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Moving forward with Multi-Domain Setups

In Joomla there is a sequential approach that needs to happen when setting up a Multi-Domain environment.

Of course, the first part is running down the extensions you need, testing them, learning them, implementing them.

The second part is a continuation of the first.  More specifically though, you want to build out your Array of Resources.  I would prefer this to be a checkbox rather than a Bullit List but here we go.

First Requirements

  • Stable and Controlable, generally Linux based Server - lots to this but I can help.
  • Joomla Up to Date - should be easy
  • As many of your Extensions up to date - should be easy unless some subscriptions have expired - move on
  • Disable or Remove unused Extensions -  Many things you can do under the "Manage" tab on the backend of Joomla

Add Specifically

  • Virtual Domains
  • Smart Search (buildin)
  • OS Map (joomlashack)
  • Other Mappers for testing
    • Aimy SiteMap is helpful.  JSitemap is helpful, XML Sitemap Pro - external, is helpful
      • turn them off when you are not using the extras and don't submit to Search engines unless you need a second one for some reason.  Lots to discuss there.
  • OS Content (a great way to start your content buildout)
  • OS Meta (a great way to be sure you have covered your bases)

Remove:  

  • Search Modules

Add:

  • Smart Search Categories for each Menu
  • Smart Search Modules to each Menu
  • Custom Module that links to each of your Virtual Domains
  • Second Custom Module with Restricted Access for your in development Virtual Domains.
  • You can also do this with Articles but I find it too slow
  • SSL Certificate(s) for your domains (assumably applied in Apache)
  • Google Analytics Code to each Template being used by a Domain, and segregated to that Domain
  • Site Map registrations to google for each Domain  (you need to organize yourself here with Menus)

Test:

  • You will test alot, so keep your initial structures as simple as possible
  • Be Patient and Persistent.
  • You should do the same tests on each of your domains sequentially.
  • When all is working, move on to the next
  • Keep a good Checklist for Issues.  You can even write notes to your system with restricted access

Know:

  • You will get errors if you are repeating content in your menus the wrong way.
  • That means,  do not include the same content in two different Menu Items exactly the same way.  One needs to take precedence.
  • Move from one subject to the next throughly
  • Joomla ACL is very powerful.  It is complicated.  It is useful.  It is not always obvious what changes, so test the differences in settings.  
  • You generally won't kill your site, but sometimes you may need to remove something you just added that made your site stop working.
  • Big Changes should be preceeded with a System Backup that you can restore from and which you know how to restore from
  • I repeat:  Big Changes should be preceeded with a System Backup, manually triggered.
  • Have a Daily Backup system in place as well.

Check:

  • Your Virtual Domains Menu Filtering regularly.
    • If you add Menus Elements in Joomla you must add them to the "don't filter" (Menu Filter) set if you want to see them.
    • You can spend extended periods of time thinking your system is broken just because of this or some "bad key stroke sequence there.

Comment

    • An update to Virtual Domains was done recently, and it is clear that there can be more done.
    • All that said, it works very well and can save $ Time and Mind.  
    • Check out that Formatting Trick.  Never had 2 Bullets stacked before.
    • Have some fun and have some things to talk about other than your web site  (I am taking notes).

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Managing Editors and Editor Switching with Joomla

There are a variety of back end editors you can use with Joomla.  I have found it important to jump between them for a while now.  There used to be a functional "Editor Switcher" plugin (from Japan) that would allow me to change editing interfaces on the fly.  Though still available it does not work for me anymore.

The "standard" way to change this is via either the Joomla - Global Configuration or the User Configuration.  Those are a bit too "over-riding" for my tastes.  I did do some research and I found that the JSN PowerAdmin has some shortcuts in this mode.  The one they seem to document - changing on the fly - also does not show up where It seems it should.  However, the PowerAdmin Menu bar, when you enable it, allows very quick changing of the assigned User Editor on the fly.  I hit "Save now".  Change the Editor.  Close the Ariticle.  Re-Open it and your alternative Editor shows itself.

You can also simply Save your article (keep it open), change your editor, then Right Click and "Relaoad" your page.  Works well enough to stop complaining or look for hours for a better solution.

There are variations between editors.  I am most partial to JCE Editor, but I also like ARK Editor.  Additionally I have available Code Mirror Editor and TinyMCE.

I won't go chasing editors for a while.  I need to do some editing.

Much of these notations are in part structured so that I myself work through the practice and reinforce my own learning.  That practice is a critical piece to this or any form of technical learning.  The other critical pieces are the research, the initial explorations and testing, and decision tree's going up to the practice stage of whether you want to continue down a path.

Explore and have fun.  Perhaps I will enable some feedback here.

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Managing Joomla Templates

This is a huge subject.  Still there are some important touchstones to keep track of and likely be updated here.

  1. You want your Google Analytics Code to be attached properly to your Template, and especially in a Multi-Domain setup, you need to have multiple variations of your templates so that each can attach to the proper domain  (there are likely ways to do this in Apache instead). 
    1. For instance, if a Template will be shared by domains, you need 2 fundamental copies of the Template or a way for your GA code to be attached exterally.  If this causes an issue of having too much to keep up, and Apache updates do not seem a comfortable route then Chameleon can be set up to respond on a domain basis to output the appropriate GA Code.
  2. FavIcons should be attached to Templates and ther domain variations where appropriate.

There is much much more to Joomla Templating. We have been partial to YooTheme templates. RocketTheme templates can also be good.    This realm changes very fast and it is important to have ways to test.  Ideally it would be good to test on "staging" or "parrallel" sites thought I have not been very good at sticking to that rule.

I can see from a UI (user interface) point of view that I need to work through some template changes now as I am having a hard time seeing simple links in the current template.

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Moving Joomla Images

Although there are a variety of ways to upload images to the Joomla backend, and there are system tools to move (mv command) files in a Linux filesystem, it is not always easy to clean up after yourself if you drop an image into the wrong folder.

Right now, working in the Joomla Admin I have had about 3 ways to get to and add "my media"

  • Joomla Media Manager  (under content- media)
  • JCE Editor (under componenets - jce editor -  control panel - file browser)
  • JSN PowerAdmin  (not seeing an interface just now - possibly in their Pro version)
  • ARK Media Editor ( Took a while to install.  - perhaps connected to Ark Editor.  No file moving appears possible -  perhaps is in their Pro version)

None of those, at my last view, would allow me to move a file.  All I couild do is upload a new one and delete an old one.  Technically, that is probably what happens inside a Linux Move command, but in an ideal situation, moving an image should also move the links to that image as well.

Today I started working with Balbooa Joomla Gallery and viola, it is easy to move images.  I expect it will also be easy to move and work with Galleries (which my sites absolutely need some work on just now).  

Best to Access via:  Components - Gallery 

Either Create a New Category or Edit one you have Created  (you can not do this from "Root" nor "All if you have no Categories.

Once you are "in a category" you can then access the Balboa Media Manager - easiest to choose Upload from Folder and start using the ability to manage your files more fluidly.

Granted, it would be nice if this were a bit easier and more intuitive to get to, but once you are there it works well

On the Gallery side it is nice that they build a "shortcode" to put Galleries right into Joomla content - and I could add some here if I actually had made a gallery by now.

The goal with this is to work efficiently and also correctly..  Joomla has some great aspects to it and it is quite extensible, but a considerable amount of time is required in researching, testing, and deciding what you want to work with and how.  If all goes well, this one will be a winner.  Excited for that, and kudo's at first round to Balbooa though certainly it would be nice to have a shortcut to their Media Manager.

I am certain that there are other ways to do this, but more time for aforementioned - researching, testing and deciding will be required.  I can envision a Dropbox connection at least for a raw image organization and feed.  Also a "double check" database to see what images are built in to content and that no damage is done with further massaging of the directory structure.

In the end, efficiency comes from smooth categorization and navigation on both the backend and the frontend.

 

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