EasyLayouts 1.6 introduces an exciting new feature - custom offline and error pages

Would you love to have a custom offline page - a nice splash page such as this?

Splash Page

With EasyLayouts 1.6 you can do this and still maintain access to the frontend of the site when no login module is visible!

You are excited about Joomla custom fields and you want to add them to your multi-lingual site - then you suddenly realise that you don't know how to make the custom fields multi-lingual.

You know you could add different versions of the same field - specifying the language for each of them.  The downside of this is that it becomes complex when you want to control the layout of your articles - with so many field and language combinations the template overrides quickly become difficult to manage. 

If you use separate custom fields for each language then the relevant ones would be included in your edit pages but filtering and ordering your articles based on these custom fields then becomes very cumbersome to manage.

There is another approach - using the Joomla language overrides system.

The EasyLayouts demo site is a good example of the sort of site that can be easily created using Joomla articles, Joomla custom fields and the power of EasyLayouts to generate the output.  You will be surprised how easily it was put together - this article will give you a step by step guide to how it was done.

1. The Requirements

We wanted to create an imaginary website to showcase recipes from famous chefs from around the world. 

1.1 Content Types

In addition to regular articles it would need to have different special content types:

  • Chefs - including information about their qualifications, experience, biographies, awards, the restaurants they run and their favourites recipes etc.
  • Recipes - including descriptions, ingredients, preparation instructions, photos, difficulty ratings, the chefs who created them etc.
  • Restaurants - including geographic information/maps, the chefs that run them, photos etc.

These three content types would need to be associated with each other  - recipes linked to chefs linked to restaurants etc.

In writing EasyLayouts (the tool that transform your Joomla! content without the need for coding) we have found a number of issues with the implementation of custom fields and forms in Joomla.  As we have found these we have been issuing pull requests (requests to update the core code) to resolve these issues in Joomla - several of these have already been incorporated into the core code of Joomla.

In recent times we have been working on improving our implementation of Joomla content filtering.  This filtering allows you to add conditions to your Joomla menu items and modules based on the core Joomla custom field values and also to create a filter module to filter your category blog, category list and features articles views in Joomla.  In doing this work we found we were able to improve the performance of the filter dramatically by change the way one of our database queries was implements - this got us thinking and wondering if the custom field queries used in Joomla could be improved in a similar way.

We are thrilled to announce the release of EasyLayouts 1.0.0 Stable.  A huge thank you to the early adopters that have given us invaluable feedback which has helped us improve the functionality of EasyLayouts and iron out bugs.

You can download EasyLayouts from the Downloads page.  You will need to be a member of the EasyLayouts club to do this.

We have exciting plans for the next versions of EasyLayouts - so watch this space for new and exciting features.