Friday, July 6, 2012

Joomla / Eclipse: Use Eclipse to edit files

Even though I could use any Editor or Notepad, after some days of Joomla! I was yearning for some syntax highlighting and maybe even automatic code completion... I did some Java programming in the past, and I am really used to the Eclipse IDE. Eclipse IDE for JavaScript Web Developers seemed to be a good deal for what I was up to do, so I gave it a try.

I feel kind of stupid even posting about this, but upon starting up Eclipse, I started to wonder how I would do that - being that Eclipse works with projects, and I didn't want to put all of my components into an Eclipse workspace, and I didn't want to put up a subversioning system.

Turns out it is quite simple: Right-click somewhere in the package explorer,  select 'New', 'Project...'. In the dialog, open the folder 'General' and select 'Project'. Click 'Next'. For the name, I usually put the com_componentname / mod_modulename, as in my file system. But I don't think it matters. Then uncheck the box 'Use default location' and click 'Browse...'. Select your component folder and click 'Finish'. Voila!

Nothing is copied or messed with, you are working on the files in your file system.

Joomla! 2.5: Component as Article

Can you put a component on a page together with other articles? Like, for example, to have a component and a blog layout on the "Home" page?

Yes, you can! There are some nice extensions that allow for this. I used the "Plugin Include Component" plugin, which is available on With this plugin, you simply create an article that contains a special tag, indicating the component to include.

Just like this:

Install the plugin and put the following code in whatever article you need it in (substitute 'componentName' and 'viewname' for your component's and view's name...).

{component url='index.php?option=com_componentName&view=viewname'}

Joomla! 2.5: Menu Items

Some time ago, I started to create my own components. Everything was working fine, but there was one thing that bugged me (even though it is not really necessary... it just looked strange):

When I create a link to my component, I always ended up with something like this in my menu manager:

Similar thing for the menu item type:

I felt like I somehow missed something, but the tutorials did not say anything about it. After playing around for a little while, I found out that the solution actually is pretty simple: The site > views > viewname > tmpl > default.xml file specifies these texts. Joomla! will look for these keys in the language files. Thus, you just need to add some entries to the language files and voila - everything looks nice and clean, just like this:


Let's assume you already created the default.xml file with contents similar to these:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

Now have a look into your filesystem - open the "joomla" folder. There are two "language" folders - one for the front-end, one for the back-end - you will find this one in the "administrator" folder. As the menu manager is a part of the back-end, we are looking for the administrator/language folder.

This folder contains folders for the installed languages - for example "en-GB". Open your standard language folder. Here you will find lots of .ini and .sys.ini files. Now go on and create your own .sys.ini file - for example "en-GB.com_trainingmaterial.sys.ini". Open it with your favorite text editor.

I copied the contents from another language file and didn't delete the comments at the top - now my language file looks like that:

; Joomla! Project
; Copyright (C) 2005 - 2012 Open Source Matters. All rights reserved.
; License GNU General Public License version 2 or later; see LICENSE.txt, see LICENSE.php
; Note : All ini files need to be saved as UTF-8 - No BOM



The first three entries are the ones for the menu manager. Note the "VIEW_DEFAULT_TITLE" part - even though it is not in your default.xml, it needs to go into the language file. Joomla! will put it all together.

The other entries are for the menu item type manager. Try it!

Any questions, comments? Feel free to comment on this post!