My first Joomla World Conference

For some years now I've been interested in visiting the Joomla World Conference or the JandBeyond conference. But since my Joomla work is only volunteering and a trip like that costs some money I always decided not to go. But since december 2016 I became a member of the Joomla Social Media Team (SMT) and have been chatting with my other team members online. So now it makes more sence to go to an event like that and I bought myself a ticket to the Joomla World Conference held in Rome.

So there I was. Just arrived and greeting some fellow Dutchies who arrived before me and meeting Rowan (member of the organizers). I had dinner in a small restaurant with Peter Martin, a lovely place filled with Italians and not tourists.

On thursday I was invited to the Marketing Team Sprint wich, since SMT is a subteam of the Marketing Team it makes sense. I found the sprint useful, besides meeting the members in real life I also could help in certain topics and also making some useful notes for my team. The day ended with the official start of the JWC, a welcome party. Here I met lot's of people I've seen before and also meeting new faces (but know from online). The one example of not recognizing someone was when I walked by Nicky without recognizing her (sorry about that again).

Velocity - documentation offline

Some of you might have heard of Velocity. To use the words already stated on the website:

Velocity gives your Windows desktop offline access to over 150 API documentation sets

So this is exactly what it is. You can download the documentation of many documentation sets and use them offline, or for easy access. Velocity is a Windows port of Bash, the original program available on the Mac.

SSL,TLS, HTTPS - what is it?

SSL/TLS/HTTPS, what is it exactly?

SSL is the precursor if the present TLS (Transport Layer Security) en both are encryption protocols for the security of communication between computers on the internet. It will take care that your data can't be monitored or faked. HTTPS means you visit a website who is using the TLS security. This is also visible in the address bar where you can see a green lock icon. This is especially important for web shops and web sites where you have to login, so your data is safe.

Required?

When you save personal data in your web site it is required to use a secured connection, at least here in the Netherlands. I don't know how this is arranged in other countries.

I don't have a web shop, why do I need TLS/HTTPS?

So you don't have a web shop or a web site where sensitive data is stored, why would TLS/HTTPS by interesting for you? It secures the data transfer from your web site to the visitor, no one should have the need to monitor this. There can be many companies or agencies interested in just harvesting data and once maybe is it. And also, it might benefit your ranking.

Google Ranking

In 2014 Google announced it will favour web sites in it’s ranking who use HTTPS in it’s ranking. So getting higher (or not dropping) in the ranks is also possible by using TLS/HTTPS.

Free TLS-certificates!!!

Obtaining a SSL/TLS certificate was not cheap a while ago. Depending on the type of certificate you needed it could costs a lot of money. This all changed when Let’s Encrypt started. This organization (not-for-profit) is backed by a lot of large organizations but also small donators and wants to improve the security on the internet by providing free TLS-certificates.

Lot’s of (good) hosting companies are implementing Let’s Encrypt in their environment so if a website owner wants to get a certificate he or she can do so in a few clicks. At least, it was that easy for me!

Three little Joomla gems from Yireo

A little while ago Jisse, from Yireo, asked if I would like to write a blog for Yireo. This blog would be about the Joomla extensions he writes. Of course I was flattered and I started writing. I picked the extensions myself, these three looked like very usefull extensions to me. I hope you also like them. This blog on Yireo can be found here.

Dynamic404

Dynamic404 is a powerful tool, for example to use for pages not found on your website. You can let Dynamic404 choose the most relevant page to redirect to or to redirect to a custom article or menu item. Dynamic404 can handle 404-errors but also: 400 Bad Request, 401 Unauthorized 403 Forbidden and 500 Internal Server Error. You can choose to use an article or menu item for those redirects.

And not only can Dynamic404 be used for redirecting HTML client errors but it’s also possible to use it for short URL redirects. This can be very useful for marketing! See more about Dynamic404 on its dedicated page.

Piwik

Most people are familiar with Google Analytics to get insights into the website traffic. But there is an alternative, Piwik. Piwik is a free, open source, standalone, analytics platform. And the smart thing about Piwik is that it can use a PHP API. The benefit of this is that you don’t need a cookie to get the analytics and you don’t have to warn your visitors for the analytics cookies.

You can easily install Piwik on your server, for example in a subdomain and use the Yireo Piwik plugin to setup the PHP API. The Piwik plugin is available here.

ScriptMerge

When you take a look how many javascript and CSS files are being loaded one by one you can imagine this can slow down your website. Yireo has the perfect tool for this problem and it’s called ScriptMerge. Not only can this plugin combine the separate files into one but it can also compress it or use GZIP and thus saving bandwidth and time. It’s also possible to exclude items like certain files, stylesheets, menu items or components.

Another option is to make use of data-URIs to transform images to a base64-datastream. This way the total sum of HTTP-request will go down and will make your website yet a little faster. A maximum file size can be set for skipping images that are too large. ScriptMerge is available for download here.

Joomla!Days Netherlands 2016

Once again, I was visiting the Joomla!days Netherlands this year, which started on friday 15 april with a Pizza, Bugs & Fun (PBF of #pbfnl). When I arrived they were busy with fixing the WiFi signal but soon after that the hotel delivered a nice big switch and lots of UTP cabes so everyone could connect to the internet. Personally, I felt quite at home because it brings back memories of the LAN-parties I visited in the past.

jd16nlpbfAs usual there were some issues preselected by the organisator which they wanted to test. These issues were on post-its and hanging on a "billboard" and at the end of the evening those issues were almost all tested. It helps when you're working together in the same room, a lot of knowledge combined. Personally, I was planning to do some translating on the Joomla! documentation during the PBF instead of testing patches of issues. I didn't make that much progress as I wanted but it's also a bit social event, so I talked a bit. Of course some with Elisa who I've been tweeting back and forth with.