(Reading time: 2 - 3 minutes)

Firefox: tabs on bottom

3479 hits Updated: 09 January 2018 Blog

Firefox Quantum (Firefox 57) uses tabs on top

How to place tabs on bottom

This article shows you how to change Firefox’s appearance from tabs on top (where the tabs appear above the URL address bar) to display the tabs below the URL address bar.

Before the release of Firefox Quantum (i.e. FF v57), it was possible to change the location of the tabs by changing a browser parameter setting.  The setting was

browser.tabs.onTop = false

FF 57 still retains the parameter but its functionality has been disabled; browser tabs remain on top (above the URL address bar) regardless of this parameter’s value.  We will see how it’s possible to change the location of the tabs.

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(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

Why there are fewer free extensions available for Joomla

1344 hits Updated: 02 November 2017 Blog

Developers cannot afford to maintain their work for nothing

As an independent developer of extensions for Joomla, I rely on the Joomla Extensions Directory [JED] as a place to do business.  The past twelve months have been difficult for developers of Joomla extensions because of new conditions imposed on us who want to use the JED.  People who download products via the JED may be unaware of the effort we put into ensuring that our products—whether or not they’re available at no cost to the end user—are reliable, robust and secure.  It’s a thankless task:  the people who manage the JED are as indifferent about our lives as are most of our customers who siphon the software from our websites.  Is it any surprise that fewer freely-downloadable extensions are being added to the JED these days?

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(Reading time: 4 - 7 minutes)

Joomla maintenance strategy

2384 hits Updated: 16 January 2018 Blog

What things do you have to do to maintain a Joomla website?

The four skills for highly-effective websites

What are the things … to be done to maintain Joomla website?forum user, Joomla Forum, 10-Aug-2017

The question of “website maintenance” (and Joomla website maintenance, in par­ti­cular) is a fairly simple one and, I suppose, anyone could scribble a few notes on a scrap of paper or point to articles posted online that itemise the first things coming to mind: security, backups, regular updates, etc.—the “usual” household chores.  Everyone has their own routine and there’s a general consensus about what matters should receive the highest priority.  However, when you really think about the subject seriously, most of us don’t plan for future-proofing our sites so that they can be maintained with relatively little effort.  Perhaps some projects commence that way but they evolve into a tangled web of complexity with internal dependencies that we wish, in hindsight, we hadn’t done.  The bottom-line is that no-one likes house­work; most of us don’t even enjoy any routine work.

In this article I will present the “four skills” strategy for highly-effective websites.  So, before you sharpen your pencils and take notes—or frame a printed copy of the article and place it on your desk—we will look at the big picture:  what do you re­quire—what skills do you require—to prepare a website effectively in order to maintain it efficiently?

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(Reading time: 5 - 10 minutes)

Site performance—caching and file aggregation—is it worth it?

2352 hits Updated: 10 January 2018 Blog

Disable Joomla’s cache features

CSS/Javascript file aggregation: who needs it?

I wrote previously about the general theory of website caching.  There are circumstances when site caching can be useful and there are other circumstances—especially when people are attempting to diagnose, analyse and solve operational issues—when caching can become a headache.  As a general point, caching can be useful where “speed”—as far as the end user is concerned—is the number one criterion.

Similarly, when people turn to Google for recommendations on ways to “improve” [the end user perception of] performance, we find suggestions about using file aggregation, minification or obfuscation methods.  These are not related to caching but they are involved in overall “site performance” for want of a better description.

The bottom-line is that website caching, data compression and file aggregation/minification/obfuscation may help—and there is empirical evidence to support that contention—but they add administration overheads and, ultimately, their presence may not be beneficial—and there is a body of anecdotal evidence to support this opinion.  The problems caused by caching et al are the subjects of thousands of discussions in online technical forums; in most cases these problems are quickly and effortlessly resolved by disabling or removing those facilities.  This article provides information on the common techniques that people employ in Joomla and how to disable such features that they’ve (perhaps unwittingly) enabled or installed.

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