The CartaNova team encountered a nasty bot attacking one of our client Joomla! 1.5 web sites. The hack is popularly known as the PHP5.php hack or "Pharma Hack".
The hack changes the Google search results description to show adverts for your standard array of spam-pharma-products. Why? No idea. It is a clever little bug, as site owners and other folks who have the site bookmarked may be unaware of the infection for quite some time. Here's a fix...
While building Weever we came across an incredible project called The MobileESP Project, by Anthony Hand. The project provided an easy to use code library that we used to build a quick and easy device-detection plugin for Joomla. We're surprised no one has released a version of this for Joomla yet, and are excited to be the first to publicly release a plugin featuring it.
We've created a page for MobileESP for Joomla on WeeverApps.com -- click here to download it and read documentation.
Joomla 1.6 (and now, 1.7) has advanced Joomla's codebase leaps and bounds beyond Joomla 1.5. However, for extension developers, supporting both at the same time can be difficult as keeping completely seperate codebases is sometimes necessarily to take advantage of new features. Developers are left with tough choices about which to support, and how to keep the codebase simple so that they can reach the broadest audience and not cause undue stress on either those adopting newer versions of Joomla, or those maintaining their older sites.
Quick tip: JCE is a wonderful editor for Joomla! - free, useful and powerful. But after a default installation (particularly with the useful K2 CCK for Joomla!) we often see the following error message:
* The file name 'templates/templatename/css/editor_content.css' was entered in the JCE Custom CSS field. This file could not be found in the default templates folder. *The css file '/templates/system/css/editor.css' is being used instead.
Here's the fix:
We've been working on a new AJAX-style (no-page-refresh) contact form for Joomla!, you can view the Alpha at the end of this article.
I'm not sure if we should make this totally free to download, collect a small token payment (it was the result of hard work, after all), or possibly just use the plugin to advertise our forthcoming Weever ("Your Joomla! Site. Mobile. In Minutes") service. What do you think?
Joomla! Tip: Check out our extensive free library of Joomla! Tutorial Videos at HoldenCreative.com (my former freelance business, I licensed these vids a few years ago). We'll be introducing new videos for Joomla! 1.6 to CartaNova soon, but for now you can find Beginner, Advanced and Designer tutorials for Joomla! 1.5 and the older Joomla! 1.0 platform. Feel free to use these tutorials as you wish!
Note: Joomla.org also has some great under-used tutorials in the Documentation area.
Not a trick, but an important tip for Joomla! Web Developers: Don't forget to utilize the Joomla! Site Showcase. The showcase is a free, volunteer-managed place to display the power and extensibility of Joomla!. Being a highly moderated area for 'good' web sites, the showcase also appears to have a great Search Engine Optimization (SEO) value with Google. This makes sense, as Google increasingly emphasizes 'brands' and 'trust' in search engine metrics.
We recently submitted our site for Alcast Technologies to the showcase and were surprised by a corresponding surge in visitor traffic and customer inquriries as a result. So Joomla! Web Designers, what are you waiting for? Submit your site!
During the process of developing extensions to Joomla, it can be frustrating to have to wade through a sea of code when you're tweaking the HTML output. Templates can get in the way when all you want to see is your own output before testing integration with templates.
Thankfully, Joomla has two hidden features for development that can make the debugging process a little more bearable. Both these tricks involve passing variables via the URL.
Joomla!'s· "Page Suffix" makes it possible to change the look of fonts, headings and other in-content styles for a given web site page.
It works nicely, but can't modify larger considerations by default - for example, you won't be able to modify your template design (background image, layout, etc) with a normal page class suffix.
However, it is possible to do just that! Here's how we modified the page suffix function to change the background of our new 'Code Labs' page.
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