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Introducing EasyArticles

We have been trying to refine the process of authoring in Joomla from a day to day basis and one of the most painful process is editing articles on the front end with proper workflows. Although the ACL in Joomla is pretty robust, it's still isn't suitable for a day to day authoring and publishing process. 


EasyArticles approach is to introduce article management and minimalist user interface right on the front end. It will be suitable for blogs, news, or any other content generation that requires a more robust workflow, beautiful composing interface and awesome features. We have combined a decade worth of experience from when we were working with EasyBlog and we were trying to revolutionize the way articles are created.

How EasyArticles Came About

Initially, it started off as an idea for EasyBlog to store it's data into Joomla Articles. As we were working on that, we realize that there were just too many features in EasyBlog that don't exist in the standard articles extension on Joomla. We do not want to end up hacking or modifying any core bits of Joomla article.

With EasyArticles, we have combined a decade's worth of the best composing experience and workflow which we learnt from EasyBlog. It allows site owner who doesn't need a full fledged blog to also be able to enjoy the goodies that are offered in EasyBlog.

Here are some of the cool features that will be rolled out on the initial release of EasyArticles.


​Great Authoring workflow

If you are authoring most of the articles by yourself, then Joomla articles would be a match made in heaven. For smaller, medium sized or even larger teams, the authoring workflow is pain to work with.

With the authoring workflow in EasyArticles, moderating or managing these articles would be convenient and painless. 


EasyArticles Dashboard
Birds-eye View of Everything


Beautiful Composer

You don't have to be a designer to create great content. This is one of the most important aspects in authoring that many neglected, thinking that their writers are designers or programmers that understand html codes. Writers themselves are not designers and we should not be expecting them to design the article or programmatically inject html codes.
We have heard this many times but it is important to remember that Content Is King. Writers should do what they do best, which is to write or draft great articles so that the site would follow the approach where content is being prioritized over thinking about where to place images, videos or anything else related to designing.
EasyArticles Composing Article
Composing Article
EasyArticles Publishing Article
Publishing Article


Media Manager

EasyArticles Media Manager
Media Manager

EasyArticles also comes with the same great media manager that is included in EasyBlog without the other complexity that comes with the blogging system.


In fact, while I am drafting this post with EasyBlog (thankfully!), I couldn't imagine how would anyone would use the stock media manager in Joomla! to compose articles. Certainly, there are tons of great media managers out there but they don't feel as native as composing with the same editor.


Front-end Everything

Have you ever tried to request your writers to manage articles on the front end because you don't want them to worry about how they could access the administration area? I believe most of you tried it and eventually just chose to compose from the administration area.
With EasyArticles, we have streamlined the management of your articles and categories into the front end allowing a more blissful experience while managing all this information. 
EasyArticles Article Management
Articles Management
image
Create Categories
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Category Creation


Subscriptions & Notifications

Users on the site can subscribe and be notified by email in the event a new article is created or modified. This also includes push notifications!


Post Templates

EasyArticles Post Templates
Post Templates

One of the most used and loved feature in EasyBlog was the ease of re-using post templates without having to draft everything from scratch. We have also invented something similar for EasyArticles but with a more robust templating structure.


Not Another Pagebuilder

EasyArticles is not another page builder and it never will be a page builder. There are a ton of page builders available for Joomla already and there is no point reinventing the wheel again.
EasyArticles approach is to simplify your day to day authoring workflow and publishing right from the front end.

Compatibility With Joomla Editors

In order to achieve the minimalistic design in EasyArticles, it will include a built-in editor out of the box. It will also be able to work out of the box with most and if not all of your favorite Joomla editors.

Pricing

The price of EasyArticles will be disclosed when the alpha release is available. Having said that, EasyArticles will be included in all of our bundles. 

Yep, it will be FREE to users with an active bundle.


EasyBlog Progress

Rest assured that EasyBlog will still be actively maintained and developed by the team. EasyBlog has tons of features of a full blog and it should be kept that way. We have great ideas coming along with EasyBlog 5.2, including a pretty cool collaboration tool =)


To Wrap Up ...

Joomla! is definitely a great Content Management System and the addition of EasyArticles isn't to replace Joomla articles but rather to complement it. We have loads to add into EasyArticles as we move forward :)

What do you think? Share your thoughts, suggestions, criticism on the comment form below. The team and I would love to hear your thoughts!


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Last week I was fortunate enough to speak at the latest PhoneGap Day EU in Amsterdam, one of my favorite conferences due to the intimate feeling, access to Cordova/PhoneGap core contributors, and the wonderful city of Amsterdam.

This time around, I talked about practical performance techniques for building native quality web apps (slides here). Before getting into the discussion around current web APIs related to performance, I talked a bit about the history of web-on-mobile, and how quickly things have changed in the last few years alone.

Timeline of generally-available Web APIs and browsers on mobile. Not an exhaustive list!

Take a look at this slide and let it sink in a bit. Remember the great Facebook HTML5 debacle of 2012, when hybrid apps and thus PhoneGap/Cordova were surely a dead approach? Notice how few APIs were available then, and think of how many people developed the opinion that hybrid apps weren’t good enough during this time period.

In 2013, the year we started working on Ionic and the start of what I consider generation 2 of web-on-mobile, we had this nagging feeling that the opinion that the web would only create clunky shells of native apps was incredibly wrong. We knew that mobile web performance could reach native levels, and developers would continue to try making web technologies work on mobile and be passionate about the stack. We also believed there was a large business opportunity in caring about these developers and making them more productive.

Thankfully, with the release of the iPhone 5 and iOS 6/7, and new generations of Android at the time, we finally had practical means of getting to this goal. First, we had GPU accelerated CSS transformations which helped create smooth transitions. Second, requestAnimationFrame allowed us to work better with the browser’s rendering engine to create smooth animations even during gestures. And third, modern phones were finally fast enough to handle interactive transitions and animations assuming they were built properly.

With GPU accelerated transformations and requestAnimationFrame, we were able to build the first versions of Ionic that went on to power popular social network apps and mission-critical enterprise apps. The web stack was clearly ready, but we couldn’t imagine where it would go next.

The only constant is change

I remember a discussion I had with another startup founder in this space a few years ago, and he was very skeptical that relying on browser vendors to improve the browser stack on mobile was a good idea. I didn’t agree, and today I feel incredibly validated seeing the roll out of major new Web APIs and mobile browser. Plus, the pace of new APIs hitting iOS even continues to be strong, countering a popular fear that Apple will de-prioritize web technologies.

There are so many new techniques and tools available to web developers today to build faster apps, and once we incorporate all of these into our apps and frameworks, we’re going to be building better, faster apps.

One of the reasons we felt compelled to rebuild Ionic was to incorporate new performance techniques that we weren’t able to or didn’t know about yet, like DOM batching. Using Ionic today, and frameworks like it, helps developers get access to these new performance APIs and techniques without having to use them at a low level, making better performance more ubiquitous.

Onward

Every day I’m more excited about the future of the web stack. I feel validated focusing 100% on it, and sticking with it even when it seemed destined to fall behind native SDKs.

By believing in the web and continuing to invest in it, we will be able to build better apps more quickly and work with the millions of web developers around the world who have used this technology for decades. That seems like a pretty awesome future to me.

Now Back to work!

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Updates available for our Joomla extensions

We spent the week addressing minor teething issues and including several new functionality across all of our extensions. I would also like to take this opportunity to stress out that if you are still on Joomla 3.7.0, please update immediately! I have been troubleshooting several sites and noticed that some of these sites are still running on Joomla 3.7.0. 

In case you missed out on the announcement that was posted yesterday, the release of Joomla 3.7.1 addresses a critical security vulnerability and several other bug fixes.


There are quite a number of changes for me to pen these changes on the post but I have cherry picked some of these new cool functionality below:


Komento 3.0.6

The last update for Komento was published on 2nd of March 2017 and it has been pretty stable since then. There are some minor annoying issues and some new features which we have thrown in. Some of the changes includes:

  • Hikashop Integrations. We have added integrations with Hikashop and as soon as they release a newer version of Hikashop, you will be able to pick Komento from their settings.
  • Addressed issues with W3C validation.
  • BBCode library will no longer get rendered if it is not in use.
  • Admin will be able to approve comments in the e-mail that they received.
  • View all changes

EasyDiscuss 4.0.15

This release contains quite a number of bug fixes since EasyDiscuss 4.0.14. In total, there are about 32 fixes that was applied in this release. These are some of the changes in EasyDiscuss 4.0.15:

  • New Amazon S3 region for US East (Ohio) added
  • Fixed issue when branching out replies as questions
  • Smiley urls are now using relative urls.
  • Added default image for opengraph when there is no image in the post.
  • It is now possible to search for posts at the back end using AUTHOR: prefix.
  • View all changes

EasyBlog 5.1.8

This release contains quite a number of new features. In total, there are about 54 changes that was applied in this release. These are some of the changes in EasyBlog 5.1.8:

  • Post notifications can now be configured to be sent to specific user groups.
  • Folders in media manager can now be inserted as a gallery.
  • Reactions visibility can now be set on per category basis
  • Authors may now resend post notifications from the front end dashboard.
  • Added additional ordering options for single category post listing.
  • It is now possible for authors to set a custom css class for each block
  • View all changes

EasySocial 2.0.18

This release contains quite a number of bug fixes as most of the new features are being worked upon in EasySocial 2.1. In total, there are about 45 fixes that was applied in this release. These are some of the changes in EasySocial 2.0.18:

  • Addressed an issue with unrecognized .berlin TLD.
  • Show all featured group button now appears properly in the group listing page.
  • Video upload from story form now stores the description and title correctly.
  • Addressed a conflict between URL shortener plugin and JFBConnect system plugin.
  • Deleting events will now also remove them from the calendar app.
  • Re-uploading videos will now update the video on the respective storage.
  • View all changes

What's Next For Us?

The entire development team is currently focusing on the next generation of EasySocial 2.1. EasySocial 2.1 will be help you simplify your day to day operations on managing a social network. Of course, it'll include some of the state-of-the-art features that I am extremely excited about in EasySocial 2.1. I cannot wait to share it with you guys in due time :)


Happy Updating!

P/S: Should you require any assistance with upgrading your extensions, feel free to get in touch with us on our helpdesk and our support team will be more than happy to assist you. 

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UIkit 3 Beta 23 released

UIkit is the work horse behind pretty much all of our products. It's the open source front-end framework we build and use ourselves to create the YOOtheme Pro Builder and all of our themes. Consequently, we are working on improving UIkit. Today we are happy to release the UIkit 3 Beta 23 which is packed with new components and features.


Parallax

Parallax scrolling is a popular technique in web design to add dynamic effects to a page during scrolling. Now, it is available in UIkit 3. The super flexible Parallax component allows you to animate almost every CSS attribute based on the scroll position on your site. Used in the right way it gives your website a subtle 3D effect, creates the illusion of depth and allows to highlight certain elements. Check out the examples and make sure to show us what you've created with this flexible component.

Parallax component

Grid Parallax

You can easily bring the parallax effect to your grids using the Grid Parallax component. It simplifies the options you need to use and allows to animate several properties to create grids that are something special. See it in action here.

Grid Parallax component

Form Range

The Form component now also styles input elements with the range type. It allows you to drag a handle to select a specific value from a range of numbers.

Form range component

Marker component

With the Marker component you are able to create a marker icon that can be displayed on top of images. A great use case are popovers on visual elements. How about you add some interactive labels to your photos? Use the existing Position component to place the markers wherever you want.

Marker component

More additions

As always, the release comes with many more features, fixes and changes. We've added a new class for xlarge paddings and new visibility classes to hide elements on touch or no-touch devices and much more.

We'd like to know what you think about the release. Please leave your feedback in the comments and join us in the UIkit Gitter chat.

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I was boarding my flight from Boston to Madison the other day when my phone buzzed. At first, I assumed it was just another push notification I’ve been meaning to turn off. But it was actually my Delta Airlines app telling me that my bags had just been loaded onto my flight after a tight connection.

Wow, that’s actually pretty awesome.

From an industry that’s not known for delivering great customer experiences, it actually made a big difference to me.

Companies like Delta are figuring out that simple, context-driven mobile experiences are a great way to delight users, and keep them coming back. Of course, the benefits of these mobile moments extend far beyond consumer apps. In the enterprise, mobile is steadily replacing legacy desktop apps with context-driven experiences that make employees happier and more productive.

But here’s the catch: Within most enterprises, demand for mobile development is growing five times faster than internal app dev teams can actually deliver. That’s according to Gartner, but it also squares with conversations we have with our customers who have switched to Ionic as a way to move faster.

At Ionic, we’ve started calling this phenomenon the Mobile Delivery Gap.

What’s behind the Delivery Gap? Well, every businesses is different, but here are a few patterns we’ve observed:

First, building apps the old way is hard. Hiring specialists to write native code – and then designing, developing, testing, and maintaining apps in parallel – is time-consuming, costly, and inefficient. And if you want your app on more than one platform, you need to develop it multiple times, with entirely separate code bases. Of course, for some apps this might make sense, but for most, it’s just overkill.

Second, many enterprise orgs have chosen the wrong tools for the job. I won’t name names, but there are plenty of solutions that — sold top down — seem to meet the CIO’s criteria. But by the time they’re pushed onto dev teams, things fall apart. Devs don’t want to work with crappy software and clunky technology tools (regardless of where they’re placed in some analyst vendor ranking). No wonder customers are pressured into seven figure, multi-year contracts. Ultimately, these solutions go unused and management ends up back at square one.

The last pattern we’ve seen is rogue development. With centralized app dev teams unable to keep up with demand, frustrated stakeholders go it alone. Marketing hires an outside contractor. Finance tries building an app on their own. And so on. Before long, development work is done in silos, with lots of duplicated effort and incoherent tech stacks emerging throughout the company.

We actually love hearing this from big teams and enterprises, because Ionic is such a natural, perfect solution to the problems they’re facing. Bridging this gap is something that inspires us to make app creation a lot faster and easier for everyone. It’s one of the reasons we built Ionic in the first place. It’s also why we strive to continue to build tools developers love and want to use everyday. In future posts, I’ll talk about how we’re progressing on this mission.

In the meantime, is the Mobile Delivery Gap something you’ve encountered in your organization? If so, what are you doing to address it?

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