To end the year off on a bright note the December Joomla template release is going to be a very colourful number. The Colour Shift theme - or Shift as a working title - has been on the drawing board since September 2010.

It's one of those designs that I have toyed with off on and on over the last 12 or so months - just waiting and hoping something might come of it. Thankfully though I managed to find some time recently to refine it and the screenshots below show the end result.

We are aiming to get this one out the door by December 31st so please keep an eye out during the end of year break (if you are taking one) for the release.

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Well after a considerable delay, I'm very happy to announce the availability of the November template.

But it's December?

I described in the Bamboo state of the union post some of the reasons for the delay in the release of this theme and I hope to be able to elaborate some more next week once we clear the decks of some other outstanding things on the todo list.

Subscription expired in between now and November 1st?

If your subscription expired in between the 1st of November and the 22nd December then you are entitled to a copy of this template. Please make contact with us via the contact form and we will give you the files for this Joomla template.

Download, documentation and demo

In the meantime if you are a member already go on over and download Platform. And if you haven't seen it yet - check out the Platform demo site. For the run down on how to use Platform please ensure you read the Platform documentation.


Platform is a responsive Joomla template that features the new zentools module, that in the case that you missed the announcement, is a mult-tasking responsive module for for Joomla that is capable of creating some simply amazing galleries, slider, carousels, slideshows and more.


You can see a selection of screenshots below that highlight the way that this theme will morph / respond to your screensize.

{loadposition platform}

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Bamboo christmas coupon

It's that time of the year again where we get to say thanks to all of our members for their support throughout the year.

The coupon "christmas" will add a 25% discount off any new subscription. In addition to this current members can add another 20% off that reduced price when they use the member coupon "jbrenewal". If you are a lapsed member you can also use the coupon "jbrenewal2" and add 10% to the reduced price.

You can see a list of plans on offer on our subscription page.

Platform is coming ...

In other news I hope to release the Platform template later on today and the aim is to have the December template available by the end of December.

Once we have Platform released I will give you all a thorough overview of why we have been so heavily delayed with the November template, but for now I'll keep my head down and keep working on releasing the Platform theme.

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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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After years of using Joomla it's easy to lose sight of the simple things. We get asked a lot of the same questions on our forum about how to use Joomla and by far the most popular is the one concerning the Joomla menu item id issue that we covered a while ago.

Last week we were asked how to create a default menu item in Joomla and so I have just posted the tutorial for creating a blog category menu item and setting it to the default menu in Joomla 1.7.

Over the next few weeks we will be populating the Using Joomla section of our knowledgebase in the hope that we cover a good portion of the questions that new users have when they first start using Joomla. So if you have any questions that are screaming out to be answered let us know and we will add them to the list.

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The Bamboo state of the union


As some of you may have noticed it's now December and we are yet to release the November template. November has been a funny month for us with some staff changes, a design that didn't quite come into it's own until quite late in the piece as well as needing more time than anticipated to bring a new module to the table. All of this has lead to us being incredibly late with the next template ... but please don't despair there is some good news ahead.

The Platform Joomla Template


The good news is that the November template - Platform - is almost ready and it is stunning. It's a clean full width template that uses Masonry to create complex (but easy to control) layouts in a non-traditional blog format. It is also a responsive design and will scale to suit your iphone, android, ipad device as well small screen and large screen monitors. Check out the full width screenshot here.

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Cyber Monday - Coupon

It's been some time since we released a coupon to our Joomla template club and so we thought Cyber Monday was the perfect time to break the drought.

If you use the coupon "BAMBOO2011" on our subscription page you will receive 25% off all of our Joomla template subscriptions. This coupon will be available for the next few days.

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I've just released a raft of updates for our template Framework and some of our popular Joomla Extensions. Please note that information related to potential security vulnerabilities on some of our extensions is below.

An update to the Zen Grid Framework

The framework release fixes a number of issues that have popped up since the release of our Responsive Joomla template a few weeks ago. You can read the full run down of the changes in the Zen Grid Framework 2 changelog.

JCE JB Type Plugin available for JCE v2

Last night I also released the JCE JB Type plugin v2.0 (compatible with JCE v2.x) that puts the ease of our typography plugin right inside the JCE Joomla content editor. I want to send a very special thanks to Ryan Demmer for putting this JCE plugin together for us.

Unified Extensions

The JB Type plugin, jTweet and jFlickr modules have also had small although significant updates. They are all now available as a unified package which means you know longer have to worry about which version of the extension to download. The packages will install on Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 1.7.

Security releases

A few days ago I notified the VEL Team that a number of our extensions had potential security issues. The issues related to missing no direct acces statements that could in some server configurations lead to a full server path disclosure. All users of the following modules are advised to update to the latest version in order to cover any potential issues: JB Slideshow3, CaptifyContent, Microblog and Bamboo Box.

This vulnerability is only evident on servers that have display_errors set to on and when a user attempts to access one of the admin interface elements directly. If in doubt then please ensure that you update to the latets version.

If you are a user of Slideshow, Microblog or Bamboo Box and your subscription has run out then please contact me via the contact form and I will send you a copy of the lkatets version with the fixes.

Users of the captifyContent module can download the latest version for free form the captifyContent download page.


  • Captify Content - All versions prior to v1.0.1 of the unified package.
  • Microblog - Joomla 1.7 only. Versions prior to v1.10.3
  • JB Slideshow - Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 1.7 versions prior to v3.5.1
  • Bamboo Box - J1.5 all versions prior to 1.2.2

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Earlier this week I released the Responsive Joomla template which is the first our club templates to be released on Zen Grid Framework version 2. The new update is a considerable update and while I port the existing framework templates across to the new version I thought I would post some of the new features and improvements here.

Unified Joomla 1.5 / Joomla 1.7 packages

This is a big one for us and hopefully for you too. From now on we will be releasing single packages of both Joomla templates and the framework plugin. This means that the packages will install on both Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 1.7. This will make managing versions and releasing updates a lot easier which means it will be easier for our users to keep track of versions and updates as well.

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Earlier today I released the first of our October Joomla template releases. It's a responsive Joomla template that also has the honour of being the first template to be released on Zen Grid Framework version 2.

Zen Grid Framework Version 2

I'll be writing more about the framework in the next few days, but in the meantime if you haven't already seen the screenshots of the new interface design for the framework, then be sure to take a look. You can also see a run down of some of the new features in the framework on the Responsive template's feature page.

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The Feisty Empire Apostrophe Rules


I can be a little lazy when it comes to typing apostrophes. In fact it's a regular occurrence for me to receive emails from readers who notice that I've either used one incorrectly, placed it in the wrong position or even missed it completely.

The following is Paul Hassing's definitive explanation of when and how to use apostrophes in your website copy. Try not to be alarmed by the language in the examples, they are couched in classic "Aussie" vernacular just to make sure the rules stay firmly implanted in your hippocampus.

Rule 1

If you join words, the apostrophe replaces the missing letters.

  • It's crap = It is crap
  • You're dead = You are dead
  • I've spewed = I have spewed

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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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