In the spirit of spreading information about Joomla this short message provides a short list of free Joomla resources that can assist you in meeting your website construction goals.
We 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.
Upcast: The conversion from Microsoft Word to DocBook XML introduced a few opportunities for changes:
1. Media objects (figures) are all converted to ‘inlinemediaobject’, and even when the image is on its own it always is surrounded by ‘para’ and results up positioned on the left hand side of the page. The best approach we found was to convert them to simple ‘mediaobject’ and change then to become ‘figures’ and in this way also enable the creation of a ‘List of Figures’. We also tended to change the specified exact image size to use scaling so that the width of 14cm was most appropriate. [This did impact the fact that all html screen images come out at a standard width.]
We have previously mentioned using XML documents in DocBook format. We now turn our attention to the question of the format of the tables. A previous blog on DocBook table format mentioned the two types of tables supported by DocBook, but not every document table necessarily has to be in the same format. We have an ‘in-house’ style used for some time and the desire was to retain a similar format with our web pages.
We are using a Joomla component named DocImport written by Nicholas K. Dionysopoulos and are very pleased with its behaviour even though it is still in an ‘alpha’ release form. A credit to the authors abilities. The component presents each web page with headers and footers which are using a ‘table style’ which does not display column separators. This is understandable since the standard format for tables is basic to put it bluntly.
The link is for an older version of the software (Standard Edition 2.10 I think) but in the main it is still applicable with the latest evaluation edition (5.4.1). The authors hope that it is found useful or as a starting point for your own work.
Note: Reloading a later evaluation version resets the usage counter back to 30 days.
Historically we used to create our documentation using ‘Word Perfect’ but changed to using Microsoft Word, soon after Adobe ‘took over’ Word Perfect. This has served us well for many years, but unfortunately Word has not kept up with the changes in the Web and the need for short pages of documentation easily accessible by users. Yes, Word can generate HTML documents but anyone who has every looked at the created output will be struck by the obvious bloated code and its use of strangely named variables making it almost unreadable in its raw form. This necessitates a cleanup operation on the code before it can really be used.
So the search was on to see it there is anything ‘better’ out there.
The obvious candidate was something known as DocBook which is written in XML, which means that it can be created and edited by virtually any editor upon any platform. However to ensure good structure that meets the requirements of the DTD, something more robust is required. It also raises the question of how one retains the investment in existing documents and how one can convert them to the ‘new’ format. One advantage of the XML format is that it is reasonably easy to use XSL transforms to convert it to PDF, HTML or indeed many other formats.