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.)

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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.

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.

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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.

Joomla mailing templates and images

We have been testing out Joomla newsletter components and in particular looking at newsletter templates.  There are two main contenders a) AcyMailing and b) JNews.   Both seem competent in performed the required tasks, but a decision as to which we will use will not been made, until we have finished our testing.

The main points to date include:  

Loading of new newsletter templates is reasonably simple into AcyMailing.  All that is required is to create a zip file with a file named index.html containing the template html code, an image thumbnail of the newsletter itself, and a directory named images containing any images that are named by reference to the images folder with the index.html file.   Then the file is simply imported into the Joomla newsletter component.  JNews didn't find index.html in the zip file for some reason.

The handling of animated images is a little problematic.  It seems that animated PNG file support is limited and that it is better to stick with animated GIF files if animation is required.  This is complicated by the particular mail client being used as well, since it is suspected that Outlook 2003 cannot itself handle animated png files.

Support on the forums of both contenders seems very good, with AcyMailer being the busiest, which probably reflects the usage levels.

Initial costs are comparable, though it is noted that JNews is a one time payment where as AcyMailing uses an annual support cost.   

No show stoppers found yet, but testing is continuing.


PS.  Found this article on coding html templates very useful.

Joomla Development hints and tips

Whilst working on some Joomla component developments I encountered a few problems which, whilst I had encountered them, before didn’t stop me wasting time resolving them again.  So I have decided to post them to the blog in case others have the same sort of problems and it might save them some time.

1.  In a component item list view, the message ‘ Notice: Undefined property: stdClass::$editor in ~administrator/components/com_xxxxx/views/yyyylist/tmpl/default.php on line zzz’ was encountered.  This message was coming from the template file and related to the check of whether the item was checked out or not.   The item is returned directly from the database table but there was no ‘editor’ field in the table.  

What was required is a simple select over the table with the Joomla users table as follows.

        // Join over the users for the checked out user.
        $query->select(' AS editor');
        $query->join('LEFT', '#__users AS uc ON');

Where I was wasting time, was thinking that the ‘editor’ was the actual physical editor being used on the item, rather than the ‘person’ who was the ‘editor’ of the item.

2.  In an item view the JToolBarHelper buttons did not appear to be doing anything other than appending a ‘#’ to the end of the URL.    This one had me a little puzzled since the parameters to JToolBarHelper were perfectly correct.    The problem eventually turned out to be related to some coding in a java script incorporated in the default template.   The error was not generating any messages and it was only by a process of elimination that I tracked it down.

So the moral is to check for Javascript errors before assuming a php coding error !!

3.  The third opportunity was to discover why the use of an Editor (such as JCE) persisted in stripping out HTML code from the input.   I found an article on the JCE web site that explains about changing the text filtering options:

(Joomla! 2.5)

    In the Joomla! Global Configuration, click on the Text Filters tab.
    For the Super Users group, or any other trusted user group, set Filter Type to No Filtering. Make sure that you only set this option for user groups that can be trusted as setting the Filter Type to No Filtering will essentially allow the user to include any html in an article.

However checking my settings showed that I already had them set but I was still getting the HTML codes stripped out.

Investigation into the possible filters that can be applied to the editor field in the XML file for the object revealed a solution.    The possible filters that can be applied (which I discovered from code inspection) are as follows:


Filter Type Description
RULES A defined rules array
UNSET Do nothing.
RAW No Filter.
SERVER_UTC Convert a date to UTC based on the server timezone offset.
USER_UTC Convert a date to UTC based on the user timezone offset.
default Checks for a callback filter using either using the callback method or using the callback function.


   The solution I wanted was to set the filter to ‘RAW’.         

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