Saturday, January 12, 2008

Joomla!

First, let me address the poll. It seems the jury is in and 40% of respondents are hoping Jesus will return before the insanity really begins while 60% want to continue making a difference in this world and participating in responsible government through gun ownership. This poll has a margin of error of +/- 95%. That is still more accurate than the weather forecast in KC.

Psa 57:8 Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I [myself] will awake early.

I have numerous friends with all types of creative talents, a lot of which are musical. My church seems to be stacked with a disproportionate number of 'artsy' types and many 'demi-artsy' types. People write, paint, sing and strum and all for God's glory. But I'm not artsy, how could I possibly praise God? This verse in Psalms stuck out to me several months ago. David’s summons "my glory"... the psaltery and harp... and his determination to the praise and glory of God. So the real issue is not, can I write, paint, sing or strum, but what can I do? What do I do well- what would be considered "my glory"?

I'm more of a Hiram than a David. I can make stuff. I like to make stuff. Not fancy frou-frou stuff, but stuff. Endless home repairs and remodeling of everything but the foundation, car repairs, setting up computers and networks and of course, making applications. That's probably what I do best, what I have spent the most time investing in and what I believe the Lord has blessed me in. So how to use "my glory" for Gods? Does Jesus need a programmer?

Well, it seems he does! It came up a few weeks ago with my pastor, who is pretty technically proficient in his own right, that he could use me in tweaking an application for admin'ing the churches website. He commented, "This is an answer to prayer!". Yes, it is. Apparently his prayer, too.

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Warning! Boring technical stuff following. If you are already pretty much bored, do not read any further.
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Joomla is an open source content management system. This is used for collaborative web site management and does not require users to know HTML. My church has settled on using this software and I am getting involved a bit to be able to help modify and administer it as needed. This presents come challenges for me- this program does not use any technologies that I already know! It is designed for Apache on Linux and is coded in PHP and uses a MySQL database. I, on the other hand, work largely in ASP.NET with Oracle and SQL Server databases and IIS on Windows 2003 server. Plus, I haven't really though much of the entire open source trend. For professional computing, I much prefer working on large, ubiquitous and stable platforms supported by companies that have something to lose. However that opinion is largely founded on ignorance and I know it, so I thought it would also be good for my personal development to get involved with this product.

The first challenge was to get it installed. Despite it's intended design, it is capable of running on IIS and Windows 2003 (which is what I run at home) but the setup is a bit different. I first got it installed on my server several weeks ago, but then rebuilt my server and domain with some help from the Pensive Percussionist. So, I had to reinstall and kept notes the second time through. I did have some permissions issues- and am really still working them out- and have installed Joomla a second time on the same server but under a different site and with a different configuration.

Here are the steps I followed:

http://forum.joomla.org/index.php?topic=52721.0;wap2 1. install PHP (5.2.5)
a. downloaded new installer.msi. Last time this file was corrupt and had to use .zip file.
b. 3 opts for IIS install. I chose the ISAPI extension option since I am vaguely familiar with that and not CGI.--After piddling around with this... it still doesn't work. Thanks for aaaaaaall that, open sourcers...
c. give up on .msi installer and go with the zip file.
d. follow direction per http://aszelag.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!7FD523D714963B13!321.entry
e. iisreset
f. Bingo! thx to aszelag ;-)
2. install MySQL
a. downloaded latest and greatest version (5.0.45) for windows off of http://dev.mysql.com/get/Downloads/MySQL-5.0/mysql-5.0.45-win32.zip/from/pick
b. ran GUI installer and it was soooooo easy. good work there!
c. final step in config required opening firewall port for mysql. again, good directions.d. just for fun, i also downloaded the MySQL GUI tools from here http://dev.mysql.com/get/Downloads/MySQLGUITools/mysql-gui-tools-5.0-r12-win32.msi/from/pick. I can work in Oracle PL/SQL all day but I just can't get used to writing queries in DOS!
3. install Joomla
a. got the dl... simple unpackage into the wwwroot directory
b. on opening the web install, there's a problem. i remember from last time that PHP and MySQL no longer play 'nice' right out of the box. On searching I turned up this site: http://www.builderau.com.au/program/php/soa/Install-configure-and-integrate-PHP-and-MySQL-on-Windows/0,339028448,339271632,00.htm which was excellent in giving steps to config PHP 5 with MySQL. This got me in to Joomla.
c. Next problem... ok so Joomla is connected and my site is created. But I'm not get any graphic content. Just by tweaking, I used IIS 'create application' function and that did the trick.*(See ppg below)
d. next problem... everything is groovy on the server, but not so elsewhere. text only view. hhhh.... http://forum.joomla.org/index.php?topic=232853.0;wap2
e. next problem... trying to login from remote machine. argh! I OPENED UP PERMS ON CONFIGURATION.PHP IN THE ROOT DIR FOR THIS APP AND THAT SEEMS TO HAVE DONE THE TRICK.FINALLY, INSTALLED!!!

That was for the first install. *What I noticed after that was that permission on the directory became "squirelly". I kept trying to open them up to get a new module to work and they kept changing. It occurred to me that allowing IIS to create this as an application was may not a good idea. I think it started trying to help me admin the site in ways I didn't want. So I set Joomla up again under a different site name and used the same directions as above, only I didn't create it as an application. I did give IUSR_SERVER read and write perms on all subdirs and files. I know, I know... that so unsafe. But I'm a coder, not a security nut. I get satisfaction from making programs and seeing the impact they have, not from spending endless hours tweaking mundane settings to get something to work "just so". So far this new site has worked fine and now squirelliness.

Last thing- this was very important. The default site did not open for me the second time. I think this might be an IIS/Windows thing. I did set the default page in IIS but was not redirected; instead I got a PHP error. The directions included this optional step of going directly to the installation page: http://localhost/joomla/administrator/index.php Once I did that, everything ran fine from the default page (also after removing all installation files as directed).

So far I like Joomla a lot- it's growing on me. I'm going to get to learn it better by setting up my son's wrestling team web site with it and seeing if they want to run it that way. My boss is also thinking about using it for our engineering business unit to track projects with. This would be great as it would get me involved with Joomla at work and really allow me to become an "expert", which in turn would help my church!

If you're asleep, you may now wake up.

4 comments:

Percussivity said...

I gotta say I am pleasantly surprised to see you embracing anything open source. Next thing you know you'll be browsing sourceforge.net.

AlexW474 said...

If you want to save your time, use WITSuite EasyInstaller (WITSuite installation video: http://www.witsuite.com/products/installer/). It is most simple way to install Apache, PHP, MySQL on Windows.

J B Paul said...

No, Percussivity, next thing you know, he'll ask you to teach him drums. And NO, I can't write that without a hearty chuckle. The angry coder doesn't know it, but he's artsy fartsy with a technical emphasis.

The Angry Coder said...

Wow... I really don't think that will happen. But from you, I'll take that as a compliment. Back at ya'!