Drupal, an open source server based content management system (CMS) and which we have mentioned here (built in PHP/MySQL technology), can support a wide range of web designing including blogs, community, promotional websites and many more.
Drupal provides easy tools with the help of which various sites can be easily developed. Its minimum requirement and easy installation makes it even more user friendly. Various modules available with Drupal.org further enhance the scope and usability.
Here we are presenting a few modules which can come extremely handy while building a college community website based on Drupal.
Enable users to create and manage their own ‘groups’. Each group can have subscribers, and maintains a group home page where subscribers communicate amongst themselves.
This module will be helpful in creating groups for members like teachers, students etc. You can even group students according to their class. The advantage of this module is that, we can have group posts that are only visible for those group members.
See the Organic Groups module in action here.
This module will display any views date field in calendar formats, including CCK date fields, node created or updated dates, etc. Switch between year, month, and day views. Back and next navigation is also provided for all views.
You might find it useful for posting college events and other stuff to be shown on the calendar.
Sometime ago we’ve introduced Seedling, a pre-configured Joomla package plus extensions and modules.
Now we have another tip for you: K2 (and that’s not the mountain).
What is K2 and for what can you use it?
K2 is a content construction component which lets you create custom content types (aka items) for your Joomla! website. Having this component installed on top of your Joomla! web software allows you to transform your website to a news site with author blogs, product catalogs, work portfolio, knowledge base, download/document manager, directory listing, event listing and more…all these packed together in one single component.
The component is very flexible, you can add as many content fields as you want and create category-specific content items, e.g. article, blog post, product page, directory listing.
The standard offer are nested-level categories, tags, comments, item image (useful for articles/catalogs), videos, galleries, user profiles, attachments, ajax-based frontend editing and more.
Here is a demo for you to try: http://k2.joomlaworks.gr/demo/
If you have already a Joomla! CMS website and want to use K2 you need to convert your content to K2. There’s no easy way to do it but Jeremy Wilken found a way and built a piece of software which does that. Checkout his K2 Converter.
K2 is a product of JoomlaWorks, a Greece-based web development company (since 2006) specialized in developoing Joomla and Mambo content management systems components.
Yes, our website MyTestbox.com was down for several days starting with the last weekend and lasting until day before yesterday.
As you have already seen, we went through a major overhaul of our site design. We got many reviews of our last design that it was nice and elegant but too dark for long reading.
Well, we listened to the reviews and changed for the better.
However, this change wasn’t without pain… And this “thanks” is to our webhosting company, Bluehost.com. I have chosen Bluehost (it was my responsibility – I didn’t know I was going to regret that) after researching offers and reviews for several hosting providers. Our site is not that big in terms of storage and traffic demands (at least, for now) so I wanted to get a good offer with a fair price (we were looking, basically, for a shared account for now). From among hundreds of companies in this field I have selected a few (of course, I have researched all of them). Goddady, Dreamhost, Lunarpages, Hostway, Hostgator were among the frontrunners but in the end I settled down for Bluehost.com.
Good offering, good price and, as I read and then experienced, good customer service.
One big drawback though: from among many reviews almost nobody mentioned about their backup policy. Thinking it’s pretty solid I went with them and signed for one year (on their features page they say “Courtesy Site Backups” but they don’t tell how often they are doing this “courtesy”).
For several months all went fine. Site was up, handled traffic quite well. Then all the hell broke loose: the site could not connect to the database (we use MySQL database for the backend, the front end being the well-known web software WordPress).
I found out the Bluehost’s database server was down. I called them and they, curteously, explained that they had a problem with their database system and they have to reset it, which means restoring from a backup.
1-2 weeks old backups??
But guess what? Their backup happened to be one week old! And thus I lost several posts. Ok, I wrote them back (one thing I dislike the most is repeating the efforts of what has already been done). I just finshed those articles (took me 2-3 days because I have other things to do too) and guess what? Bluehost’s database went cuckoo again. So I lost AGAIN what I have just wrote! No wonder, they had, yet AGAIN, a backup one week old. Yes, I know, I should have my backup too. I understand that. But not always you can have the latest nor have time to have the latest. So I learned my lesson and I installed a backup plugin for the WordPress database which does a daily backup and it’s kept on the server and I download it from time to time on my computer.
Now, other months went by…and we decided to change the site’s design. Last week we did that and then we started to put back stuff we had before also upgrading WordPress (and configuring). Again, we just finished and this time the Bluehost’s web server went to meet its Creator. In other words, it died. And because we did work directly on the server (yeah, silly again) no backups were made.
When it was time to recover the files Bluehost said “We are sorry, the backup we have is two weeks old…“. Their apologies didn’t help me much. We had to re-do ALL what we have done previously. Which meant another week lost.
Now, I asked them and I ask you too: is it normal that a web hosting company over 10 years old to have this one or two weeks backup policy??
I mean there are many other companies which have daily backups (but not better offers) and even we had to pay we would had paid to recover our files. They didn’t even have that (a paid backup policy).
“We do a courtesy backup for our clients…” they said. Courtesy backup?? Paying customers are relying on the hosting company to take care of their site, aren’t they? Especially when the things are going awry. They would be happy to pay 2-3 dollars more just to have peace of mind. In today’s world sites are not static anymore like they were 10 years ago. The content is changing quite often and that needs to be backed up often. I guess they are still stuck in yesterday’s era with their backup policy. I understand backing up so many files on a server takes some time. But other companies do it — they can do it too (doesn’t hurt to ask others.)
Godaddy to the rescue
So, after hours of mumblings we switched to Godaddy (I have the domain with Godaddy and I didn’t want to have all the eggs in the same basket – but it seems now I do). Goddady is based in the same city I am, so at least they are local (not to mention they are the world’s biggest domain reseller).
Godaddy had a good offer of their version of just introduced cloud hosting called “Grid Hosting” which resembles somehow with Amazon S3, MediaTemple, Mosso or Joyent offers.
So far we are happy, the site seems to respond faster than on Bluehost…but it’s to early to tell more. Hopefully, they’ll do better and yes, they have a daily backup policy (thank you very much!).
One goal of MyTestBox is to present reviews and opinions about hosting companies too (they are hosting many of the web software we are or will review) besides web software reviews and news from the industry.
If you want to tell us your opinions/feedback about other web hosting companies you are welcome to write articles as guest authors and send them to us.
Soon we can give access to people to register and post articles in our activity field.
It seems the CEO of Bluehost, Matt Heaton, found a method to make the backups more faster (and thus more often) by “dumping the name of any file that was created/modified (any bytes written) at the time the file was modified and use that as a list of files to back up“.
Hopefully, they will implement this ASAP because what happened to me did happen to others too and that is a “blue” spot on the company’s cheek.
We’ve discontinued the widget for now due to weak demand. I guess there are other better solutions out there for content syndication.
Have you ever dreamed of owning your own online classified ads website? Using GeoClassifieds, the online classifieds software solution, you can get yourself started for no money out of your pocket, and easily continue to add useful features as your business does.
GeoClassifieds was developed by Geodesic Solutions as part of their core product line. The business and IP professionals of Geodesic Software opened their doors in Dallas, Texas in 2001 and been delivering a variety of classified and auction software to a wide variety of international clients.
What does my server require?
GeoDesic Solutions creates 4 versions of their GeoClassifieds software. They have a Lite (free), Basic, Professional, and Enterprise version. No matter which version of GeoClassifeds you chose to install, you must have the following basic services on your Web host:
GeoClassifieds is compatible with any popular browser from Internet Explorer to Safari. Users may want to have a high speed Internet connection, simply because the nature of classified ad software implies the use of a lot of small and large images associated with selling individual items.
Can My Server Install GeoClassifieds For Me?
Many web hosting providers use control panel software to allow the automatic installation of a preset list of programs. GeoDesic is not currently announcing an affiliation with any of these control panel developers, so you may not find it listed in your control panel. Because of the time involved in installing and configuring a PHP application on a Linux server, you may want to check your hosts control panel first. Most of them can be accessed through a Web Applications or Add New Application link on your control panel’s home page.