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.
I'm very happy to announce the availability of our April Joomla template release - Arcadia.
Arcadia is a fun and creative responsive Joomla template that features an awesome header design from Glenn Thomas aka The Fox and the King. Glenn has a unique visual style and after meeting him a few months ago in the new studio space I couldn't wait to put his style into a Joomla template for you. I'll be publishing an interview with Glenn in the next few days so stay tuned if you want to find out more about this amazing Melbourne artist.
Arcadia is built on the T3 framework and features a tonne of theming options and some very flexible functionality. It's built to be compatible with our new Zenkit v2 release (Demo coming soon) so all of you K2 fans out there will be able to drop Arcadia into an existing or new K2 site without any trouble at all.
Zentools v1.9 is a relatively minor update but i thought it warranted a 0.1 increment. You can get a full rundown of the changes and fixes on the Zentools changelog. If you are new to Zentools - check out what it can do on the Zentools demo site.
No need for JB Library in Joomla 3
This new version no longer requires the JB Library plugin when using it in Joomla 3.0 - so there is one less plugin to install on your site now.
Folks using the module in Joomla 2.5 still need either the framework or the library installed to process images as well as load jQuery.
I'm happy to announce the availability of Zentools v1.8 - our all in one responsive content and image gallery module. The main additions in this release are a beautiful new responsive lightbox, the introduction of font icons for some of the module assets and a new simple slideshow theme.
Responsive Lightbox for Zentools
One of the weak points in our responsive arsenal, up until now at least, has been the zentools lightbox. It certainly looked pretty but became problematic once you started changing the browser size or adding oversized content on smaller screens.
This release solves all of that by dropping in an elegant and intelligent responsive lightbox solution. The new lightbox will scale according to the viewers screensize and also cleans up the user interface to make it a much more inuitive experience for the end user.
The new lightbox also supports deep linking so it is possible to link directly to a lightbox element. Click here to see an example. In addition to this it also supports full screen mode for those browsers and os's that support that as well as a slick thumbnail viewer which becomes available when viewing image galleries.
You can see the new lightbox on the zentools demo site.
Earlier this month I spoke about the Melbourne Joomla day that will be held on the 19-20 January in 2013 and I hinted at a developer focussed session I will be running based on the Zen Grid Framework, Zentools and Zenkit.
This session is in addition to the talk I'll be giving about more general templating strategies during the conference program and will focus on getting into the nitty gritty of developing Joomla templates using our framework and other zen products.
Zentools v1.7.3 is now available.
This update fixes a few key issues and adds some new functionality to the tweet tag field. More information via the zentools changelog.
I've just released Zentools v1.7 which adds a really handy new feature - the ability to load images in the module based on the users screensize. This means that you can now tell Zentools to load small images on mobile browsers and large images to desktops, which will significantly reduce the asset payload for our responsive Joomla templates on mobile devices.
The new functionality comes courtesy of the response.js jQuery script which uses data attributes to determine which size image to load on the site according to your visitors screen size. This has the benefit of making sure that your image assets loaded through our zentools module are optimised for the context in which they are being viewed.
Up until now if you had loaded a full width slideshow on both desktops and mobile devices the same image was used for each. Now you can specify an optimum image size to display for each viewing size.
I'm currently in the midst of finalising our next Joomla template release and have just updated one of the document pages related to Zentools. You can see the new doc on targetting featured items in Zentools here.
For a sneak peek at some sneaky dribbble shots check out the Highline project page on Dribbble.
As of Zentools 1.5.5 it is now possible to target featured items in any zentools layout. The update adds no inherent styling to the module but creates a hook for us to target in our themes and for those of you who are building your own.
For a full run down on the new functionality check out the document over at the Zentools documentation area.
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?