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Changes to Joomla 1.6 Installation Manifest

I have been studying the new documentation for the new Beta version of Joomla! 1.6. One of the changes from Joomla 1.5 is to the structure of the xml manifest file for Joomla extensions, which is used to install extensions through the Joomla installer.

The main change seems to be that the primary tag is now


which replaces


This may seem like a small point, but, before Joomla 1.6 is officially released, I really want to make a plea for not doing that. We at Spiral Scripts have developed a number of extensions that work with Joomla 1.5. We have been hoping that with a little tweaking our extensions will work successfully with versions 1.5 and 1.6 of Joomla. Unfortunately I think that this change to the syntax of the manifest file will make this impossible, as it will mean that a separate installation package is required according to which version of Joomla is being run.

It seems to me that this will make life unnecessarily complicated for a lot of people. If there really is a strong reason for changing the tag then fine, but it appears that this is in fact just change for the sake of it, since so far as I can tell the rest of the structure of the manifest file will be much the same as for Joomla 1.5. So please, don't do it. Add a comment

Abuse of the Exclamation Mark: Why It Should Be Stopped


The exclamation mark is used in the English language to signify a situation of heightened emotion, for example in a warning message, or a shout of anger or other strong feeling. It is generally used quite sparingly, in fact it is possible to read entire novels and not come across one. This is because novelists are generally literate enough to realise that over-use rapidly diminishes its impact, and that context and the meaning of the words themselves are normally enough to communicate the state of excitement.

The following would seem to me to be examples of valid usage:-

  • Look out! There's a Tyrannosaurus Rex behind you!
  • Crikey! The vicar is arriving and we're out of gin!
  • Oops! Nearly dropped the plutonium!*

All three cases decribe situations where a genuine emotional response would be expected, hence the exclamation mark seems natural.

But, as I have noted, the exclamation point is rarely seen, except in two types of medium. The first is the kind of shrill advertising that shrieks: 'Sale!!! Save £££ on a cheap and nasty sofa!!! The second is as used by programmers. I found the following examples recently in a newsletter extension for Joomla!**:-

  • Activation complete successfully!!!
  • Enter the valid email address!!!

Notice that in these examples there is not just one but three exclamations. Presumably if one is intended to convey excitement, then presumably three should convey three times that amount. Or should it be the original amount of excitement cubed? Who knows?

The first example quoted above occurs when a user successfully activates their newsletter membership, the second when they have forgotten to include their email address. I am not going to name the guilty programmers responsible for this, as I have seen this kind of usage quite widely. In fact I have occasionally caught myself doing this. Creating user accounts, resetting passwords or inputting incorrect user information are routinely met with a whole string of exclamation marks.

I can honestly say that the most emotion I have ever felt when successfully registering with a website is quiet satisfaction, usually it is not something I feel strongly about either way. I would guess the same is true for most people, except perhaps the chronically over-excited. It makes no sense to meet such mundane activities with three exclamation points. To me, this kind of usage is a sign that the programmer is not really thinking about what is being said to the user. It comes across as merely shrill, rather than generating any real emotion from the user, so is quite ineffective.

The poor exclamation mark is sadly overworked - so programmers please give it a rest.


* Had it been "Oops! I dropped the plutonium!!!" I will concede that three exclamation marks might be appropriate.

** ironically I have to use the exclamation mark here, as it is part of the name 'Joomla!' Sadly I think it is too late to do anything about this.


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A New Forum

Regular visitors to our site will notice that we have a new forum. We have switched to using the popular Kunena forum extension for Joomla.


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What Is Joomla?

662041-smallJoomla is the world's most popular system for building and managing websites. It is an example of a 'content management system' - often abbreviated to CMS. This article discussess some of the reasons for Joomla's popularity.

Why Use a CMS?

In the early days of the web, most websites consisted of static html pages. The site content of a typical website seldom changed, and when it did, it was neccessary to edit the actual page html code, requiring at least a basic level of expertise. However, for all but the most simple of websites, these days this is not a practical way to manage a website. Individuals and businesses want the freedom to be able to manage their site content without having to learn coding: the solution is a CMS.

For large businesses the preferred choice is always likely to be a custom CMS. However creating a custom CMS can be a complex, time and resource consuming process, requiring extensive programing, and will typically cost many thousands of pounds, making it an unrealistic option for small and even medium-sized businesses. Fortunately there are many 'off-the-shelf' content management systems available, the most popular of which is Joomla.

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Virtuemart 2.0 Released

On 19th December the much anticipated Virtuemart 2.0.0 was released. This is a great achievement by the Virtuemart team and we congratulate them.

The differences between 1.1x and version 2 are very substantial, and so our products will require updating to support the new version. This is something we will be working on over the next few months, we do eventually plan to support the new version with all our Virtuemart products.

Our first product to support Virtuemart 2 and Joomla 2.5 is VM Modcontroller Pro, the module which allows you to control the display of other modules on Virtuemart pages.

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