Some notes: Joomla! Day Malaysia 2008

I would’ve written sooner about Joomla! Day Malaysia 2008, but I spent most of Sunday cringed in between the bed and the toilet. Here are a bunch of quick notes I took at the event, with some thoughts tacked on to it.

Overall impressions? It was good for a Joomla! beginner. While I would consider myself a Joomla! beginner, I’ve seen many a CMS and maybe am a tad bit jaded. There is a great amount of interest in Joomla! – about 200 people registered for a paid for event (not cheap either – RM70 for a Joomla! forum member, and RM150 for regular visitors). So there’s definitely money to be made in Joomla! and CMSes in general.

Location? This is the first time I’ve been to the rather infamous Cititel hotel, tacked to MidValley. Held at the 5th floor, I noticed that people were allowed to smoke within the corridors. I consider this a massive FAIL for a hotel – a smoke free environment within air-conditioning is so much better. I couldn’t find a single power socket, which was rather woeful considering I’d have wanted to write more notes had my battery lasted longer. WiFi seemed non-existent, but I had my broadband modem.

On to it. The day started of with Toby Patterson, from Green Mountain Information Technology and Consulting, a joomla.org developer for the last year and a half, and all round nice guy, who seems to be based in Thailand. It was an introduction to Joomla! 1.5, in where I learned that Joomla! finally makes use of UTF-8 by default.

The templating system is simple: it just makes use of HTML and PHP. I was wondering if it also made use of CSS, so a quick Google showed me that it did (duh to me!).

I then learned that Joomla! is really three separate, yet related applications:

  • Installer Application
  • Site Application
  • Administrative Application

Apparently, you can use the Administrative app, without ever touching the Site app. Interesting.

In Joomla! 1.6, access control lists will exist. I’m wondering, why not just use database GRANTs, but from what I understand they want some group grants and so on…

Today, you can authenticate against your GMail account. I’d also like to presume that OpenID is supported (a quick Google sort of tells me it is) . Apparently, there is also logging in against LDAP.

Next up, I found out that azrul.com isn’t actually a one man show, but an eight person company! They describe themselves as “The Joomla Expert” (really, should be experts now!), and one of their most popular products are Jom Comment.

Its interesting to know that the Joomla! community has got an active amount of extensions, and some are commercial while some are open source/free. A lot of the extensions also have a similar Enterprise/Community model attached to it.

There was a HOWTO install Joomla! which seemed easy enough. The guy from azrul.com, a Mark, mentioned that you could use ext/MySQL or ext/MySQLi, and mentioned that you get some benefits from ext/MySQLi, but didn’t go deeply into it. During the example, he went on to use ext/MySQL, so during the Q&A, I chimed in on why ext/MySQLi would rock harder.

Later on, I found out that Joomla! URLs by default are not human readable, so you have to use some form of plugin, to enhance your SEO. The speaker, Syed Ahmad Fuqaha mentioned that his site had a Google PageRank of 3 when he started, and its now moved up to a PageRank of 5 after using SEO tactics (kudos! I wonder if I should apply some SEO magic to my blog and get it up from a PageRank of 6 to maybe a 7? I wonder if I’ll even be bothered…).

The SEF-url engine comes with every installation of Joomla!, but it has no URL caching (so the server will take the load). It can work with or without Apache mod_rewrite. A cached URL is created and saved in the database… its faster, there’s a little overhead to parse the URL, and it requires a single database call. Apparently, the preferred magic is: sh404SEF.

There was good chat on security, and while I’ve not audited the Joomla! code, its safe to assume that an SQL injection means the code needs some fixing. There were suggestions for security through obscurity. There were also bits about configuring PHP, MySQL and Apache “correctly”.

Joomla! also has got compatibility issues between versions. There is some old compatibility mode that exists now in 1.5, with 1.0, but come 1.6, the old compatibility mode will only exist with 1.5, so if you’ve got a 1.0 site, its soon to become EOL – start porting your stuff now!

Lunch was provided, buffet style. Imagine competing with 200 folk… There were t-shirts, but surprisingly, no more Large ones available the moment I got to it.

A little later, @wariola Twittered that there was some interesting message on the Joomla! forums by a Sam. Interesting reading, but it was deleted (sigh!). Azrul has a good response, and I have a few quick suggestions:

  1. The entrance fee is costly, and can be made cheaper if it wasn’t held at a hotel. Do it at a university hall, or something.
  2. Community event vs. “training” session. If it was meant to be a community event (ala Barcamp), its usually free. If people fork money out, they expect to be trained. Its simple economics.
  3. I wish I had known about the CfP before. I’d have definitely submitted a talk topic.
  4. While Azrul totally expected speakers to suck at presenting, I didn’t find them to suck in general. But for first time speakers, some form of “speaker training” might have been appropriate. No harm, no foul, public speaking in front of 200 people even trips up experienced speakers from time to time.
  5. Google is useful. It was even more useful at the event, as I could not only learn from the speakers, but go on and absorb further via the Interwebs
  6. Assuming everyone paid RM70 (untrue, I’m sure), and there were 200 registrants, that’s RM14,000 (lowest bar – highest bar, RM30,000). Throw in sponsors, and if run well, there can definitely be a profit in there for the organisers. Naturally, I don’t know what the hotel costs, but a hotel tends not to be the best location for a community event…

All in all, here’s to the next Joomla! Day. Remember folk, there’s money to be made here (and in CMS’es in general). /me smells a DrupalCon, etc. coming up :)

  • http://techpenang.com NaS

    Great coverage Colin! I’d have joined u guys if they’d stick with discounted rate for out-of-towner (had to fork out another rm300 for a round-trip), but the organizer insisted on premium rate after some payment mishaps on their part (despite early registration)… plus, kl turned out to have a much more exciting event that weekend, which i ended up attending…

    Joomla Day in Penang perhaps, which I’ll definitely join in…

  • wariola

    Thx for the coverage man.. I chose Jdub on that day and yet to feel disappointed.

    I agree that this kinda event should be more community event if the idea was having fun together and learn from each other. Joomla! got one of the most awesome brand in the IT circle, why not try to penetrate more n more user by lowering the bar for the participation (free or very low fee event). I feel this is a miss to promote more open source in Malaysia… Just giving my 2 cents.. :-)

  • shaifful

    Hi, Thanks for commenting out for Joomla-Day.
    I’ve taken down everything that been said or spoken, maybe next year. Depending on the sponsor for the event. I will try to make it free.
    I hope that we can do big event without forking much money.
    I do agree, that the event can be done at University etc. That is on my considerations. However, we are lack of resources.
    Therefore we just stick on last year format with some changes.

    Please send me suggestion etc, directly to me. Because the event is supposedly to run under my name and our community rather than a company. So I’m responsible for everything. Not to run from responsibility, but I need more input for such event. Maybe, if there is no joomla-day next year. I hope that we can collaborate to plan bigger event for OpenSource Malaysia Day maybe next year.

    p/s thanks for correcting me during the security sessions. I was quite tired that time, just arriving from kuantan by bus that very morning.

    Thanks

    Shaifful.

  • shaifful

    Hi, I’ve read your comments about me regarding MySql part in my presentation in Joomla. Suprisingly, I could not find that in my speech/presentation after I review again my presentation which has been recorded by a friend of mine.

    I have never stated such a way to optimize database is by optimizing the table, instead of optimizing the whole database. Therefore, Please, before quoting anything. Make sure that you have recorded everything on tape/etc.

    You have mentioned President of Joomla-My which is not very good my reputation. I have all the evident that can prove my case. After all the MySQL guy too did not say anything about me too.

    Please remove comments about Joomla-MY president before any action will be taken against you. I will not tolerate such attack on personal.

    Thanks

  • http://www.bytebot.net/ byte

    Shaifful,

    http://www.aidi-ahmi.com/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid=38&func=fileinfo&id=58

    Go to slide 4, you mention on bullet 5, “Optimize MySQL database (joomla database)”. Guess what? I was making you look *smarter*. You can actually optimize your database, by optimizing tables within it (so the joomla database or the jos_prefix as you describe, you run say the event scheduler to do it on a per table basis)

    Read more at:
    http://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.0/en/optimize-table.html

    Your comments look like they come from two different people, or someone suffering from schizophrenia. The first one suggests you would like to thank me for corrections, the second one suggests “after all the MySQL guy too did not say anything about me too”. If you recall, “The MySQL Guy” went up to the question mike, and had a long list of paper, writing thoughts, and telling you what could be improved. The audience, ended up CLAPPING after that.

    You want to *threaten* me with your video evidence? Haha. How about this. I put it to you that you UPLOAD the video to Google Video/YouTube, and ask people to endure the thirty or so minutes of your speech.

    And no, I don’t record things on tape. But maybe I should have. Because after reading this message, and replying, I’d think to myself, “Why so serious? I should put a smile on that face” :)

    Looking forward to your reply.

  • http://yoonkit.blogspot.com Yoon Kit

    Shaifful,

    > any action will be taken against you.
    > I will not tolerate such attack on personal.

    Threatening ‘action’ against people who provide frank and honest opinions will not fix your reputation. Its only a personal attack if Colin commented on what you chose to wear, or your lack of grammatical standards, or how you smelt. But he didnt. He commented on the content of your public speech, so just deal with it.

    Take it as something to learn. Dont get so antsy, dude!

    yk.

  • http://ditesh.gathani.org/blog Ditesh Gathani

    > You have mentioned President of Joomla-My which is not very good my
    > reputation. I have all the evident that can prove my case. After all the
    > MySQL guy too did not say anything about me too.

    > Please remove comments about Joomla-MY president before any action will
    > be taken against you. I will not tolerate such attack on personal.

    If you want to get pissed off, could you at least do so in proper English or Malay? Reading such pisswine makes for good entertainment but bad rants. Truly an epic fail.

    Please repost your comments in proper English/Malay before I decide to take any action is taken against you. I will not tolerate such attacks on the English grammar.

    Ditesh

  • http://thedaneshproject.com Danesh

    Now, it’s getting interesting.

  • Ruben

    People,

    Why so serious??

    Lets put smiles on those faces!!

  • http://rajaseelan.com Raja

    LOL. Why so serious indeed

  • nahrafqifahs

    Be patient guyz… don’t take seriously… Joomla! means ALL TOGETHER… stick to it…

  • http://daventurewebtech.com daventurewebtech

    “I am using sh404 component at my site. And index.php is coming in between my urls can any one help me to remove it.
    http://daventurewebtech.com/index.php/services.html i want to remove index.php and is should be look link this http://daventurewebtech.com/services.html


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