Macrotone Blogs

Macrotone blogs upon Joomla, our products and other matters.

Farewell to XMAP, Hello OSMAP

We have used the XMAP component for some time and were a little surprised when we discovered that this excellent component was no longer being supported, but not totally surprised since the last update was quite a while ago, but it performed well and did what it was intended to.  We had noticed that it had ceased working with EasyBlog but this was not a major concern (for us at least.)

We were therefore please when we discovered that OS Training (Alledia) were assuming the task of enhancing it.  We duly downloaded the 'new' OSMAP component and installed it and it worked flawlessly almost straight away.  A minor change to the Google Web Site and we were soon working again.

What was nice was that the EasyBlog XMAP plugin worked perfectly with the new version.  The only problem we discovered was when we tried to add the Kunena entries to our site map.  The entries were added to the site map but unfortunately when one clicked upon them the forum entries gave an 'access prohibited' message. The cause was because appended to each entry was '/list'.  Removal of the erroneous string and the link worked perfectly.  Fortunately we found this post in the Kunena forum which provided an alternative plugin which when installed resolved the link problem.

 

Joomla 2.5.28 released


joomlaThe Joomla! Project and the Production Leadership Team have announced the release of Joomla! 2.5.28.

This is a maintenance release for the 2.5 series of Joomla! and is the final scheduled release of the series. Support for Joomla! 2.5 is scheduled to end on December 31, 2014.

What does this mean for me?

End of support refers to when Joomla! no longer provides bug fixes, features, or security updates for a release. This is the time to make sure you have the latest available update of Joomla. Your website will continue to work as normal.

.

 

Creating a category on component install.

We were looking at an easy way in which to create a default category for a Joomla component which we are developing. The problem is that a common insert directly into the table is not sufficient since the ‘#__categories’ table is actually a ‘nested’ table, and it would be necessary to rebuild the table entries after an insert anyway, otherwise the table could/would be corrupted.

We searched around for a possible solution and eventually found a method which we could adapt for our usage.  We present our resultant function below:

Continue reading

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

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

Newsfeeds display – solution to an enigma

b2ap3 icon joomlaWe have always displayed a few relevant newsfeeds upon our web site, but it has never, to be honest been very high on the visitor list, or upon our own priority list. We long ago noticed that the default display for the ‘Newsfeeds Categories’ in the front end of our site comprised merely of two lines, one for each of the two newsfeed categories we use, which also acted as a link to the underlying newsfeeds in the respective category.  There was no page header, no display of the breadcrumb information, and no details of the category descriptions.  In short  a very barren page.

Originally it was suspected that it might be a template or CSS type problem.  Attempts to change the menu settings, resaving module specifications etc.,  all proved fruitless.  It didn’t matter what the menu settings were, they were silently ignored.  One is tempted to say it was a cache type problem, but bearing in mind that this has been the situation for several months, if not longer  and the various caches’ had been manually cleared several times during that period, it was obvious that something else was amiss.

With the change to a new site template, the situation remained unresolved and it was starting to get a little bit annoying.   So given a hour or so spare we decided to investigate further.  Inspection of the PHP code underlying the display revealed no clues, and despite retrying all our previous steps we were no further forward.

Searching the web for similar reported problems drew a complete blank, apart from a link to a very strange problem we had ourselves encountered with the display of breadcrumbs on a previous occasion.  Looking back we found out previous blog entry. [So keeping a blog can prove useful.]  We thus decided to clear all URL entries from the sh404SEF component for the com_newsfeeds component.  Low and behold on refreshing our web page the correctly formatted page was shown, complete with headers, breadcrumbs, descriptive text etc.

We realise that sh404SEF keeps track of URL links, but why this should impact the page display is currently a bit of a mystery.  It doesn’t itself cache pages, but must somehow also keep track of which modules and what the ‘previous’ settings were for a page ,for which it is keeping a record of the link.  I am sure that I have never read anything of this sort in the component documentation.

What we learnt gain from this is that sh404SEF seems to have some strange characteristics which impact what is displayed upon a screen, far and above just converting non SEF URLs to a SEF format.  So it you are ever seeing a similar type of problem and every thing else seems to failing to resolve it, it might, if your site is using sh404SEF be worth clearing your entries and seeing if it resolves the problem.  Certainly stranger things have happened.

Web Site Revamp

We are pleased to announce the revamp of our web site.

We have retaining all of our previous content which is now presented in a template designed by Joostrap making use of Bootstrap v3.

This redesign is intended to reflect some of the newer emerging technologies and also increased performance and a more streamlined design. It is fully responsive and mobile ready, using HTML5 as standard.

This is the first of a number of changes we will be making on the site which will be made over the next month or so. Our previous template has served us well for a while but all things have their time and it was time to move with the times.

Update 25/06/2014: Have also upgraded the version of Joomla to the latest release. Hopefully everything will remain stable.

Test email in foreign languages

We have been working with the emailing of problem reports to our Issue Tracker component recently in particular with the specific problem of languages using ISO-8859-2 character sets.

Having made some code changes to handle this, we were thinking of how it might be possible to test out other languages, with other character sets such as Chinese, Korean etc.

The little grey cells starting thinking about the various translation sites upon the web, and whether there might be any that could not only perform a translation of some specific text but also complete the task by emailing the translation to a specific address.

After some searching it seems that this is not an unusual requirement and we found several that could possibly do what we required. A lot only handled the translation part of the requirement, but the sending of the email was not that common. It was important that the email was sent from the third party since if we used a local email client the details in the message header and body did not accurately reflect the correct character set in use, and this was the one thing we wanted to test.

A number of sites imposed limitations such as the number of characters in the message, the number of messages that could be sent etc., which is generally reasonable since they are endeavouring to make a living from providing a service and would prefer to charge.  However these limitations were not of a major concern to us, especially as the text content could be anything at all, as long as the character sets were represented.

We obviously will not list all of the sites we investigated but the one which we found suitable for our needs was WorldLingo and though it insisted in creating accounts for both our sender and receiver of the generated emails, this was something we could easily live with. There is a vast range of possible languages to choose from, certainly more than we will ever use or test I suspect, and the machine translations were more than adequate for our purposes.

Our requirements were not all that unusual at all, and I suspect others might have the same sort of need, in which case hopefully this may act as a pointer.

Update: One interesting side effect we noticed was that, when we sent the email (via WorldLingo) it was 'processed' by our component and automatically send a reply acknowleging receipt. Since the emails from WorldLingo are all sent out with individual identifers in the email address the reply was sent to the named worldlingo address which then forwarded it to use (the sender). The interesting aspect was that the text was 'translated' on the reply and didn't quite match what was the 'original' text in English. One of the interesting aspects of translating in this case from English->Japanese->English. Not a concern to use but just goes to show how things can get confusing in translation.

Issue Tracker Template Overrides

b2ap3 icon joomlaWe have recently been ‘playing’ with a new ‘Bootstrap v3’ template for the front end of our site.  This involved use creating a set of template overrides for our Issue Tracker component and we decided to share the details with our users.

Joomla has long had the ability to create Template Overrides, which are modifications to the Joomla components or modules. This permits changes to be made upon a ‘local site’ basis without the need to change or hack the supplied code.

We are primarily concerned with the Issue Tracker component and we have tried hard to produce front end displays of Individual Issues and of the Issue Entry form that would be usable in the majority of installations. However the differences between the various template used on sites are many and vast, and it is almost inevitable that they will not be suitable for everyone. This was indeed the situation we discovered ourselves when using a BootStrap template for the site.

Continue reading

Mail ISO-8859-2 character sets

We recently received a report that the email fetching feature within our Joomla Issue Tracker component wasn’t handling the subject header and email body correctly for the ISO-8859-2 character set. This character set is used by a number of Eastern European countries, so we were interested in resolving the problem if we possibly could.

We tend to use the standard PHP imap routines and it was immediately obvious how we should handle the subject, but implementing a call to the imap_mime_header_decode method. This worked well and was a very quick fix.

Continue reading
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.