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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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It's been a few months since we released Zentools v2 - our responsive gallery module for Joomla 3 - and during that time we have been busily integrating it into all of our new Joomla templates.

The response to Zentools v2 has been great and we have received a lot of great feedback from users regarding what they want to see in future versions. I've just released v1.1 which features a few major user motivated requests that add some great new features to the module.

You can read the full changelog over here or check out a quick overview below:

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Zentools2 v1.0.9 is now available for download.

This is a minor update with some some additions as well as tweaks and fixes, including the addition of image hover fade effects where images can fade to black or white when a user hovers over the image.

Please note that after installing this version of Zentools2 you will also need to recreate the master css via the theme tab for some of the fixes to take effect.

v1.1 will be ready next week.

For those of you waiting for the addition external links and some other new features, they will be released in a version of Zentools scheduled for release next week.

UPDATE - Ive just released a beta version of 1.1 with manual link option on the forum.

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Just a quick note to let you know that we have just rolled out releases for all of our Zen Grid Framework v4 themes. There are a range of fixes in these releases and the framework has been updated with some minor fixes and additions so please check the changelog for an idea of whats been updated.

You will need to compile less to css for some of these changes to take effect.

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The knowledgebase for the Zen Grid Framework v4 just received a big update.

A big change in the CMS eco system over the past few years has been the increase in popularity of so called flat file content management systems.

A flat file CMS is usually a database-less content management system that stores the content in files in markdown or other formats. The CMS essentially parses the content in these files through it's template in order to render the page. Depending on the size and type of website you are using, flat file websites are generally faster and easier to maintain, although they also tend to require a slightly more technically minded user to be operate them.

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