The next major update to Zentools is now available and although it's not the major v2 milestone I was hoping for it's a worthwhile update for anyone using Zentools.
There are a number of important bug fixes in this release and importantly some fixes for the lightbox which seemed to have some trouble in some browsers (not mentioning any names) when it came to keeping track of responsive images and dynamic lightbox resizing.
Yesterday I released an update to the JB Type plugin.
The new version is essentially a bug fix but I added some new styles to the plugin that I had scheduled for the next major update that I felt just couldn't wait.
Adding grid layouts to your content ...
As you may have seen we use a percentage based responsive grid in our Joomla templates which is also available to users to implement within their content. You can see these grids in action in the Lifestyle template as an example.
However the latest release of JB Type now provides the ability for users of the Zen Grid Framework to use the simplified JB Type syntax to render the very same grids.
As an example users can now specify a grid such as:
Here be monsters
Any content that has the grid tags applied to it will then be automatically rendered in a div tag that has the grid_four class applied to it. Within a Zen Grid Framework template this will be output as a block of text which floats to the left, has a margin of 3.4% and spans 30.75% of the available are within the content item.
If you wanted to apply the zenlast class and float the block to the right and remove the margin then yopu would use the following syntax:
You can see an example of how this renders in the upcoming Corporate Joomla tempolate below.
In particular Zentools has pulled in two of the new features into it's layout options.
Using Joomla 2.5 article images for the Zentools image
Joomla 2.5 now allows you to specify images for your content without the need to actually display them in the intro or full text of the item. Zentools has been doing this with K2 for a while, but now you can use an image in the module that isn't displayed in the item itself. The benefit for this is that you can use large images in the slideshow that do not then disrupt the flow of content in the content item itself.
Specifying alternate links in Joomla 2.5
One of the more common requests we have had over the years for our modules is to be able to specify a unique url for the item in the module. Joomla 2.5 allows us to do this easily so now via the url fields in the content item. If you have a unique url specified in the Joomla content item you can have that specific Zentools item link to an external url - this applies for both the lightbox and content item link options.
The filter view for list and grid layouts...
When I first developed version 1.0 of Zentools I left out the filter view option which can be still found in the older Microblog module - It soon became clear to me that I under estimated how popular this layout was.
Zentools 1.2 implements the filter option albeit in a slightly different way by using the item categories to sort and filter the items. So when your items in the module come from two or more categories (and you enable the category filter option) a list of the category titles is displayed above the module content.
When the user clicks on the category title it shows the items from that category and hides the rest. It does this via a lovely animation provided by the Isotope script.
Single item galleries in Zentools
Another useful addition to Zentools v1.2 is the ability to display a single item that leads to a lightbox gallery. The concept is simple but I'm sure this will come in useful for people wanting to use a single trigger to launch a gallery of images or content items in a fancybox lightbox.
So what's coming in v1.3?
This is actually where you get to have your say (again).
I'm looking at adding support for Zoo from Yootheme to the module and also adding flickr and twitter layout options.
What would you like to see in Zentools v1.3?
The Zentools module uses our own image resizer that can be found in the JB Library plugin and the Zen Grid Framework plugin. It is a powerful resizing tool that has the ability to resize and cache images and is used extensively in the zentools module.
For some time now we have been working on streamlining our workflow and in particular consolidating some of our core code base. The unified Zen Grid Framework Plugin we released along with the Responsive Joomla template were the first wave of the consolidation and I am happy to say that stage two is now here.
The Zentools module is a flexible (read responsive) Joomla module that can deliver some stunning content and image galleries from a range of content sources.
The beauty of the Zentools module is that it is 100% responsive. All of the layotus whether it be a slideshow, carousel, list, grid or accordion will respond to the width of your template and if your template permits to the width of the browser.
This means that you can now use a slideshow in your content that will scale beautifully on mobile platforms (if your template supports it). Check out the Slideshow demo and resize the browser to see whta I mean.
Drag and Drop
It features a super simple drag and drop interface which controls the various content elements available in the module. This gives you unprecedentated flexiblility when it comes to determining how and where items in your gallery will be laid out.
Gone are the days where you had to sift through acres of settings in order to control your content. The Zentools module dynamically populates the relevant settings in your module based on your layout selection, content source and element selection. So if you are using Joomla as your content source then you wont see any settings that relate to K2 and vice versa.
Images from a directory as a source
One of the limitations of the current stock of modules has been that we haven't had a simple way to populate a slideshow from images in a folder and then attach it to your content. Slideshow3 certainly has that ability but the Zentools implementation makes this almost effortless.
A unified Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 1.7 module
In keeping with all of our recent releases the Zentools module will install on either Joomla 1.5 or Joomla 1.7 from a single package with no trouble.
Recently expired members can get a copy
I spoke last week about the various interuptions to our development process over the last month to six weeks and as a way of making this up to recently expired members, we are going to make this module available to you. So if your membership ran out from the 1st November to today just send us a note via the contact form and we will pass a copy of the module on to you.
After we get the next theme out the door - which I hope will be available by Friday - the plan is to retrofit all of our old templates and quickstart packages with the Zentools module.
And then once that is done I will be adding support for some more content sources such as flickr, twitter and perhaps some more Joomla ccks.
Also on the cards is the addition of some new layouts to choose from such as content tabs and another variation on a slider.
We are certainly keen to here what you would you like to see in the module? So if you have some ideas - let us know in the comments.
As some of you may have noticed it's now December and we are yet to release the November template. November has been a funny month for us with some staff changes, a design that didn't quite come into it's own until quite late in the piece as well as needing more time than anticipated to bring a new module to the table. All of this has lead to us being incredibly late with the next template ... but please don't despair there is some good news ahead.
The Platform Joomla Template
The good news is that the November template - Platform - is almost ready and it is stunning. It's a clean full width template that uses Masonry to create complex (but easy to control) layouts in a non-traditional blog format. It is also a responsive design and will scale to suit your iphone, android, ipad device as well small screen and large screen monitors. Check out the full width screenshot here.
I've just released a raft of updates for our template Framework and some of our popular Joomla Extensions. Please note that information related to potential security vulnerabilities on some of our extensions is below.
An update to the Zen Grid Framework
The framework release fixes a number of issues that have popped up since the release of our Responsive Joomla template a few weeks ago. You can read the full run down of the changes in the Zen Grid Framework 2 changelog.
JCE JB Type Plugin available for JCE v2
Last night I also released the JCE JB Type plugin v2.0 (compatible with JCE v2.x) that puts the ease of our typography plugin right inside the JCE Joomla content editor. I want to send a very special thanks to Ryan Demmer for putting this JCE plugin together for us.
The JB Type plugin, jTweet and jFlickr modules have also had small although significant updates. They are all now available as a unified package which means you know longer have to worry about which version of the extension to download. The packages will install on Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 1.7.
A few days ago I notified the VEL Team that a number of our extensions had potential security issues. The issues related to missing no direct acces statements that could in some server configurations lead to a full server path disclosure. All users of the following modules are advised to update to the latest version in order to cover any potential issues: JB Slideshow3, CaptifyContent, Microblog and Bamboo Box.
This vulnerability is only evident on servers that have display_errors set to on and when a user attempts to access one of the admin interface elements directly. If in doubt then please ensure that you update to the latets version.
Users of the captifyContent module can download the latest version for free form the captifyContent download page.
- Captify Content - All versions prior to v1.0.1 of the unified package.
- Microblog - Joomla 1.7 only. Versions prior to v1.10.3
- JB Slideshow - Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 1.7 versions prior to v3.5.1
- Bamboo Box - J1.5 all versions prior to 1.2.2
One of the things I don't enjoy when using Joomla 1.7 is navigating through the module position options in the admin when trying to assign a module to a position. There is plenty of stuff I like about Joomla 1.7, but this one has me regularly venting in frustration at the screen when it comes time to open that modal box.
I know that displaying the module positions like that really showcases the flexibility of template assignment and module positioning in Joomla 1.7, but I see complexity rather than flexibility. In fact I often resort to typing the module position in the combobox rather than opening that dreaded dialogue.
In some of our recent Joomla templates like Newscycle and as far back as Rasa, you may have noticed that we implemented some subline styling ion the menu items. A design element that has gained a fair amount of attention and use from the design community in the last 12 months or so.
Up until now we have relied on a small modification to the awesome bbcode plugin from YV to do the heavy lifting. It always seemed like overkill to us to draw upon such a small part of that plugin's feature set and also add to the general memory load that comes with using multiple content replace plugins on a Joomla site, so a few weeks ago we decided to bundle those styles into our versatile and free JB Type plugin.
Our free Joomla extension CaptifyContent is now available for Joomla 1.6. If you haven't seen it before, Captify first made a splash on the front page of our Grid Joomla template and it is basically a module that can create a lovely grid layout for images from your content items or category images. The implementation in Joomla 1.6 has changed slightly so please make sure you read the docs on the Captify page for an update on how to use the category image option.