Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Adding Joomla Extensions to

Since my site is a form of gig-photo-gallery site, I needed to add a photo gallery extension to my Joomla package. I searched around for fancy extensions with good reviews and an easy installation procedure. I finally found Phoca Gallery with a SlideShow feature. Check out the following link for more info:

It installed and worked like a marvel on my local site but problems, worthy of a blog post, arose when I tried installing in the remote server. This should be a problem experienced by anyone trying to add an extension to a remote Joomla site without following a few important steps that I’ll highlight below.

Installation issues

With a clean install, upon trying to install any additional extensions, you’ll be slapped with this error:

JFolder::create: Infinite loop detected

So I googled around and found the following link with similar complaints in the Joomla forum:

Going through it you’ll find a mix of solutions to the problem and you might be confused as to which one relates to you and which method to try first.

In summary, the issue has to do with access to the temporary (\tpm) and logging (\log) directories. By default, all the files that you upload on a remote server are given read-only permission… even to you the administrator. So to install components you need to make sure that Joomla knows where these directories are located and ensure that they have write access. Specifying the location of these files is done in your configuration.php file. The location of these files varies with different server packages and you can find some of the solutions to these problems in the link above. I’m trying to avoid a tedious blog post here. Mail me if you have any issues and you’re using services.

Giving write access to the directories can be done via FTP, as you would do with your Windows Explorer (apologies to all Open Source pioneers). Some people claim that FTP applications don’t allow you to do this and recommend using CPanel directly. I used CuteFTP and my permission changes were not ignored. The trick was to go down to each relevant file and change security permissions from 775 or 755 to 777… do this from the bottom->up in the directory structure. When you make these changes from the top->down in the directory structure then your changes WILL be ignored.

This solves half the problem, but should work for extensions that don’t access other folders besides your tmp and log folder. I’m yet to find such an extension but it seems other people have cracked it this way.

Extension specific folder access
The next thing to do is to find out what folders and files your extension will use for functionality, and give public write access to these folders as explained earlier. Otherwise you could end up with errors like the picture included in this post. (Unable to write entry)

In my case it was the pictures (/images) and relevant components folders since I was using Phoca-Gallery. Mail me for specifics… I can’t put that up for fear of getting my site hacked.

After all the relevant write access changes, it was smooth sailing… I’ll highlight issues experienced while uploading pictures in my next post.

Happy Configuring!

PS: I spent 2 nights trying to get this going… I’m a Telecommunications Engineer by day.

Uploading Joomla

A friend of mine (VJ) introduced me to some Content Management System (CMS) called Joomla a while back. I’m assuming anyone reading this has some knowledge of what a CMS is, so I won’t go into details about what this Open Source jewel can do. Back then I played around with it and set up an intranet for company x. That was the most I did… so I can’t claim guru knowledge of the platform. When I decided to put in motion, Joomla was my first choice to help me realize the dream.

I managed to set up my site with not much hassle on my local machine. All was cool until I had to upload the site to a web server. It seems like ISPs/hosting companies in South Africa are not too familiar with these CMSs. I looked around for a while for a reasonably priced hosting package that included Joomla as a feature. Most geeks would say any company that offers php, mysql and apache should suffice. For a neophyte like me, a package that comes readily configured for me to just copy and paste my local site to the server is the only way. Most companies from overseas offer this and the most geeky stuff one would do is upload the mysql database.

I finally opted for… not to say that they gave me the configuration bypass. They have a Joomla package though. I uploaded my local site to the server space they gave and loaded the database using phpMyAdmin… but nothing worked. After a few hours of googling I found a very nice blog/article that highlights some minor configuration changes I needed to make to get things working.

So if you’re a newbie and want to get a Joomla site working remotely, here’s a link to the article that got me going:

Happy Joomling!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What is is a social photography concept that I’ve been holding back on since my varsity days. Back then, I came across a couple of gig guides and social photography websites that I found interesting. None had been centered around townships or the kasie social scene though. So I came up with the idea of setting up a social photography and gig guide specifically targeted at townships in and around Gauteng.

It’s been a rough ride as I’m not a specialist web developer and am not too sure of the profits I’ll be looking at at this stage. I’ve set up the framework and gone through the whole process of domain registration and hosting. For now I’ve just put up the base functionality with not much content. This includes the photos gallery, contacts page and news platform. My next task is the about us page and then a couple of pages on places you can visit ekasie.

You can check out this work in progress at

Friday, May 8, 2009

The trip starts here

Two nights ago I attended a Netweb Event. This is a monthly talk and networking meet-up hosted by an entrepreneur called Mongezi Mtati. I think I mentioned him in previous posts and expressed my reverence for him. He got me again! I left the event with a lump in my throat. When I walked in, I chose a seat in a corner not knowing that that’s exactly where I was meant to be for the duration of the event: in a corner assimilating knowledge. Those guys made me realize how many things I had been doing wrong and I was humbled. Amongst others, I met Gareth Knight from, Nikki Viljoen and Doug Vining from Blue Catalyst. These guys have been in the game for a while and have interesting profiles/history behind them. You should google them when you get a chance.

I learned tons of things, but one item that struck me most was "always blog about your business". The Gareth guy made an example of how it worked for him. There was a product he’d been developing and blogging about at the same time. Without him knowing, there had been an investor that was following his blog and by the time he met the investor they were on the same page. It didn’t take much from him to convince the guy to sign a cheque…. figuratively as Gareth put it

So from here on you’ll see a clone of the idea. Hopefully, this will get Mr Motsepe to fund my idea the next time I meet him. The concept I’ll be rambling on about going forward is…