s wrong about the other answers. A short summary of the chapter is also included.

The book starts with an introduction.—how the book is written, what OpenXis, why you would use OpenX, what is possible with OpenX, what the system requirements are. This is followed by the installation procedure and some important notes. The whole procedure is shown and described step by step.

The second chapter of the book is an introduction on how to use OpenX. It shows you how to create an advertiser, campaign, banner (not the actual design), website and zone (where the advertisement is placed). At the end of this chapter it’s time to put things together and show the banner on a website.

Chapter three explains how to create a new advertiser and how the campaign systems works. It describes the CPC, CPM, CPA and tenancy revenue models. All ins and outs of these models are explained and put into practise.

The fourth chapter describes the multiple ways how a banner can be implemented and the advantages and disadvantages of each way.

The following chapter (five) explains the website and zone principle. It also shows you how to include the code to a website to actually show the ads. The last bit of the chapter explains how to use dynamic zones and geotargetting.
By the end of this chapter you can start selling ads in the real world.

The sixth chapter of this book explains targeting like site source and browser based targeting.

Chapter seven describes the user account management including all permissions and roles.  Chapter eight is the follow-up of chapter seven. It explains all the user account options.

Chapter nine explains how to upgrade OpenX when a new version comes out. Trust me, it`s not as easy as it sounds. The chapter starts with backing up OpenX, duplicating the right files and running the upgrade wizard.

The final chapter (number ten) describes how to generate reports and statistics. To run a successful campaign it’s important to generate the right reports and do statistics on these results. With OpenX it’s possible to export results to CSV and Microsoft Excel. While inside Excel it`s possible to generate graphics and statistics on the results.

I haven’t found any nonsense in the book. The book is technically correct. This also counts for the language used in the book. I haven’t found weird sentences.

I didn’t have any problems reading the book. The first three chapters were obvious for me whereas the next several chapters only got more into depth. I bet even people who have used OpenX for a while never knew all those features!
This book describes how to use OpenX, not how to use online advertisement successfully.

After reading this book, I’m going to reintroduce advertisement on my site. Now I can use OpenX to improve advertisement targeting and effect. I can also generate reports and implement them.

The only information I see as missing is a short explanation of the different kinds of inclusion methods like javascript, XML-RPC and iframe. The book doesn’t cover these items, although this is actually more interesting to specialized webmasters. The normal way of including banners (through javascript) is the standard way for OpenX and I don`t have problems with it.

If you are interested in the book after reading my review, a sample chapter can be found online here.

And of course, it’s 2010 and it`s possible to buy the book online, both the paper and eBook versions; https://www.packtpub.com/openx-ad-server-beginners-guide/book

Specifications

Language : English

Paperback : 300 pages [ 235mm x 191mm ]

Release Date : March 2010

ISBN : 1849510202

ISBN 13 : 978-1-849510-20-2

Author(s) : Murat Yilmaz