Despite the fact that our Zentools module can handle responsive video natively we still needed an option that was easy for users to implement responsive video in their sites.

Once installed and published the Fitvids plugin transforms any video added to your content into a fluid / adaptive video elem…

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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.

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It seems like only yesterday that I released v1.3 of Zentools - oh wait it was ...

Unfortunately one feature that was omitted from that release was the ability to assign independant links to your items. This is a commonly requested feature on our forums and I believe represents one of the last missing pieces that makes Zentools one of the most versatile Joomla content modules available.

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Introducing Zentools v13


After a fair amount of wrangling (and delay) v1.3 of the Zentools module is now available.

This is a major update and one that I almost considered releasing as version 2. It comes with some great new features including the ability to apply presets and defaults as well as a new pagination layout.

Members can download Zentools from the Zentools download page.

Introducing Presets and defaults

While Zentools is mostly easy to configure, we have added preset and default options to make it even easier to get up and running. Now it's simply a matter of clicking a few buttons and you can replicate any of the default layouts we showcase on the Zentools demo site.


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jTweet v2 released


Yesterday I released a major update of our free Joomla twitter module. jTweet has been in need of a bit of a refresh for quite some time and this release adds a lot of flexibility and a lot of power. jTweet is built on the brilliant Sea of Clouds Tweet script with a few additions and enhancements.

Drag and Drop templating

If you've used our Zentools module you will know how easy it easy to create your own content layouts using the drag and drop interface; and now that same flexibility is available in the jTweet module. That means you can just drag and rearrange the elements you want to display in your tweet stream which means you have total control over how your twitter stream appears.


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So now it is ... you can download it on the JB Maps page.

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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:

{grid4}Here be monsters{/grid4}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:

{grid4_last}Here be monsters{/grid4_last}

You can see an example of how this renders in the upcoming Corporate Joomla tempolate below.


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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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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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Introducing Zentools

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.

Check out the demo here or grab yourself a copy.

Responsive layouts

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.


Dynamic Parameters

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.

Zentools Roadmap

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.

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I've just released an update for our free jQuery system plugin for Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 1.7 which has a very nifty new feature. You can now automatically add javascript to the bottom of your Joomla site simply by uploading your files to the plg_jblibrary/user folder media folder.

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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.

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