So now it is ... you can download it on the JB Maps page.

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Yesterday I released an update to the JB Type plugin.

The new version is essentially a bug fix but I added some new styles to the plugin that I had scheduled for the next major update that I felt just couldn't wait.

Adding grid layouts to your content ...

As you may have seen we use a percentage based responsive grid in our Joomla templates which is also available to users to implement within their content. You can see these grids in action in the Lifestyle template as an example.

However the latest release of JB Type now provides the ability for users of the Zen Grid Framework to use the simplified JB Type syntax to render the very same grids.

As an example users can now specify a grid such as:

{grid4}Here be monsters{/grid4}Any content that has the grid tags applied to it will then be automatically rendered in a div tag that has the grid_four class applied to it. Within a Zen Grid Framework template this will be output as a block of text which floats to the left, has a margin of 3.4% and spans 30.75% of the available are within the content item.

If you wanted to apply the zenlast class and float the block to the right and remove the margin then yopu would use the following syntax:

{grid4_last}Here be monsters{/grid4_last}

You can see an example of how this renders in the upcoming Corporate Joomla tempolate below.


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It feels great to be able to announce that Zentools is now Joomla 2.5 compatible. If you missed it Joomla 2.5 was released yesterday and J2.5 has a lot of useful new features.

In particular Zentools has pulled in two of the new features into it's layout options.

Using Joomla 2.5 article images for the Zentools image

Joomla 2.5 now allows you to specify images for your content without the need to actually display them in the intro or full text of the item. Zentools has been doing this with K2 for a while, but now you can use an image in the module that isn't displayed in the item itself. The benefit for this is that you can use large images in the slideshow that do not then disrupt the flow of content in the content item itself.

Specifying alternate links in Joomla 2.5

One of the more common requests we have had over the years for our modules is to be able to specify a unique url for the item in the module. Joomla 2.5 allows us to do this easily so now via the url fields in the content item. If you have a unique url specified in the Joomla content item you can have that specific Zentools item link to an external url - this applies for both the lightbox and content item link options.

The filter view for list and grid layouts...

When I first developed version 1.0 of Zentools I left out the filter view option which can be still found in the older Microblog module - It soon became clear to me that I under estimated how popular this layout was.

Zentools 1.2 implements the filter option albeit in a slightly different way by using the item categories to sort and filter the items. So when your items in the module come from two or more categories (and you enable the category filter option) a list of the category titles is displayed above the module content.

When the user clicks on the category title it shows the items from that category and hides the rest. It does this via a lovely animation provided by the Isotope script.

The filter is available in the list and grid layouts.

Single item galleries in Zentools

Another useful addition to Zentools v1.2 is the ability to display a single item that leads to a lightbox gallery. The concept is simple but I'm sure this will come in useful for people wanting to use a single trigger to launch a gallery of images or content items in a fancybox lightbox.

So what's coming in v1.3?

This is actually where you get to have your say (again).

I'm looking at adding support for Zoo from Yootheme to the module and also adding flickr and twitter layout options.

What would you like to see in Zentools v1.3?

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The Zentools module uses our own image resizer that can be found in the JB Library plugin and the Zen Grid Framework plugin. It is a powerful resizing tool that has the ability to resize and cache images and is used extensively in the zentools module.

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Introducing Zentools

For some time now we have been working on streamlining our workflow and in particular consolidating some of our core code base. The unified Zen Grid Framework Plugin we released along with the Responsive Joomla template were the first wave of the consolidation and I am happy to say that stage two is now here.

The Zentools module is a flexible (read responsive) Joomla module that can deliver some stunning content and image galleries from a range of content sources.

Check out the demo here or grab yourself a copy.

Responsive layouts

The beauty of the Zentools module is that it is 100% responsive. All of the layotus whether it be a slideshow, carousel, list, grid or accordion will respond to the width of your template and if your template permits to the width of the browser.

This means that you can now use a slideshow in your content that will scale beautifully on mobile platforms (if your template supports it). Check out the Slideshow demo and resize the browser to see whta I mean.

Drag and Drop

It features a super simple drag and drop interface which controls the various content elements available in the module. This gives you unprecedentated flexiblility when it comes to determining how and where items in your gallery will be laid out.


Dynamic Parameters

Gone are the days where you had to sift through acres of settings in order to control your content. The Zentools module dynamically populates the relevant settings in your module based on your layout selection, content source and element selection. So if you are using Joomla as your content source then you wont see any settings that relate to K2 and vice versa.

Images from a directory as a source

One of the limitations of the current stock of modules has been that we haven't had a simple way to populate a slideshow from images in a folder and then attach it to your content. Slideshow3 certainly has that ability but the Zentools implementation makes this almost effortless.

A unified Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 1.7 module

In keeping with all of our recent releases the Zentools module will install on either Joomla 1.5 or Joomla 1.7 from a single package with no trouble.

Recently expired members can get a copy

I spoke last week about the various interuptions to our development process over the last month to six weeks and as a way of making this up to recently expired members, we are going to make this module available to you. So if your membership ran out from the 1st November to today just send us a note via the contact form and we will pass a copy of the module on to you.

Zentools Roadmap

After we get the next theme out the door - which I hope will be available by Friday - the plan is to retrofit all of our old templates and quickstart packages with the Zentools module.

And then once that is done I will be adding support for some more content sources such as flickr, twitter and perhaps some more Joomla ccks.

Also on the cards is the addition of some new layouts to choose from such as content tabs and another variation on a slider.

We are certainly keen to here what you would you like to see in the module? So if you have some ideas - let us know in the comments.

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I've just released an update for our free jQuery system plugin for Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 1.7 which has a very nifty new feature. You can now automatically add javascript to the bottom of your Joomla site simply by uploading your files to the plg_jblibrary/user folder media folder.

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One of the things I don't enjoy when using Joomla 1.7 is navigating through the module position options in the admin when trying to assign a module to a position. There is plenty of stuff I like about Joomla 1.7, but this one has me regularly venting in frustration at the screen when it comes time to open that modal box.

I know that displaying the module positions like that really showcases the flexibility of template assignment and module positioning in Joomla 1.7, but I see complexity rather than flexibility. In fact I often resort to typing the module position in the combobox rather than opening that dreaded dialogue.

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In some of our recent Joomla templates like Newscycle and as far back as Rasa, you may have noticed that we implemented some subline styling ion the menu items. A design element that has gained a fair amount of attention and use from the design community in the last 12 months or so.

Up until now we have relied on a small modification to the awesome bbcode plugin from YV to do the heavy lifting. It always seemed like overkill to us to draw upon such a small part of that plugin's feature set and also add to the general memory load that comes with using multiple content replace plugins on a Joomla site, so a few weeks ago we decided to bundle those styles into our versatile and free JB Type plugin.

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Our free Joomla extension CaptifyContent is now available for Joomla 1.6. If you haven't seen it before, Captify first made a splash on the front page of our Grid Joomla template and it is basically a module that can create a lovely grid layout for images from your content items or category images. The implementation in Joomla 1.6 has changed slightly so please make sure you read the docs on the Captify page for an update on how to use the category image option.

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jFlickr is our free Joomla jQuery driven Flickr module - and it is now available for Joomla 1.6.

We have also updated the Joomla 1.5 version to fix an issue with jQuery 1.4+ and fancybox so if you are experiencing issues please grab the latest release of both JB Library and jFlickr and everything should be working swimmingly.

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Our free jQuery system plugin - JB library - has just been updated to include the latest version of jQuery. jQuery v1.6.1 was released a little over a month ago but you can read about the new goodies and updates in the library on the official jQuery blog.

You can download the JB Library plugin via the JB Library extension page.

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One of our most neglected Joomla extensions, Hoverbox, has just been recoded from the ground up and is now compatible with Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 1.6. Hoverbox was one of the extensions I cut my teeth on and I used it as a bit of a tool for learning when I first started working with Joomla. Unfortunately the module has laid a little dormant - that is until this past weekend when it received a whole lot of love and a much needed overhaul.

You can see an example of the Hoverbox in action on the Hoverbox overview page where you can also download the module for Joomla 1.5 or Joomla 1.6 for free.

Please note that this module also requires the JB Library to be installed.

{loadposition hoverbox}

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