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Music to design to: Amiina

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I havent posted in the Music to design to series in sometime, but after a few months of listening to Amiina on almost perpetual repeat I thought it was time to share this amazing Icelandic band with you.

If you haven't heard of Amiina before they are partly made up of the string section of Sigur Ros - another Icelandic band that is on high rotation here at Bamboo HQ.

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Yesterday I announced v2.2.0 of the Zen Grid Framework and the addition of a new option for treating your navigations on small screens. Another new feature added to the framework in this release (and most of the framework v2 Joomla templates) is the sticky nav.

A sticky nav?

You have probably seen this effect before and in fact it's something we implemented on both the Colourshift and the Lifestyle Joomla templates. The effect basically makes the menu "stick" to the top of the browser window after the user as scrolled down a nominated distance from the top of the page.

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One of the key features of the version 2 of the Zen Grid Joomla Template Framework is it's responsive / mobile friendly functionality. Used with the Zentools module, it is a powerful tool for preparing your website across a range of screen sizes including targetting iPad and iPhone displays, without having to worry too much about creating a separate template for mobile users.

Working with menus on small screens ...

One of the challenges of responsive design is determining the best method for treating navigation on small screens. As with most things it seems that there is not one definitive solution (well not yet anyway) and that different approaches may be required for different contexts.

I think Brad Frost's synopsis on responsive design patterns is the most thorough overview of the available solutions to date and after reading that post it became clear that we needed to add a new option to the mobile menu option in the framework.

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Up until now our primary mode of social networking has been via twitter and a variety of automated rss feeds. Over the last month though I have started putting more energy into two new streams - Dribbble and Facebook.

Dribbble

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I was really excited when I received my Dribbble invite from Juan Arreguin and while I haven't taken many shots of our Joomla template work yet I can really see the potential.

If you are new to Dribbble it's essentially a social networking platform for designers where they can share shots, rebounds and feedback on design concepts.

In fact at first, the 400 by 300px limitation for each shot seemed unnecessarily restrictive but after uploading a few shots I realised the benefit of having to focus on such a small area of the design. It's easy to lose site of the detail when designing on a large canvas, so forcing myself to take Dribbble sized snapshots of a work in progress really helps to flesh out the detail of a design.

Two Dribbble Invites ...

Part of the allure of Dribbble is that it's invitation only and you can only join if you are drafted ... And it just so happens that I have two invitations available, so if you are a brilliant designer with some mad skills, drop a link to your folio in the comments and I will announce the recipients early next week.

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I often feel like I am part of some bizarre templating monarchical system where as soon as I release one template I immediately announce it's successor ... And so it is today after the release of the Epicure Joomla template yesterday I'm announcing (well just giving you a sneak peek) at the March template release called Vintage.

It is another David Vuu gem and as you can see from his dribbble shots it's a regal looking tumblr/polaroid/vintagey kind of design that we are aiming fairly and squarely at the Joomla blogging community. I'll post some more screenshots as we work through the build and flesh out the colour schemes but for now check out the Full screen and internal screenshots of the initial mock up.

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I'm happy to announce the availability of our latest responsive Joomla template. Epicure is an elegant template with subtle textures, refined typography and a stunning responsive slideshow.

You can see the Epicure demo, read about it's features, check out the extensive documentation or go straight to the download area to grab yourself a copy. Epicure is available as a combined download for Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 2.5 and also comes with Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 2.5 quickstart packages.

Six responsive Joomla templates and counting.

We are committed to creating cutting edge (nice alliteration!) responsive designs for Joomla and it is my hope that in the next few weeks we should have a few of our older themes ported across to version 2 of the Zen Grid Framework and also sporting marvellous mediaqueries that make for mobile friendly (couldn't help myself) Joomla templates.

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Earlier this week I released the Lifestyle Joomla template - a new responsive Joomla template. If you haven't seen the demo yet be sure to check it out, and if you want to find out more you can read the feature overview and documentation page.

If your subscription ran out in between January 1st and 8th February then you are entitled to get a copy of this template. Please contact us and we will let you know how you can get access to the file.

An inspiring Joomla template for February

We are gradually clawing our way back to having more timely Joomla template releases and it's my hope that the next template called Inspiration will be released in February. You can see some screenshots of Inspiration that I dribbbled earlier today below and it is shaping up to be quite a striking and versatile theme. Looking forward to showing you more.

Active slideshow thumbnail

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Some subtle 3D aspects ...

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Bottom of the slideshow ...

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It feels great to be able to announce that Zentools is now Joomla 2.5 compatible. If you missed it Joomla 2.5 was released yesterday and J2.5 has a lot of useful new features.

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.

The filter is available in the list and grid layouts.

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?

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Introducing Colour Shift

Colour Shift is a clean, crisp and colourful Joomla template that uses media queries to deliver a responsive design that scales to suit your visitor's screen size. Colour Shift joins our growing catalogue of other Responsive Joomla templates (Platform and Responsive).

Crucial info ...

If you haven't seen it yet you can see it in on the live demo. Otherwise you can see a list of the features, read through the documentation or download the template now.

We were late again ...

You may have also noticed that this is slightly late (well quite a bit late), so in keeping with our policy of supplying you with any joomla templates that you were entitled to during the term of your subscription but were not released during your subscription, if your subscription ran out between the 1st December and the 14th January then please drop us a line via the contact form and we will supply you with the Colour Shift files.

January Joomla Template

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Work is well underway for the January Joomla template and we are aiming at releasing it by the end of this month. The next design is another stunning offering from David Vuu that I'm sure you will agree is simply beautiful. You can see a full screenshot on David's Dribble profile.

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The bamboo working bee

While I recognise that most of the visitors here are more than likely facing winter at the moment, Australia has just started to warm up and that generally means getting out into the garden and cleaning up some of the debris that has built up over the last few months - (well more than a few months if I'm honest).

Cleaning up ...

I'd like to extend the summer vibe to all of our Joomlabamboo members and enlist your help to clean up the debris here at Joomlabamboo. I tend to be an enthusiastic typer - often using more letters than needed for a word - and while the spell check on OSX works ok, I sometimes miss crucial typos in the rush to hit the publish button.

Harvesting fruit ...

As an incentive for pointing out where my fingers have gone wrong on the keyboard, each typo found will add an extra day to your membership. These typos can cover our template language files, extensions, demo sites, docs etc (not the forum though).

Spraying for bugs, picking the flowers ...

If you are feeling super summery you can also help to spot unknown bugs in the extensions and templates too. Each confirmed bug will add a week to your subscription and just to show you how appreciative we are of your time, if you include the fix we are going to be super generous and add an entire month to your subscription.

Where to start ..

You can drop your bugs and typo's into the Working Bee Forum if you spot something awry.

Just add the details there with a clear definition of the issue (if it's a bug) or a provide a link to the page with the typo.

If the typo or bug hasn't previously been listed then at the end of the week this will go towards your tally and days, weeks or months will be added to your subscription.

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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.

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2011 has been a big year in the Joomla world.

The year that was ...

With the rise of Joomla template frameworks and Joomla CCK's, a new release cycle, two new Joomla versions, and download numbers hitting a staggering 27 million, Joomla's position and reach in the competitive open source CMS market hit new heights and the Joomla ecosystem itself became richer and even more diverse.

What's not in store for 2012 ...

So in the spirit of predicting and forecasting for the year ahead - here are ten Joomla headlines that you are not likely to read on blogs and press releases in 2012.

Special mentions

With thanks to Steve Burge, TJ Baker, Corey Webb and Michel van Agtmaal for helping to curate and refine the list.

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