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An update to our flagship responsive Joomla module, Zentools, was released a few days ago which contains a couple of new handy features. If you are new to Zentools, it's basically the all in one module that we use to build much of the functionality you see in our Joomla templates.

Stacked Layout

The stacked layout is a new way to organise your content. It's a faux parallax effect that uses fixed positioning for background images which sit underneath your item's content.

As the user scrolls down the page the content of the item scrolls however the background image remains fixed.

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This gives the user a sliding door type effect where a different part of the background image is revealed at different points during the scroll.

Our latest Joomla template, Lifestyle2, features this effect on the front page.

Backstretch Slideshow

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Zentools now also has a new slideshow layout that can be used for full width slideshows. The backstretch slideshow displays images at optimum widths and heights, responding to the width of the browser and the height of the div that contains the slideshow.

Backstretch has been created for themes like Lifestyle2, Lifestyle, New Lifestyle and Corporate which in the past have relied on specifically sized images to maintain an ideal display across a wide range of browser widths. Backstretch makes this alot easier now so that you have a lot more freedom around the types of images used in full width slideshows.

Lifestyle2 features this new slideshow on the Home - Classic page. Please not that our older themes will need a small update (which will be released shortly) to properly implement this new layout.

Zentools gets Animated

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In addition to the two new layouts Zentools now also sports the ability to slide and fade in any of the item tags in your content items. Thi smeans that when the user scrolls down the page the title, image, text, image etc will fade onto the screen. It's possible to add different animations for your content items in order to generate truly engaging results.

You can see the full details for how to add this effect to your content items on the Zentools documentation page.

Speed check - better processing of images

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One of the biggest features of this release is an improved process for referencing cached images, which results in significantly improved load times. We've streamlined the process now so that your slideshow, grid of images etc that use resized images is now 2 to 3 times faster than it was in the past after the initial caching of images. This should bring a lot of joy to our users given the importance of site speed and load times.

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