Augmented Reality bei der Deutschen Bahn

Einen größeren Gegensatz als Augmented Reality und Deutsche Bahn konnte ich mir vor kurzem kaum vorstellen.

Am letzten Dienstag war ich beim Webgrrls Treffen in Frankfurt. Die Verbindung ist ganz einfach. Ich wohne ja momentan (heute letzter Tag) bei der @android_oma. Die ist Mitglied bei den Webgrrls im Rhein Main Gebiet (http://webgrrls-rheinmain.de) und dieses Mal tagten sie im Skydeck der Deutschen Bahn. Das Skydeck befindet sich im 30. Stock des Deutsche Bahn Gebäudes in Frankfurt und der Blick ist eindrucksvoll!


Die Webggrls sind ein Netzwerk für Frauen, das 1997 gegründet wurde und Anfang 2000 sage und schreibe 10.000 Frauen in ganz Deutschland umfasste. Nach dem Ende der New Economy Blase und der Einführung eines Mitgliedsbeitrags sank die Zahl auf unter 1.000 (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webgrrls.de). Auch heute noch sind die Webgrrls aktiv an Events und Projekten beteiligt. Beim Treffen ging es dann auch vornehmlich um Aktivitäten in der nahen Zukunft.


Das Treffen hat Spass gemacht und am Ende bot ein Mitarbeiter des Skydecks (Claus-Peter Gabriel) an, ein Gruppenfoto zu erstellen. Der Blaue im Hintergrund bin ich ;).

Ausserdem bot er uns an, doch am Freitag zu einer Veranstaltung des Skydecks zu kommen –

Real im Skydeck: VR
Real im Skydeck: VR

Am Samstag war die Veranstaltung schon ausgebucht aber am Freitag war ich tatsächlich den ganzen Nachmittag da.

Ich hatte bisher keinerlei Beruehrungspunkte mit Augmented Reality, daher war ich wirklich neugierig, was es dort zu sehen gab.

HTC VIVE

Die HTC VIVE ist eine Brille (Head Mounted Display), die Mitte 2015 vorgestellt wurde. Die Installation bestand aus einem Rucksack mit Computer und Akku drin, zwei Fernbedienungsartigen Controllern für jede Hand und der HTC Vive Brille. Vorgeführt wurde ein “Spiel” mit Pfeil und Bogen. Mit dem einen Controller musste man hinter die Schulter fassen und durch diese Bewegung einen virtuellen Pfeil holen. Dann musste man eine bestimmte Handbewegung machen und den Pfeil dadurch in den Bogen legen und den Bogen spannen. Durch einen weiteren Knopfdruck wurde der Pfeil losgelassen und flog ins Ziel. Das Ziel waren blaue Würfel in einer Fabrikhallenumgebung. Wenn ein Würfel getroffen wurde, wurde von dieser Stelle ein Pfeil zurueckgeschossen. Wenn man schnell genug auswich, konnte man wieder schiessen, ansonsten wurde man getroffen und das Spiel war zu Ende.

Es war das erste Mal in meinem Leben, dass ich so ein Brille trug und es war ungewohnt, fühlte sich aber durchaus echt an. Das Bogen spannen und Zielen war erstaunlich real. Ich mochte das Spiel nicht besonders, da mir irgendwie die Faszination für Schiessen fehlt. Sie hatten auch noch ein anderes Beispiel, in dem man durch ein Haus gehen konnte.

Nach mir kam jemand, der das extrem gut machte und es sah als Betrachter ganz lustig aus, wie er sich immer wieder Pfeile aus den nicht vorhandenen Köcher auf der Schulter holt, zielte, schoss und dann vor dem Echo auswich. Hier ein Foto von Inga, die Pfeile aus den Köcher zieht.

HTC Vive
HTC Vive

Lufthansa Icaros

Die Lufthansa zeigte einen Icaros mit selbst entwickelter Software. Das ist so eine Art Fitnessgerät auf dem man durch Gewicht verlagern “fliegen” kann. Auch das habe ich natürlich ausprobiert. Ich weiss nicht, welches Fabrikat die Brille war, aber das Ganze war sehr realistisch (immersiv). Vor mir war ein Jugendlicher auf dem Apparat, der nach dem Abnehmen der Brille echte Koordinationsschwierigkeiten hatte. Ich selbst kam mit dem Gleichgewicht nicht so gut klar und mir fehlte auch völlig die Motivation “Luftkampf” zu “spielen”. Der Icaros kam mir wie eine Jahrmarktsattraktion vor und er wird auch scheinbar so vermarktet.

Oculus Rift

Die Firma lightshape.net aus Stuttgart hatte ebenfalls eine Rucksack Konstruktion, diesmal aber mit der Oculus Rift Brille und einem Feld begrenzt durch Stangen mit Tracking Sensoren. In diesem Feld konnte man um ein virtuelles Mercedes Auto herumlaufen (in der Kulisse von Stuttgart 21 🙂 ) und sogar in das Auto laufen. Man konnte sich praktisch an die Stelle des Sitzes stellen und sah dann unter sich das Dach. Wenn man tiefer ging, war man plötzlich im Auto und konnte die Instrumente sehen. Der optische Eindruck war schlicht perfekt. Es ist unglaublich und macht Spass. Ich habe meinen Kopf ein paar mal “durch das Blech” gesteckt. Man bewegt sich sehr sicher und schnell durch diese Simulation und die Mitarbeiter am Stand mussten aufpassen, das ich keine Stangen mit Trackern umriss :).
Nach ein paar Minuten wurde mir unter der Brille etwas schwindelig. Nicht schlimm, aber bemerkbar. Diese Simulation war sehr beeindruckend! Ich habe ein Video auf Youtube gefunden, das eine Idee der Installation vermittelt. Der persönliche Eindruck ist allerdings viel, viel intensiver.

Google Glass

Die Glass Brille gibt es nicht mehr zu kaufen aber trotzdem gab es eine Anwendung aus der Lagerhaltung zu besichtigen. Man kann die Brille mit der rechte Hand am Bügel bedienen und sich verschiedene Anwendungen einblenden lassen. Die Lageranwendung zeigt, was man tun soll und das Ziel ist, einen Code mit der Brille zu scannen und dann zum nächsten Artikel zu gehen.

Google Glass
Google Glass

Microsoft Hololens

Die Hololens Brille ist so ähnlich wie Google Glass aber viel “besser”. Sie hat ein durchgehendes Glas und die Welt, die man sieht, ist hier wirklich “augmented”. Mittels Fingerschnipsen und zeigen lassen sich tatsächlich Aktionen hervorrufen. Es gibt ein Werbevideo von Microsoft, das die Effekte gut beschreibt. Mein Erlebnis war zwar nicht ganz so eindrucksvoll aber prinzipiell haut das schon so hin wie in dem Video gezeigt.
Also nochmal – das funktioniert wirklich!

Siemens Mireo

Der Mireo ist ein Zug von Siemens, der nach dem Lego Prinzip gebaut ist und im Vergleich zu Konkurrenzprodukten recht variabel konfiguriert werden kann (tolles Produkt also). Die Konfiguration wurde sehr charmant von einem Vertriebs- und Techniker Team gezeigt und war sehr beeindruckend. Technisch erstellt mit der Autodesk Software vred ist es möglich einen Zug im Verkaufsgespräch zu konfigurieren. Man kann Ausstattungen tauschen, Scheinwerfer, Haltestangen und Türbreiten konfigurieren und die 3D Darstellung passt sich an. Inwieweit Preise, Stücklisten und Verbindungen in die Konstruktion stattfinden habe ich nicht wirklich herausbekommen aber ist auch erstmal egal. Die Vorfuehrung fand in einer Art Kinosaal mit sehr grosser Leinwand statt. Die Zuschauer trugen 3D Brillen.

In Verlauf des Videos kann man die Animation ganz gut sehen. Immerhin kein Luftkampf, nur kurze Röcke 🙂

Fazit

Ich bin wirklich tief beeindruckt und möchte sofort für die Bahn oder deren Zulieferer arbeiten. Ich wüsste auch schon an was:

  • Weniger Luftkampf und leicht bekleidete Mädels. Mehr “normale” Beispiele.
  • Besseres Marketing fuer Veranstaltungen wie diese (tue Gutes und rede drüber)
  • Viel informativere Websites, vielleicht auch ein Planet Bahn mit aggregierten Artikeln der Zulieferer und Bahn Firmen um das Dickicht besser durchforsten zu koennen. Alles vereinfachen und weniger Buzzwords. Und wenn Buzzwords, dann besser erklären.
  • Viel mehr Dokumentation über Blogs, Tweets, Fotos, Videos nach aussen über solche Initiativen, Prototypen, Beispiele, Testinstallationen <- “Bahnpedia”
  • Im Sky Deck Frankfurt hat man übrigens keinen Telefon Netzempfang und kann nicht twittern!

Es passiert mir so oft, das ich Dinge in Deutschland sehe, bei denen ich denke

Hey, das Produkt ist richtig geil und es funktioniert, ihr müsstet mal anfangen es zu verkaufen!

Der tolle Zug geht auf der Siemens Website völlig unter, die lighshape Website ist unbedienbar (besonders auf dem Telefon). Beim zweiten Seitenzugriff auf der time-travelers-club.de Site blockte das Intrusion Detection System mit der Meldung “zu viele Zugriffe”. Nach ein paar Minuten konnte ich vorsichtig navigieren. Es ist nicht möglich auf der skydeck.deutschebahn.com den Eintrag über das Event zu finden. Google lieferte dann https://skydeck.deutschebahn.com/index.php/28-29-10-2016-real-im-skydeck-vr-virtual-reality/.

Ich will euch nicht aergern, ich würde euch gern helfen – meldet euch einfach 🙂

#ttcskydeck

Ach übrigens: Ab 18 Uhr gab es Bier 🙂

Bier ab 18 Uhr
Bier ab 18 Uhr

The post Augmented Reality bei der Deutschen Bahn appeared first on Hagen Graf.

Mobile Devices, Drupal, Composer and 217 km

Beside my Drupal work at artus.com I attended the Mobile Users FFM monthly meeting on Wednesday. The group exists since 13 years and it started as the “Palm user group, Frankfurt”. Do you remember Palm? During the last 13 years the world changed and it was interesting for me me to hear stories about different types of smartphones, smartwatches, phone contracts and gadget like the Yota Phone 2.

A member of the group (@android_oma) is developing an interesting Drupal/Android/open data project. The basic idea is to collect photos from German railway stations (bike stations, elevators, facilities inside and outside of railway stations). She pulls open data from the German Deutsche Bahn with longitude, latitude and unique id numbers of German railway stations. These data should be imported/synced to a Drupal site (http://www.deutschlands-bahnhoefe.de).

http://www.deutschlands-bahnhoefe.de
http://www.deutschlands-bahnhoefe.de

With an already existing Android App, people can see railway stations where photos are missing. So far the project is in early stage, the app is not in the app store but available via in this Google+ group.
Later on the app should post the photos directly to the Drupal website by using web services. So far people are just tweeting photos (it’s easy to participate 🙂 ) (https://twitter.com/hashtag/bahnhofsfotos. Railway fans are unique, so the project is getting attention and they are planning an international version starting with Switzerland.

A day later I attended the Drupal Meeting Frankfurt and learned a lot about Drupal and Composer (http://drupal-composer.org).

Bicycle

As you may know I commute with a bike and this week I drove 217 km.

Activities for Oct 10, 2016 - Oct 16, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 - Oct 10, 2016
Activities for Oct 10, 2016 – Oct 16, 2016 Aug 29, 2016 – Oct 10, 2016

 

The post Mobile Devices, Drupal, Composer and 217 km appeared first on Hagen Graf.

First setup of my Nextcloud Box

Last Saturday at Nextcloud conference in Berlin the Nextcloud Box was announced. Frank said it’s a part of his promise/desire to make the world a better place by bringing your data home.

How can the world be a better place with Nextcloud Box?

What is Nextcloud Box?

Nextcloud Box is a project between Western Digital Labs, Ubuntu/Canonical and Nextcloud GmbH. It gives you the possibility to store your data (files, documents, photos, calendars, notes, newsfeed, contacts, music files, video files and everything the can be stored in a file) in your own Nextcloud Box. There is no need anymore to upload your data to proprietary cloud services like Dropbox, Google Cloud, Microsoft Cloud, Apple Cloud, Amazon Cloud, and many other! It will be even possible in the next release to make encrypted phone calls via your Nextcloud Box.

The complete Nextcloud Box contains a hard disk, an operating system, and open source software:

  • a hard disk from Western Digital (1TB = a lot for me)
  • a Raspberry Pi computer (at the moment model 2).
    The Raspberry Pi is so far not included in the box you can buy.
  • a 4GB storage card with a preinstalled Linux System (Snappy Ubuntu Core)
  • the Nextcloud software (Version 9.53)
  • a software environment that connects the box automatically to your (local) network via ethernet cable and offers the Nextcloud services to all users.

A complete Nextcloud Box looks like this and costs 70 Euro in Europe (buy here).

Open Nextcloud Box
Open Nextcloud Box

Why is it sold without the Raspberry Pi?

Nextcloud box should be as open as possible so the partners decided for the start not to deliver the Raspberry Pi. If you already own one you can connect your Raspberry Pi 2 to the box. There is a screw driver, four screws, all necessary connection cables and a power supply in the box. If not, you have to buy it somewhere. Frank announced that there are working on a possibility to sell complete packages in the future.

All parts of Nextcloud Box
All parts of Nextcloud Box

Putting everything together is easy and doable for everyone. If you search for the card slot at the Raspberry Pi – It’s a bit hidden “below” it and luckily it’s not possible to insert the card in the wrong way.

Card Slot - Raspberry Pi
Card Slot – Raspberry Pi

This it how it looks if everything is connected

connected Nextcloud Box
connected Nextcloud Box

The last task is to close the box with the cover and your done.

How to install Nextcloud Box

Well, just connect it to your network, provide electricity and wait 8-10 minutes. Open your browser and point to http://ubuntu-standard.local. The start screen asks to set a user name and a password for the administrator account. Enter na nice name and secure password and click the Finish setup button.

Nextcloud Box - set administrator account
Nextcloud Box – create an administrator account

That’s it! Nextcloud Box is ready to use and lots like this:

Next steps

Depending on your goal and situation you can e.g.

connect Nextcloud Box to your clients

This is an example of the OS X Nextcloud client

Nextcloud OSX Client with Nextcloud Box folder
Nextcloud OSX Client with Nextcloud Box folder

It works of course too on iOS and Android devices.

Allow access from outside your home and become a cloud hoster

If you have a fairly fast internet connection at home and a possibility to configure your router, you can enable the access to your Nextcloud Box from outside of your home. E.g. here in France it’s possible to get your own IP-address for free (free.fr). As this IP-address is static it’s possible to connect it to a domain name (mydomainname.tld) and you suddenly become a cloud hosting entity.

Why is Nextcloud Box important?

It’s another try to help people to understand how easy it is to store your own data at home or in your own company in an environment as open as possible. Even the plan of the box is available for free, so that you are able to start your own project!

Remember …

There is no cloud, just other people’s computer!

The familiar you become with your own data, the better it will be for the world too!

At Nextcloud conference 50 Nextcloud boxes were available.

Links

https://nextcloud.com/box/


tl;dr: Nextcloud Box will make the world a better place and will bring you data home!

The post First setup of my Nextcloud Box appeared first on Hagen Graf.

Nextcloud Apps, Apps, Apps …

So I installed Nextcloud Server and the Nextcloud iOS App and the OS X desktop client. I’m syncing my photos and other files and I’m so happy that everything works. I mean, not in the way “Yeah, it works somehow and I like it because it’s open source software and they are the good ones”. No, it’s more like

It works fine awesome, the data is were I need it! I don’t have to think about!

But the best thing is …

There is more to discover and there will be much more in the near future!

I discovered Nextcloud Apps! They are hidden behind the little + in this popup.

Nextcloud Apps
Nextcloud Apps

I didn’t know, that there is a whole ecosystem behind that little +. Beside the shipped apps there will be a whole new App Store created by Bernhard Posselt and many other contributors. As far as I know the Nextcloud App Store will be fully operational from the Nextcloud version 11 release (will be in 2016) on. The beta version is already online and it looks promising (https://apps.nextcloud.com/).

Nextcloud - App Store - Beta
Nextcloud – App Store – Beta

Shipped Apps

Before we talk about the future let’s have a look what is already available. The core nextcloud server package comes with official apps, which are developed by Nextcloud directly and with approved apps. Approved apps are developed and supported by the community and approved by Nextcloud as “so good” to ship them with the core package.

Official Apps – Enabled by Default

The following Apps are official and enabled. They are the real core package of your Nextcloud Server. Because they are necessary and simply working I didn’t pay a lot attention when I installed Nextcloud for the first time but it’s worth to have a look what the whole core system is about.

Activity

Activity is a kind of Facebook timeline. You can see, ordered by date, all your shares, comments, favourites, uploads and the activities of remote users who are connected to you via the federation system.

Nextcloud - Activity
Nextcloud – Activity

Auditing / Logging

Logging is necessary and in this case it’s about PHP. You can choose what to log and you can download the log file to look for the reason of the entries.

Nextcloud - Logging
Nextcloud – Logging

Collaborative tags

Every user can tag files. The tags are stored and offered to all the users. It’s a great feature for your personal cloud or for teams. If you run a bigger installation with plenty of users that didn’t know each other you should disable this app to avoid confusion.

Nextcloud - Collaborative Tags
Nextcloud – Collaborative Tags

Comments

Yeah, it’s possible to comment on files

Deleted files

This app enables users to restore files that were deleted from the system. Restoring a file also restores related file versions (versions app has to be enabled).

Nextcloud - Deleted Files
Nextcloud – Deleted Files

Federation

Federation allows you to connect with other trusted servers.

Nextcloud - Federation
Nextcloud – Federation
  • File sharing
    The file sharing app implements the whole process of sharing files within Nextcloud server.

    Nextcloud - File sharing
    Nextcloud – File sharing

First run wizard

This app enables the popup that appears when a user logs in for the first time.

Nextcloud - First Login
Nextcloud – First Login

Notifications

The app send notifications for example when you receive a remote share.

Nextcloud - Notification
Nextcloud – Notification

Password policy

Manages the password policy on your Nextcloud Server. Common passwords are taken from https://github.com/danielmiessler/SecLists/tree/master/Passwords

Nextcloud - Password Policy
Nextcloud – Password Policy

PDF viewer

I uploaded most of my books to have enough to read …

Nextcloud - PDF Viewer
Nextcloud – PDF Viewer

Provisioning API

Enables external systems to communicate via API with Nextcloud. For example the url http://admin:secret@example.com/ocs/v1.php/cloud/users -d userid="joecool"-d password="secret" creates the user joecool with the password secret.

Server info

Information about current CPU load, memory usage and active users.

Nextcloud - Server Info
Nextcloud – Server Info

Text editor

Create a new file online and write something! The screenshot is a gif animation including a problem that is solved by Nextcloud itself … have a look!

Nextcloud - Text Editor
Nextcloud – Text Editor
  • Theming

    You are already wondering about the nice orange color on top of the screenshots?

    Nextcloud - Theming
    Nextcloud – Theming

    Have a look at my login page (https://cloud.cocoate.com) and upload a nice log in image to your personal cloud!

    Nextcloud - Individual Login Page
    Nextcloud – Individual Login Page

Update notification

It displays update notifications. I saw it for the contacts app but I was to slow to take a screenshot (next time).

  • Usage report

    Sends anonymized data to help to improve Nextcloud. You can disable it at any time.

    Nextcloud - Usage Report
    Nextcloud – Usage Report

Versions

This application automatically maintains older versions of files that are changed.

  • Video player

Yes, there is a video player in Nextcloud! Click the link (https://cloud.cocoate.com/index.php/s/By6txeI6Hws38B8) for my shared video of @maxilamps.

Nextcloud - Video Player
Nextcloud – Video Player

Have a short break …

My initial plan was to try out and describe the Nextcloud apps. What I described so far in this blog post is a short glimpse on the official apps which are enabled by default! There are more official apps you can enable at any time (Default encryption module, External sites, External storage support, External user support, File access control, Files automated tagging, Gallery, LDAP user and group backend, Mail template editor, Retention, SAML authentication) and there are also the approved apps which can be enabled by just one click (NewsBookmarksDocumentsTasksJavaScript XMPP ChatOwnBackupownNote – Notes ApplicationQOwnNotesAPI,Shorten).
May be now you get a better impression what the Nextcloud ecosystem is about and how interesting it already is!

Now I’ll start to play around with the “not enabled” official apps and will come back soon with a new blog post.


tl;dr: The Nextcloud ecosystem is an amazing collection of useful apps and it’s growing and improving every day. Have a look at it!

The post Nextcloud Apps, Apps, Apps … appeared first on Hagen Graf.

Nextcloud Hackweek – Day 5 – Version 11, Foundation, Conference

Today was about the features of Nextcloud Version 11, “the foundation” and the first Nextcloud conference.

Nextcloud Version 11

The first meeting was to collect and decide about features for the upcoming Version 11 of Nextcloud. Each feature has it’s own history and story, e.g. 4 Byte support means, among other, Emojis support ;). Each feature has also it’s own difficulties or uncertainties, e.g. Sharepoint!
Some of the new features are a result of cool architectural ideas on one hand and are necessary (or super nice to have), but could affect on the other hand plenty of code, e.g. the improve federated sharing feature or the new Updater.
Some features are part of a bigger picture like the spreed.me integration.

The meeting was effective and it was even possible to assign tasks to people. This doesn’t mean that they have to deliver as soon as possible. It is more a commitment to get things done with the help of others because it’s of course not easy impossible to assume how long it will take to finish some of the tasks. This is the result on a whiteboard.

To do list for Nextcloud 11

Afterwards Morris created the issue Nextcloud 11 overview #745 and tflidd the forum post Planned features for NC 11 . It’s remarkable for me to see the transparency, openness and speed of the whole process.

The Foundation

After lunch we had the “foundation” meeting. How to organise the structure of an entity, involve the community, users, Nextcloud clients, partners, individuals in general? How to give them the possibility to get influence on roadmap, architectural changes and many more. How to handle the trademark in a fair way? How can Nextcloud GmbH help? How can the entity that will be formed help Nextcloud GmbH? How to create a win-win situation for all stakeholders and protect the trademark against “evil situations”. Answers to these questions are not easy in open source projects and depend also on national and international laws. It’s a complex topic and it’s handled differently in the three Content Management Systems I have some insights in. In Joomla for example the trademark is given to Open Source Matters.

OSM has the roles to own and manage the assets of Joomla, such as the domains, trademarks and copyright

But there is no big company behind Joomla.

In Drupal it is given to the founder Dries Buytaert.

Any license granted under this policy, is legally granted as a sub-license by the company Dries Buytaert BVBA (company number 0893.231.032), which is mandated by Dries Buytaert to evaluate the applications and assign sub-licenses of the Drupal trademark on behalf of Dries Buytaert (http://drupal.com/trademark).

Dries ist also the CTO of Acquia, the company behind Drupal AND he serves as president of the Drupal association!

Automattic, the company behind WordPress registered the domain name in 2006 and gave it 2010 to the WordPress foundation (A New Home for the WordPress Trademark). But beside the WordPress brand Automattic runs 10 other services (Automattic Services).

It’s a big decision and it takes time, considerations, a lot of feedback, consulting and discussions what’s the best solution in the current situation of Nextcloud GmbH in general and Frank Karlitschek in particular. To make it even worse it should has to be solved as soon as possible.

The Conference – Sept 16-22 – Berlin

The Nextcloud community will be meeting at the TU Berlin from September 16 to 22 for a week of talks and coding around the next generation private cloud technology.
Friday opens with a focus on scalability and federation, with special workshops and meetups around these subjects. Saturday and Sunday are kicked off with a keynote and lightning talks in the morning while we get together around various subjects in the afternoon in workshops, learning and sharing together.
The conference is focused on making Nextcloud better, through discussion, coding, packaging, designing, translating and more.

https://conf.nextcloud.com

See you there and thanks again for the possibility to attend the Nextcloud Hackweek 😉

 

The post Nextcloud Hackweek – Day 5 – Version 11, Foundation, Conference appeared first on Hagen Graf.

Nextcloud Hackweek – Day 5 – Version 11, Foundation, Conference

Today was about the features of Nextcloud Version 11, “the foundation” and the first Nextcloud conference.

Nextcloud Version 11

The first meeting was to collect and decide about features for the upcoming Version 11 of Nextcloud. Each feature has it’s own history and story, e.g. 4 Byte support means, among other, Emojis support ;). Each feature has also it’s own difficulties or uncertainties, e.g. Sharepoint!
Some of the new features are a result of cool architectural ideas on one hand and are necessary (or super nice to have), but could affect on the other hand plenty of code, e.g. the improve federated sharing feature or the new Updater.
Some features are part of a bigger picture like the spreed.me integration.

The meeting was effective and it was even possible to assign tasks to people. This doesn’t mean that they have to deliver as soon as possible. It is more a commitment to get things done with the help of others because it’s of course not easy impossible to assume how long it will take to finish some of the tasks. This is the result on a whiteboard.

To do list for Nextcloud 11

Afterwards Morris created the issue Nextcloud 11 overview #745 and tflidd the forum post Planned features for NC 11 . It’s remarkable for me to see the transparency, openness and speed of the whole process.

The Foundation

After lunch we had the “foundation” meeting. How to organise the structure of an entity, involve the community, users, Nextcloud clients, partners, individuals in general? How to give them the possibility to get influence on roadmap, architectural changes and many more. How to handle the trademark in a fair way? How can Nextcloud GmbH help? How can the entity that will be formed help Nextcloud GmbH? How to create a win-win situation for all stakeholders and protect the trademark against “evil situations”. Answers to these questions are not easy in open source projects and depend also on national and international laws. It’s a complex topic and it’s handled differently in the three Content Management Systems I have some insights in. In Joomla for example the trademark is given to Open Source Matters.

OSM has the roles to own and manage the assets of Joomla, such as the domains, trademarks and copyright

But there is no big company behind Joomla.

In Drupal it is given to the founder Dries Buytaert.

Any license granted under this policy, is legally granted as a sub-license by the company Dries Buytaert BVBA (company number 0893.231.032), which is mandated by Dries Buytaert to evaluate the applications and assign sub-licenses of the Drupal trademark on behalf of Dries Buytaert (http://drupal.com/trademark).

Dries ist also the CTO of Acquia, the company behind Drupal AND he serves as president of the Drupal association!

Automattic, the company behind WordPress registered the domain name in 2006 and gave it 2010 to the WordPress foundation (A New Home for the WordPress Trademark). But beside the WordPress brand Automattic runs 10 other services (Automattic Services).

It’s a big decision and it takes time, considerations, a lot of feedback, consulting and discussions what’s the best solution in the current situation of Nextcloud GmbH in general and Frank Karlitschek in particular. To make it even worse it should has to be solved as soon as possible.

The Conference – Sept 16-22 – Berlin

The Nextcloud community will be meeting at the TU Berlin from September 16 to 22 for a week of talks and coding around the next generation private cloud technology.
Friday opens with a focus on scalability and federation, with special workshops and meetups around these subjects. Saturday and Sunday are kicked off with a keynote and lightning talks in the morning while we get together around various subjects in the afternoon in workshops, learning and sharing together.
The conference is focused on making Nextcloud better, through discussion, coding, packaging, designing, translating and more.

https://conf.nextcloud.com

See you there and thanks again for the possibility to attend the Nextcloud Hackweek 😉

 

The post Nextcloud Hackweek – Day 5 – Version 11, Foundation, Conference appeared first on Hagen Graf.

4. It’s all about users, permissions, modules and articles

Back to 3. Design, Layout, Colors

I know, we still have no content on our site but before we create it, let’s have a look on the user accounts of our new Joomla website.
When you installed Joomla, you created the Super Administrator account. This user is allowed to do anything. It is nice to be that user but it is dangerous too. You will probably have more than one user account on your website, e.g. authors who write articles.

To get more used to these topics, let’s build a platform for authors where they can post articles and upload images without the need to enter Joomla’s control panel. Follow the example and you’ll learn a lot about Joomla 🙂

About users, roles and permissions

Users are in general able to login on the frontend and/or the control panel just depending on their role permissions. A user account has to be a member of a user group. Instead of assigning access permissions to each user, they are assigned to a group. The individual user is then assigned to one or more groups. Imagine you have 10,000 users in four different groups. It’s very easy for the administrator to change the permissions for each of the groups. Without groups, you would have to change every user account manually. However, when using groups, you only have to change permissions once!

Joomla comes with predefined groups like author and publisher which are easy to understand. An author is able to create/write something, a publisher has the additional permission to publish content.

  • The predefined frontend user groups are: visitors, registered users, authors, editors, publishers.
  • The predefined control panel user groups are: manager, administrator, super administrator

Example: A website where authors can post articles

This is a very simple workflow but it covers some possibilities that exist in Joomla. I assume that you have a “naked” Joomla without sample data and you have a super administrator user account.

The desirable scenario

  • Admin user in control panel:

    – activates the admin notification when someone creates a new user account

    – creates a user menu for registered users with a link to create an article
  • Visitor on website:

    – registers as a new user
  • Admin user in control panel:
    – 
receives a notification and assigns the user to the authors group
  • Author user on website:

    – is able to create an article but is not allowed to publish it
  • Admin user in control panel:
    
- receives a notification that there is new content available

    – publishes the article on the frontpage

Parameter and user menu

We have to set a few switches in the user options. Go to Users → Manage → Options and activate Allow User Registration and Notification Mail to Administrators (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Notification Mail to Administrators
Figure 1: Notification Mail to Administrators

 

Then we need a menu for logged in Users. Go to Menus → Manage → Create new menu and create one:

  • Title: User
  • Menu Type: user
  • Description: A menu for a user with useful links

Save and close it. You have now created a kind of menu container. What’s missing is the links inside the menu container and a linked module that displays the new menu at a certain position in the template.
 To create and link the module, click on the link Add a module for this menu type (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Add a module
Figure 2: Add a module

In the module form you have to add a title (User Menu), the position (Right – Position-7 in the Protostar template), the access permission (registered users). Don’t forget to save & close it (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Creating the user menu module
Figure 3: Creating the user menu module

 

Now we need the “Create article” link in our menu that should be shown to authors. Go to Menus → User → Add New Menu Item (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Creating a link in the user menu
Figure 4: Creating a link in the user menu

 

In the following form you have to enter the name/description of the link (Menu Item Title), select a Menu Item Type (Figure 5) and restrict the access to registered. Each Joomla component can provide Menu Item Types. Our type (create article) is provided by the content component which is a part of Joomla core.


Figure 5: Select Menu Item Type
Figure 5: Select Menu Item Type

 

After you saved and closed the dialog a new menu item should be displayed in the list (Figure 6).

Figure 6: User Menu with the new menu item
Figure 6: User Menu with the new menu item

Test your work! Login on the frontend with your super administrator account. After the login, our new user menu with the create link appears (Figure 7).

Figure 7: User Menu after Login
Figure 7: User Menu after Login

 

Please log out after the test.

Registration as a new user

Now we create a new user account. Please access the website as any other visitor and click the Create an account link. Fill out the form and click the Register button (Figure 8).

Figure 8: Registration form
Figure 8: Registration form

 

If your server stack allows sending emails, a notification email will be send to the email address of the super administrator account.

Joomla offers a CAPTCHA to prevent spammers. To use it, activate the CAPTCHA plugin under Extensions → Plugins and select it in the options of the User Manager where you can configure the general behaviour of the login process too.

Assignment of the new user to the authors group

Log in with your Administrator account on the control panel, access Users → Users and click on the name of the new user (Hagen Graf). Check the Author group in the Assigned User Groups tab (Figure 9).

Figure 9: Assignment of a group to a user
Figure 9: Assignment of a group to a user

Depending on your environment it might be necessary to enable and activate the new user account. Just click on the red icons to do so (Figure 10).

 

Figure 10: Activate and enable user
Figure 10: Activate and enable user

Now we have a new author on our website.

The new author creates an article

Now switch your identity to the one of the new author, log in with your new user account on the website and click the create article link. Just add a title and a few words and click save (Figure 11).

Figure 11: Create an article
Figure 11: Create an article

 

The article is saved and submitted but the user (you) cannot see it, because it is not published. I configured this workflow intentionally as in some cases it is desired to have another person to edit the created content and then publish it.

Of course, it is also possible to skip that, add the user to the group Publisher and then the article would be published immediately.

The admin publishes the article on the frontpage

Joomla comes with a messaging system and this system creates a message when new content was created by a user. Depending on your settings (Components → Messaging → Options) the admin receives that message by email or via the screen. 
The admin has to go to Content → Article Manager and publish the new article. If the article should appear on the frontpage, click on the featured icon (Figure 12, Figure 13).

Figure 12: Publish an Article
Figure 12: Publish an Article

 

Figure 12: Featured Article
Figure 12: Featured Article

Tweaking the process

As we already noticed while following this example, many topics are covered and the configuration is easily done depending on your needs. There is a huge amount of permissions, options and settings to discover.
I’ll provide a few examples in the following chapters.

Start your Blog – Today!

A blog is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first).

A conceivable simple concept.

The existence of blogs has now arrived in everyone. Blogs are read and also the traditional media take them seriously. I’ve also a blog that you are reading 🙂

When you post messages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Foursquare, CouchSurfing, DeviantArt, Ello, Flickr, Google+, LinkedIn, Meetup, SoundCloud, Tumblr, LinkedIn, YouTube and all the other platforms, then you run also something like a blog.

If you are looking for an entry (status, check in, photo, video), you realize many things. It is not easy to search, archive or download your “own” data. It is often impossible to transfer your data from one platform to another. You can not evaluate “your” data.

You also’ll realize that it is not “your” data. Depending on the conditions of use of the platform you have issued many or all rights for your content to the company that operates the corresponding service.

My data is not worth anything anyway

If LinkedIn is purchased for US $ 26,000,000,000 by Microsoft, then Microsoft paid about US $ 60 per user (User 433,000,000). Do you have a LinkedIn account? Do you also have an account with other services?

I have accounts at 12 major services where I post occasionally content. If I expect US $ 60 per service, my data is currently worth around 720 US $ on average.

Your data is worth something!

At LinkedIn, users networked to do business. Please consider briefly what kind of data you are generating : texts, photos, music, videos, your fitness bracelet, your car, your bank card, your home automation and all the other stuff that creates data .

Collect Data

Do you also have a box of keepsakes from your childhood? Any tinkering, postcards, pictures, souvenirs and other things. Sometimes it takes 30 years or longer, until you look back into that box. Often to show them to your children. Maybe you don’t have a box and store everything to your memories.

In the age of online communication most memorabilia are made from bits and bytes and are stored on data storage media, on which you have little control. That means, even if you have no box, other people you do not know personally have a “collection box with your experiences”.

Private companies, and increasingly governments, collect treasures from historical data. They are used for predictions about the future. Based on these data decisions are made by SMART algorithms. Of course, Microsoft is only interested in the details of 433’000’000 business contacts and the raw data in the case of LinkedIn. Microsoft sells software, hardware and services for this target group and 26,000,000,000 will recoup a profit.

But back to your blog project.

A private blog

Now a private blog is of course not the solution to all problems related to data and not the ultimate archiving machine, but it is a bit “more ownership” than on the platforms with their services.

When I wrote the STOP BÜPF article (German), it struck me how important any blog can be, even if it’s a small one.

This tweet lead to some blogposts of Swiss providers.


Swiss provider whether access, Web or communication provider of any kind: Please call on your clients to sign! # StopBÜPF

Finally it was possible to collect more than 50,000 signatures which is a base for a referendum against the law. BÜPF is a proposed law about censorship and surveillance in Switzerland. Have a look at this video to get an idea what could be possible afterwards (subtitles in English are available).

It’s a good feeling when you publish your text on your platform and then post the link to your platform in different services. The principle is called POSSE (Publish on your Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere).

In POSSE your content is stored on an environment over which you have control. If you refer for example to Facebook on your own blog, then Facebook “visits” your blog and copies the first words and an image and displays both in your status message. Similarly, it works on all platforms. When you offer an RSS feed, your data can be read in an external feed reader. However, the data remains under your control.

The consequence is (among others):

You are perceived. This can not prevent, because everybody wants your data and are curious what you have to say.

The longer you think about it, the sooner you’ll probably notice why it is good to have your own blog.

This is a small list of benefits:

  • It helps you to learn new things
  • You begin to think more clearly
  • You learn to write better
  • Your self-confidence grows
  • You talk more structured about topics you wrote about
  • You can make money (if you wish)
  • You can support a good cause
  • You need no prior knowledge
  • It is a real challenge 🙂
  • It’s free (or affordable)
  • You learn always something about yourself, others and the issues about which you write

How to start?

The popular software for blogs is WordPress. It works well with many other programs too and all the known and unknown content management systems, but WordPress is simply practical and has become the de facto standard.

First steps

If you do not have a blog, you can set up a blog on wordpress.com for free in minutes. WordPress.com is also a service (from the USA) and your data will be stored on their hard disks, as in the platforms described above. But you’re the one who determined about your data. You can export them at any time and import them into a self hosted WordPress installation. At this moment you begin to take over any responsibility for your data. You can import the data also into many other systems (Joomla, Drupal).

The WordPress software is open source and is developed by a large community. You can download the source code from wordpress.org and install it locally or at a hosting provider of your choice. You can also at any time move your data to another place.

Responsibility

The farther you go away from “all around carefree” services, the more responsibility you transfer to yourself. It’s a bit like growing up. Suddenly you have a car / phone / bike / boyfriend / girlfriend / family / apartment / house / boat and you learn that you have to care so that it continues to work well.

A blog is therefore also a good exercise in “grow up”.

Conclusion

You need a blog and if you already have one, then please post but your URL as a comment.

3. Design, Layout, Colors

Back to: 2. A fresh Joomla Installation

The template is one of the most important pieces of a website. It provides the appearance, the design. The combination with relevant content motivates new visitors to stay on your site and explore. Regular visitors and users appreciate being on a site with a beautiful and useful design. Think of other products, for instance. A car needs a good engine and tires but one of the most important reasons for buying one is often the design.

Even if the design is not the main reason, it is often a trigger to contemplate the idea of purchasing and may cause a buyer to consider more tangible reasons. If the design is well-made, people expect the rest to be well-made, too (Figure 1, Figure 2)!

Figure 1: Pontiac Aztek (2005) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontiac_Aztek
Figure 1: Pontiac Aztek (2005) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontiac_Aztek
Figure 2: Fiat 500 (2007) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_500_%282007%29
Figure 2: Fiat 500 (2007) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiat_500_%282007%29

Both of these cars are made for different target groups and they come of course from different car makers in different countries. They are just an an example of different approaches in design.

A few definitions related to the design of your website

I just want to clarify a few terms to sensitize your thinking.

What is design?

  • The noun design stands for a plan or drawing which shows the function and the lookout of an object, to accomplish particular goals in a particular environment and to satisfy a set of requirements.
  • The verb “to design”stands for creating a design, in an environment (where the designer operates).

The term design can be used in

  • art (“almost instinctive”, “built-in”, “natural”, and part of “our sense of ‘rightness’),
  • engineering (product design of a new car)
  • production (planning and executing)
  • processes (business process modeling)

What is color?

Color is the visual perceptual property corresponding in humans to the categories called red, green, blue, and others. Individual colors have a variety of cultural associations such as national colors. There is great diversity in the use of colors and their associations between cultures and even within the same culture in different time periods.
 HTML colors and CSS colors can have 16 million different values. The combination of Red, Green, and Blue values from 0 to 255, gives more than 16 million different colors (256 x 256 x 256).

Example:

BLACK = color HEX #000000 = color RGB rgb(0,0,0)

Several online tools like the one in (Figure 3) can help you to find the right colors for your website project .

Figure 3: Popular Color Combinations
Figure 3: Popular Color Combinations

Figure 3: Popular Color Combinations – http://www.colorcombos.com/popular-color-combinations

What is page layout?

Page layout is the part of “graphic” design that deals in the arrangement and style treatment of elements (content) on a page.
To speak in Joomla terms, it is the arrangement of Joomla modules and the components on predefined templates positions.

Templates

A template involves repeated elements visible to the visitors. Using a template to lay out elements usually involves less graphic design skill than that which was required to design the template. Templates are used for minimal modification of background elements and frequent modification (or swapping) of foreground content. Joomla! come with two site- and two administrator templates.

User Interface Design (UI) / User Experience Design (UX)

“User interface design (UI) or user interface engineering is the design of user interfaces for machines and software, such as computers, home appliances, mobile devices, and other electronic devices, with the focus on maximizing the user experience.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_interface_design

“User Experience Design (UX) is the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the user and the product.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_experience_design

The connection between both types of design is fluent. A simple but quite good explanation is based on Ketchup bottles. The UI part focusses on the interface of the bottle, the UX part of the experience in the moment of engagement (Figure 4).

Figure 4: UI and UX https://twitter.com/markfidelman/status/651774238169272320
Figure 4: UI and UX https://twitter.com/markfidelman/status/651774238169272320

Web design

Web design is somewhat like a handcraft and a broad term covering many different skills and disciplines that are used in the production and maintenance of websites.
 Possessing skills in techniques like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, image editing, UI, UX and many others is imperative. Because it’s nearly impossible today to start from scratch, even the Joomla! default template Protostar uses the CSS/JavaScript Framework Bootstrap as a solid foundation.

Joomla! is only one more tool in the toolbox of a web designer.

A good Joomla template is not only about colors and graphics. The shape and positioning of the content is just as important. The website has to be user-friendly and reliable. Exactly this challenge reminds me of the two cars again.

Web design is still a young profession and it is starting to become an industry.

A web designer often has to deal with low bandwidth, incompatible browsers, inexperienced content editors and other people involved in the process of creating a ‘good’ website.

The creation of a Joomla! website is often a process, in which everyone involved learns a lot.

Good web design is hard work and everyone has to start somewhere!

After having your site up in the language you prefer, most people start tweaking the colors and want to upload e.g. a new logo, even if there is no content so far. Joomla comes with preinstalled templates and so called template styles. A template style is a set of options (color, logo, layout) for a template. The configuration possibilities are depending on the template. Some template have a huge variety of settings and some are quite limited.
 It is possible to create as many styles as you want and assign them to different pages of your website.

Structure

In Joomla a single page is generated by the HTML output of one component, several modules and the template. Each page is accessible via a unique URL. Take the front page as an example. The content component produces the HTML output for the articles in the middle. This screenshot is based on the Joomla Beez Template (Figure 5). The blocks next to the articles are different modules. You can combine the HTML output from one component with the HTML output of any number of modules. Existing modules can also be reused on other pages.

Figure 5: Joomla! front page
Figure 5: Joomla! front page

Positions

You must know, of course, at which point you can assign modules at all. For this purpose, each template provides so-called positions. In order to see these positions you have to enable the Preview Module Positions switch (Extensions → Template → Options). After that, you can access your website by using the parameter tp=1 (http://localhost/index.php?tp=1) or click the Preview link in Extensions → Templates (Figure 6).

Figure 6: Template Manager - Site Templates
Figure 6: Template Manager – Site Templates

You’ll see the emphasized module positions with their names (Figure 7).

Figure 7: Module positions - Protostar template
Figure 7: Module positions – Protostar template

In Extensions → Modules you can assign one of these positions to each module. If you need the module at different positions, you may also copy it.

Core Templates

To make things easier for you, Joomla! core comes with two site templates and two administrator templates. You can see a preview in Extensions → Templates → Tab Templates. You can filter between Site and Administrator templates by choosing the location filter (Figure 6 and Figure 8).

Figure 8: Templates - Administrator Templates
Figure 8: Templates – Administrator Templates

Styles

Styles offers the possibility to create and use different versions of one template. This is useful if you want to have different templates styles on different pages. A template has a minimum of one style. In this style, configurations can be made depending on the template, such as changing the colors or uploading the header logo. You may set the default style for your site in Extensions → Templates → Styles.

Example: An individual Style

Let’s create an individual style for our website:

  • Name: cocoate
  • Template Colour: #f88638
  • Fluid Layout

You can create additional styles by duplicating an existing style. For this example I duplicate the existing protostar style (Figure 9).

Figure 9 - Duplicate a style
Figure 9 – Duplicate a style

A new style appears, the name is protostar – Default (2). We’ll change the name in the next steps. Set it as the default style by clicking the star icon (Figure 10).

Figure 10 - Configuring a template style
Figure 10 – Configuring a template style

Check it and click the Edit Button. Enter the name for the style. In the Advanced tab you can choose colors, upload a logo and a few more parameters (Figure 12, Figure 13)

Figure 12 - Options tab - Style
Figure 12 – Options tab – Style
Figure 13 - Uploading a logo
Figure 13 – Uploading a logo

Each style can be assigned to a menu item (Menus asigment). If you would like a green background on your site when people click on menu item A, for example, and a blue background when they click on menu item B, you can assign the corresponding styles. In my case I have only one menu item and I already marked this style as default style, so it’s not necessary to assign it to a menu item

After saving the style, the website looks different (Figure 14) and because the Protostar template is fully responsive, the website is shown perfectly on a mobile device too (Figure 15).

Figure 14 - The website on a desktop PC
Figure 14 – The website on a desktop PC
Figure 15 - The website on a mobile device
Figure 15 – The website on a mobile device

Create your own template and customize it

A template in Joomla is the base of a style and consists of various files. It’s possible to edit the files of a template online.

BUT! You should NEVER change the source code of a core template. The reason is very simple. Your changed code will be overridden by the next Joomla! update!

It is possible too to copy an existing template, so let’s do that first.

Copy the Protostar template in Extensions → Templates → Protostar Details and Files by clicking the Copy Template button. Give your individual template it a name. I call mine “MyTemplate” (Figure 16).

Figure 16: Edit Template files online
Figure 16: Edit Template files online

Beside the new template Joomla creates a new template style too (have a look). It is possible now to work on the new template. You are able to create, delete and edit files (Figure 17).

Figure 17: Customize your template
Figure 17: Customize your template

It’s of course possible to edit the files in an external editor too.
 The site templates are located in the folder /templates. Each template has it’s own folder. There is now a mytemplate folder too. Under the /templates/systems folder you’ll find the template files to edit the Offline and the Error page templates.
 The admin templates are located in the folder /administrator/templates.

Template overrides

Overrides are a possibility to change the markup of an extension inside the template. The interesting point is, that your individual template is able to do that. Your template can even rewrite the output of third party extensions. A common use case is an alternative layout for an article in Joomla!.

In the template manager it is possible to create these overrides too.

Conclusion

There are by definition endless possibilities to design something creative. Joomla give you everything you need to build something amazing and hopefully you start to get more curious.

2. A fresh Joomla Installation

Back to: 1. What is Joomla

Panic …. where and what to download? Where to install? Why installing? What do I install?

You have a few possibilities to start with Joomla. You can install Joomla

  • on your local computer
  • forever free at joomla.com
  • on a server from your hosting provider
  • on the 90-day free Joomla! demo account (demo.joomla.org)

In order to install Joomla! on your local computer, it is necessary to set up your “own internet”, for which you’ll need a browser, a web server, a PHP environment and as well a Joomla supported database system. We call this a solution stack and a client server system. 
A solution stack is a set of software subsystems or components to make a fully functional Joomla website possible.
 The solution stack we need consists of

  • the operating system (Linux, Windows, OSX)
  • the web server (Apache, IIS)
  • the database (MySQL, PostgreSQL)
  • the script language (PHP)

You can build a solution stack on your own machine at home or you can buy or rent it from a hosting company in different “flavours”.

The specific requirements for Joomla 3.5 are described in Table 1.

Software Recommended Minimum More information
PHP (Magic Quotes GPC off)
5.5 + 5.3.10 + php.net
Supported Databases:
MySQL (InnoDB support required) 5.1 + 5.1 + mysql.com
SQL Server 10.50.1600.1+ 10.50.1600.1+ microsoft.com/sql
PostgreSQL 8.3.18 + 8.3.18 + postgresql.org
Supported Web Servers:
Apache (with mod_mysql, mod_xml, and mod_zlib)
In order to use SEO URLs, you will need to have the Apache mod_rewrite extension installed.
2.x + 2.x + apache.org
Nginx 1.1 1.0 wiki.nginx.org
Microsoft IIS 7 7 iis.net

Table 1: Requirements for Joomla 3.x

Since this issue is the same for all PHP-based systems, I would like to look a little closer on that topic.

Installation variants of PHP-based systems

You need all the components mentioned above to install a Joomla! system for yourself. PC, browser, and Internet connection are usually available. There are a number of options for web server, PHP interpreter, and database.

You can:

  • set the system up locally on your PC
  • set the system up on a server in a company’s Intranet
  • rent a virtual server from a provider
  • rent or purchase a server from a provider (with root access)

You can also:

Have the web server and database located on computers that are physically separated from each other.

As mentioned above you can also, of course, use different:

  • brands of web servers
  • versions of PHP interpreters
  • Versions of MySQL databases
  • And on top of that, you can install and operate all these components on various operating systems.

This freedom in choice of resources can sometimes confuse a layman. Therefore, we will discuss a few typical scenarios.

Local Test Environment

If you are at home or in your office, for example, and want to set up a Joomla! website, you may use any of the following operating systems.

Windows Operating System

For a Windows operating system you can use either of two web servers:

Use the in build Internet Information Server, install PHP, MySQL and configure them or take a pre-configured package (XAMPP), unpack it on your computer, and everything you need is there (http://apachefriends.org).

Linux Operating System

Here it depends on the distribution version you have. All the distributions allow simple installation (with a click of the mouse) of the Apache, PHP, and MySQL packages. At times, depending on distribution, they may already be pre-installed. So you can use the programs contained in the distribution or a preconfigured package (XAMPP); extract it on your computer and everything you need is there (http://apachefriends.org).

Mac OS X Operating System

In Mac OS X operating system, you have a default web server (Apache) in your system that you have to activate, but unfortunately not PHP and no MySQL.

So you can use the installed Apache web server and install the missing software or the pre-configured XAMPP package for Mac OS X. Another complete package by the name of MAMP is also very popular with the Mac OS X environment (http://www.mamp.info).

Production Environment

You have several options here as well.

Rented Virtual Server

You rent a web-space package with database, PHP support, and often also your domain name from a provider. In this case you have a functional environment and you can install your Joomla! into it. Consult your provider as to the version choices (PHP, MySQL). Sometimes providers offer Joomla! pre-installed with various templates. If this is the case, all you have to do is activate Joomla! with a click of the mouse and it is ready for you.

Your Own Server

You rent a server from a provider and install the operating system of your choice. You are the administrator of the system and you can work on it, just like on your PC at home.

Before you venture into the wilderness of the Internet, you should first practice on your local computer. This has the advantage that there are no connection fees, it is very fast, and you can practice at a leisurely pace.

You may even have a small local network at home where you can install Joomla! on one computer and access it from another.

Remember that there are probably more current versions on the respective project sites on the Internet.

Stumbling stones

This topic is very complex because there is a vast number of providers and an even greater number of installed web server, PHP, MySQL versions and web space management tools. Crunch points during the installation often consist of:

  • an activated PHP Safe Mode, preventing you to upload files,
  • ‘forbidden’ rewrite paths with the Apache web server because the so-called Apache Rewrite Engine (mod_rewrite) is not activated,
  • the directory permissions on Linux and OSX, which are set differently than in Windows.
  • Basically, the easiest way that almost always works, is the following:
  • Download the current file package from the project website to your home PC and unzip everything into a temporary directory.
  • Load the unpacked files via FTP on your rented server or to the directory of your local installation. The files must be installed in the public directory. These directories are usually called htdocs, public_html or html. If there already are other installations in that directory, you can specify a subdirectory

If the solution stack is up and running, we call the result a server. The server can be your local computer or any other computer. All the visitors and users of the website are using a browser on their computer to access your Joomla site. We call them clients.

The “classic” LAMP stack (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LAMP_%28software_bundle%29) looks like in Figure 1.

Figure 1: LAMP solution stack (graphic Wikipedia)
Figure 1: LAMP solution stack (graphic Wikipedia)

The Joomla Web Installer

Thanks to the web installer, Joomla! can be installed in only a few minutes.
 The Joomla! files will be copied to the public document root folder and configured with the Joomla! web installer.
 Download Joomla! 3.5 from joomla.org (joomla.org/download.html) and unpack the files into your public document root folder of the web server (e.g.: /htdocs). 
From now on, everything is going really fast because the Joomla! web installer is working for you. Go to URL http://localhost/ or the appropriate URL of your server.

Notice: If something is wrong with your solution stack, the pre installation check helps you to verify whether your server environment is suitable for the installation of Joomla!. As long as you see a red marker, your solution stack is not configured in a proper way and the installer refuses to install Joomla. When using Unix-like Systems (Linux, Mac OS X), you have to pay attention to file permissions. This is particularly important for the file configuration.php. This file will be generated at the end of the installation with your personal values. If the installer can not write in the folder, Joomla! can not be installed. In this case, configure the rights and then click the button repeat check.

Figure 2: Pre Installation Check
Figure 2: Pre Installation Check

Step 1 – Configuration

In the main configuration window you have to describe your site and the administrator user. Furthermore, there is a switch to decide whether your site will be immediately visible for visitors (online) or if it will display a maintenance page (offline). This configuration setting is useful when you install Joomla directly in your live hosting environment (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Installer - Main Configuration
Figure 3: Installer – Main Configuration

Step 2 – Database

You can use various database servers with Joomla and you have to decide which database server you want to use and you need to enter your database parameters (Figure 4). In your local server environment you can create any number of databases.
In the MAMP package and in Ubuntu Linux, you have a MySQL user with the name root. The user root is the MySQL administrator and can, therefore, do everything in your MySQL system. The password depends on your server environment (no password is needed with XAMPP, with MAMP the password is root too). 
When you are in a live hosting environment these parameters will be given to you by your provider.

Figure 4: Installer – Database Configuration
Figure 4: Installer – Database Configuration

Enter the following values into your local installation:

  • Host Name: localhost
  • username: root
  • Password: [only you know that]

Now select the database name. In a productive environment on a database server with a provider, you probably have a fixed quota of databases and the database credentials are predefined. If you have root permission on your database server, you can enter a name of a new database. Joomla! will then create that database. You can select whether the tables of any existing Joomla! installation in this database should be cleared or saved and marked with the prefix bak_. The table prefix is really practical. In front of each table name generated by the web installer, it writes the text that you typed in the appropriate field. As a default, the web installer suggests a randomly created one, like n9y3l_ . This has a simple reason. Sometimes you may only be able to get one MySQL database from your provider. If you want to run two or more Joomla! sites, you have a problem, as the tables do not differ from each other. With the table prefix it is possible to distinguish several tables (client01_ or client02_). Here, you should use the default n9y31_ . The prefix is also used to indicate saved data (bak_), see above.

Step 3 – Finalization

In the third step, Joomla summarizes the configuration settings and asks if you want to install sample data (Figure 5).

Figure 5 – Finalisation
Figure 5 – Finalisation

In former versions of Joomla it was only possible to install ONE set of sample data. Since Joomla 3.x it is possible to choose of several sample data sets. The “sample data system” can be used to configure a predefined site layout and example content for a weblog (Figure 6), a brochure site (Figure 7), a “Learn Joomla” site with a Joomla tutorial inside (Figure 8) the default site (Figure 9) and a test Joomla site where every possible menu link is activated as a base to test new Joomla releases.

Notice: There are several possibilities in the Installation process. If you want to try all the different versions is easy to install a new Joomla website with the existing files and database. Just keep the installation folder, delete the database and the file configuration.php in the root folder and start over by pointing to   

Figure 6: Weblog
Figure 6: Weblog
Figure 7: Brochure Website
Figure 7: Brochure Website
Figure 8: Default example data
Figure 8: Default example data
Figure 9: Learn Joomla data
Figure 9: Learn Joomla data
Figure 10: Test Joomla data
Figure 10: Test Joomla data

Depending on your needs and your knowledge, you should try the different sample data sets.
Unfortunately it’s not possible to switch between the different sample data sets after the installation is finished.
It’s also possible to install Joomla without any sample data. The “empty Joomla” is a good start for your website if you already know how to use Joomla.
I’m choosing a naked Joomla without any sample data as a base for the next chapters.
You’ll be able to understand and follow the chapters without of the pre-installed sample data.
So choose the sample data you want to use and click the Install button. Joomla creates the database and configures the site for you (Figure 11).

Figure 11: Joomla! is now installed
Figure 11: Joomla! is now installed

For security reasons, it’s necessary to remove the installation folder by clicking the Remove installation folder button … BUT WAIT … there is something really nice on the right side of Figure 11.

Joomla in your language

At this stage of the installation you have the possibility to install extra languages. If you plan to have your website in another language than English, click the Extra steps: Install languages button to install one or more additional languages (Figure 12).

Notice: THIS IS AN OPTIONAL EXTRA STEP! It’s not necessary to decide now on the language issue, it is possible to do it later. If you just want to play around with Joomla and you understand English, do it in English and use just one language – it’s easier for beginners. If you are a bit more advanced, start with localization in two or three language. Life gets much easier if you understand these languages!
Multilingual websites are the most advanced topic and it’s more about workflow and how to translate the content pieces of the site. So that should be your third step.  

Figure 12: Install Language packages
Figure 12: Install Language packages

Choose the desired languages from the list, in my case i choose Chinese and Russian. Then you have to decide which language is the default language for your website and your administration interface (Figure 13).

The next question is whether you want to active the Joomla! multilingual feature.
There is a big difference between the “simple” localization and the “more advanced” multilingual behaviour.

  • Localization: Localization in our case means that the website is in a different language than English, for example French. In a country like France, most websites are in French because most of the people that live in France speak French. In Switzerland the situation is different. People speak German, French or Italian. Same situation in countries with more than one official language. To create a pure “one language, different to English” site you can choose the NO for the Activate the multilingual feature parameter (localisation).
  • Multilingual website: A multilingual website means offer your website in more than one language. You translate your content for each language you are offering. One of these languages is the default language which is shown, when a visitor visits your site for the first time.
    If you want to start with a multilingual website, you can choose YES and the multilingual features of Joomla will be activated.
Figure 13: Choose default language
Figure 13: Choose default language

Congratulations! Joomla! is now installed!

For security reasons, it’s necessary to remove the installation folder by clicking the Remove installation folder button. After the removal of the installation folder it is possible to view the site and to enter the administration area (/administrator). In my case the site looks like in Figure 14.

Figure 14: Joomla Website without sample data
Figure 14: Joomla Website without sample data

The Joomla control panel can be accessed by pointing to

http://your_domain.tld/administrator

A login screen appears (Figure 15) and after a successful login you’ll see the administration area (Figure 16).

Figure 15: Login Screen
Figure 15: Login Screen
Figure 16: Control Panel
Figure 16: Control Panel