Wysiwyg image mapping with Prestashop

Prestashop is an amazing example of very specific features that benefit large audiences : the new version 1.1 is still in beta stage but the image mapping feature is really impressive.  The objective  described in the products section of prestashop admin manager,  allows the administrator to select portions of a category image, link areas to a specific product,  all this stuff is linked to the products database, in a process that saves thousands of repetitive work  : "When a customer hovers over the image with the mouse, a pop-up appears displaying a brief description of the product. The customer can then click to open the product's full product page. To achieve this, please define the 'mapping zone' that, when hovered over, will display the pop-up. Left-click with your mouse to draw the four-sided mapping zone, then release. Then, begin typing the name of the associated product. A list of products appears. Click the appropriate product, then click OK. Repeat these steps for each mapping zone you wish to create. When you have finished mapping zones, click Save Image Map." The interface uses the jquery imgareaslect plugin and the result below proves that Rich Application Interface is not any more for the rich only.

Silverstripe howto : import group users

Developping new functions in Silverstripe CMS is not easy task  : documentation of the framework is good enough for most web site development tasks but when it comes to specific functions, we know the potentiality is there but lack specific API documentation. It took me a few hours and a lot of brain energy to find out how to ... duplicate the newsletter recipient import function to have it work for users and groups. Objective was to let my own customer import hundreds of his own customers. Done, tested to a certain extent, click here for more on Silverstripe's dedicated thread.

Files :


osTube : MCMS for everyone

What is MCMS ?

MCMS is a new acronym used by the developers and marketers of osTube, a collaborative CMS that focuses on video publishing. videos, sounds, photos, documents types are supported in a portal layout that integrates user blogs and comments.

OSTube integrates encoder and flash player

Shipped with 4 or 5 available templates,  osTube featuires AJAX based portal layout manager and obviously a powerful uploader linked to command line encoders. CAn be a good application to resell but I wonder about the search engine : will that be as powerful as google 's youtube ?

Insite image gallery editing

silverstripe is getting serious there : experienced website developers will be delighted to try out a new version of the famous Gallery extension that implements in site image editing for text captions, reordering and item deletion. Novice users will not get lost as this extension builds on what's popular, with Facebook-style interface for adding captions after insite image upload. the result is wonderful as it implements one of the best modal galleries out ther, based on (commercial) Shadowbox jquery gallery plugin. Another guy is working on a Nyromodal implementation (because it's GPL) and no doubt next time I need the stuff I'll work on porting the front end to my own choice of jquery modal gallery plugin.

Monday’s web applications

Javascript libraries

While EXTJS 3.0 is on the way with a roadmap setting deadlines for early 2009, Jquery continues its path on the way to serious lightweight alternative to the massive EXT : JX extension for Jquery includes the viewport paradigm on which relies every EXT JS application.

Web based interfaces

In spite of huge progress and impressive use of ease, Jquery is not there yet : for the development of applications many developers have chosen the exhaustivity of EXT JS. Have a look at google code hosted project in development : ecartcommerce, CMS jimw, both ext js and zend framework based. In the world of content management systems, mysource is making the news with a new video that demonstrates inline editing, and other exciting Rich Application features.

Zend Framework extensions

Zend framework might not be as popular as other famous programming frameworks such as CAKE PHP or symfony. But still it's getting quite usable with version 1.7 approaching and a growing number of serious of libraries are hitting the ground. We've already covered code generationscaffolding and RAD with Zend framework in   previous articles, this article covers lower  level libraries from Zym Projet

Zym Project includes a powerful navigation abstraction that can help building pages hierachy in a CMS application for example. Other goodies include the bootstrap class, that takes all configuration from ini files (bootstrap class also exists in another ZF extension, ZENDEX). Some classes of Zym Project have been integrated into 1.6 official release of Zend Framework. API classes Reference guide is available online.

In site editing

The world of content management was doing  fine with the concept of  the usual administration framework or form based edition : some tools integrate front end editing, meaning that connected users can browse their site with a special menu tool bar on top or inside the page. What's even better is in situ editing, as demonstrated on NicEdit Wysiwyg editor demo page : NicEdit instances can also replace any element (divs,spans,paragraphs,ect.) with editor instances without effecting the layout of the page.

Erwan Pianezza – Freelance Internet Consultant

Productivity for web site content managers

Quick Facts

  • Content Management : In the business of Internet Web Site Management since 1995, I have produced a series of web based content management interfaces for international companies: Northern Telecom (Canada - 1997), Alice (Paris - 2000), Inforad (Paris - 2007), Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne (Brest, Relecq Kerhuon - 2005) . In this industry of ever improving technology  I build solid software  : web based content management tools I have  developped as far as 2000 are still in use as of 2008.
  • E-commerce : I develop custom ecommerce solutions  such as online shopping cart, ERP integration, or specific requirements. Current assignments include Brittany-Shops (Brest), Groupe Tournon (Paris)
  • Extranet : customer relationship, profiling and digital delivery has become a vital part of the service industry. Content management also means building  extranet access on top of legacy database systems. Current assignments include Polyexpert  (Paris)

Other Personal facts

  • Erwan Pianezza is founder and owner of ecolopop.info, popular french website that publishes positive and environmental information on a daily basis. (2000 visitors / day, 4 contributors). In 2005-2006 I  contributed to the NY based treehugger.com, now fully owned by Discovery Channel (1.5 billion subscribers worldwide).
  • Part of my work obviously  includes contribution to Opensource  Software : wysiwyg editor (2000), webxadmin, silverstripe, wordpress

Contact : Please contact me @ poleouest.com or via webmasterbulletin's contact form

modX 2 : first opensource ext js cms ?

I have to admit that the race for the best opensource content management software is an exciting one. Years pass and technology goes ahead but some names have the capacity to stay  on track : in 2007 modx was, in my opinion, the best PHP CMS I could implement for customers. 2008 saw an impressive competitor come up as a reliable solution, including a powerful development framework : Silverstripe version 2.2 is a must, with a simple tree based navigation and drag&drop page structure management as most visible features. Automatic image resizing, online image editing, flexible database structure, are features now common in silverstripe, sometimes shared with modx or other competitors (check out JOJOCMS, Concrete5 or even the old WordPress !!). Of course on the development side of the moon, 2008 also celebrated the ever increasing popularity of Zend framework on the server side, and EXTJS  on the client side : those 2 powerful libraries have little implementation examples, but that is changing quickly too : the latest pre release version of MODX CMS, code named revolution,  is demonstrating the use of EXT JS to an extent that's going to make 2009 a new era for opensource content management solutions !

Omeka : exhibit engine

what is nice about Omeka CMS is not the backend : you will find in the admin sandbox that most sections of the restricted area, while perfectly efficient, lack today's common AJAX reactivity.  But on the front end, the result is stunning :  websites built with Omeka have all gone throught a graphic design expertise that  push the enthousiast to look more into the technology behind (Zend Framework). As such the tool fits perfectly into its mission statement : "web platform for publishing collections and exhibitions online. Designed for cultural institutions, enthusiasts, and educators, Omeka is easy to install and modify and facilitates community-building around collections and exhibits."

tagging : nsteim wcm does it for you

wmc is a professionnal web content management tool that does more than just let you write within your won website : it helps you with words via a specific semantic engine that will do its best to optimize your website for Search engines ! From the vendors website : "Semantic analysis is the process of linguistically parsing sentences and paragraphs into key concepts, verbs and Proper Nouns to determine the “aboutness” of content. Using statistics-backed technology, these words are then compared to your taxonomy* (categories) and grouped according to relevance".

Protonotes : simple web collaboration

Have your ever found that communicating with distant partners or collaborators involve a lot of window changes : email, phone conversation, chat... Protonotes is a hosted service that aims to centralize all conversations to a web page, can be either a web design prototype or the beginning of your own extranet. Protonotes works very simply by the inclusion of a javascript that displays a control bar on top of your web page, and allows the display of yellow notes all over the place. nice and simple, doesnot require login or installation : might be a good idea to implement password protected notes for privacy - or moderation !! Link : protonotes

Instant image effects from Javascript

We have collected 2 javascript image addons that perform nice enhancements or animations on simple images

  • Instant js is a  javascript library that adds visual effect to any image, just via a style sheet attribute. Wonderful and simple light javascript effect that saves you either photoshop or server processing time. link : http://www.netzgesta.de/instant/
  • For Jquery addicts, here comes another nice effect : we call it  SlideText Gallery and it features a nice  image rollover that displays the alt text. Implemented for Silverstripe CMS experts (download zip for HasManyFileManager module),  inspiration : Kyanmedia.

jquery scroll + panorama

  • http://jqueryfordesigners.com/demo/coda-slider.html
  • http://flowplayer.org/tools/scrollable.html
  • Carrousel
    • jquery based : http://plugins.jquery.com/project/carousel3d
    • scriptaculous based with PHP reflections : http://www.piksite.com/carousel.us/
  • http://photosynth.net/about.aspx

JOJO CMS : silverstripe challenger

We love Silvsertripe but JOJO CMS has nice features too, including multi template choice for pages, drag & drop,  inherited permissions :

  • Multi-site install lets you run unlimited websites from a single set of core files. Makes it real easy to upgrade lots of sites at once.
  • Image handling. Jojo resizes all images on the fly from a large original image kept on the server. Images can be resized to any dimension, cropped square or cropped to fit simply by changing the URL of the image (which is search engine friendly of course). Images are cached to save server processing, and can be regenerated by pressing CTRL-F5 in your browser (no complicated cache-clearing routines here).
  • Search engine friendly CMS

link : http://www.jojocms.org

Online Office with OpenGoo

CRM, task management, time tracking, are features of the new OpenGOO opensource software that's just appeared on stage. Many of these tasks are handled by other open source apps. Instead of reinventing the wheel, the OpenGoo developers glue together available tools, filling in the odd hole with custom apps wherever required. Some of the tools they use include FCKEditor for text editing, ExtJS for most of the AJAX interface, activeCollab for project management, and Reece calendar. For handling and editing presentations, the developers created something called Slimey.

Magento promotions : flexibility in the form of rules

Promotions are always a result of  complex  marketing strategies : making them real on ecommerce involves either analytic programmation, or default product features : most ecommerce application come with product promotions schema, based on percentage or price reduction. In Magento, complex rules can be implemented from within the interface, that cover a wide variety of busines cases : based on shopping cart total, shipping method, product / attribute combination, or product characteristics, Magento offers various promotion modes, such as percentage of the original price, fixed reduction, fixed destination price... Well done Magento for this new implentation of a generic feature that will answer a lot of business needs.

Zimplit, simple CMS

Zimplit presents itself as the easiest Content Management System (CMS) ever made. It is extremely lightweight, simple and customizable. Zimplit consists of only one core engine file. No database needed. With Zimplit you don’t need special templates - you can edit any html/css page. You don´t need to install it, just upload and it works. Most importantly Zimplit is an "on-site" editor - everything happens on site, not in admin area. The results are right there, on the page. And you can edit absolutely everything on your website.