Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews of the latest tools, tech and more.

Configure U2F in Joomla and WordPress [VIDEOS]

User accounts. Without them, the back-end of your WordPress or Joomla site would be a barren wasteland. And, well, there would be no point in having a back-end.

However, with user accounts comes great responsibility not to get them hacked, as anyone with enough credentials can turn your website in a pile of spam for enhancement pills, Eastern offers and other unpleasantries.

Two-factor authentication is all the rage right now. I wouldn’t say it’s mainstream, per sé as many users still think that their “kittykat01” password will protect them from evil. But it’s now available on pretty much every big site. It comes in a lot of forms and shapes. Mostly in the form of OTP (and Android Authenticator.)

U2F is one of those “universal” two-factor solutions. It’s backed (and implemented) by Google, Github and quite a few others. It’s also pretty easy to use. And, as of now, you can setup U2F in both Joomla and WordPress.

Now, I know we usually spell things out for you. However, we decided to switch things up a bit. We made two videos in cooperation with Ciptor Benelux, a small but fierce startup with a focus on authentication that’s hoping to take the Benelux (and then the world?!) by storm.

The videos should give you a good idea on how to setup U2F. The WordPress video is about five minutes long. The Joomla video is a bit longer, because we dove into Akeeba LoginGuard as well. It’s part “How to”, part “This component is pretty cool.

How to setup U2F in WordPress

How to setup U2F in Joomla (Using Akeeba LoginGuard)

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6Gallery by Balboathemes (Review)

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This week, we had the opportunity to test drive 6Gallery, a gallery extension by the guys of Balboathemes.com. On their clean and modern website, they promise that 6Gallery is a modern and easy to use gallery – but do they deliver?

Joomla galleries come in all sorts and shapes, and 6Gallery comes in the shape of a module only. How does it stack up against the competition?

Easy to install

First things first, 6Gallery is easy to install. Simply install the package into Joomla and you’re done. There’s no funky extensions that need to be installed, no silly “frameworks”, it doesn’t depend on a component… the module just functions on itself, which makes it perfect if all you want is a module which displays a gallery.

Creating a gallery made easy

Managing your gallery is easy
Managing your gallery is easy

6Gallery claims to be a modern, easy to use image gallery – and after a test run I can’t disagree on either aspect. Setting up an image gallery in 6Gallery is pretty easy and straightforward. Galleries are all linked to a module; to add images to a gallery you simply go to the “Images” section, and upload the images you want to display. You can drag and drop images, if you fancy that. Deleting an mage from the gallery is as simple as hovering over the image and clicking the “X”. Reordering the images can be done by dragging them to the desired position. This is all pretty straight forward and simple

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If just images aren’t what you’re looking for, 6Gallery lets you easily turn the image in a slide. By clicking the “edit” button, you can add text to the image which will be shown to the right. This text can be formatted as you see fit. You can also add a link to the image.

Configuration settings

6Gallery is simply to configure. You can define the thumbnail sizes, the amount of images shown per page and whether you want to use pagination or not. A color picker lets you choose the color for the overlay on hover, and the buttons you see when you hover over the image. The options have been reduced to the absolute minimum, but still give you enough room to fine-tune the gallery as you see fit.

The result

Using 6Gallery results in a smooth gallery, which allows you to move between images without any noticeable slowdown. Since 6Gallery is a modern gallery, it’s responsive and it does play nice on mobile browsers. There are three gallery styles to choose from, and although we like the “Grid” the layout the best, the Metro Grid and FitColumn layout will have their own fans. All in all, the gallery you’re seeing on your page looks nice, fits with your template and is surprisingly fast (or we’re used to crappy gallery plugins for Joomla).

Optionally, you can filter images by category, if you’ve created those in the module. Once again, the transitions are usually very smooth without any noticeable lag (unless your hosting can’t follow).

One point of criticism

Update: The people of Balbooa pointed out that their documentation (which I failed to read) explains how to add a module to a an article.

While we love 6Gallery and it’s ease of use, there’s one thing that “bugged” us, and that’s that there is no plugin to embed the gallery into your articles. This can easily be worked around by using {loadposition someposition}, and perhaps the idea of a plugin (and then, logically following that, an editor button) doesn’t align with the philosophy of the minimalistic, modern and fast gallery that the people by Balboathemes are offering.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a gallery which is lightweight, looks great and which is easy to use, and which doesn’t have any funky dependencies, then 6Gallery is the gallery solution for you.

6Gallery is available for $21 from http://balbooa.com. You can see it in action by using their demo.

### Bonus

  1. Watch 6Gallery in action on our (temporary demo site) by going to Gallery or Gallery2. You’ll also find the module in the banner position

  2. Watch the video about how we setup the demo. It’s about 12 minutes long and there’s no talking but it gives you an impression of what the extension is capable of.

Easily add charts to your site with ZMPCharts

The Pie chart in action. 45% of our readers wish we used better screenshots.
The Pie chart in action. 45% of our readers wish we used better screenshots.

They say that an image says more than a thousands words. How about stats? Why, in that case you use charts, of course!

Are you looking for a way to add editable charts to your Joomla website? Then ZMPCharts might be what you are looking for.ZMPCharts is a set of modules, each of which allows you to create a specific type of chart and display it on your website. The modules are generated using the ‘Canvas element’, a higher form of CSS wizardry which ZMPCharts wants to simplify. Do they succeed in bringing charts to the masses? You’ll find out after the break. Continue reading Easily add charts to your site with ZMPCharts

Review: Akeeba Solo

Akeeba Solo's dashboard (in Dutch). A familiar sight for Joomla Fans.
Akeeba Solo’s dashboard (in Dutch). A familiar sight for Joomla Fans.

The great part about being allowed to test something in advance? Being able to work with cool things like Akeeba Solo. The downside? Not being able to tell people about Akeeba Solo until it’s launched. But now that the news is official, it’s time for our hands-on review.

I know it’s April 1st, the date on which everything is harder to believe. An Akeeba app that back-ups almost anything built in PHP? I was sceptical at first, and it wasn’t even April when I tried the Alpha of Akeeba Solo. And yet there it was. The mail telling me of its existance. A follow-up e-mail with the actual code.

Back-up anything PHP

Akeeba Solo is a stand-alone application, built to back-up PHP applications. It uses the magic of the Joomla component, but can now be injected everywhere you might need to deploy it.

Installation

Installing Akeeba Solo is reasonably simple. If you have ever installed any CMS, you’ll have no problem with this step. To get started you create a folder on your site or server and simply start transferring the files.

Once you are done, fire up your browser and navigate to the folder. The setup wizard of Akeeba Solo will be greeting you. If you’re coming from a Joomla background you might need some adjusting, as the first step is to create the database for Akeeba Solo. It’s used to contain information like your username(s), information about the back-ups and much more, which is why it’s recommended to give Akeeba Solo it’s own database.

When the setup is complete, Akeeba Solo will be working as a stand-alone back-up application, protected with a username and password.

Getting ready to back-up your site.

After installing Akeeba Solo, you configure the first back-up profile by entering some information about your site: which folders do you want to back-up, where do you want to store the files… You are also asked to provide the database settings of the app you want to back-up. If you are running Prestashop, WordPress or PHPBB you can let the app discover the database settings for you – easy!

When your first back-up profile is complete, you can start making back-ups of your site, with a click of a button. Or you can take things to the next level. Akeeba Solo is just as rich / deep as Akeeba Backup for Joomla. Here’s just a few of the features:

  • Back-up management, with the option to instantly restore a back-up (A real lifesaver)
  • Schedule back-ups using the Cronjob functionality
  • Create users to let others make back-ups
  • Back-up other databases, files, … using the same profile or other profiles
  • Back-up to the cloud storage solutions of your choice.

TIP: When you back-up your PHP application, you’ve got th options: including Akeeba Solo and it’s database, or not. We suggest you do the former, as having Akeeba Solo around can never hurt, in any situation.

Summoning your site from the dead was never easier

Another neat feature of Akeeba Solo is that it makes restoring your site really simple. For starters, there is the built-in Back-up management option. Messed up an application or site? Then restore it from within Akeeba Solo. It’s really easy / simple to do.

But you don’t always want to restore a back-up to the same location. Akeeba Solo always makes it easy to transfer your website(s). That is especially true for WordPress, PHPBB and Prestashop. Upon creating a back-up Akeeba Solo will install a special installer script that’ll make moving these CMS’es a breeze, as it handles the hard part (changing URL’s in database / config files) for you. And it does so with grace. We moved a WordPress installation between six or seven installations and the site didn’t flinch once. (Yes, Joomla fans, that is really an achievement).

If a CMS isn’t supported, you will still need to do some work. But thanks to Akeeba Solo, creating a back-up of your site has become a lot easier and user friendly.

Akeeba Solo doesn’t have to be used for just back-ups. You can use it to transfer sites, create local working copies, clone sites… We are already working on a WordPress “distro” which we clone everywhere to save time!

Flexibility

If I had to choose between Akeeba Solo and the other back-up solutions of Akeeba I would choose Akeeba Solo almost 80% of the time. Why? Because it’s flexible and able to handle what you throw at them.

Granted, Akeeba does offer a WordPress / Joomla specific extension which require less configuration. But what Akeeba Solo requires in time (approximately 60 seconds) to setup, it makes up for with what it can back-up. We succesfully back-uped and restored the following with Akeeba Solo:

  • WordPress (local backup, cloning to other locations, …)
  • Joomla (just for laughs. Didn’t try to restore it)
  • WHMCS (backup, restore. No transfer tested as WHMCS’ license doesn’t allow it)
  • Magento (Worked like a charm despite having to backup a 6GB monstrosity with a 400mb database)
  • Prestashop (all the works, including moving Prestashop to another domain)
  • PHPBB

Is this real?

Akeeba Solo is very much real. People with an Akeeba subscription can download the beta’s soon – or you can buy an early-bird subscription at 50% off. Despite waving the BETA flag the application is already very stable.

You can learn more about Akeeba Solo on http://www.akeebabackup.com

Review: CFlappyBird

Our high score is 3. Which is better than you'd think. Seriously.
Our high score is 3. Which is better than you’d think. Seriously.

Did you miss the original Flappybird hype? Well, mope no more. The guy(s) of Compojoom have created CFlappybird, a Flappybird ‘clone’ which you can install on your Joomla site.

CFlappyBird is a game with basic controls. You tap to make a bird fly through pipes – or you click on the screen with your mouse. The goal is to fly between as many pipes as possible. But don’t be fooled: CFlappybird is frustratingly hard – like the original Flappybird game. Why would you want to play a game like that? To boast about your scores, of course!

Joomla Cred

CFlappy is covered in a Joomla Sauce. Not only can you fly as the “bird”, you can also play with well-known Joomla people instead – which adds to the “fun” factor. Or the psychopath factor, if you intentionally fly them into the iconic pipes. Which will make your next JoomlaDay a bit more akward.

CFlappybird can be downloaded and tested on this page. If you’re the impulsive type, try the demo first. We wouldn’t want you to delete your Joomla site in frustration after failing to beat your high score, yet AGAIN.