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Yesterday I released an update to the Build.r template that adds the option to turn any of it's rows into a smooth scrolling parallax driven display. Parallax is one of those design "innovations" that you either love or hate, but one thing for sure is that users and clients love the option of being able to use it if they can.

I like the judicious use of the effect and think that in some cases it can work well to push your point. But please, I must ask that you use the Parallax in the Build.r template responsibly ....

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I'm super excited to announce the availability of the Buildr theme.

This template has been a long time in the making - the first seed was sown after christmas at the end of last year. And while I had hoped to have this release in time for March, March came and went but I think the final product will be all the better for the delay.

This is a pre-announcement for the official release on Monday but I couldn't wait to share the template with you and also update our members on a few things.

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A few days ago the Joomla team released the latest major version of Joomla - Joomla 3.5. There are a ton of new features in this release but one in particular that stands out as a major boon for all website owners - support for PHP7.

Joomla 35

PHP7 - A serious speed improvement

PHP7 was released in November 2015 and promises to be at least twice as fast as php5. Which is an incredible promise if you consider how important speed is when it comes to SERP ranking and that we can sometimes spend an inordinate amount of time shaving milliseconds of our website's page speed.

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This year marks ten years since I first registered the Joomlabamboo domain name. It's incredible to think it's been a decade. At the time I had no idea that Joomlabamboo would become the lifeblood of my work and that the Joomla CMS would figure so greatly in my life for the better part of a decade.

I first learnt how to code a template when I built the first website for my Acupuncture practice. I still work as an acupuncturist but web design and development consumes a far greater part of my time and focus.

My initial inspiration for starting Joomlabamboo was to be able to build simple, minimal and creative Joomla templates. When I look back through the catalogue I think we have more or less stayed true to that course (with a few significant deviations).

This post is designed to serve as an update for Joomlabamboo, the future of our templates and to provide some insight into the workings of a small template club in an ever growing, ever changing and ever expanding theming landscape.

TL;DR;

The gist of this post can be summarised as follows:

  • We are still here and aren't going anywhere
  • All current club members just had an extra month added to their subscription
  • We will be changing our subscription structure and release schedule in the near future
  • We have some new offerings on the way that will simplify and bring greater focus to our catalogue
  • Our Zen Grid Framework is days away from being compatible with Wordpress and our first Wordpress theme will be released next week.
  • We have a new free Joomla template and Wordpress theme called Blank.ly almost ready for release
  • We have an all in one builder template called Build.r that will be released next week.
  • We truly appreciate the support that our members have shown over the last ten years.

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I was excited to see a tweet go out last week about an exciting new Joomla Extensions offering by Cory Webb. I've long been a fan of Cory's work and was excited to see what he had put together. I've only had a chance to play with a few of the extensions so far, but from what I can see they are highly targeted extensions designed to fill a gap in the core Joomla functionality.

I really like this approach and so I decided to reach out to Cory directly to find out more about the inspiration behind his new project and his plans for 2016 ...

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What's new in Zentools2

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I've been working feverishly on Zentools2 this last month adding a ton of new features and requested content sources. What started out as a quick update very quickly turned into an obsessive bug fix / feature adding session. In fact the scope and scale of this update grew so much that I decided to make this new version of Zentools2 the offering for our club members this month.

This update adds to an already flexible and versatile extension by adding 5 new content sources, a fully enhanced curated gallery that can now be used to create a Paypal driven shop and embed social content, a lightbox that can play video and so much more.

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Joomla has the ability to add an alternative link to attach to an item. These are called Link A, Link B and Link C and can be found in the Images and links tab in the content manager. Zentools2 is able to makes use of the Link A value assigned to an item by allowing the user to replace the default item link with the Link A url.

This means that you can create stubs or snippets of content that use the data from each Joomla content item, but direct the user to a manually created link eg another component or external page.

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This is a quick snippet for being able to center items in a zentools2 module using a module class suffix in Joomla.

.center-module .zentools [grid-col] {float:none;display:inline-block}
.center-module .zentools {text-align:center;float:none}

Once this has been added to your custom.css file you can then use the module class center-module in the module class suffix field in the Zentools2 advanced panel.

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Over the last few days I've been fleshing out the documentation for Zentools2 and while there are still a few holes I thought I would let you know that I've detailed the documentation for using Exif data in Zentools2.

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In addition to the blog redesign that I just announced, I have also tweaked the email sent from our forum and ticket system. It's been a long while in coming but I am happy to say that the emails you get from the forum and ticket system from now on will be lot easier on the eyes. Check the before and after shots below.

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It's the start of a new year and so I thought it was time for a fresh coat of paint.

Over the small amount of downtime over the christmas and new year period that I took, I decided to rework the Joomlabamboo blog. Some of you with a keen appreciation of such things will have noticed that we have been more or less radio silent on the blog for the last half of 2015.

There were a number of factors that lead to this - which I will go into in detail in another post - but I thought what better way to get over such a long period of inactivity than with a redesign and for added measure a redesign on a new platform.

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Things have been a little quiet on the blog for the last half the year and for an update on what's been happening at Joomlabamboo please stay tuned for a forthcoming State of the Union blog post. I'll be announcing some new things for 2016, giving a run down on what's been happening - including this new blog design and more.

So while you wait for that blog post let me introduce our December Joomla template - Corporation.

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