Everything

A warm day out there. I'm not a fan of hot weather. I don't have more I really want to write tonight. I don't know why I started this post. I just wanted to write something.

I wish there were less people in my life. But, that's misleading because most of the time I am alone and I only have my Mom living here with me and the miserable excuse for tenants living in the basement. Today was a day when those people filled my life to over flowing. Then there is my soon to be ex brother-in-law, the sex offender. The police are destroying all the evidence against him and they never had him come in to be interviewed (because he "lawyered up" making him untouchable). Too bad everyone isn't so untouchable, like the animals, children and women he molested. No help from police, reporters, or politicians.

Some days I want to live on another planet, far, far, far away... Where I can still breathe and all of that sort of essential stuff. I did buy a lottery ticket the other day. I haven't tried one of those for years. Makes me think of my Aunt Alice, my Grandmother's sister. I miss you, AA.

Back to planet scouting... and good night to all.

This blog is not going to have a lot of posts. Its mainly my Joomla test blog/ site. Everyone should have at least one - a place to try things and be ok if it all goes up in flames. Disaster comes along when you least expect it and are never quite as prepared as you thought you were. That's life. Don't get the wrong idea about life. Life is great and glorious, it just has to exist though, we each make life into something of our own. Anyway, this wasn't planned as a philosophical post. It was kind of a post for the sake of making a post, so ... success!

It is a rainy day here today. I have probably written before about how much I really like rainy days. For one thing, great photography! For another, free water is falling from the sky! Really, can it get much better than that!

I'm going to install and try a template for Joomla. Not the first I've tried but it is the first I bought, from Joomla 51, in Ireland. I like the features/ framework. I hope I can make my brain work wtih it. My brain is kind of stubborn and contrary at times. Wishing myself luck because I'm probably the only one here.

Three of my sites are mostly up and I have learned a lot about Joomla. I'm far less fearless than I was 20 years or so ago when I tinkered with my PC hardware and threw code up to see what would work on my sites. Now I tenderly, hopefully, touch a little code here and there and check if things turned out ok on the front page, or not.

Joomla is a bit messy. A maze of options repeated in the menu and the articles and the odd other place. That part is aggravating. I think I have everything set but it doesn't change even though the settings are set right. I tinker around and find... another place to set the same setting!!! Not fair, Joomla. Maybe there is some reason for it. Method to the madness. I'm going to pretend I believe that. There must be a way to save all the settings (once you finally get them all nailed down) and import them to another site. That would make things quite a bit easier. If I can do that I will have a hugely easier time loading up the rest of the sites.

I have content which needs to switch between sites too. I've been putting off dealing with that. Plus formatting. But... I did discover that fixing my user/ author name on all the content also fixed the weird bold font weight thing which was appearing on (what seemed to be) random posts. Now that all my posts are publishing with the right user ID the bold font has disappeared. Magic! Nice to solve something in a mysterious and functional way.

I think the next site I will load up with a fresh and happy Joomla install and the old WordPress content will be my other sort of profile site, thatgrrl.ca  Should I make the text/ HTML based front page for it or let it start on Joomla? I will probably stick with the routine I've begun here. Its more work but I can control and understand what I've done with the landing page of the sites, more than leaving it to Joomla (or any other CMS).

I've come a long way from the early days of trying to understand menus (you do not need a menu for everything, that is pretty much the same as WordPress). I sort of know the difference between components, modules, plugins, and extensions. Everything starts as an extension and then is used as a template, plugin or a component. That part is a bit over complicated but it probably works for people who write all the code.

After trying half a dozen frameworks, some would not install and some... That is no different than dealing with hit and miss plugins on WordPress. I'm not as trusting as I once was. Each extension I try I have concerns about hidden code. I also don't like having to subscribe to the site. I don't know who these people are and in most cases I don't end up using the extension, plugin or template.

In the end, I learned a lot from trying frameworks. I discovered that I would rather stick to the protostar default template. But, if you are looking for a commercial/ complicated site, you might not want a simple solution like the default template. But, it is much easier than working with limits and variations in frameworks. Although protostar is fairly limited, it is reliable, and free. I found a template, Protostar Plus, its free (once you subscribe to the site) but there is no sign of actually getting the template because my subscription/ membership has not been validated by the site bot yet. So, I wrote that one off.

What does work is the JCE Editor. What protostar is missing I've been able to fix up with the article/ post editor. (You do need to go into global configurations and change your default editor). JCE Editor lets me style the images in my posts. I could not find anything else, of all the thousands of plugins/ extensions to do such a simple thing. I looked at page builders but that is a lot of extra bang I don't need for such a small thing. Why isn't there something so simple as an extension to style articles (site wide instead of per post). I know I can get into the CSS in the template and fix it there. I was avoiding digging into it, I will, maybe tomorrow. I still have my books from the time I decided to teach myself CSS. I think I can see one from here.

Another problem I have found with Joomla is the fact that you can not have all your post categories show up together on your site's front page. I worked hard to find a solution for this one. It was frustrating!

The best I can do is a work around. I'm making menu items for each category I want to show up. First, the main category which I have called, Blog. Blog is the main menu and it shows up on the front page of the site, with all the posts displayed. You need to use the Articles - Blog Category component in the menu settings. You will see it when you click on Articles as you set up the menu. Now do the same for your other categories. Just give them different titles so they show up in the same main menu. (Link each menu item to the category). Is that confusing? It was confusing just to type it.

I have just noticed the JCE Editor is not letting my typo/ spellchecker work. That is another problem I was not expecting. If there are typos uncaught on this post, you know who to blame. Not me. I'm doing my best.

Next, I do not at all like how tags are shown as blue things. Everything else is working with the colours I picked for the template. Only the tags are damned rebels. I removed them all, for now. This site doesn't really need them anyway.

That is about where I am in my Joomla expedition. I don't feel so lost. Thank you to Tim Davis for his very helpful videos: Basic Joomla Tutorials, on YouTube.

I almost forgot - the big issue I keep having with Joomla and almost everything else is just trying to read any of it! Tiny text!!! I have not found a way to make anything big enough to see it easily, or even well at all. I do not have this problem with most sites I use because I changed my Windows settings to show everything bigger. But, some things, like almost everything in the Joomla admin, including the JCE Editor, using tiny font sizes!!! I managed to get the font in the edit window up to a 12. For some reason, the font in the edit (typing) screen is the smallest of all of them. I thought having a bigger monitor (computer desktop screen) would help but it doesn't really.

The layout of published posts is wonky. I looked for something to automatically set each post to a limit of 100 words (or someting like that) and then make them all "read more". That would fix the wonkiness. Or, a masonry layout where each post is not set at the level of the longest post. I could also change them to just one per row but I like having columns. If I can't find something to adjust (no luck over the past week or so) I will consider losing the columns.

There may be something else I think to add to this sort of list without being an actual list, post. Or I could finish my coffee and watch a movie.

A new article not Written by Joomla.

For awhile all my posts (from the sample blog content) were showing as "Written by Joomla" not myself. I did not know where to find the fix for that until I took the advice of Tim at Basic Joomla Tutorials. He suggest installing the default template, protostar, to check on any weirdness in any other template. That helped me track down the problem. Anyway, it was the alias. My author name was fine but the alias was stuck with the sample content, showing as Joomla.

I have found that J2XML, with the WordPress extra extension, does work very well to migrate/ import my old WordPress content into this new Joomla site. I will fix the filing of the images because WordPress automatically files them by date and that gets pretty messy over time. Probably works better for some sites, not others.

At the moment I am trying to read this screen. It is a small font to type into the edit window. I'm going to see if I can get it more user friendly for me. Maybe a setting. Or, maybe a different editor. It would be nice to cut and paste text into here. Right now it does not allow that and it won't let me use my browser spellcheck. So, that just isn't going to cut it for me. Spellcheck catches most of my typos and that especially helps when the font is tiny and hard for me to read.

I am using Astroid framemaker for Joomla. There were some bumps along the way but I've got it working/ figured out (fairly well) now. One thing, it has a limitation when it comes to posting the published date of your post. It doesn't. You can post the date the post was created and/ or the date it was modified. But, not the published date. I settled on using the date the post was last modified. Otherwise, Astroid shows two dates without explanation of what either of them are. (There may be a way to do that with icons or something, but I wanted to keep that part of the post simple.)

Next step will be moving the WordPress posts and images again. I did twice already but ended up uninstalling and reinstalling Joomla (twice) due to my own confusing, stress with dealing with mysterious errors and feeling like Joomla was a maze of options I had to narrow down, somewhat drastically. If you move from WordPress to Joomla - start with the blog sample content. I was VERY against doing so. But, having the blog sample content actually did help me figure things out.

Also, skip the books when it comes to learning Joomla. I bought two of them and did not find them very helpful AT ALL. They both start with sample content that make the whole process a lot more confusing. Plus, the Joomla Extensions book had me thinking I had to have a menu for EVERYTHING! You don't need a menu for anything but the actual menu. Connect your modules to a menu link for things like your Web Links, About (single) article and a home link. You do not need to set a menu for every article you write. For that set up a blog category and link to that. Better yet, start with the blog sample content and skip a lot of confusion and frustration. The blog sample content is already set up as a menu and it will post on your site - without making you jump through hoops.

There are so many things on my to-do list with Joomla. Still!

  • favicons
  • uploading photographs
  • fixing old posts - formatting
  • fixing old posts - images
  • watermarks for photographs
  • open graph/ SEO/ meta tags
  • social media this and that
  • image gallery/ display for photographs
  • header/ logo images
  • author name oddities
  • screwy fonts
  • icons
  • masonry or not
  • read more not showing up
  • double header in Joomla admin
  • something else I'm forgetting right now

I was even looking at the volunteers wanted on the Joomla site. But, I'm not technically inclined to help with software. I really only understand Canadian English. I'm not a social person. Overall, I don't need more to do and I don't really want to be responsible for something more than what I have already gotten myself into. So, I decided not to volunteer. But, I did make a profile. Maybe, something else for the backburner.

I'm typing this just after updating to the new 5.0 WordPress, the blockhead version. I don't like the idea of working with blocks. It seems to add complication where there were less complications before. But, this is my first time trying it. Working with just text has gone ok. I feel I'm typing in space with so much empty, blank, white space around my text.

Adding an image is going to be different. I don't see the image uploader anywhere... Turns out it is in the plus sign at the top left. But, having gotten the image to show up I guess I need to start another block to post again. (It was nice to have the caption right there with the options but I'm not sure how it will look, or how it will last if there are future updates to the code).

Overall, the biggest problem I have with the block thing is that I don't like working in chunks. I would rather have one cohesive post without extra coding added for the sake of adding extra coding. This just seems one more way for WordPress to make it even harder and more impossible to leave WordPress as your CMS. How will any of these blockhead posts look if you export them and import them into something else? How much work will it be to fix? (A lot I expect!) Also, what happens to all these block posts when the block trend falls off the planet and something else new comes along?

Update after changing to Joomla from WordPress: There was a lot of extra junk code (serving no purpose than formatting for WordPress editor) I removed from this post.