I’ve written in the past about the various tool I had been using to produce the web software I publish. I have recently converted to Mac OS X. I had promised you that I’d evaluate my web development experience on that platform and come back with a blog post about it. Here you go! This post is about all the tools I am using day after day and how they improved my productivity as a web developer.

Time over time, users make an unsurprising feature request on the AkeebaBackup.com forum: “Can you make it so that I can synchronize a live and dev site without a full backup?”. The typical answer they get is “No, because of technical issues”. I was surprised to see that a trending idea in ideas.joomla.org is exactly that – not to mention that it was submitted by one of the people very actively engaged with core Joomla! development. In the hope that anyone cares to read, I am going to make the case against such a feature, proving why it is a Really Bad Idea™.

Disclosure: I have the know-how to create such a feature and make it work on most servers and most sites. I even have code infrastructure in place to easily make it happen, without having to start from scratch. This article is a breakdown of my research and spec notes when I was doing the feasibility study of such a feature. After reading this lengthy article, you'll hopefully understand why I decided to never put it to code and, most likely, agree with my choice too.

When I roam around the open Internet I sometimes find myself in front of nasty surprises. No, I don't mean what you think... I see code written so badly which, despite the author's best intentions, manages to somehow introduce more problems than the single problem it tried to tackle. One such case was a set of patches regarding alternative layouts about to make it in Joomla! 1.6. Since the author of the patch doesn't get the damage caused, I'll take the challenge to explain it.

Joomla!’s temporary off-line mode is a very handy option to temporarily take your site down while performing maintenance —e.g. updating the Joomla! core or an extension— and is even suggested by the official documentation for the unfortunate time that your site has been compromised. However, is this really off-line, or are there any pitfalls you should be aware of?

Today Joomla! turns 5. It was five years ago when a handful of individuals decided to put community engagement and Freedom of Choice above profit and fork the Mambo CMS, forming one of the most successful 100% community-driven projects in the world: Joomla!

Most of us are already very experienced with Joomla! so as not to require any help building our own sites. Listening to the client's objectives we can intuitively translate their needs to extensions and potential set-ups. This knowledge comes from years of experience in doing this kind of work. However, this isn't always the case with those who are fresh to the world of the Joomla! CMS. What they need is some guidance or, if you'd like, a way to “seed” their brains with adequate ideas to get them started. I was recently reading Packt Publishing's new book, “Joomla! 1.5 Site Blueprints”, which seems to fit nicely this bill.

I promise you, this article doesn't have to do anything with religion. It talks about site security. The beast I am referring to is unwittingly opening a back door to your site to potential hackers. You may not know it, but you could be a sitting duck. It all lies in the dark world of ownership, users, groups and permissions. This is a long article, but I promise you to learn things you would have never imagined. Let us shed some light to the mystery of the 777 number and kill the evil beast!

On quite a few occasions fellow developers ask me which is the best way to get started with Joomla! Development. Among other things, I always propose that they should have a complete reference of the Joomla! Framework API. The only book which was up to this task was “Mastering Joomla! 1.5 Extension and Framework Development”, albeit a bit outdated since it was written when Joomla!1.5 was still in beta, some two and a half years ago. When Packt Publishing announced that they'd release the updated “Mastering Joomla! 1.5 Extension and Framework Development (Update)” I got ecstatic! So, here you go, I reviewed the new edition of the book and I'm willing to share my experience with you.

Like all of you, I just found out that the upcoming Joomla! World Conference in Melbourne was postponed due to... a rain forecast?! I understand that this is a figure of speech (OK, I'm Greek, I'm not stupid). The "rain" is used metaphorically and this is exactly why I tweeted yesterday that “It takes more than a website and a joomla.org announcement to organize a world conference. It requires COMMUNITY involvement”. Some people mistook my tweet as a bad take on the Australian and Asian Joomla! Community and the event's organizers, implying that they're incapable, or unimportant, or something like that. On the contrary! This is why I am writing this blog post.

Unless you live under a rock, you already know that the past three days J and Beyond 2010 was taking place in Wiesbaden, Germany. The fact that it was the first international Joomla! event was further stressed as it was organized (impeccably!) by the community, for the community. It has been an amazing experience and – certainly – the best three days of my Joomla! life.