<ul><li>Joomla Website Development </li></ul><ul><li>and Design Tips </li></ul>
<ul><li>This is an article written with Joomla development and design in mind. </li></ul><ul><li>The developer and designer tips that follow are focused on avoiding future problems. </li></ul><ul><li>The tips on first glance might seem obvious, but the reality is when people are short on time, many will try to take short-cuts that could end up causing problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Some of these short-cuts are listed below, with accompany advice to help avoid the pitfalls. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Tip 1 – Never migrate using a live installation. </li></ul><ul><li>It is all too tempting for administrators and developers to try and migrate a website, using a live environment. A typical scenario is migrating Joomla from the 1.0.x branch, to the 1.5.x or 1.6.x branches of the package. </li></ul><ul><li>However these are not typical upgrades, and are migrations, which can result in issues if handled incorrectly. </li></ul>
<ul><li>So not only do you need to perform a backup of the original database and files of a website, before a migration between different branches of a cms, but you should perform the actual migration process on a development server, and then replace the live server version, when the migration was successful. </li></ul><ul><li>So at the very least if trying to migrate on the actual internet server, you could be making the website un-viewable during the process, but at the worse could cause the website to be unavailable for a lengthy period if a problem occurs. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Tip 2 – Modify the template code, rather than the core files. </li></ul><ul><li>Often with cms packages people are tempted to make changes to the core installation files, to provide additional features, such as changing list styles for standard modules, and tweaking the template design. </li></ul><ul><li>However in Joomla there are many visual changes that can be made via the template files. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Even if the code doesn’t exist in the current template files to modify, often you can add additional Joomla specific code to control a visual aspect, that isn’t standard CSS. </li></ul><ul><li>The reason why you want to modify a template file rather than a core file, is when an upgrade occurs, your original changes could be lost, as the file(s) could of been replaced during the upgrade. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Tip 3 – Never develop using the main live website. </li></ul><ul><li>It is tempting to modify files on a live server environment. Unfortunately this could impact the visitor experience. </li></ul><ul><li>Instead of working on your live website, you can setup a development environment, then work on the development website to develop the website. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Tip 4 – Keep regular backup copies of your website template / theme. </li></ul><ul><li>In Joomla as with many other popular content management systems, you can modify the theme’s css code from within the administrator area. </li></ul><ul><li>However many people fail to make a backup of the changes, then if the unfortunate occurs, the changes are lost. It is best to make a backup of the files via FTP, every time you make a change to the template files. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Tip 5 – Manually code when possible, rather than use plugins. </li></ul><ul><li>There is a tremendous amount of components / modules available for Joomla. However many of these fail to stay updated, and often will not work with different branches of Joomla. i.e. 1.0.x, 1.5.x or 1.6.x When possible try to manually code the changes, especially if minor. </li></ul><ul><li>You often don’t need to use extra components for website statistic services or advertisement intergration. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Hire a web developer for your </li></ul><ul><li>website creation project. </li></ul>
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