It serves as an archive and introduction to my academic publications, and management experience with business development and judicial reform projects, legislative initiatives and educational programs in developing countries such as Afghanistan, Macedonia and Armenia.
The audience of the site is relatively limited:
- Students and other course participants who like to download materials;
- Other professionals who work in developing countries who may want to read some of my work and/or get inspiration to set up their own sites for their projects; and
- Showcase what is possible with Joomla.
What do you think of the layout, color scheme? Too many bells and whistles, or is it balanced?
Am I missing components? Is it easy to find information on the site?
Any feedback is more than welcome!
Extensions: One of the great aspects of Joomla is the availability of many excellent components, modules and plug-ins. The challenge in many ways, however, is to find extensions you like. I have outlined below the free extensions used for the site.
Although I have tried to minimize the number of extensions, I felt that the following were needed as a minimum to get the site going:
File Management: I used Docman as the document repository. It is a user friendly component with many interesting plug-ins and excellent support forums. I used the following docman plug-ins and modules:
- • The doclink plug-in: Used to link to documents that are in the docman system
- • The docman catdown model: This module shows you all files from a category in the article. We use the “loadposition” tag in articles to show the list of documents in an article.
- • The mjaztools autopopulate component to upload many documents at once. This was especially useful when we populated the website.
- • The latest downloaded and most downloaded modules
I did not use the bot_docman_search plug-in. Instead, I am using the Customproperties component for the website’s search function.
Searching the Site: I used for some time the standard search module of Joomla!, but found out the more you publish in the system, the longer the lists of search results tend to be. To narrow down the search, I came across “tag” extensions in the JED. The site uses the Customproperties component and its mod cpsearch. Users can search the entire site or certain parts of the site with this component.
I did not use the plug-in plg-cptags of Customproperties, because it does show tags on the frontpage after the read more button.
Photo Galleries: I was particularly interested in a gallery that generates thumbnails automatically with a nice shadow and border. I finally ended up with the free version of Easy Picture Gallery because of the quality of thumbnails and the limited number of pictures I wanted to show on the site. I would have used phocagallery for larger photo repositories.
Linking Urls: When I started with Joomla, I could not believe that you cannot link to other articles. The “Linkr” component and button plugin are installed for the website to make it possible. I used for the project management tools article together with Xtypo to mimic a image menu.
Xtypo: This is used to style some articles with CSS without the need to understand CSS.
Sitemap: Phoca documentation is used for the site as a sitemap.
Section-Ex: This component is also used to provide visitors an overview of content, for example, the list of publications and FAQs.
Feedback: The joomlacomment component is used to give visitors the opportunity to leave comments on the site. I figured that it would be nice for students to leave a note on the site.
Tabs and slides: For a few larger articles in the section on projects, I used a simple but very easy to use plugin by joomlaworks.
Template: The free version of JSN Epic 2.0 by Joomlashine is used. It gives a lot of flexibility to adjust the layout of your template.
Backups: I have installed Lazybackup so I get weekly updates from the system with a copy of the database. Joomlapack has been installed because it creates a nice zip file of all docs and directories.
References to Other Articles: For this, we use RandomContent - a plug-in to show related articles below the page “You may also be interested in these articles:” You can also use modules available in the JED for this purpose and place them in template positions.
SEO: For search engine optimization, I looked for something that would automatically enter keywords and text in the metadata files. For keywords, I use the “Add Keywords” plugin and for metadata the “SEO Simple – metadata” extension. I did not bother to use SEF, because google seems to find my site easily.