DeeEmm

Pragmatism in code

Pragmatism in code

Waxing lyrical about life the universe and everything software related since lunchtime 2006.

EasyBlog - Display list of blog titles using the Latest Blogs module

When recently migrating the DeeEm.com site I needed a way to be able to organise the tutorials section so that each tutorial was easily accessible. This meant creating an index of blog posts so that visitors could browse through each category so see if there were any mods that applied to their site. Whilst EasyBlog makes provision for listing category titles, there is no way to list the blog posts without additionally showing an intro portion from the post itself. This is achieved using the 'Latest Blogs' module, and whilst there is a setting to control the length of text displayed, even setting this to the minimum possible value, you will still display a couple of newlines in the output.

Whilst digging though the code to see if there was a way that I could modify the CSS or core code to force the list to display as I wanted, I discovered that there is a hidden value within the administration settings for the module that hides the intro text. The solution is to manually apply this value by directly editing the database table.

The value in question is for the 'introtext' variable: (Content be taken from). This will only allow you to select between 'introtext' or 'main content'. What you cannot see is there is a third value 'Hidden'. I assume that this does not display, due to it having the value '-1', or at least it does not display in the browsers that I am using.

The solution is therefore very simple. 

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Jcomment to EasyBlog comment migration

The recent migration from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 1.7 left me without a comments system for the tutorials section of the site. Previously this was handled by Jcomment, a great component that allows you to easily add commenting to standard Joomla articles, its only drawback, is that the Joomla 1.7 version is still some way from release.

After having taken a look at various options, including several other commenting systems, I decided that the best solution would be to import the tutorial articles into EasyBlog, mostly as this would help keep some continuity on the site. The migration of the posts went flawlessly, as expected, but this still left me with the actual comments to migrate. I briefly considered a manual migration, but then discovered that there are actually quite a few comments on the site.

After a bit of digging around I discovered that EasyBlog creates a table that cross references the old article ID's to the new ID's. This is created during the migration process and the values are stored in the '#__easyblog_migrate_content' table. Perfect for migrating the missing comments across.

Using this table I was able to change the object_id in the original jcomments table to match the new post_id for EasyBlog. I simply ran the following SQL statement from within phpMyAdmin. (You will notice that I've made a copy of the original table into the table h0ahq_oldjcomments, just in case.)

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Busmans Holiday

You would think that working on websites all the time i would have an up to date site myself, the problem is, that by the time I've finished working on everyone else's stuff, i don't really feel like working on my own.  Contrary to popular belief, there is actually a life outside of the internet (it's true :D ), and whilst it can be really hard to drag myself away from the monitor, I make a point of doing other (real and tangible) stuff wherever I can. This is especially true since having children. The upshot of this is that time is at a premium and my own sites suffer, nothing gets updated.

So with new abandon, I'm setting out to update DeeEmm.com. It's been long overdue, but the time has come to give the site a bit of a spruce up. i did take a bit of a look at this some time back, but as the site is still running from the old 1.5 version, the main reason for wanting to update was to upgrade to the newer 1.7 code. Unfortunately the jUpgrade code prescribed by Joomla for migrating to 1.7 did not seem to want to work, however, there is now a new version, and the test migration I performed last night worked flawlessly.

At this time I'm planning to migrate the info over, spruce up the template a little, and maybe (maybe), add a few new features in.

One component that I've been using quite a bit on other sites is EasyBlog from StackIdeas. This will probably see it's way into the update as it's much easier to use than publishing these posts via the Joomla interface. Plus, it comes with all of the bells and whistles that you would expect from an up to date blogging platform.

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