The latest evolution in internet marketing tools is here: Joomla Content Management System (CMS). With Joomla CMS, it’s easy to reach out and advertise to the 50% (and counting) of Americans who own smartphones while maintaining a consistently attractive website no matter what device the customer uses to access the site. There are a few ways Joomla CMS can help you maximize your website’s potential, depending on your preferences and your company’s requirements. 

Apps Versus Mobile Websites



It’s important to distinguish between an app and a mobile website. An app is something users download onto their device to access content, while a mobile site is something that displays in a mobile web browser. 

Users typically search for apps in an online store like Google Play for Android apps or iTunes for iPhones. Users get to the mobile version of a website simply by visiting it with their mobile browser. 

Some Joomla extensions can make a website into a mobile app but most are developed separately from the Joomla CMS. Mobile websites, however, are usually created by components working with the CMS. 



Many companies choose to have a mobile site developed because it is more cost effective, easily updated, and accessible across more devices than an app. Below are the four ways you can think about developing a mobile version of your website. 



There are many advantages to putting video on your website. A video will keep a viewer on your site longer, and statistically this leads to more purchases from a consumer. Including video also increases your website's ability to be found by search engines. If you are running a Joomla site, here are four Video Extensions that our clients often use that will make your website more dynamic.

Note all the reviewed extensions are compatible with Joomla 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, and 2.5.

Managing custom programming and integrations for Joomla! CMS

At CNP Integrations the Joomla! CMS is our company’s core focus and key area of expertise. The central power of this open source platform for content management and client solutions is the diverse collection of over 9000 extensions and the vibrant support from a global development community. Joomla is the most popular CMS system in Europe and the second most popular in the US with 2.8% of all web portals in the world using Joomla! CMS. Considering that 70% of the web is still using static web pages, the current trend suggests that dynamic web sites which leverage Joomla! CMS will only grow in popularity. As this need in the marketplace grows for dynamic web portals there too will be a greater need for administrators to adopt effective software management practices if they want to remain cost effective and competitive.  To manage the associated costs or extensibility requirements for maintenance on any dynamic portal you need a solid version control, change logging and data backup strategy.

While the flexibility of the Joomla content management system and platform can allow you to accomplish a lot right out of the box there are often times when you will need custom programming to extend component features, to create custom workflows with UI (User interface) presentations or to integrate your portal with legacy systems and other technology platforms. This is the ery crossroads where you need to be thinking ahead for the long term maintenance of your code base. You are now entering in to the realm of software development management.

It is an easy mistake the can get out of hand quickly if you are not mindful of a proper process.

It is a real easy trap that we can anyone can fall into, where you or your developer quickly makes a few changes to solve a crisis or tweak something to keep your client happy. You are crazy busy and …oopps you forget to comment or document it. If you do not have discipline or take the right approach by implementing a change management and versioning process up front, for managing your custom programming, you will definitely pay for it later. It takes quite a lot in most cases to backtrack especially if you have had more than one person working with the code.

I understand php code but I am not a programmer myself. However, as a project manager I have seen the lack of good software management practices leave folks in a quandary of problems that are often difficult or impossible to restore. We have taken on many challenging projects that should have been easy in principle but because the previous developers tried to just “get er done” vs thinking about the long term maintenance, we are left cleaning up a “hazardous waste dump” of “spaghetti” code. They have not done their clients any favors by going for the quick fix, quick buck or taking shortcuts.

Hunting around in 1000’s of lines of code to test code relationships or to find modifications that past developers have made can be very time consuming. Time is money and it surely takes less time to manage you code properly than it does finding “needles in hey stacks of code”.

SVN Tools with Built-in Version Control and Change Logs

Bottom line…. Use an SVN system or some type versioning tool or documentation process to manage the code that is changed. We used to do this all manually in text files and spread sheets but there are many great tools available today that allow you to track changes as well as track the evolution of your code over time by reviewing timelines and doing automated code comparisons. We have made this approach a fundamental part of our support policy and you should make sure you make this a priority in your process as well.

Examples of two popular code management and version control software solutions you should consider:

  1. Github is a popular solution and is used by the Joomla development community for managing the Joomla! CMS and the Joomla Platform code repositories. https://github.com/
  2. ProjectLocker is a solution we use to manage our client sites and our developers like this because is reduces the time required for developing change logs and doing code comparisons.  http://projectlocker.com/

Make frequent backups for version control of configuration settings.

The idea of version control also holds true from a configuration standpoint. For example if you have a complicated Joomla! CMS configuration with many components and you are going to take on any risky or major reconfiguration. Such as installing a new template and reconfiguring several parameters of numerous components. Think ahead because you may want or need to revert back if something goes wrong.  A great tool we use for this in Joomla! CMS is the Akeeba Back-up extension. https://www.akeebabackup.com/

This extension allows you to back up and restore your joomla configurations as well as create clone sites for migration to other hosting environments or downloading for archival purposes.

Conclusion:

Make sure if you are going to make extensive or risky configuration changes backup your site first. Remember to test your backups since “an untested backup is not a backup”. If you plan to make changes to files in the code of your extensions or plan to integrate any custom features using custom programming make sure you use version control to manage your code or make sure that the development company you are working with does. I promise this will save you money in the long run and help you sleep better knowing you are a.) doing things right and b.) that your code is safe and soundly managed.

CNP Integrations has joined the ranks as a business accredited by the better business bureau. Our goal was to align our standards with those of other business that have shown the highest level of professionalism and reliability. CNP has always been committed to improving our customer support and the quality of services but by aligning ourselves with the BBB we are now able to demonstrate a benchmark that our customers can count on. CNP works with businesses and organizations across the US and around the globe supporting Joomla CMS based web portals. Since we are a global organization providing remote support it is very important that we provide indicators for building trust in our customer relationships.

With our new office located at 574 North Main Street in Fall River, MA, CNP intends to establish more local MA and RI business relationships. As part of our annual outreach efforts we have also joined the Providence Chamber of Commerce and contributed to other groups such as the Narragansett Boy Scouts to show our support to the local community.

CNP is proud to announce the recent re-launch of a new website for one of our clients, Truthout.org, a large online news organization.  This is the first project CNP has undertaken involving a major migration from Drupal to Joomla!, and it’s been a very exciting process for us!  When we first started this migration, we looked long and hard for any technology or process that we could follow to help us accomplish this, but found none.  So we had to develop this technology and process from scratch.  Here’s a little bit about the challenges and solutions that we found worked best for our migration.

Content Construction

As I’m sure any developer realizes, the content structure and storage in Drupal is radically different than Joomla!, so mapping out each field, what it’s function was, where it appeared, and an equivalent location in Joomla! was crucial.  As you can imagine, Joomla!’s default content component (com_content) just wouldn’t cut it.  With about 15-20 different fields being brought over for every content piece we used the popular K2 Content Construction Kit to help us adapt in a Joomla! environment.  K2’s options like it’s image and media handling, and it’s versatile extrafields options made it much easier to handle content and still preserve good workflow for the editors and staff putting in content.  But we didn’t stop there.  We’ve created several custom extrafield types in order to answer several specific needs for users.

User Management

One of the major requirements for this site was the ability to have author attribution for multiple authors.  This is something that, historically, Joomla! didn’t handle.  Fortunately, CNP Integrations has already tackled this problem for another client also using K2.  Using custom solutions developed by CNP, K2 sites are able to easily select multiple contributors to an article that are then easily displayed in the article itself.  Another factor unique to a site like this was the fact that the contributors must be displayed in order according to the level of their contribution to the article.  Here again CNP developed unique capability to adjust the order in which the contributors/authors are displayed.  Using this makes it much easier to provide accurate attribution for articles with multiple authors or contributors.

Site Security

One of the major factors in the decision to overhaul the site was it’s security.  Before CNP Integrations was contracted, the Truthout site was getting maliciously hacked and taken down about once a week.  This, obviously, caused a lot of problems, both for the monetary efforts of the site, and also for the credibility to readers.  One of CNP’s top priorities with all our clients is security.  With our unique client base of government organizations, businesses that rely on their site for a living, and large organizations like Truthout, keeping our sites secure has been a top priority.  To help ensure minimal risk for all of our clients, CNP lays out strict security protocols that start with the basics of keeping every site, and every extension up to date.  On top of the basic security measures we implement the Securelive security suite allowing us to take a proactive stance in protecting our site by actively monitoring all traffic, preventing CMS specific attacks, and reporting attacks to law enforcement for further action.  Since implementing Securelive on truthout, Truthout.org went from being attacked and taken down every week, to having no successful hacking incidents in several months.

The list of interesting and exciting new features we’ve built into this site can go on for a long time, but I won’t list them all here.  If you wan’t to know more about the work we did here, the innovations developed here, or have questions about implementing anything in your site, feel free to get in touch, we’d love to talk with you!

As a Project Manager for many different types of Joomla! sites, Truthout.org is definitely one of the most interesting projects we’ve run across.  With it’s unique requirements for security, content, and user management, CNP Integrations was able to employ innovative solutions to help build the site into a successful, and secure portal with the potential to grow in the future.  We’re already working closely with Truthout in developing new features to better serve it’s readers.  The future definitely looks bright for Truthout, and with Joomla! at it’s core, CNP Integrations is proud to support it!