Macrotone Blogs

Macrotone blogs upon Joomla, our products and other matters.

Image and text wrapping in a responsive template

We recently turned our attention to a small problem we had noticed on our site.  We display a few famous quotes as a module on the site, and since moving to a responsive site template, noticed that the various quotes did not display nicely when various screen sizes were in use.

As displayed the quotes were composed of an image tag followed by the specific quote text, and then by the author details.  A typical quote quote would thus look similar to the following:  (Lines split for convenience.)

Continue reading
  1789 Hits
  0 Comments

MySQL 1071 and associated errors.

mysqlOur users have reported a few MySQL errors over the years but one of the most common appears to be the

ERROR 1071 (42000): Specified key was too long; max key length is xxx bytes

Where xxx is some specified value often, but not always, a value of 767.

For that reason we decided that we would make this blog entry to try and explain the situation.

We are concerned here mainly with InnoDB tables since that is what we tend to use in our extensions.

Continue reading
  2091 Hits
  0 Comments

MySQL and JSON data structures

mysqlHaving been working with JSON data structures recently our thoughts turned to how this could reasonably be handled by SQL queries in the production of items such as reports etc.  Leaving aside the question of how one would ‘know’ and handle the various constituents in the specific JSON object on a generic basis, we looked specifically at what was currently available.

Coming from a strong Oracle background we were familiar with the use of Java within the Oracle database and indeed have made use of it ourselves in the past, but our specific interest this time was MySQL and its use by Joomla, and we were not aware of any feature implementing Java with the MySQL database.

Continue reading
  2527 Hits
  0 Comments

Oracle–Flashback Query

oracleWay back in 2001 Oracle announced Oracle9i with a new feature named ‘Flashback Query’. The implication was that Flashback technology would permit one to query past data, no matter how old it was days, weeks or even months old. In fact the actuality was very different since Flashback Query relied upon the undo information contained within the database Undo-Segments.

Later releases refined what was possible. It was named ‘Total Recall’ in Oracle 11g, and now goes by the name of ‘Flashback Data Archive’.  This recent blog goes into a little detail of the recent changes available in Oracle release 12c.

It is an easy read, but at the back of the mind one can’t help but think how much disk storage is required on a busy site to enable one to search back over long periods of time. The feature is useful, and is available ‘free-of-charge’ with all versions of Oracle 12c,  but at what cost in terms of system resources and performance?

  2153 Hits
  0 Comments

Converting Joomla Discussions Forum to Kunena revisited

kunenaWe previously wrote about converting a Discussions Forum to Kunena and it was now time to revisit the topic as we prepared to perform the task again and this time make the final step to make it live on our site. Since then the Kunena version has moved on to 3.0.3 so we were expecting a few changes.

We must also take the opportunity to state that our Discussions forum did not make use of images/attachments, hence it was not necessary to consider these in the migration. There was also a know opportunity with the Discussions component in that although new user were synchronised between Joomla and the component, when users were removed from teh system for any reason, their details remained within the component. It was thus necessary to run an additional SQL script to clean out these old entries.

The installation of Kunena 2.0.4 and the Importer worked fine, as did the import of the Discussions items (posts and categories). Unfortunately the ‘live update’ to version Kunena 3.0.3 gave us a blank screen, so we resorted to the standard update mechanism which worked fine. (Perhaps the live update implementation needs some work?)

Then we started running our SQL scripts (See previous post for details, which are didn’t require any changes):

  1. Create the  view.
  2. Updated the topics table. We observed the message ‘1364: Field 'params' doesn't have a default value’.
  3. Update categories number of topics count. We saw a number of messages ‘1048: Column 'numTopics' cannot be null’.
  4. Update the last_topic_id, last_post_id and last_post_time fields.  Again we saw a number of ‘1048:Column xxxxx cannot be null’ messages. We were not too worried about these messages as they reflect the empty categories in our original Discussions source tables.
  5. We then updated the category hits.
  6. We then recalculated the statistics within the Kunena Forum Tools.
  7. As mentioned above, we run an additional script to remove 'old' users from our Kunena users table.

delete from #__kunena_users
where userid NOT IN (select id from #__users);

Note: There are several fields such as the number of views of a topic etc. which are not populated because this information is not retained by our source forum and we could not begin to guess what might be appropriate, so better to leave them empty. They will populate themselves over time and we are not too interested in how many people had read them.

Now we can either start configuring the component on our development site, or we can export our tables ready for loading into our live site and after loading configure the forum there. We decided upon the later option.

Inspecting the database tables if was apparent that a number of the tables were empty (since this was effectively a new forum installation) so only a small number needed to be exported and imported on our live site.  The list of tables was as follows:

#__kunena_aliases, #__kunena_categories, #_kunena_configuration, #__kunena_messages, #__kunena_messages_text, #__kunena_topics, #__kunena_user_topics, #__kunena_users, #_kunena_version

On our target (live) site we only need to install the latest Kunena version (3.0.3) and import the data we exported above.

We now disable the use of sh404SEF for the Kunena forum. Basically we have found it more trouble than it is worth, and the Forum entries are fine without the need to use the SEF translations in sh404SEF.

We now enable the Forum menu item, which is the menu link to the Kunena menu item, and after clearing out system cache, we are ready to see how it is looking.

Looking at the front end of the site we can enter our forum and see our posts etc., so all is basically sound.

The next step is to install an anti spam component for the Forum. We have chosen R-Antispam v1.3.0 by Ratmil, which uses a Bayesian algorithm to determine whether the message is spam or not. Being Bayesian it learns over time and becomes more accurate the longer it is used.

Our configuration included adding spam check API keys, changing the default Kunena menu tab, etc.  We also had to change our category headers slightly since Kunena didn’t like html in the category description.

Once done we made the new ‘forum’ available to users and disabled the ‘old’ forum.  Note the ‘disabled’ since we will monitor it over a few days/weeks before we finally ditch it altogether.

Addendum: Have to also change the SEF entries that refer to the 'old' forum entries to redirect to the new forun equivalent. Also search out 'smart search/finder' entries as well.  Note that Kunena does not currently install a 'smart search' plugin even though it is present in the installation file. See Kunena web site forum for the rationale for this.

  3896 Hits
  0 Comments

Using an IDE for Joomla development

phpstormWe have never really taken to using an Integrated Development Environment tool (IDE) for product development.  This is nothing against IDE’s per se, just that over the years we have used a lot of tools, some good, some bad, and have found that just when one starts getting productive with them, they suddenly stop being supported.  We could name (but won’t) numerous tools that fall into that category.  A lot end up being taken over by a certain well known ‘computer software vendor’ who then milks them for the support fees, but never develops them, before finally dropping them. This then leave one ‘high and dry’ and forced to change to another tools.

Continue reading
Recent Comments
Guest — Stas
I suggest to try Codelobster PHP Edition It is very good IDE for Joomla
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 07:43
Geoffrey Chapman
Looks reasonable, with a free and a (paid for) professional version. Support for Joomla framework also claimed (but not tested by ... Read More
Saturday, 16 November 2013 10:26
Guest — Frank
Nice post. Thanks for this post.
Wednesday, 05 November 2014 06:16
  3670 Hits
  5 Comments

Debugging PHP with Java console.

b2ap3 thumbnail joomlaIt may seem a strange title for a blog, but we have been looking at a small ‘opportunity’ in converting one of our components to Joomla 3.x.

First a brief explanation is required. The module in question is a PHP module which calls some Javascript code which in turn then calls a separate PHP routine.  The error we were trying to resolve involved this ‘second’ PHP routine.  The module was designed to display a Google map and the first PHP module sets up the display, the Javascript code builds up the required map and it is in turn, populated with data obtained from the database and formatted by the second PHP routine.

This ‘inner’ PHP routine was working perfectly on Joomla 2.5 but on Joomla 3.1 only the map itself was displayed, not the 'map points’.  It was apparent therefore that there must be ‘code’ that was not Joomla 3.x compatible but how to find it.  Code inspection did not reveal any apparent cause. The changes to remove JRequest and replace it with JInput were working fine, and attempts to use print, dump, enqueueMessage, etc. statements were accepted but would never display any information which one could see.  [This might possibly be due to our trying to display text ‘after’ the ‘error point’, but am not totally convinced yet.] Inspection of error logs also were not informative, mainly it is suspected due to the Javascript ignoring the errors and proceeding to execute even after receiving a error from the PHP routine.

Continue reading
  2892 Hits
  0 Comments

Emailing €˜items€™ with relative image URLs from Joomla.

issues-48We have been looking at a small ‘opportunity’ which we discovered when we were emailing material such as an ‘article’ or Issue Tracker ‘issue’ from our Joomla system.

The problem is quite simple to explain since it can be caused by the content editor that is forced to use relative URLs.

This can be resolved by creating a new profile in the editor (such as JCE) which is configured to use absolute urls and then assign the profile to the particular component where absolute URLs are needed.

There is a small note on it for JCE which explains how to do this in more detail.

Continue reading
  4332 Hits
  0 Comments

Bootstrap templates width of 'Text Area' boxes.

b2ap3 icon joomlaWe have been looking at the size of the 'Text Area' boxes displayed within the Isis back end template and the Protostar front end template and wondering how to increase the width so that it maximises the available space as opposed to being restricted to the small (approx 200px) size.

Attempts to specify the number of rows and columns made no difference and searching the web didn't reveal any solution.

So we are sharing the 'fix' for the 'width' text area boxes which achieves what we were trying to achieve.

In the form definition XML file navigate to the appropriate 'textarea' field, and then modify the 'class' entry (or add one if it doesn't have one) to the following:

class="inputbox textarea-span"

The important bit is the 'textarea-span' after the inputbox.  We have tried specify specific span sizes after the 'span' but these do not make any difference.  i.e. span6, span8 etc.

Once the from is refreshed then the boxes will occupy what ever width is available.  This works with Isis and Protostar templates, so should work with any Bootstrap based templates.

  2679 Hits
  0 Comments

Oracle Database 12c (12.1.0.1.0) released for Windows 64bit

oracleWe note that Oracle has now released the latest version of its database for Windows 64bit to go with the earlier released Solaris (Sparc and x86-64)  and Linux platform versions. Interested readers can obtain a copy from Oracle via its Technet site.

The official release docs follow:

Oracle Database 12c, the latest generation of the world’s most popular database, has been developed for the Cloud and will enable customers to make more efficient use of their IT resources while continuing to improve their users’ service levels. In addition to a raft of enhancements and new features, including a new architecture, Oracle Database 12c makes it easier for customers to take advantage of the Cloud through:

bullet  Consolidating multiple databases with Oracle Multitenant

bullet  Automatically optimizing data storage and compression according to usage patterns

bullet  Providing continuous access with Oracle’s Maximum Availability Architecture

bullet  Securing enterprise data with comprehensive defense-in-depth strategy

bullet  Simplifying in-database analysis of Big Data

bullet  Efficient database management using Enterprise Manager Cloud Control

  3077 Hits
  0 Comments
Go To Top

The Macrotone Consulting Web site would like to use cookies to store information on your computer, to improve our website. Cookies used for the essential operation of the site have already been set. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our Privacy Policy.

I accept cookies from this site.