Refactoring Joomla!

Hello, I’m Nicholas. Most of you know me as the author of popular components like Akeeba Backup and Admin Tools. Some of you know me as a frequent code contributor to Joomla!. I’m very outspoken to the point that people think I’m an asshole. Most likely I am. I was working as a business consultant long before I turned to full time software development and, as you know, business consultants are always seen as assholes, usually ranking lower in being well-liked than accounting and legal departments. But you know what else business consultants do besides being assholes? They know how to make an organisation do more with the same people (or even less, which is why people think we are assholes). So there you have it, I was refactoring businesses before I got to refactoring code. This is my take on refactoring Joomla!’s organisation structure. It’s a long read, ideal for a Sunday morning.

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The interesting effects of losing a pro bono job

I’m quite sure that most of you wouldn’t bat an eyelid on losing a pro bono job. You proposed to do some work for free, the other party didn’t agree for some odd reason, less work for you, end of story. But once in a while there’s a lesson to be had from such an experience, leading to interesting ripple effects. For example, a Joomla! guy ended up with a WordPress blog. Intrigued?

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The invasion of small form factor computers

Tablets, laptops and the like are great and convenient, but they don’t make much sense for certain needs. Think about media servers / players, home and small office servers (from a simple NAS to special purpose servers), or even educational / kid computers to hook up on the living room’s TV set to save some space and help parents monitor their kid’s activity. These use cases call for small, power-efficient yet powerful and easy to use computers. Over the last few years it has become increasingly easier to get such a machine. In this short article I am going to present the three small form factor computers which have won my heart and a permanent place in my home office.

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Why I’m not using the Nooku Framework any more

This is a question I have been asked too many times ever since I announced I would be refactoring the component to not use Nooku anymore. Well, it all boils down to stability and compatibility of the framework. And it’s finally time to write down everything I have in my mind and promised to put on a blog post many times during the last three weeks.

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The files of wrath

If you are into Joomla! extensions development you are undoubtedly familiar with the rule of index.html, that is the necessity to put a “blank page” index.html file on any and all directories containing PHP files. This habit is so ingrained to the mentality of Joomla! developers that it’s now dubbed a “security feature” and made a prerequisite to publishing your extension in the Joomla! Extensions Directory. The thing is, is it really a security feature or are we trying to solve the wrong problem?

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Social responsibility or WTF am I making Joomla! 1.6 software

You may have seen me on quite a few occasions advising against using Joomla! 1.6. You have most certainly seen that I was the first developer to embrace Joomla! 1.6 and my extensions were among the first to fully support Joomla! 1.6. Actually, Akeeba Backup was the first major extension and the first third-party extension ever to run natively on Joomla! 1.6. So what is that? Am I hypocrite? Am I suffering from schizophrenia? Or is it something more unalarming?

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Tools of the trade – Mac OS X edition

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.

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Myths and Facts on Site Synchronization

Time over time, users make an unsurprising feature request on the 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 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.

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