Installing a Blank Joomla 1.5 Template
The first thing I am going to do is install a useful Joomla 1.5 template. Its actually not a production template, but rather a bare bones blank Joomla template. Its actually the step2 template from my popular tutorial, Creating a Pure CSS Joomla 1.5 Template. You can grab the file at its current home, www.joomlabook.com/the-files/cat_view/4-joomla-15-templates.html.
There are a couple of features of this template I want to take advantage of:
- Its a pure CSS fluid center layout template. This means that when I turn on my 1.5 template overrides, which I intend to do to get rid of the tables, the whole site will have no tables in the output – template and content. Most templates from commercial vendors still currently use tables.
- The second feature is that the template is very plain. Its just black and white. This means that while I am building the content, I can focus on articles and not get distracted about color/graphic issues.
So, having installed my template, my site now looks like this.
The next step is to get some Joomla blogging extensions.
The Best Joomla Blog Extensions – Comments and Tags
I am a great fan of Azrul’s products. I have been using JomComment for sometime on compassdesigns.net (www.jom-comment.com) and found it to be easy to use and robust. My only issue has been some trackback spam.
Azrul has upgraded JomComment for 1.5. The only extra step is to enable legacy mode to install it, and then you can turn it off.
So, we install JomComment and set it up for the options we want. I personally allow unmoderated comments from registered users, but require a captcha image entry for unregistered. This allow the best spam protection for least user inconvenience.
A recent upgrade for JomComment was to allow subscription via email for people who leave a comment. This is a great way to make the site a little more sticky as people might well return to see what additional comments have been made.
I am not a fan of trackbacks and Technorati pings and pongs, so I don’t feel an urge to hunt for Joomla extensions that will do this for me. However, one feature I did want to add to my new blog using Joomla 1.5 is Tags.
You have probably seen a tagcloud on a blog you have visited. One of the reasons I want to use them is for content categorization. I only have a few categories in my blog, but I want to use tags as a second way to allow site visitors to interact and navigate through the content. This is sometimes called a Folksonomy.
Right now there are only two main options for using tags in Joomla: MyBlog (by Azrul) and Joomla Tags (by Phil Taylor).
For my new Joomla 1.5 powered blog, I have gone with Phil’s Joomla Tags. In a review over the next few weeks I’ll post why.
Installing Joomla Tags is pretty easy. It also goes through to install the bfFramework used by the extension. I especially liked the ease with you can install the free modules if you want to use them (which I will be).
Then we go through the configuration of the Joomla Tags component and set it up as we want it.
Setting up Blogging Modules.
The last thing I will do is flip the our left column in the front end over to the right by moving the appropriate modules. I’ll also go through and set up some modules that are useful for blogging, such as most popular and latest, and of course, our tag modules.
You can read more about how to set up Joomla for a blog in Chapter 12 Creating a Blog Site with Joomla 1.5 from my book, Joomla!â„¢ A User’s Guide.
I’ll also delete my menu items from the main menu, I intend to build this again to make sure that everything is the way I want it in the new site.
At the end of this day, our Joomla Blog looks like this: