Numinous Productions Website and Graphic Design

Unless a website your working on has already loaded jQuery, this tried and tested resource won't be available to you inside your console unless you can pull it in. 

You could write a little snippet of javascript that appends the jQuery CDN script tag to the top of the page:

var jQueryScript = document.createElement('script'); jQueryScript.setAttribute('src','https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/3.2.1/jquery.min.js'); document.head.appendChild(jQueryScript);

Source: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/43796705/how-to-include-cdn-in-javascript-file-js

This does the trick. But you'll need to include this code each time you refresh the page.

While looking for the solution to a separate problem, I stumbled onto this awesome little thread (originally posted by jondavidjohn): https://stackoverflow.com/questions/7474354/include-jquery-in-the-javascript-console

Essentially, once you've created your custom bookmarklet, you can "Turn On" jQuery with a click and start writing out jQuery scripts to your hearts content in your console. No copying and pasting a block of code.

1. Create a new bookmark.
2. In the bookmark URL, enter:

javascript:(function(e,s){e.src=s;e.onload=function(){jQuery.noConflict();console.log('jQuery injected')};document.head.appendChild(e);})(document.createElement('script'),'//code.jquery.com/jquery-latest.min.js')

3. Save your new bookmark.

Next time you need to use jQuery, click your new bookmark, open your console, and start writing jQuery.

You can replace "code.jquery.com/jquery-latest.min.js: with your own specific CDN URL if there's an older version of jQuery you prefer.

 

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If you own a domain (website address), there's a chance you'll get either an email or a letter stating something like the following:

"Attention: Important Notice,

DOMAIN SERVICE NOTICE
Domain Name: somewebsite.com  
ATT: Bob Smith
somewebiste.com

Response Requested By 2 - Oct. - 2015 

PART I: REVIEW NOTICE   Attn: Bob Smith

As a courtesy to domain name holders, we are sending you this notification for your business Domain name search engine registration. This letter is to inform you that it's time to send in your registration.

Failure to complete your Domain name search engine registration by the expiration date may result in cancellation of this offer making it difficult for your customers to locate you on the web.

Privatization allows the consumer a choice when registering. Search engine registration includes domain name search engine submission. Do not discard, this notice is not an invoice it is a courtesy reminder to register your domain name search engine listing so your customers can locate you on the web. This Notice for: ronandrenee.com will expire at 11:59PM EST, 2 - Oct. - 2015

Act now!   Select Package: http://www.websitesubmit.biz/?domain=thisisatotalscam.com  

Payment by Credit/Debit Card  

Select the term using the link above by 2 - Oct. - 2015 http://somewebsite.com"

Why is this a scam? This company, and many others like it, pose as your legitimate domain name company, and using lots of urgent language to scare you into paying them lots of money to renew your domain name or submit your domain to search engines. To give an analogy, it's like some stranger walking up to your door and yelling at you that your house mortgage payment us due 3 weeks earlier than it would normally be, and demanding 3 times the normal monthly mortgage payment to keep your mortgage current.

Typically these companies will offer to do one of two things (or both in some cases): They will either scare you into switching your domain registration management to their company for 3 to 4 times the cost of your original company OR they will offer to submit your website to major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Domain registration costs should hang out right around $15.00 per year. If it costs much more than that, your alarm bells should go off.

Submitting your website to search engines is very often completely unnecessary, but, if you do want to tell Google about your new website, you can do so for free. The same goes for Bing and Yahoo.

When you receive these sorts of scammy emails or letters, delete them, trash them, or shred them. But don't contact these companies. They aren't looking out for you.

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If you want to really understand how to make Joomla do what you want, it pays to understand Joomla's menu system. It is unique among content management systems, and is imbued with tons of power. Here's why:

  • The "Default Menu Item" controls what view is your home page. For standard Joomla installations, this is a "Featured Article Layout", but you can make any article or component your home page.
  • By default, module assignments are based on menu items.
  • Each menu item has its own SEO settings like page titles, page headers, meta-descriptions and meta-tags.
  • Menu items have the ability to control page styles through customizable page classes.
  • Every menu item has its own layout options that allow you to override the global layout settings for a particular page. This depends on the component you are linking to of course, but generally you can completely override global settings right from the individual menu item.
  • Components, by and large, don't automatically post to the menu. Some folks may see this as a drawback, but I see it as a major advantage. Joomla is giving you the ability to completely control the navigation and structure of your site. It gives you the power to do what you want without assuming it knows best. That is a major philosophical difference between Joomla and Wordpress.

So if you want to learn anything about Joomla, I'd highly recommend getting familiar and comfortable with the menu system. Play around with creating links, and see what sorts of changes you can make on the site. If you understand the menu system, you'll understand what makes Joomla tick.

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If you are looking to boost your search engine optimization on your Joomla site, one of the very best ways you can do this is by creating targeted page titles. Page titles show up in your browser tab, and tell Google and other search engines exactly what your page entails. Here's how to set up a custom page title:

  1. Log into the backend of your Joomla website.
  2. Open the menu manager.
  3. Open the menu that contains the links you need to work with.
  4. Click on the menu item that you'd like to update.
  5. Click the "Page Display" tab.
  6. In the browser page title field, enter a page title for your site. Page titles should be less than 60 characters, and should contain an important keyword or keyphrase for your website.
  7. Click "Save and Close" to finish.

That's it! You've just set a custom page title for your menu item.

Caveat: Not all menu item types have the ability to set a page title. Menu Item Aliases, for example don't have a "Page Display" tab.

Would you like to learn more about Search Engine Optimization? Check out this blog article I wrote: Eight Simple SEO Tips for Business Owners

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  • Media Manager: Log into the backend of your website, and navigate to the Media Manager. Browse for your file. Make sure your filename does not have any spaces, and then upload your file. Note the name of your document... you'll need this in a minute. Upload your document. Open an article, and highlight some text. Click the link icon. Type in the full address for your site (Example: http://www.yourwebsite.com/). At the end, add "images/" and then add the name of your document. Click Insert and save your changes.

  • JCE Link Manager: Install the JCE Editor and set it as your default editor in your Global Configuration. Open an article in the article manager. Highlight some text. Click the link icon in the editor. In the upper right-hand corner, select the file browser. Upload your PDF. Click your PDF and click insert.

  • Attachments Component: Install the Attachments Manager. Open an article that needs a PDF document. At the bottom of the editor area, click the "Add Attachment" button. Browse for your document on your computer. Give your document a title and description if you need it. Click Upload. Make sure to go into the Attachment Component options and set your attachments to publish automatically and set its default access level to "Public".

  • DocMan Component: This is a more robust solution than the first two options, and creates a document library. Install the DocMan Component (you'll also need to install the ExtMan component). Open the component. If you haven't done it already, create a new category for your documents. Then create a new document. Give it a title, browse to your document (and upload it to your server if needed), and give it a description and a thumbnail. In your menu manager, choose a menu. Add a new menu item. Select a Docman menu item type. Link to your category or to a specific document.

  • FileMan Component:  Install the FileMan Compontent. Navigate to the menu manager, and select a menu that should contain a link to a PDF. Create a new menu item, and select the Fileman menu item type. Select "Direct Link to File". Upload your file if you haven't already, select it from the list, and then click "Insert". Save your menu item. You can also use FileMan to link to a whole list of files, either as a gallery or in a table layout.
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Leo Von Klenze. 1784-1866. Ideal view of the Acropolis and the Areopagus in Athens. 1846 Munich Neue Pinakothek.

Forums are one of the greatest developments of the internet era. You can find answers to just about any question you could possibly ask in a forum, especially if you are looking to tackle a technical or website challenge. Being a Joomla designer and developer, I've found the Joomla forums an invaluable resource in many times of trouble.

But just like all social situations, forums have unwritten rules. If you break these rules, you'll miss out on great feedback and blow an opportunity to learn.

Forum Jerks always:

  • Ask questions with zero context. Wrong way to ask: "My site is broken, how do I fix it?" As someone who regularly posts answers to the Joomla forums, I am very likely to simply skip this sort of forum post. Here's the right way to ask: "My site is running Joomla 3.3.4 and is giving me this error, "Blah blah blah", and I did this to cause the error."
    Lesson Learned: The more detail you give, the better your chance of getting helpful answers.

  • Asking questions that show they haven't spent 5 seconds looking for an answer first. Wrong thing to ask: "How do I reset my password?"
    Lesson Learned: The more basic your question, the more likely it is that there are already 50 satisfactory solutions given at websites like Stack Exchange, the Joomla forums, Yahoo Answers, and many other great forums. Take a few minutes and do some research. Even if you don't find a good answer, it will help you shape your question better (see the first point).

  • Post that they solved the problem without actually posting how they solved the issue. Wrong way to post your solution: "Nm, I got it." Right way to post your solution: "I found that my website error was caused by X, and when I turned off X, the error went away. The company that developed X has a fix available on Github at this link: www.somelink.com".
    Lesson Learned: If you figure out a solution to your problem, good for you. Now do the rest of the world a favor and share that solution in detail. You'll likely help save someone hours of work, and make the world a better place (really!).

  • Hijack a forum thread with an issue that may or may not be related. Wrong way to ask a question: "I have this issue too, well, sort, but not really, because the error I get is different, but can someone take time to help me out here too?" Right way to ask a question: Go create your own forum thread with lots of great detail (see the first point).
    Lesson Learned: If you come across a forum thread that looks similar to yours, then feel free to chip in your question and any details that would be helpful to troubleshoot. If the original question isn't really the same as your question, take a few extra minutes and start your own thread. It will help the original poster get to an answer faster, and it will help others looking for your specific issue to track down their solution faster.

  • Ask for the sun, moon and stars. Wrong way to ask a question: "How do I create a Joomla template from scratch... and write CSS... and learn HTML5... and also, can you tell me how to learn JavaScript if it wouldn't be too much trouble?" Related bad question: "Widget A does this, but I want it to do some things that it was never meant to do at all, can you help me make it do these other 50 things it's not built for?" Forums are all about specific details, so when you ask a question that is really more of a request for several weeks of online training... then you're best bet is to seek out some online training instead. If you don't have time for some extra education, then you might be better off hiring a professional to take care of your huge challenge.
    Lesson Learned: Keep your questions specific and as narrow as possible. The shorter and more specific the question, the more likely you are to get a good, helpful answer.

  • Keep a forum thread alive well past the time of being awkward. Here's how this one usually goes down. A poster asks a question. The question gets answered. So the poster asks another question to tackle another issue that may or may not be related on the same thread. The nice forum volunteers answer that question too. So the original poster comes back with a third question, and a fourth, and so on. This is comparable to getting stuck in a phone conversation. As a forum volunteer, you just want to hang up, but Aunt Betty just keeps talking.
    Lesson Learned: Ask your question, get an answer. If you have another question, in most cases, I'd recommend starting a new thread.

  • Berate forum volunteers because they don't get the attention you "deserve". Nothing's worse than a forum poster that doesn't appreciate those who are trying to help. In the worst of these situations, the original poster is not only impolite, but goes after forum volunteers for not answering their questions the way they wanted, or for not giving them the sun, moon and stars (see the post above). Acting like a jerk in this way will get you booted and blocked by forum moderators (and rightfully so). This is comparable to throwing a fit in the grocery store when the store doesn't stock your favorite flavor of coffee.
    Lesson Learned: Be kind to those who are trying to help. If your need is so urgent that you are tempted to snap at people, it's probably time to hire a professional to take care of the issue. You shouldn't abuse them either, but at least they will be paid by the hour for the "pleasure".

  • Take and never give back. When you are learning about a new technical issue, it's fairly common to ask lots of questions on forums, and read up on lots of other forum posts to get solutions. Eventually though, you should start pouring back into those resources that were so helpful to you.
    Lesson Learned: Shoot for a 1-to-1 question to answer ratio. For every thread you start with your own question, seek out someone else's forum thread and help them find an answer. It's the kind thing to do, and will help create a thriving, vibrant forum community.

If you apply these lessons, you'll get great help in forums, save yourself some time and heartache, and make the forum world even better.

Are there any forum faux pas I missed? Post them below.

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After several years of using Joomla, it has become less and less a complete content management system, and more and more a framework to support a useful collection of extensions. With 8,500+ extensions, there are some extensions that I have come to love and rely on to get the job done well. The extensions below are well supported, not buggy and extremely flexible.

  1. JCE Editor: http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/edition/editors/88
    There simply isn't a better content editor out there. It most definitely blows TinyMCE out of the water. Creating links is so much easier, inserting photos is easier, and formatting your text is easier. It makes creating content inside of Joomla much less of a chore, and creates a more familiar framework for end users who may be used to Microsoft Office Products. I also recommend purchasing a JCE Subscription and downloading the Advanced Image Manager and Media Manager. The bulk image resizing feature in the Advanced Image Manager is, by itself, worth the cost of the subscription.

  2. NoNumber Extension Manager: http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/core-enhancements/installers/17071
    This extension actually comes packed with over 20 different extensions. I haven't had a chance to test all of them out, but my absolute favorites are the Better Preview plugin and the Advanced Module Manager. Better Preview places a preview button on every article and menu item page, adding a sorely needed feature to the Joomla Core. Advanced Module Manager expands the abilities of the core module manager by giving users many more rules they can use to assign modules to a specific page. Users can assign modules to articles, categories, user groups or can even assign modules based on browser or operating system, among other options. Honorable mentions with the NoNumber Extension Manager include the Add to Menu plugin, the Advanced Template Manager, Email Protector, Sliders and Sourcerer. The other extensions available through NoNumber are probably excellent too... I just haven't had the opportunity to personally test them.

  3. Chronoforms: http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/contacts-and-feedback/forms/1508
    There are a number of form building components available for Joomla. Indeed, Joomla comes with a very basic form builder in the "Contacts" component. Chronoforms is my very favorite for two reasons. Firstly, it can be used to easily set up a basic form with a drag and drop editor and a decently simple interface. Secondly, if you want to dig into the nuts and bolts, and create a database driven application, that capability is also there. Chronoforms is not perfect in my opinion however. There are a few little irritations that come with the application. When one wants to create a link to a form, they have to manually type in the name of the form, rather than searching for it with a browser or an ajax driven field. When creating fields, even in the simple mode, each field's options can be a little overwhelming for beginners (label vs. field name vs. field id vs. field value). But for a builder like myself, these problems aren't enough to dissuade me from recommending this extension.

  4. DJ Image Slider: http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/photos-a-images/slideshow/image-mootools-slideshow/13119
    If you search for "Image Slider" in the Joomla Extensions Directory, you'll come up with dozens of possibilities. I've used quite a few of those options, but I have always come back to DJ Image Slider for it's ease of use and versatility. This extension is a combination of component and module. It can be set up to display images from a folder, or you can create individual slides in the DJ ImageSlider component. Individual slides can be linked to articles, menu items or URLs. The code driving DJ Image Slider is very clean and to the point. It's easy enough to edit it to fit your needs. As a designer, this extension is one of the very best Image Sliders out there.

  5. Podcast Manager: http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/multimedia/streaming-a-broadcasting/audio-broadcasting/16500
    I build websites for a lot of churches. Most of those churches want to allow visitors and church members to easily download MP3 recordings of their sermons. The Podcast Manager component is the very best option here for its ease of use, its easy integration with iTunes and the support of its developer, Michael Babker.

  6. SOBIPro: http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/directory-a-documentation/directory/16649
    This custom directory extension isn't necessarily the easiest to use out of the gate, but it's abilities are pretty limitless, especially if you are willing to work with it and understand how it works. SOBIPro allows users to create forms that can be filled out to create content on the front end. It is similar to the very popular K2 component, but takes things to a more powerful, industrial scale. I have personally used it for church directories, but it could be used for any kind of front end, template driven content.

  7. RemoteImage: http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/photos-a-images/images/image-management/23952
    One of the biggest nagging issues with Joomla since the beginning has been its Media Manager. It has gone relatively unchanged for the past 7 years. To the uninitiated, the Media Manager allows end users to upload photos, create folders and preview photos. It lacks any other features (renaming files, renaming directories, moving files and directories, editing photos, drag and drop ability). The RemoteImage application is exactly what the Media Manager should be. It not only offers an alternative to the core media manager, but can actually replace it in all instances on the website. This includes the "Images and Links" tab in the article editor and the "Media Manager" link in the content area. The only negative I have with RemoteImage is it's reliance on somewhat ambiguous tiny icons for different file operations. This issue isn't a deal breaker however, and is easy to put up with compared to the extremely limited abilities of the core media manager.

  8. Simple Image Gallery: http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/photos-a-images/galleries/content-photo-gallery/1468
    To whip up a gallery in seconds, go with Simple Image Gallery. Simply upload your photos to a folder, click the gallery insert button in an article, and your done. If you combine Simple Image Gallery with the JCE Advanced Image Manager, you've got a great tool. JCE's image manager will resize your photos in bulk, and the image gallery will display them nicely.

  9. Attachments: http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/directory-a-documentation/downloads/3115
    There are some really good, comprehensive document managers available in the JED, but if all you need is a simple way to allow visitors to download one or two documents, it's hard to beat the Attachments component and plugin. It's use is dead simple for end users. Open an article, click the attachments button, select a file, clip upload and save. It works in a very similar fashion to attachments in email. It will create a download link section at the bottom of the article (or the top, if you choose). If you need something more powerful, I'd recommend DocMan.

  10. SP Upgrade: http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/migration-a-conversion/joomla-migration/15609
    This is hands down the very best extension for migrating your Joomla content from an older version to a newer version. Simple install a new Joomla site, install SP Upgrade, connect it to the old site's database, and import your content. Personally, I've found I get the best results when I don't try to import everything all at once. I will usually break up categories, articles, menus and menu items and do those one at a time (one group at a time).

Honorable Mentions: Other extensions I love using include JEvents, K2, Disqus Comments, FileMan and ACL Manager.

Do you know of any extensions I missed? Post those in the comments below.

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The Image Resolution Pizza AnalogyAs a designer for both print and web, I run into trouble when I try to explain why I need high resolution photos for print design and lower resolution photos for websites. Here's to hoping this analogy makes it just a little easier to understand:

Imagine you work for a little corner pizza place. You are the one in charge of rolling out the pizza dough, throwing on the toppings and getting the pizzas into the oven. Your restaurant sells two kinds of pizzas: Personal and Extra Large, and you are really good at making both.

One day, a coworker says, "We've got a big group coming in this afternoon. Make sure you make enough pizza to satisfy the hunger of ten people." He then hands you a bowl with just a small chunk of dough.

"This isn't going to be enough dough," you say. "This might work for a personal size pizza, but definitely won't work for feeding 10 people."

"Can't you just stretch the dough out?" he responds. "I've seen cooks on the Food Network do that."

"That's fake," you respond. "It would be much simpler, and the pizza would be much better, if you gave me enough dough to make an Extra Large pizza."

"Oh, okay," and then your coworker goes and makes enough dough for an Extra Large pizza, and everyone gets enough to eat.

The "Extra Large Pizza" in this case is comparable to a design project for print. Professional printers need large photos to make those graphics look great. A little tiny photo that would look good on a business card can not be blown up to look great at 21 inches tall (no matter what special effects you see on TV).

Let's look at another pizza conundrum.

A teenager walks into your restaurant and wants a pepperoni personal pizza. Your coworker says he'll handle this one, and your busy, so you let him take the reigns. You watch from across the room as he takes a huge clump of pizza dough and smashes it onto the prep table. It's enough dough for an Extra Large pizza, but he forces into into a mound of dough roughly the same size as a personal pizza (and 4 inches tall in the middle).

"You probably shouldn't serve that," you say as you walk over. "That's way too much dough for a little personal size pizza."

"It looks like the same size as a personal size pizza," he responds. "What's the big deal?"

"While it may look like a smaller pizza, you are giving them enough dough for 10 people, and that's just too much."

"So what should I do?" he asks dejectedly.

"Well, it's simple. Just take a small piece of that big lump, and make that into a personal pizza. Problem solved."

The personal pizza is comparable to photos for the web. While printers need big, high resolution photos, websites definitely do not. You want to deliver much smaller photos (less dough) so that your visitors can "digest" those photos easier.

Some website can trick you by allowing you to resize the photo in your page editor. In this case, your making the photo look smaller, but your visitor is still being forced to download all of that information. All of the websites we build come with the ability to automatically scale down the resolution of your photos when they upload, taking a 5 megabyte picture from your digital camera or smart phone, and reducing it down to 100 kilobytes. This can also be done in programs like Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, GIMP and Picasa (to name a few).

Lastly, lets talk about those kilobytes and megabytes. These are just terms to describe the size of a file on your computer. We can compare kilobytes to "feet" in distance measurement, and megabytes to "miles" in distance measurement. 100 feet is definitely shorter than 1 mile. 100 kilobytes is much smaller than 1 megabyte. In fact, it takes 1,024 kilobytes to equal one megabyte. Most digital cameras take photos that are at least 3 megabytes in size. 3+ megabytes is excellent for print, but not so good for the web, where 300 kilobytes or less will more effectively get the job done.

So when serving pizza, make sure to use the right amount of dough. When providing photos for projects, make sure to provide the right image size for the project.

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DJ Image Slider is our very favorite image slider extension for Joomla. It's super easy to use, simple to set up, and the code is clean enough that we can adapt it to look exactly the way we want.


Out of the box, DJ Image Slider provides a simple means of linking a slide image to an article, a menu item or a URL. Every once in a while though, it would be nice to link a slide to a PDF or video. This is where this shortcut comes into place.

For this simple shortcut to work, you'll need the JCE Editor.

  1. Open DJ Image Slider.
  2. Create a new slide.
  3. Give your slide a title, choose your slide image, and give your slide a description.
  4. On the right, choose the URL link option.
  5. In the slide description area, click the link button.
  6. In the upper right hand corner of the JCE Link window, click the File Browser icon.
  7. Upload your file.
  8. Click on the file, and click Insert.
  9. On the link window, copy the relative link at the top of the window. Close the window.
  10. Paste the relative link in the URL field on the right side of the DJ Slider screen.
  11. Click Save and Close.

This will allow you to link directly to a file of your choice straight from your slideshow.

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Abandoned FactoryBetween 1998 and 2008, 51,000 industrial plants closed their doors in the United States and moved production to companies outside the United States. That works out to a 12.5% reduction of the entire American Industrial base.1 In 2013 alone 2 million jobs were outsourced overseas (commonly called offshoring).2 43% of that offshoring came from jobs in the IT sector like tech support, programming and web design.

We have no desire to be part of that statistic. When we need help with projects, we always hire local graphic designers, content writers, programmers and web designers. We are committed to seeing home grown businesses keeping their funds right in the United States.

To be sure, this path isn't the cheapest one, but it is the right one. We have placed the priority of employing local contractors above our desire to cut costs to the bone. Rest assured your graphic and web design projects are always "Made in the USA".


1. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/labor/news/2012/07/09/11898/5-facts-about-overseas-outsourcing/

2. http://backstreet.bg/what-is-outsourcing-facts-and-figures/

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Schroedinger's CatWhen people who build websites for a living talk to people who do not build websites for a living, this is what it ends up sounding like:

"In the mathematically rigorous formulation of quantum mechanics developed by Paul Dirac,[14] David Hilbert,[15] John von Neumann,[16] and Hermann Weyl[17] the possible states of a quantum mechanical system are represented by unit vectors (called "state vectors"). Formally, these reside in a complex separable Hilbert space—variously called the "state space" or the "associated Hilbert space" of the system—that is well defined up to a complex number of norm 1 (the phase factor)."

This is actually a description of the math involved in quantum mechanics, but frequently, talking about the technical aspects of website construction can sound just as confusing.

At Numinous Productions, we always endeavor to speak as plainly as possible. We aren't worried about sounding important. We are instead all about making sure you understand what your website can do for you, and how we can help--no quantum mechanics required.

https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2148/1892521914_d4807f7439_o.jpg

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There are some beautiful commercial Joomla templates out there from companies like Joomla Bamboo, Gavick, SiteGround, Shape5 and many others. And if your budget is extremely tight, a commercial template might be right for your organization, especially if you need a quick way to get yourself out on the internet.

But for clients of Numinous Productions, we prefer to build each and every Joomla template from scratch. It requires more work on our part, and costs more to produce than a prebuilt commercial template, but there are some major advantages to our home cooked templates:

  • Most commercial templates are built with no client in particular in mind. That means each template has to come loaded with every possible bit of code that any client may perhaps need. Custom templates can be kept nice and lightweight. There's no need for extraneous javascript, CSS, extra Jquery or Mootools. Only what the specific client needs is included. Less files and less code means sites load faster.
  • Lean templates are also much easier to tweak and expand down the road. A template index.php file with only 120 lines of code with is much easier to tweak than a index.php file with several hundred lines of code (or more). Commercial templates may be cheaper up front, but can cost two to three times as much down the road to make simple structural upgrades because of the template's inherent complexity.
  • Custom templates have just the right number of module positions. Most of the templates built by Numinous Productions have 10 module positions or less (versus the 25 to 50 positions normally found in commercial templates). This cuts down on confusion and keeps website management easier for end users.
  • Our templates use module position names that are human readable and logical. Instead of "Position-0", "Position-1", "Position-2", we use names like "Top", "Bottom", "Left" and "Right". We want our end users to have a good idea where the module position is located without reading through documentation and hoping to find a preview image.
  • We compare Commercial Templates to semitrucks. They can "haul" a lot, and take your content just about anywhere you want it go, but they are also complicated to use. Our templates are extremely simple and straightforward. They operate in the background, and make your website look great without lots of extra effort on your part.
  • Commercial templates can make your business look great, or they can make your business look like every other business using that template. Creating templates from scratch means we can design a website that is just as unique as you are, and can utilize your organization's style, colors, fonts, imagery and more. Setting yourself apart from your competitors online is well worth that investment. We can even build a Joomla template around a Photoshop design if you have an inhouse designer.
  • Support for commercial templates is extremely spotty in our experience. Some companies are great, and will actually answer your questions and tweak their templates upon request. Other companies will sell you a template, and then are difficult to work with after the fact. The Joomla Forums are full of users who have trouble getting commercial template developers to help them. That's not the case with our custom templates. We'd love to help you tweak your template, especially if that means your website is more successful and your day is made easier.

If you are interested in custom template design, we'd love to help! Get in touch today, or request a free estimate.

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I had the privilege of speaking to children's ministry leaders at Cedarville University this past weekend. This session was by far my favorite, and judging by the packed out classroom, the favorite of those who attended as well. Below you can read through my complete notes, or you can download the PDF.


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Millersburg, Ohio Antique Festival

I grew up in a little town called Springport, Michigan. It had one blinking red stoplight, one tiny library, one tiny gas station, a bank, a pizza place and a small public school. After I and 54 classmates graduated from Springport High, I went to college at Cedarville University. If you've never heard of Cedarville, you're not alone. It's a speck-sized Ohio village surrounded by breezy wheat fields and rabid Ohio State fans for many square miles in all directions. After I graduated from Cedarville, I moved up to Millersburg, Ohio. With a population of just over 3,000 and its very own Walmart, Millersburg felt like the big city.

Well, maybe not the big city, but it was certainly larger than any village I had yet lived in. You definitely couldn't see as many stars at night, and around five o'clock each day, the cars and buggies get backed up at three blocks away from town.

All joking aside, I really enjoy living in small towns. And I really LOVE doing web design and development in a small Amish country town. Here's why:

  • Holmes County contains one of the largest Amish populations in the world. Nearly every day from my office, I can hear the clip-clopping of buggies rolling by. I've had the privilege of serving several Amish clients, and there's nothing quite like it. Amish business owners are one part humble, one part ambitious, and their attitude to do things right the first time is infectious!
  • Because there is such a large Amish population in this region, we also have a huge tourism base. I can drive in just about any direction and see a bed and breakfast, an Amish restaurant, a dry goods store and much more. This area is constantly growing economically. It didn't even stop during the 2008 recession. Tourism and the Amish hardworking mentality just kept the local economy plugging along.
  • When every business has its own hitching post, complete with recent horse "leavings", there's not much for pretentiousness on the part of business owners. Every business I have had the privilege of serving here brings its own brand of humility to the table, making the client-designer relationship so much sweeter.
  • Family is a big thing here. Parents and relatives show up to support their kids in football, soccer, volleyball and basketball. Businesses generously support scholarships at the local fair. On any nice day you can hop on the Holmes County Trail and see families spending time together. Small towns like this one seem to have an easier time keeping their priorities straight.
  • There are churches and non-profit ministries everywhere. There are always great events going on to support people in need both near and far. I have the distinct honor of working with many of those ministries. It's refreshing to do what you love for a cause that really, truly matters.

I can't imagine doing web design anywhere else.

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The Article Categories module provides a useful way to allow visitors to browse large chunks of content at a glance. This hack allows you to provide a slightly more elegant way of presenting your information. Rather than showing a simple list of categories, this hack turns this module into a dropdown field. Each category in the dropdown, once clicked, takes users immediately to their category of choice.

Fairfield Dropdown Categories Module

This hack requires making a small change to one of the core Joomla files... if you aren't comfortable doing this, I would avoid this solution.

Otherwise...

How to Display Joomla Categories in a Dropdown Field (Joomla 3.4.x):

You will need to edit this file: .../modules/mod_articles_categories/tmpl/default_items.php

My tweaked code looks like this:

How to Display Joomla Categories in a Dropdown Field (Joomla 2.5.x):

You will need to edit this file: .../modules/mod_articles_categories/tmpl/default_items.php

My tweaked code looks like this:

<select><option>Choose</option>
<?php
/** * @package Joomla.Site 
* @subpackage   mod_articles_categories 
* @copyright   Copyright (C) 2005 - 2013 Open Source Matters, Inc. All rights reserved. 
* @license      GNU General Public License version 2 or later; see LICENSE.txt 
*/// no direct accessdefined('_JEXEC') or die;foreach ($list as $item) :?>  

<option onclick="window.location = '<?php echo JRoute::_(ContentHelperRoute::getCategoryRoute($item->id)); ?>'" <?php if ($_SERVER['PHP_SELF'] == JRoute::_(ContentHelperRoute::getCategoryRoute($item->id))) echo ' class="active"';?>> <?php $levelup=$item->level-$startLevel -1; ?> 

<h<?php echo $params->get('item_heading')+ $levelup; ?>>     
<?php echo $item->title;?>
</h<?php echo $params->get('item_heading')+ $levelup; ?>>     

<?php
if($params->get('show_description', 0))
      {echo JHtml::_('content.prepare', $item->description, $item->getParams(),'mod_articles_categories.content');     
}     
if($params->get('show_children', 0) && (($params->get('maxlevel', 0) == 0) || ($params->get('maxlevel') >= ($item->level - $startLevel))) && count($item->getChildren()))      {        
echo '<ul>';        
$temp = $list;        
$list = $item->getChildren();
require JModuleHelper::getLayoutPath('mod_articles_categories', $params->get('layout', 'default').'_items');        
$list = $temp;        
echo '</ul>';

?> 
</option>
<?php endforeach; ?>
</select>

Basically, the list elements are replaced with field elements. There was also the need to change how the link is created to conform to a list style "on-click" route instead of the normal "<a href".

Along with making this tweak to the code, I changed the "Maximum Level Depth" to 1 in the Module Parameters. Make sure to do a proper template override on this module, or else you'll lose your changes on the next Joomla upgrade.

Hopefully this helps someone tackle this issue without investing tons of time reading up on it.

 

 

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