This is a short tutorial on how to use Netbeans for Joomla Development, specifically how to use it when working with the Joomla SVN. It can be useful to anyone using SVN with a php project, but is geared towards those who wish to use Netbeans as their primary IDE particularly using Joomla.

*Notes

Some issues have been reported with checking out from the SVN. If you cannot checkout, please try putting 'anonymous' in the username with a blank password.

Renaming the installation folder is actually not necessary because the trunk disables the check to help workflow, except for a release.

This 5 min screencast shows you how you can have a flawless Joomla installation running locally on your computer using free components. The authors of the video use the JumpBox for Joomla and run it on of Sun's open source virtualization technology, VirtualBox.

This video was embed into this website using JEmbedAll (Joomla Embed component and plugin we designed).

Earlier I was trying to install a joomla package for a client and I've got the following error:

Warning: session_start(): open(tcp://127.0.0.1:11211/sess_973eebe815a2f02cac90592473de1467, O_RDWR) failed: No such file or directory (2) in /home/joomla/public_html/libraries/joomla/session/session.php on line 531 Warning: session_start(): Cannot send session cookie - headers already sent by (output started at /home/joomla/public_html/libraries/joomla/session/session.php:531) in /home/joomla/public_html/libraries/joomla/session/session.php on line 531 Warning: session_start(): Cannot send session cache limiter - headers already sent (output started at /home/joomla/public_html/libraries/joomla/session/session.php:531) in /home/joomla/public_html/libraries/joomla/session/session.php on line 531

That was triggered by the php configuration:

main session.save_path   tcp://127.0.0.1:11211

That configuration is sending the request to nowhere (I mean to a place the scripts gets no valid response or no response at all). If you have access to php.ini (located in the folder where php is installed) you can change save_path yourself, if you don't have access ask someone that has (the server administrator, for example).

The configuration should be something like this (using a folder that exists and have permission to be written by the Apache server - or any other webserver you use):

main session.save_path where N is an integer. Instead of storing all the session files in /path, what this will do is use subdirectories N-levels deep, and store the session data in those directories. This is useful if you or your OS have problems with lots of files in one directory, and is a more efficient layout for servers that handle lots of sessions. NOTE 1: PHP will not create this directory structure automatically. You can use the script in the ext/session dir for that purpose. NOTE 2: See the section on garbage collection below if you choose to use subdirectories for session storage /tmp

One other option you can work around php configuration problem is to use ini_set function to change the value of session.save_path. You have to put in the file index.php in the installation folder the following code:

@ini_set('session.save_path', '../cache');

The problem is when you'll update the package or you'll overwrite the file you'll lose the changed value and you'll have the same problem (again).

Joomla is one of the free CMS (Content Management Systems) that became very populars and created a comunity around it during its several years of existance. The number of websites created with Joomla is numbered in a few millions, so one can say it's one of the most popular tools for that. The next reasons are only a few why you shoold use Joomla for your website design. You only need a web server that handles php and a mysql database to install this CMS and, after configuring it, to have a functional website. Next you have to add some functions (using the components, modules and plugins) you need and select or create a Joomla theme.

It is user friendly and easy to learn

Even beginners are welcome to use this - it may take longer to find out about all its function but it's easy to learn. It takes at most a few days to learn it all over. The CMS is rather big (especially when you never worked with other CMSs) because it's under constant development for some years, but it's easy to follow the modification made in time - there are availabe online various versions of Joomla.

It's a free Content Managment System

You can download for free, so this would be in your advantage. You wouldn't be wasting money for an application that you wouldn't even know how to use. The recommendation it to spend money on its customization (especially as a beginner, or when you want your site optimized to its best) and manteinance - but it's a lot less money than creating a website from scratch. Use experts in Joomla, or at least someone that have already worked with it for a few months or years.

It created a community that offers support

The constant use and improvement of Joomla triggered an increase number of users with expertise in different degres about this CMS, its structure and extensions. If you have problems (using, configuring or extending Joomla) you can search for responses with any search engines - there are great chances to find them. Even if you don't find any good respons for your problem, you can always ask. Most of the online support is free, but in some cases you can pay for it (like an online subscription to some websites or for experts' responses).

It's extensible and flexible - it gives users control

Joomla was built to be enhanced. When you download and install the packege from Joomla development website you only get the main - basic package. There are thounsands of components, modules and plugins you can add this basic package from Joomla Extension Directory - some of them for free, some for a price. You have to know exactly what you want from your future website before adding any new script to your Content Management System.

It's secure by default

Joomla is built to be secure in most environments, but you must understand that Internet security is a vast and fast-moving topic. No set of rules can cover all possible situations, especially if new types of attack are being developed every year. This means you have to extend Joomla security with server security (I mean your server security).

Because Joomla is being upgraided constantly and the developers add new functions or fix bugs (even security bugs) you should always update you Joomla version and the extensions (components, modules and plugins) you have installed on your website.

 

If you want to make a presence online, with all the advantages and obligation that come from that, you have to get some necessary steps. Depending of your experience over internet they can be easy or they can be difficult, but with the appropriate help everything will be easy and you will only benefit from this activity.

Get your domain name

The first thing you need to do before anything else is to get yourself a domain name. Choose wisely because it's going to represent you online and must define you: it can be your name, your trademark or business name or your field of activity.

Depending the Top Level Domain (TLDs) you choose (they have their own rules), you will have to pay an annual fee to a registrar for the right to use that domain name or you can buy it "for life" (until you die, the interne dies or you decide to delete it). In some situations you'll have to buy similar domain name in order to prevent lose of clients or fraud, but you can find more information from tips for registering and choosing the domain name - read them and follow them.

You have to protect your domain name, so you have to pay attention to this thing in order to protect it from stealing.

Joomla is one of the most popular free CMS (Content Management Systems) that gathered a lot of fans / users in the last few years. The number of websites created with Joomla is numbered in a few hundred thousands, so one can say it's one of the most popular tools to create web sites. The next reasons are only a few why you shoold use Joomla for your website design. You only need a web server that handles php and a mysql database to install this CMS and, after configuring it, to have a functional website. Next you have to add some functions (using the components, modules and plugins) you need and select or create a Joomla theme.

It is user friendly and easy to learn

Even beginners are welcome to use this - it may take longer to find out about all its function but it's easy to learn. It takes at most a few days to learn it all over. The CMS is rather big (especially when you never worked with other CMSs) because it's under constant development for some years, but it's easy to follow the modification made in time - there are availabe online various versions of Joomla.

It's a free Content Managment System

You can download for free, so this would be of your advantage. You wouldn't be wasting money for an application that you wouldn't even know how to use. The recommendation it to spend money on its customization (especially when you are a beginner and you don't know how to handle it) and manteinance - but it's a lot less money than creating a website from scratch. Use experts in Joomla, or at least someone that have alreade worked with it for a few months or years.

It created a community that offers support

The constant use and improvement of Joomla triggered an increase number of users with expertise in different degres about this CMS, its structure and extensions. If you have problems (using, configuring or extending Joomla) you can search for responses with any search engines - there are great chances to find them. Even if you don't find any good respons for your problem, you can always ask. Most of the online support is free, but in some cases you can pay for it (like an online subscription to some websites or for experts' responses).

It's extensible and flexible - it gives users control

Joomla was built to be enhanced. When you download and install the packege from Joomla development website you only get the main - basic package. There are thounsands of components, modules and plugins you can add this basic package from Joomla Extension Directory - some of them for free, some for a price. You have to know exactly what you want from your future website before adding any new script to your Content Management System.

It's secure by default

Joomla is built to be secure in most environments, but you must understand that Internet security is a vast and fast-moving topic. No set of rules can cover all possible situations, especially if new types of attack are being developed every year. This means you have to extend Joomla security with server security (I mean your server security).

Because Joomla is being developed and the developers add new functions or fix bugs (even security bugs) you should always update you Joomla version.

The policy become necessary when your employee have social interaction over internet with a lot of people all over the world and you don't want for this to interfere with your business. There are a lot of cases in the last few years about people losing their jobs because they have commented on Twitter or Facebook or they have posted on their personal blogs about their experience in your company or about their opinions about your clients.

Don't be very restrictive

You can not forbidd people to enjoy themselves and use social newtork. Also, don't creat a list with do not share things: it will only be longer and longer with time. It's better if use the policy to set some guidelines instead of do not do things.

Don't forget to specify how much time people should use social media

For some people in your company promoting your business online and offline is their jobs, they do it daily. But for the most employee social media interaction is just for fun. If you don't make it clear they can spend their time on social networks instead working for you, as they should.

Encourage the people you are woking with to use further social media, especially if they are well-connected (they have lots and lots of friends), but don't let them turn into a bad habit.

Make your social media policy very clear, but do not enter in details

I mean you should be focused about activities, connections, relationships. Social networks are perfect in promoting your products and services, but these will probably change in time. If you are clearly asking your employee to promote your business and its every part you will have to update the policy every time you are adding, updating and removing a product or service. On the other hand, this will irritate your employee and they will no longer enjoy your company.

Adapt and update your policy

Times are changing, we all know it and we notice it every day. Do not include in your social media policy old and outdated stuff (ideas, rules). If something changes in your business policy (a new market, a new section, something big in general) and this is relevant in your social media policy update it right away. Don't postpone things because problems might appear.

Do not create too many social media policies

Considering how many social networks exists over internet (some of them well known, with millions of users, others with only a few thounsands) and how many of them appear and dissapear every year, you can be tempted to create a policy for each them (one for Twitter, one for Facebook, for personal blogs and youtube). Don't. Use one general social media policy to consider all possible social media and customize it for your business.

 

Before starting to list what are the factors that make a website good I should tell you that all successful websites have 2 things in common: they are enjoyable (beautiful colors, great templates that make users to like or love them) and they are (in some degree) simple (the users don't have to think hard how to browse the site and what are the meaning of every section on the page). The content is varies from one website to another - it's what you put online - and it's a completely different story.

As you already know, websites are powerful marketing tools in promoting any business. But there are a few factors that improves the quality of your website: visual appealing, accessibility, user friendly and functionality. And it all starts from the homepage, the very first page most of the users usually land when visiting a new website they did not hear about before. If they find your website using the search engines and land on any of your posts, sooner or later they will get to your homepage, the root of your website.

This is why your first page is very important and it needs to be done in a manner to make it simple and very easy to use. Any of your visitors should understand quickly (most of) the structure of your website from your homepage.

Plan your website structure and homepage before you start creating them

When you are having a custom website you can ask for the web designer's advice, his experience will help you decide the best way your first page should look. If you are getting a free CMS (there are a lot over the internet like joomla, wordpress, drupal and many others) you will have available some options about how your homepage should look, but it's better to ask for advice in this case also.

Anyway, you should always plan before start working on the website. It can happen that you start working and, after a time, you realize that there is a better way for your website structure and homepage and you'll have to work harder to recover the lost time. In worst case scenario, you can start all overt again.

The second important thing is that once you've decided you should keep a specific format, don't start altering your idea while creating it.

The template for your website should contain several pages, including the homepage

There are 2 ways to approach the creation of a website:

  • you want to create something that can easily work online with some content, the second step would be creating or selecting a template for what you have (this usually happen when you select a free CMS)
  • you start from a template and create the functionality depending from some images the web developer gets (this usually happen with custom websites)

When selecting an existing template for your website or deciding what a custom template should contain assure yourselves that structure of the website is very well defined. That mean that you should know exactly how every page of the site should look (as design, not as content) before approving the template and sending it further, to web development.

Knowing all these, you should pay attention to some rules about an usable and accessible homepage. Some of these rules apply to the rest of your website.

How to make your homepage usable

Efficiency

Your website homepage should be efficient for any Internet user (even the unexperienced ones), to allow him or her to accomplish simple tasks even he/she never interacted with your system before.

Easy to learn and remember

Any visitor should use your homepage easy even when it's the first time he is accessing your website. When he learns the rules that apply on your site it will be very easy to find what he is interested in. Even more: he will remember all the stuff the next time he will visit.

No errors

It's very important that your homepage (and your website) should not contain errors. This will block some users to browse your website and it does not look. Some of the users may not return if they find error on your site and, more, you don't correct them as soon as you find about them. That's why it's important to ask for feedback from your visitors.

How to make your homepage accessible

Use descriptive links

The homepage in particular should have links with information about the meaning of the website, about what you are offering (products and services), about you and your business. That will lead the visitors directly to what he wants insted browsing from page to page.

Make it available for everyone

That means that everyone connected to Internet should be able to access your website, no matter if they are using PCs, laptops, tables, smartphones and any other gadgets (lately even your refrigeration can browse the Internet, but I am sure that accessing websites using the refrigerator is the last thing on your mind right now). So, use plugins for different devices to assure the accessibility.

Use sitemaps and search options

This will only help the visitors to find whatever they wants on site instead browsing from page to page. Sitemaps also provide the structure of the website in a manner everyone can understand. It's important that sitemaps and search options to be on homepage, but they should also be on every other page on your website.

As you already know (if you don't know it yet, you better find out before it's too late) your website is your "face" on the internet, they way to present yourself (as person and/or as business) on the world wide web and it's going to say a lot about what kind of person are and what kind of business you run. If it's a good website it will definetly draw attention of your potential customers. If it's a bad website it will draw attention away from them. It can become a very important piece in your marketing campaign, so its design must be treated with a lot of attention.

When creating a new website you have 2 options: you can get a template from the internet (free or paid) for any of the current free CMS (like joomla, drupal, wordpress and all the others) or you can get some to design it from scratch. Each option has good and bad things, pros and cons that you should consider when choosing the best way for you.

Pros of custom website design

It reflects your ideas

All the existing free CMS on the market are limited in some way or another. Of course, you can add a lot of plugins, components and modules to customize the as you want, but, even so, the final version can be different that you intended it to be. It may not reflect your ideas about what you want to present on Internet.

Using a custom website design will have as result the best reflection for your ideas, your company and, why not, your brand. If designed professionaly the website will fit exactly in your maketing strategy on Internet and will have good effects in offline (what humans call "real life"). 

You can build it from scratch

The beauty with custom websites is that you start them from scratch and you can develop them in any direction you want. With the current free CMS you go in their intented direction and you modify it to fit your ideas - but that can be done in some limited ways. When big modification of any CMS are involved you can easily discover that you could spent the same amount of time, money and energy to create your own CMS with a much better result.

Consider that building a website from scratch will help you maintaining a strict timing of it's development: you can launch the website online with some well defined sections and options and you can always add new sections and option whenever you want or need them (after weeks, months or even years after the initial release).

Updates and alterations are easy to make (easy maintenance)

You can say that updates and alterations are also easy to make when using any of the current free CMS on the market. It's true, in some degree. But, as a webdesigner, I have a certain logic when I am coding. Every person has his own logic and his own way to write code and documentation and I say it's a lot easier to modify a piece of code that follows my logic that a code inside a CMS that follows other people's logic.

Of course, this would mean that, as a web designer, I should always be "in touch" with my customers and always be the person to modify the code. It real life it's not always the case, but the custom websites usually come with a strict documentation that help a people to follow their inner logic.

Cons of custom website design

It can cost a lot of time, energy and money

Depending of who you hire to design your website and what kind of information you want to put online the product can cost between 100 euros and 3,000-4,000 euros. Some big portals can cost more and it will take months to develop.

So, when you decide to have a custom website designed take into consideration what you want and how much time, energy and money you have to spent.

The updates and alterations may take some time

There are a lot of tools, some of them really good, that help someone to design custom websites. They can be used to update or alter the final product (the one you put online and want to modify), but in some situations there new sections and functions for your website will require the old-fashion coding - and that takes a time, a lot more that if you were using a free CMS.

Furthermore, you may need to hire someone to be always at your service when you need him to alter, update or solve problems with your website. If you have a small not important websites there are small chances for something bad to happen and you may not need any alterations or updates. Otherwise you will need money to pay for his services.

The final result may not be what you want

There is always a risk that the final result will not be want you wanted. In such situation you would spent a lot of time, money and energy for nothing - it can be a total loss and you may need to start designing the website all over again. It's worse when you realise that it's a faulty website after you have launched it online - beside the previous loses you can add loses in prestige and some bad words about you, your business or your brand.

Since working at Supravirtual I've seen or heard about a lot of situation with good and bad websites. We can testify (from our experience) that a website must be created in a professional manner if you want to yield good results. A professionally designed websites (with a lot of great content - we also take care of that for some of our customers) always drive traffic which can be converted to sales... and money.

It's not a secret that most users judge websites by their appearance (first) and their content (second). It's true that your content it's the most important thing in getting new visitors, but the aspect of the website is the second main reason those visitors will return to read more. Allong with great content, getting your site (or sites if you have more than one) visually appealing will assure the flow the visitors, and in order to be appealing it has (they have) to be user friendly (the most important thing), navigable, attractive and organized.

There are some web designers or website owners that do not care about how their websites looks (not enough or not at all), they are interested mainly in designing and developing websited that function properly.

There are a few tips about how to make you website(s) to be visually appealing:

Plan ahead how your website will look and function

The first thing you should do when designing a website is to plan ahead how your website will look and function. It's easy to install a Joomla or a Wordpress (for example) and have an online wel configured website in less than an hour, but usually it's not enough: you have to get the best theme for you installed CMS (from the existing ones - there are "only" a few thousands or to design one from scratch).

As an experienced webdesinger I can tell you for sure that the different between a client that knows exactly what he wants and one that is trying to find out while the website is being developed is huge. I've got both of them and the previous sentence is the "voice" of experience.

Establish the target for your website

In matter of interacting you other people you must already know that you can say the same thing in several different way - they have about the same meaning, but it's not the same thing. Jokes are in many cases very common things told in a funny manner that is hilarous, they can even get people shocked in some degree.

The same thing apply to websites: there are several way to send the same message, every way is translated to a different template to your website. Each template can be visually appealing for one category of people but others will not like it at all.

Keep your design simple

People love websites with vivid colors and images (using heavily CSS to do this is recommended), but in the same time they don't iike websites that are too crowded with visual elements and texts all over the page. They need too navigate freely on site and to understand it quickly in order to love it. No websites full with images (especially the kind of images that's going from one corner to another), too much text and, especially, with tones of advertisemens is visually appealing to the users.

Use graphics, colors and images

As I said, people love websites that contain graphics of some kind. CSS is the best thing for this, and the new tools for 2012 will definetly help you get a better visual appealing website from this point of view. Probably the most important new tools among all is HTML5, so keep yourselves informed about it.

Keep the visual consistency - be consistent in your design

You should consider not only the website consistency, one most important things from the perspective of the structure of the website, but also the visual consistency. Apply the same rules to your design in order to get it visually appealing: all your fonts, text formats, link colors label, graphics and page format should be the same all across the website.

The most important thing you should remember about webdesign is that you should put in your visitors' shoes. You are designing the website from your own perspective, so you must be proud about what your product and you have to love it in order to get the best product, but you are also designing it for your users. Always try to get their perspective in order to improve yours and to improve your websites.

We create websites to present your activity to the world and applications for internet that help you organize your activity as eficient as possible and without loses (in money, time and energy) whatever you are while you are online. You only need an internet domain, space on a server and the app we develop for you.

The search engine optimisation part is very important for websites - they have to match certain criteria in order to appear as often as possible in the search results. We analize your website and we offer consultancy about the options you have about to boost its visibility and organic traffic.

We develop applications for various companies and organisations according to their specifications and requirements in order to be used by employees and partners to work more efficient, making the transition from excel files and spreadsheets used before to the internet of things. We offer support for the applications used now and we develop them further using modern technologies.

We offer consultancy about the informatic system you have installed and we offer sollutions to make the more efficient, to improve and develop them further, we analize the activities inside your company and / organisation and we offer sollutions for the projects you want to develop.