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Joomla! 1.5 Multimedia

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the read-all-about-it dept.

Programming 36

Sparky Anduril writes "In this book author Allan Walker writes to inform Joomla! website administrators and developers how to enrich their websites with the inclusion of multimedia. And be in no doubt, this book is not for novices. A decent understanding of Joomla! will be required for you to benefit from this book. But all-in-all, whether you are an experienced Joomla! administrator but fear to go where multimedia gremlins tread, or someone with knowledge of video and audio but having little idea how to integrate that into your Joomla! website, this book will give you a solid understanding and ability to enable you to embed multimedia in your website using a range of techniques and Joomla! extensions." Read on for the rest of Sparky's review.I do have one major gripe about this book, however: the author over-utilizes the word utilize, when English has a perfectly utilizable word which actually means what he wants to say, vis. "use." I wish technical writers would keep it simple and utilize the simple word rather than the fancy word which they mistakenly think makes them sound more intelligent! So, moan over, let's plunge into the contents of the book.

Chapter 1 provides an overview of multimedia (what is it?) and Joomla! (why that's needed when the book is aimed at Joomla! admins I don't know!) and then talks about where multimedia may be included in your site. The chapter is a bit repetitive and hence could have been shorter, but provides a useful foundation for what comes next. It also includes a timely reminder about web site accessibility...

Chapter 2 talks about how to manage media on the site — using the Joomla! Media Manager, an ftp program or a Joomla! extension. A bit basic, but in case you're a site admin with little experience in this area it's fairly essential stuff.

Chapter 3 was the biggest surprise of the book, but nonetheless a useful addition. It talks about text. "Text?" I hear you say. "What place does 'text' have in a book about multimedia (apart from as the medium by which information is transmitted to my brain)?" And in fact the first part of the chapter does seem like the author is riding his hobby horse to let us know what he thinks about fonts and CSS and so forth which, while relevant to any web site, are not really relevant to multimedia. But the chapter does include information about available text and typography extensions for Joomla! which will be news to many and may just solve your typographical problem.

And if you buy this book and read up to chapter 3 and complain it's a bit basic and tedious, well, keep on reading. In Chapter 4 we start the real stuff. In fact chapters 4 to 7 are where this book comes into its own. Chapters 4 to 6 cover (in turn) image content, audio and video. Chapter 7 covers collaborating with external sources.

Chapters 4 to 6 have similar structures, each of them dealing with a different class of media. A very useful section of each chapter deals with formats (image, audio and video respectively). Then the author deals with how to include the media in the web site, using in-built features (for images), custom HTML modules and third-party extensions. The section on third party extensions in each chapter quickly presents a number of options, without giving a great deal of detail about how to use each one. And that may be frustrating but is fair enough when in fact there are a whole load of extensions the user can choose from. What this approach leads to is an appreciation of the possibilities, a list of extensions to try out for starters, and hopefully an increasing confidence in the reader that they can try things out for themselves and find something suitable for their needs. The Image chapter covers for example image galleries and slideshows; the Audio chapter includes audio players and audio streaming, podcasts and RSS feeds; the Video chapter includes Video podcasting, players and streaming.

Chapter 7 is all about the "social web": so mostly it's about including media from external sites such as YouTube, Internet radio, social bookmarking and so on. This chapter is primarily a catalog of useful Joomla! extensions you can use to provide a variety of media from a variety of sources.

Chapter 8 is about Joomla! templates and multimedia. The chapter partly seems to serve as an advocate for commercial templates, but does have some interesting content about templates and extensions to provide mobile device access to your web site.

In Chapter 9 the author pulls all this together as he develops a multimedia website using some of the techniques in the book. At the start of the chapter, he describes how to set up a local development server so you can develop and/or enhance a site without breaking the live site. For admins who have been given a fully working site, this is essential information. For many of us, that is how we started and hence we already know how to do local development. The part missing from this section is how to install Joomla! on the local server (he starts to tell it but it really needs a couple more steps to be described — although that information is readily available at www.joomla.org of course). Also, this of all sections suffers from the fact that the author is a Mac-user — I am not trying to start a Mac-Windows war, but the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of users will be Windows users, so he should have provided more information on setting up a WAMP server or XAMPP on Windows.

The code used in the book is also available as a zip file download, in case you're too lazy to type it out again and want to use it exactly as-is from the book, or perhaps more reasonably you want to try out the code or CSS he has suggested and then tweak it to your own need! Would I recommend this book? It depends on whether you want a fast start to solve your media problems. If you have little awareness of how to start, this will help you out. Or if you don't want to spend hours trying out extension after extension this will probably save you a lot of time. If, however, you are really familiar with multimedia and Joomla! and are happy to play with extensions until you find the one you need, then you could save yourself some money and go play.

I have personally found the book to be informative and in some areas opened my eyes to what can already be achieved quite easily using Joomla! 1.5.

You can purchase Joomla! 1.5 Multimedia from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews; to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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36 comments

Do niggers use Joomla? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31928518)

I'm curious..

if "lame" == 8 (2, Insightful)

Aighearach (97333) | about 4 years ago | (#31928546)

Not sure why it rates an 8, the review makes it sound more like a 3 or 4.

Sounds like a man page in dead tree format.

Quality scales differ in the PHP/MySQL world. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31929198)

Joomla! is written in PHP, and primarily uses MySQL. So the quality scale used by its community is really different than that of most experienced professionals.

For instance, it's generally considered "perfect" (10/10, if you will) when your PHP-based site is only vandalized or exploited five or six times in a given month.

Likewise, it's considered "perfect" when your MySQL database only loses data randomly, rather than completely and irrecoverably from all tables at once.

Now, most of us who have used one of the many Java web frameworks, Ruby on Rails, Django, ASP.NET, Catalyst, PostgreSQL, Oracle, DB2, and even SQL Server would consider such things to be utter failures. But that's because we have standards that are, well, above treating absolute dog shit as something "good".

Re:Quality scales differ in the PHP/MySQL world. (2, Insightful)

chdig (1050302) | about 4 years ago | (#31932612)

While the parent deserves flamebait instead of "interesting", especially given he/she doesn't have the guts to sign their name to the post, here's a brief reply.

- SQL injection works on any database with any programming language, if things aren't programmed properly, and is definitely not specific to PHP.
- PHP is not longer in version 3 or 4, it's got great object-oriented programming possibilities, is faster to program in than many other languages, and if you use intelligent caching, will be pretty much as quick -- with the remaining speed cost for using PHP made negligent by the real action happening in the database.
- "experienced professionals" do program in PHP. A real programmer will use the best language for the job, and often times that language is PHP. Working with a client who will only pay ~$20/month in hosting on their current webhost often means that a LAMP installation is what you've got to work with. Quick, easy, secure, and job well done using PHP.
- SQL Server is the most miserable, buggy, and overpriced db out there in my experience, and it gives no practical advantage security-wise over MySQL, and nor does postgres or other options. MySQL is ubiquitous, which is its advantage over other databases that may perform better.

PHP is a serious programming language for web development, just like RoR and a host of others. The parent is a perfect example of some old chap that:
a) doesn't understand the differences and requirements of web development vs classic application programming
b) Doesn't realise that PHP has evolved -A LOT- over the past 8 years, and is no less inherently insecure than any other programming language.
c) appears to hate programming languages that are accessible to more than computer science majors, whether some computer science majors use them or not.

Seriously, it's time for some posters to grow up and attempt to be objective rather than inserting their short-sighted, uninformed, and most of all, unintelligent posts against some language they have a hate-on for.

Re:Quality scales differ in the PHP/MySQL world. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31933160)

It's not about "guts", you faggot. I'm just too fucking busy to waste time creating a Slashdot account. Fuck, I barely have time to refute you and your stupidity.

1) SQL injection is encouraged by PHP and MySQL. PHP encourages "programmers" to build SQL queries via string concatenation. It encourages them to just concatenate in user-inputted values, too. Query parameterization is discouraged.

2) PHP's object-oriented capabilities are only "great" if you're a cocksucking retard. Even Java is better in this respect. Of course, it doesn't compare at all to Smalltalk or even the object systems for Scheme and Lisp.

3) Oh, fuck, are you wrong. Any truly-experienced professional would refuse to take such a job, just because the client is willing to accept PHP. Those aren't the kinds of clients you want to work with if you're a professional.

4) It's laughable that you can compare MySQL to SQL Server. SQL Server, even though it's made by Microsoft, is a far superior RDBMS. Then again, it doesn't surprise me that you consider them equivalent. You advocate MySQL, so you probably aren't even aware of "advanced" concepts like foreign key constraints and transactions (yeah, they're still not supported by MySQL's default storage engine, MyISAM).

PHP is a joke. PHP is a scam. PHP is a crime.

You need to post your full name, your current address, your phone number, your email address and your CV right now. I need to make sure I never hire you.

Re:Quality scales differ in the PHP/MySQL world. (1)

ircmaxell (1117387) | about 4 years ago | (#31937638)

Oh, fuck, are you wrong. Any truly-experienced professional would refuse to take such a job, just because the client is willing to accept PHP.

Just because you don't like the language doesn't mean it's bad... And just because you have a 9-5 job doesn't mean everyone is in a position to turn down paying (and well paying at that) gigs...

You advocate MySQL, so you probably aren't even aware of "advanced" concepts like foreign key constraints and transactions (yeah, they're still not supported by MySQL's default storage engine, MyISAM).

That's because MyISAM is designed for a different problem set. It was designed to be fast above all else. That's all. If you care about referential integrity, then use Postgres or InnoDB. If you want raw speed no RDBMS can match MyISAM for any kind of a reasonable cost... Remember, if the only tool that you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Personally, I do use MyISAM. And I use InnoDB. And I use MongoDB. I pick what I asses to be the best tool for the job. And like it or not, sometimes that's MyISAM. I've got about 400gb in various MyISAM databases, most with reasonable transaction rates (200+ reads per second) and I've never had a corrupt table or foreign key fall off. That's because I've designed my applications intelligently. Now, I'm not saying that foreign keys are stupid. I use them wherever I can. But realize that it's a tradeoff. What I can do with 1 MyISAM box it would take 3 or 4 InnoDB boxes to do (And likewise Postgres boxes, since it's no faster at reads). For some applications it's worth it. For others, it isn't. Responsible development would dictate choosing the appropriate tool for the job... To blindly dismiss a tool because you're biased against it would be irresponsible (and as such I'd never hire you)...

Joomla is ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31928680)

...the tool of the devil

Re:Joomla is ... (2, Informative)

vacarul (1624873) | about 4 years ago | (#31929576)

from my own experience this is how you can use Joomla:
-don't used it
-live happily
or
-install it for unsuspecting clients
-profit over and over again (hey thanks for the little modification you did but I noticed something else...)

In case you didn't understood, this is a piece of crap; the creators should be jailed!
-you enable "pretty urls", they work for menu and articles but they don't for breadcrumbs; now you have 2 urls going to the same content. So you decide to:
-install 3rd party extension to handle "pretty urls". It redirects all urls to the pretty one but you still have 2 different urls!
-generic error messages - error message example: "could not move file". Yay! no mention of what file, directory or actual reason why the operation failed(most of the time file rights). They could just say "we f***ed you!"
-more urls for the same content: with &flypage=, without... etc.
-much more I can't just remember right now..

aaand the forums are filled with garbage; rarely you will find people who specify what version of Joomla they are talking about.

The release of joomla 1.6 would be newsworthy (2, Insightful)

pizzach (1011925) | about 4 years ago | (#31928876)

Not a book on Joomla 1.5 just before it is about to become outdated.

Re:The release of joomla 1.6 would be newsworthy (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31928908)

Is 1.6 ever going to come out? It's what, nearly 2 years late? Is there even any sign of progress (when was the last release of 1.6? Months ago?)?

I Hate! random? puncuation: in names; (2, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | about 4 years ago | (#31928932)

I hate! any company that decides to add random? punctuation; into their product name#, it only serves to confuse! the issue and looks% really lame.

Re:I Hate! random? puncuation: in names; (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31932022)

Ke$ha agrees.

My 2 cents (2, Insightful)

hellop2 (1271166) | about 4 years ago | (#31929208)

Joomla has a horribly confusing interface. There's extensions, mods, addons, bots... What's the difference? Who knows. The admin interface is way too complicated. There's different ways to get to the same admin section. It's super unintuitive. Blech... Joomla is based around the concept of publishing "articles". But how many of your website customers need that feature at all? Like 5%. Joomla is more of a blog than a CMS for building websites.

If you'd like to check out a much simpler, easier to understand, CMS that will enable you to quickly build the kind of sites your clients need (and simple enough for them to administer themselves) then check out Xoops. [xoops.org]

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with xoops in any way. Just a guy who's installed a bunch of different CMSs.

Re:My 2 cents (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#31929354)

It's also a major resource hog. you really need horsepower behind a joomla install. Putting them on a shared server like 1&1 or Godaddy has creates the worlds slowest websites.

I switched to silverstripe.. far more complicated but really fast and allows you to make a site that the customer can modify the content so you dont have to.

Re:My 2 cents (1)

Reapman (740286) | about 4 years ago | (#31930004)

Ugh.. no that's not a comment on what you wrote, but more about myself. In fact consider this a thanks for the link. Wish this article was posted a few weeks earlier.. Long winded reply follows:

As someone who always "did it myself" I recently got tired of having to deal with this problem with my server, or that, or not wanting it left running 24x7 when I'm away for a week. Plus I'm trying to focus on non web development stuff so don't really have a lot of time to roll my own server. I finally broke down and got a real domain name and a real web hosting provider. I did a quick google, and from what I could tell Joomla was the easiest way to get my personal site up and running.

However I found most of what is written by the commenters.. Joomla is confusing and a PITA. I assumed this was the price I was paying for not "rolling my own" as i usually like to do. I do have it functional and working how I wanted.. but it's only been about a week and I'm already looking at alternatives. First I've heard of Xoop I'll have to take a poke at it, thanks! If there's other alternatives out there I'd love to hear them too :-)

Re:My 2 cents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31931636)

It all depends on what you're looking for really. If you want an easy to install and shiny solution, use wordpress (indeed, it's more that 'just' a blog). If you want something scalable go Drupal. If you want something in between, use Joomla.

Xoops? I think not. Xoops is currently being maintained by very few individuals, and various core developers of Xoops are now active in forks (e.g. Xoops Cube). Both systems are bare-bone systems, for which you need to custom code a lot (if not all). Which is good if you're happy to, but out of the box it does not do much. Their source is being maintained, but there are only limited extensions and improvements.

Joomla has btw one of the most friendly interfaces in my opinion, for me it's better than Drupal or Xoops. But that's because I'm quite comfortable with it. Joomla currently lacks a bit of developers to get 1.6 out, which ought to be released a year ago. So it's going to be interesting whether the core developers can keep up with rivaling CMS's.

Re:My 2 cents (1)

hellop2 (1271166) | about 4 years ago | (#31933938)

One nice is experience I had with xoops is that I was able to install the exact same module version (it hasn't been updated) I used back in 2005 on the latest release of Xoops. It still worked fine, many revisions later.

That won't work in joomla, trying to upgrade your site from 1.0 to 1.5. I bought a car rental app for joomla for $75. It came encrypted! I had no way to add a different make of car.. they didn't have Chevy, because the developer was French. After all the hassle, explaining to the customer, "no you can't do that" I would have been better off just writing it from scratch.

Other things I like about xoops is its "block" concept. Where you can create a new html block and specify what pages it appears on. For example, a disclaimer at the bottom of the site for a lawyer. But, say you need a different footer on the "pay your bill" page. Just create a new block.

It's not perfect. I would love to see a little more fine grained access restrictions such as a system of "locks and keys". I'm also a little bothered that they chose to take a joomla-esq approach of separating admin tasks. It used to be that you clicked on a module in admin, and you could edit all the functions related to that module. Now, in the admin screen there's a menu for modules and a menu for preferences. So, you edit everything for the module by clicking the modules menu, except the "preferences".

However, the cool thing is that because of the abstracted object-oriented design of xoops, the same module that worked on the old system still works on the new version of xoops. "Preferences" are just in a different place now.

Re:My 2 cents (1)

Reapman (740286) | about 4 years ago | (#31939378)

Yeah it looks like it will take a bunch of poking around to get something "just right". It's interesting to hear WordPress is more then just a blog, perhaps I'll have to take a look at it too. Last night I played around with Drupal, I think the only thing really keeping me on it is the theme I found. Other then that it seems to have some seriously rough edges, far rougher then Joomla. I can see how it scales better, but I think it's a tad rougher then what I want.

Re:My 2 cents (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31932402)

I can't imagine how much extra time and cost it would take to roll one's own CMS with the same feature set as Joomla. I develop Joomla-based sites for customers all the time; I feel it offers a great degree of separation of presentation and content, and (compared to MANY other alternatives) an easy-to-use interface, especially when you consider the amount of control it gives you over a site.

Do you need to learn Joomla to use it effectively? Absolutely, just like any tool. But the learning curve is so much less steep than rolling one's own CMS. Of course, some Joomla tasks require more knowledge of Joomla than others. As I tell my clients, it's like Photoshop: It may be pretty easy to open up an image, crop it and hit Save; it's a lot harder to do more advanced things like extracting a complex foreground from a complex background in an image. It's been quite easy getting my clients to use Joomla to maintain their sites. But if you're going to use Joomla to build a site from the ground up, you definitely need to learn the details of the tool.

So many of the anti-Joomla comments on Slashdot seem to come from professional developers and other geeks who thrive when coding their own Web applications. The rest of us just want something that works and that's affordable to set up and run. In my experience, Joomla has been a great solution for my clients, most of whom are small- to medium-sized businesses who can't afford the development or maintenance of custom software packages. On a half-dozen occasions, I've been called in to implement Joomla to replace the one-off application built a while ago by "that guy who no longer works with us."

Re:My 2 cents (1)

hellop2 (1271166) | about 4 years ago | (#31933720)

Usually when we make a site, it's about $1200 and includes 1 free module. Reservation system for your B&B? Advertise cars for your small dealership? iCal based schedule for your seminars. A lot of times people just want a brochure, so it's cheaper.

Re:My 2 cents (1)

DiegoBravo (324012) | about 4 years ago | (#31930856)

You're right. From my own experience I think the only reason to use Joomla! is because there is a damn lot of extensions, and it's very likely one of these matches the specific needs of your use case. Those extensions are mostly a PITA to upgrade, debug and understand (even if some have some kind of documentation), but sometimes work. Joomla! is a perfect heir to the PHP fame.

Re:My 2 cents (1)

Vellmont (569020) | about 4 years ago | (#31933426)

Joomla is one of the worst GUIs I've ever seen (and thankfully I don't have to use it with any real frequency). It's bad to the point where I asked a Joomla expert how to change a URL link and the ONLY way he could show me how to do it was to provide a screenshot of the UI with arrows and labels. (Joomla doesn't believe in actual.. you know, text labels for it's inexplicable looking tiny icons). The UI is more of a mish-mash of different things that have little or no relation to one another, so you wind up hunting around just to change one element of a page. Making a GUI where it's easier to just go in and hand edit text takes talent.

It also has a horrendous security record, mainly due to the plugins. Anyone reading this considering it as a CMS should look elsewhere if you actually have to support the thing.

Assume, for a second... (1)

oldmildog (533046) | about 4 years ago | (#31929920)

Another post where the author has assumed the reader knows what the product is already. Sure I can go search and figure out what it is, but what's so hard about including a little text like "Joomla! is an open source content management system platform for publishing content on the World Wide Web and intranets" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joomla)?

This goes for GIMP, Alfredo, Moodle, Blender, and so on. It's fine to have non intuitive names, but then help your potential users out when they don't know that MonkeySpooge is your amazing open-source PHP framework.

doesn't seem like anybody on slashdot cares (1)

FunkyELF (609131) | about 4 years ago | (#31930966)

Every time I see a Joomla article on Slashdot I look through it for Python or Django comments bashing Joomla. Now it seems there are no comments to search through.

Seems like nobody cares about Joomla.

90% of the comments in the past have been just bashing it..... it must really be aweful.

Joomla! rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31933646)

Joomla! is brilliant. That book however isn't.

Joomla install defaced this morning (1)

madmarcel (610409) | about 4 years ago | (#31934486)

We use Joomla for our company website, which hacked and defaced yesterday morning using a trivial SQL injection in a malformed URL. Now our website advertises viagra...

Found the malformed URL in the logs and went to joomla website and forums and could not find _anything_ relating to this 'exploit', No fix, nada, nothing.

I could fix it, it is open source after all, but instead I ripped out the whole joomla install and replaced it with a static version of the site.

Did a google search on the malformed URL and found a (russian) forum with detailed instructions on how to get admin access to Joomla sites, including ready made perl scripts to do all the work for you....
and an additional malformed URL which I had not seen used on our site that will display the contents of any file in /etc/ in the browser. Tried it on our server...and yup, that works. Again no mention of exploit or fix on joomla website.

Goooodby Joomla. Hope we never meet again.

Re:Joomla install defaced this morning (1)

hellop2 (1271166) | about 4 years ago | (#31935118)

I hope you reported this to the joomla team.

Re:Joomla install defaced this morning (1)

madmarcel (610409) | about 4 years ago | (#31935496)

no

Re:Joomla install defaced this morning (1)

pasamio (737659) | about 4 years ago | (#31936272)

How does one expect something to be fixed without it being reported? More over was it Joomla! or was it a third party extension?

http://docs.joomla.org/Vulnerable_Extensions_List [joomla.org] is the second result in google for "joomla vulnerability list" and lists vulnerability for third party extensions. http://developer.joomla.org/security.html [joomla.org] does the same for the Core of Joomla.

Finally have you followed the Security Checklist? http://docs.joomla.org/Category:Security_Checklist [joomla.org]

Joomla! rocks and so does this book (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31936786)

I ordered this book from amazon back in March and have read it all, and keep it on my shelf as an easy to pick up reference. For me as a site admin it contains very useful information for extending my site and improving it.
This book is about a topic, and has to stick to that topic but also include essential information such as installation and FTP etc, else most people would get confused at the gaps of information.
The problem is where to stop. Personally i wanted it to go on as I was finding it very interesting, which would make for an even larger book than it already is.

It seems from the comments here that some people do not like Joomla!, but it has been a perfect solution for our company e-learning based website. Most of the comments seem from ignorance so I hope you can go and try it out again as it really is a great extendable solution for free!

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