WordPress iPhone Android App

Just downloaded this WordPress app for the iPhone, and it’s seriously cool.

(WordPress for Android, Blackberry and Nokia Also Available)

I had the ability work on my WordPress blogs through iPhone’s Safari browser before, but there was a lot of window resizing, and repositioning. Plus having to login every time was a drag.
With this app, you register each blog and it offers the essentials; posts, pages, comments and stats. But you also have an option to add code:
This is a link

You also have the ability to add photos and videos in an easy to use interface. Location mapping allows you to share your whereabouts as you compose your masterpiece blog post.

Wordpress for iPhone

So far, I’m really digging it! Originally the apps worked only with WordPress.com sites, but later versions include the ability to register self-hosted WordPress sites as well.

The WordPress App for the iPhone, very cool. Oh, and of course it’s FREE!

Below are all the WordPress Smart Phone Apps:

Here’s a link to the official site for the iPhone: IOS for WordPress

The Android App for WordPress is here: WordPress for Android

WordPress on your Blackberry: WordPress for Blackberry

Your Nokia Phone as well: WordPress for Nokia

Cheers

David Kelsen  - aka - reeljerc

  
Share

What Is This Thing Called Joomla?

Web Design For Dumbies or The Way of The Future?

Leo Laporte (The Tech Guy) repeatedly rhetorically asks, why would anyone develop a website from scratch anymore when Content Management Systems (CMS) exist that do it better for free?Leo Laporte

Thousands of geeks around the world freely contribute multiple hours to create, innovate and improve the functionality, usability and aesthetics of many popular open-source CMS’s like Joomla, Drupal, WordPress and others.

Why…? Because they love doing it. Initially, there may be an element of selfishness, an attempt to fix something on one of their sites. But after the epiphany and breakthrough that magically happens after hours of stubborn, obsessive, frustration-laced concentration, rather than keep it to themselves, they share what they’ve learned. In what I term the “True Spirit of the Internet”, many then spend countless hours on forums answering questions and trying to help.

The cliche “Labor of Love”, comes to mind.

So to reword; A collaborative effort by dedicated and intelligent individuals sharing freely of their time and expertise for the simple common goal of self-improvement, improvement for the sake of their peers and further discovery and learning. If you can conjure a downside to a project with this ideal as it’s sole motivation, you’re free to go, because that is a determined negativity and trolls aren’t welcome here.

Joomla is such a project

I’ll spare you the Joomla history lesson, if you’re interested check out the wikipedia entry here. The basic idea is to offer a web development system that can be created with a minimum amount of technical knowledge and allows the individual complete control over numerous powerful and effective web components.

Bulletin Board SystemIn the 80’s and 90’s the average web viewer or user was highly UN-sophisticated. We were easily amused, and there really weren’t that many actual websites. I remember being thrilled after logging into a Bulletin Board (BB) and the Sysop broke in to say “hello” on my Apple IIe. We were dial-up, monochrome and working on 64kb’s of memory, wow.

In those days, just having a website was impressive and “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO) didn’t really exist, so you could build a 5-page website with Dreamweaver and get respectable traffic.

Today, just having a website is not good enough and website viewers are growing substantially more sophisticated by the packet.

Relevancy in cyberspace today requires dynamic content, semantic html markup, meta tags, keywords, nomenclatures, site-maps, link building, social network cross-utilization, etc, etc…Who has the time to learn all that stuff?

Joomla developers and coders have built many of those assets into the framework.

Learning Curve

You still have to familiarize yourself with the terminology and system, but in that it is a system, once you figure out how it works, that part doesn’t change.

Web sites are a series of files and folders on a computer called a server. Web pages are a series of boxes systematically and aesthetically organized that hold different types of content. The typical web page is broken up into 4 or 5 basic display elements which are organized by TABLES, FRAMES or DIVS:

Header – Top of the website that usually contains the logo or banner

Left Column – Traditionally an area that holds menus or navigation

Main – Area where the content resides

Right Column – Banner ads or ancillary information typically goes here (although navigation elements are increasingly being used here)

Footer – Further navigational elements, copyright info and validation or sitemaps have historically gone here

TABLES or FRAMES were the most popular way to organize these sections of the webpage in years past. More recently DIVs are the method of choice for serious coders because of their superior configurability and flexibility.

My usage of the term “boxes” in this article equate to the same function as TABLES, FRAMES and DIVS.

Flexibility

The Joomla system is comprised of Templates, Components, Modules and Plugins. There is a front-end, which is what the web surfer sees when finding your site online. And there is the back-end, which is the web-interface or Graphical User Interface (GUI), which is the administrator area where you develop the site and add content. Joomla, like most CMS’s, is database driven, cross-platform and uses server-side language. For our purposes, that means that you can log into your Joomla site from any computer that has internet access and add content and/or perform any function necessary.

In Plain Language

Templates – Templates are the basic framework of the site’s aesthetic design. The template is like the map of where all the boxes on the page are located. You can put almost any element in any box. below are a couple examples of templates and their modpositions or Module Positions.

EXAMPLE 1Template Module Positions

Joomla Template Module Positions

EXAMPLE 2 – Template Module Positions

Module Positions

Components – components are applications that process data, usually from another GUI within the admin area, and display the result of that formatted information typically in the main content area of the site. In “EXAMPLE 2″ above, you see all the module positions, but there’s a blank space in the middle. That space is typically where the component data goes, that is the “Main” area. Many Joomla extensions offer Component, Module and Plugin versions of the application so that that particular element can be available for display in any of the positions.

Modules – generally, modules are slightly less complicated applications that are designed to be placed in any box or module position on the site.

Plug-ins – plugins are also applications that are designed to be placed within content posts or Articles.

Articles

In the Joomla framework, Articles are the main content. Articles are the basic resource that feed many of the modules within the framework. The Articles are the meat of the site itself.

Summary

Hopefully you’ve gathered that if you choose Joomla as the delivery method for your website, that certainly you can place any element in any module position, thus exhibiting total control of your site. But what are the elements? Here are a few (not anywhere near how many actually exist)

  • Forums
  • eCommerce
  • Business Directory (Sobi2)
  • Ad Management Systems
  • Videos
  • Slideshows
  • Gallerys
  • Contact & Feedback Forms
  • Menu Systems
  • Calendar & Event Management
  • Communities & Groupware
  • ETC…

Implementing any of these features into your “hand-coded” site can be really expensive, let alone incorporating several of them. One of the several advantages to utilizing the Joomla framework is that all of these features are offered free, but not only that, there is support available as well. The power you’ll be able to harness for a simple investment of time is astonishing.

  
Share

WordPress – How To Install In 8 Minutes

A Quick And Easy Guide To Setting Up Your First WordPress Blog

WordpressWordPress is one of the preeminent platforms for building a blog or website. Dynamic websites, those that allow users to interact and contribute without an Administrator/Web Developer having to re-write and re-upload each of the pages individually every time there’s a modification, are the future. Interactivity is one of the most popular aspects of the internet today, (think social media sites) and WordPress was designed with dynamicism and interactivity at it’s core. WordPress also has become increasingly user friendly so that you don’t have to know how to write code in order to produce something really cool. Not to mention that it’s open source so every piece of software I mention in this article is free.

Basic Prep

A website at it’s most basic level is a number of files on a computer called a server that has an internet address called a domain name. The files are the pages of your website and the domain name is how people find it. Before you start building your site, there a few things you need to do first.
Get organized – create a folder on your computer where you’ll keep all your website related files. Make one for the wordpress files themselves, but then add others specifically for images, ideas, music, videos, or any other components that are independent of the wordpress file structure.

Supporting software

Here are the tools I recommend you use to get started (the title of each program links to their download location):

  • Filezilla – Filezilla is an FTP client that substantially decreases the time involved with uploading, downloading and backing up the files for your website. There’s a separate tutorial here that you may find useful.
  • Notepad++ – Notepad++ is a simple text editor with lots of additional features that you will find useful. If you’re a windows user, Notepad (standard) is one of your programs. Notepad++ makes things easier by color coding the different tags in your html, php and other web-related files.
  • Photoshop, Picasa, Irfanview, iPhoto – Okay, Photoshop is far from being free, but Picasa,Irfanview and iPhoto (included with Macs) are and each have the ability to edit photos. There will be times when you’ll want to edit a photo to adjust the size or enhance it some way.

Lay the Groundwork

Choose a webhost and domain name:
Technically the only thing you’ll need to pay for is the domain name, which can be had for $6-$10 a year. If you choose free hosting with WordPress.com or others, you’ll save money, but there are limitations which you may not dig later on. The requirements for WordPress are the PHP scripting language environment and the ability to set up a MySQL database. The recommended hosts for WordPress are Blue Host, DreamHost, MediaTemple, GoDaddy, JustHost and Laughing Squid. Check them each out for pricing and suitability for your specific needs.
Best practice for choosing a domain name is to pick something that identifies your brand or what the site is about in some way. Ex: if you sell real estate in Costa Rica, create a name like costaricarealestate.com or real-estate-in-costa-rica.net, you get the idea.

In a Nutshell, What You’ll Do

  1. Setup an account with a web host
  2. Choose a domain name
  3. Create a MySQL Database
  4. Create a MySQL User and assign permissions
  5. Download latest WP software
  6. Modify wp-config.php file
  7. Upload WP software to root directory
  8. Install WordPress
  9. Have Fun

Using cpanel, which is a widely used UI (user interface) this video tutorial shows how to setup a MySQL Database.

Video Tutorial:

http://www.flatheadenterprises.com/streams/db-setup.flv

Using FileZilla and Notepad++ this video tutorial shows how to setup wordpress quickly and easily.

Video Tutorial:

http://www.flatheadenterprises.com/streams/wordpress-fast-and-easy.flv

Hope these were helpful.

peace

  
Share

Quick Filezilla Primer – Go In, Get Out, Nobody Gets Hurt

Filezilla is one of the best FTP programs available, and totally free. It doesn’t get much better than that.

FileZilla FTP Program

There’s no better compliment to a WordPress (or any, for that matter) blog than FileZilla. This primer will show how easy it is to transfer files from your computer to your website quickly and easily.

1. Download and Install FileZilla – (download)

FileZilla is available for Windows (2k – Windows 8), Linux and Mac (Requires OS X 10.5 or newer)

2. FileZilla Interface

The image below describes the functions of each window of the interface. Transferring files is as easy as right-mouse clicking on the file and selecting “upload”. Take a minute to review the image.

FileZilla FTP

3. Configure FileZilla for your website

  • Click on File>Site Manager
  • Click on the “New Site” Button just below the “Select Entry” window. A new entry will appear and be highlighted under “My Sites” in the “Select Entry” window.
  • Rename the new entry to whatever you want (something close to the site name could work, but it’s up to you)
  • In the top right of the Site Manager window are four tabs; General, Advanced, Transfer Settings and Charset. General is the only tab you need, the default settings suffice 99.99% of the time. (I’ve never had to adjust any of the other settings in the 9 years I’ve been using FileZilla)
  • In the Host: textfield (see below) type in the domain name of your site without the http://www (make sure to include the .com|.net|etc)
  • Servertype: should be set at FTP – File Transfer Protocol
  • Set Logontype: to Normal
  • User: is your FTP user name
  • Password: is, well your FTP password

important – User names and passwords ARE case-sensitive and there can be NO spaces between letters or words.

That should be all you have to do. Once those fields are filled in, you click on the “Connect” button and you should be in and ready to start transferring files.

FileZilla Site Manager

4. Transferring Files

Basically, you’re moving files/folders (directories) from your computer (window 4 above) to your web server (window 5 above). The left side of the FileZilla interface is your computer, and the right side is the web server or remote site. You can do that by right-mouse clicking the files/folders(directories) and selecting “upload”. You can control-click or shift-click a group of files/folders(directories) and right-mouse click or you can even click and drag files/f0lders(directories) from anywhere else into the remote site file window (window 5 above). Window 6 will show you the status of your transfers.

5. A little more about how it works

When you first connect via FileZilla, you could get confused by all the folders/directories on your remote site/web server. If a number of folders/directories appear, the only ones you’re concerned with is “www” or “public_html”. Double click on that folder/directory and upload your files to there. Very often, both directories exist, if that’s the case upload to the “www” folder/directory.

If the “www” or “public_html” folders don’t exist, than you are in the root directory, upload your site there.

EVERY HOME PAGE IS ACTUALLY A FILE NAMED “INDEX” OR “DEFAULT” (example: index. htm, index.html, index.php, index.asp, default.asp, default.html, default.htm). If that file does not exist in your root directory, than users can not visit your website.

You’ll notice I always used folders/directories in the descriptions above. We’re used seeing folders on our computers, but they are always directories. On a web server, directories is more accurate terminology.

In the FileZilla interface image above, you see a number of directories. Those are the directories in my flathead site. The first directory is 4sale. If you were to open a browser and type http://www.flatheadenterprises.com/4sale in the address pane, it will take you to the contents of that directory. I have an index.html file in that directory, so you’re browser can read it, otherwise, it’s likely you’d get an error message.

FileZilla does not recognize changes you’ve made while the FileZilla application is open. For example, if you add an image to a folder that you’re working on while FileZilla is open, it will not automatically recognize it. You’ll need to either close and reopen the application, or as I do, click on some other folder than go back to the folder the image (or whatever) you added is in. There’s no automatic refresh nor is there a refresh button.

6. Backing up your site is a breeze

To me, this the best part. You’ve been working for days/weeks/months to get your site to a place where it’s really cool. But nothing is forever, and if you’re talking electronics, anything can happen at any moment. Create a folder on your computer called something crazy like “site-backup-(date)”. Open FileZilla, select all files and folders and download it to that folder. It’s gonna take a while, but you don’t have to wait for it, so go see what you have saved on DVR and check back later cause it’s all getting done. Afterward, burn it to a CD/DVD and you’re completely backed up. If you are using wordpress or some other database driven website application, than exporting the .sql file and saving that completes the backup, but if you know what that stuff is already, you probably already know this stuff anyway.

Don’t hesitate to ask me any questions, love to help.

peace.

  
Share

2 WordPress Lessons Worth Remembering

wordpress_logo.pngWordPress is an open source blog application which is widely used because of it’s functionality, adaptability and inherent SEO-friendly structure. Anyone interested in blogging should seriously consider WordPress. The latest release is WordPress 2.7. For those of us upgrading from the previous release to WordPress 2.7, the upgrade was not necessarily seamless, but then it seldom is. Several new features were added which will greatly increase functionality, yet, as usual, some plugins and themes have caused problems or broken your blog.

This time out, I started a new blog fresh with 2.7 and upgraded two others from 2.6. The initial installation of the fresh install got jacked because I tried to use all my old plugins. After nearly 10 hours of trying to figure out how to resolve the issues, I deleted the entire root directory and started over. The second installation was problem free mainly because before installing any plugins, I checked one place first.


Lesson #1:

Check the plugin compatibility page BEFORE installing plugins for any new WordPress Release.

I was starting a new blog, but I liked my old plugins and knew how to configure them. Some of my old plugins were redundant because the new Worpress release built them into the application. However, I learned that some of the newer plugins worked better or had added features, ultimately requiring less to mess with, which is always better.

Fixing the upgrade

When initially upgrading from 2.6 to 2.7 everything seemed to work at first, but then my editor broke along with title tags and a few other minor annoyances.

In this case a clean install of WordPress was out of the question. We had hundreds of posts and dozens of subscribers. But I ultimately not only fixed the broken blog, but improved it.

Lesson #2:

Clean your WordPress database periodically.

Before messing with your database, make sure to back it up.

After backing up your database, export it into a comma-separated-values (csv) file or text file and look through it. You may find some interesting entries that you had no idea were there. Afterwards, there is a wonderful tool to find any unnecessary records that could be causing problems now or may cause unexplained issues in the future. If you’ve tried out a number of different plugins and either they didn’t work, or you decided not to use them, remnants still exist in your database.

I highly recommend the Clean-Options plugin. Clean-Options checks through your WordPress database for orphaned options. The “options” table in your database holds the info for your plugins. If Clean-Options does not find an option with a “get_option” or “get_settings” referenced in any of your PHP files, it will display the record as orphaned and allow you to drop that database record. Dropping a database record is the same as deleting.

Please be careful not to delete any shared resources. Only delete records that directly reference a plugin that is deprecated or not in use. I’ve used this plugin to reconfigure revisions of plugins as well. For example, the All-in-one-SEO-pack plugin wasn’t working right, so I dropped all the all-in-one database records, reinstalled and everything was great.

WordPress is touted as an application for those who are not particularly tech-savvy. If you are not tech-savvy and run into issues with your blog, as you will from time to time, if can be a monstrously frustrating experience. These are just two simple tips to help you avoid pulling out your hair if you’re a newbie.

  
Share