Book Feeds Joomla! Module

Book Feeds Joomla! ModuleYesterday I thought it would be a good idea to offer a possibility to embed links to our free books on other websites than ours.

I played around with webservices and embedded code, but the results were all to complicate to handle.

So the next idea was to write a Joomla! module which is easy to install and works out of the box.

The module shows the cover, the download link and the visitors can download the PDF without leaving your website! The counter show the sum of all downloads.

You can see a demonstration on

The module works with Joomla! 1.6 and 1.7 and while I'm writing this blogpost I'm afraid I have to adapt it to Joomla! 1.5 too :)

In the administration of the module it is possible to choose


Node templates and the mysterious render function in Drupal 7

It's complicatedIf you have a Drupal 7 site and you want to change the output of a content-type you can do it via the UI or you can create a so called node template and copy it to your theme.

The name of the template has to be node--[name of content-type].tpl.php (Watch the two hyphens ... In Drupal 6 it was one :) ). If your content-type is called house the name of the template file has to be node--house.tpl.php.

In Drupal 6 days I often used the content template module to figure out how to access the value of a field. That doesn't work anymore.

In Drupal 7 the access is (on one hand) much easier. You can use the render function like this

$yourfieldname = render($content['field_yourfieldname']);

You get the fields value as configured in structure -> content-type -> manage display. Very cool!

When you use node references (like me) things seem to get more complicate:


Simplified Download Process

Keep it simple, stupid (and short)For the last three months we have used the e-commerce system at our cocoate site to manage the free downloads.

I basically wanted and still want to know how many pdfs were downloaded and from which part of the world. The checkout process additionally gave the possibility to the downloaders to donate something and a few people did - Thank you for that.

We received a lot of comments concerning the checkout process. Some people complained that the pdfs are not for free anymore if it is necessary to provide an email and your country. Other people liked the process because afterwards they had a user account on cocoate and all their downloads on one place.

Nevertheless I agree that the process was too complicated for a free download and so we simplified it radically!


The Joomla! Tweet Team

Twitter ProfileSometimes stuff happens!

I am now one of the responsible people for the Joomla! Twitter Account and the Joomla! Facebook page.


ETRUST Project

Meeting Iznik

The two-years learning partnership project ETRUST comes to a close and on this occassion I would like to reflect on what we did and learned.

The project aimed to improve the well-being and safety of migrant workers by encouraging employers to use effective e-learning content as part of a blended training approach to Health and Safety. We started with researching the laws and regulations of H&S trainings in our countries and Europe. Partners identified and evaluated e-learning content and tools that support Health and Safety training. On that basis, we analysed them and compared these on a European level. This led us to an insight to the situation of e-learning for H&S trainings and the rules of this market.


The first year of the places2b project

La FalaiseAs the first year of the places2b project ends in few weeks, it's time to summarize a bit what we have done and achieved so far.

We at aimed to start building a network of local actors and association as the basis for a common development of our village. The first talks with the biggest association in Fitou, VHV, were promising but when it came to binding actions, they quit. So we started from the scratch, distributed project information in the village, made some public presentations and we got an amazing group of people which are enjoying to explore and share and start such a community process in our village.


Join Our Pre Conference Training at Drupalcon London August 22th

Advanced Configuration with Views, Page Manager, Flag and Rules

Learn how Drupal works, how to implement hooks, and working with databases and Form API to extend Drupal.


This course will take you from an intermediate Drupal site builder to a rock solid configurator. During the day we will work with practical examples and exercises to see how you can use some of Drupal’s most important modules to achieve complex functionality based on actual sites. You will not only learn how to use these modules one by one, but also how to combine them in order to manifold their use cases. Each topic in the course has a set of exercises ranging from relatively easy tasks to really challenging tasks, assuring that you will never have to get stuck or be left with nothing to do. You are guaranteed to have a full dose of Drupal!

Who will gain the most from this course?

The course targets anyone with an interest to learn how to make more out of the existing module eco system, whether you are relatively new to Drupal and long-time developers who would like to code less and configure more in order to have more sustainable websites. To enjoy this course you should have good skills in configuring Drupal core, including fields, and at least basic skills in using Views.


Jumla Means All Together

Joomla! rocks!Jumla is Swahili for 'All together'. This word was the inspiration for the name of the open source project Joomla!. Joomla! is a fork of Mambo and the reason for that fork was that the lack of 'jumla' in Mambo. Open source software is about forking. It is sometimes useful to fork a project. Since I am involved in documentation of software I learned there is often a lack of it. Not in the sense that nothing is available. More in the sense that there is too much documentation and often it is not addressed to a specific target group.

This has a lot do with the structure of open source projects. In Joomla! the release plan was changed dramatically. Nobody I speak to, trusted this new structure because in the past no plan or roadmap worked for Joomla! But this time it seems to be a serious effort.
Joomla! 1.6 was released in January 2011, Joomla! 1.7 will be released at July 2011, Joomla! 1.8 or 2.0 (depends on many things) will be released in January 2012.

What can you do as a technical writer in this situation?

I thought about this in December 2010 and I came to the conclusion that it only makes sense to write about core and a few things around it. The most important thing will be, to keep things simple. I tried it and as you might know, I released an English Joomla! 1.6 book for free March 1th, 2011. I was simply blown away about the positive reactions to this step. It was 'only' a book for beginners and I even made a lot of typos and mistakes in the content because I am not a native English speaker and the Joomla! 1.6 version were simply buggy in the beginning.


What's beyond Joomla!?

Friday, May 6 - 16:45 - I am giving a talk at jandbeyond 2011 and need your help.

Since ages I work with Joomla!, Drupal and WordPress. I write books about them, record videos and I am writing a weekly column about the three systems (droopress).

With 1.6, ACL, nested categories and all the cck's, Joomla! is getting again momentum and it's the time to look at 'the others'.

This Session is an idea from a discussion on Quora