It works!

GarfNet’s upgrade to Joomla 1.5.x is now complete. Even better, the rather nasty “$live_site” bug reported in our last site blog item is now fixed. Many thanks to Joomla developer, Ian MacLennan for providing us with a timely patch:-

We still have our doubts whether Joomla 1.5.x should be deemed to be in its “stable phase” yet though? “Advanced beta phase” would seem a more appropriate designation. Bug reports are pouring in thick and fast. And the latest release (at time of writing) 1.5.12 seems to have created more bugs than it fixed!


Making the old stable Joomla 1.0.x go “end of life” in a couple of weeks would seem rather premature! However, the Joomla developers certainly seem keen to squash the bugs as quickly as possible. Moreover, our site is now running Joomla 1.5 pretty well – albeit after a heck of a struggle!

As we mentioned in our last Site blog item, a number of key functions of the site were broken as a result of the upgrade to Joomla 1.5.x. These are now working again – in most cases rather better than before:-

  1. Google Maps – this replaces the old module written by David Pollack because wouldn’t work under Joomla 1.5. The replacement, written by Jan Sangill seems to work rather well – though it is not without its idiosyncrasies.. Click Google Maps in the main menu to see it.
  2. FAQs. GarfNet now has a new, enlarged FAQ section. This replaces SimpleFAQ extension we used with Joomla 1.0.x because it doesn’t work with Joomla 1.5.x. It sees however that he new one is in many regards for our site because it is simpler. It also fits better with the rest of Joomla’s structure. It is available from FAQ on the main menu.
  3. Google search. We have created a new module called GoogleBox for this. It also includes Moonclock – a moon phase indicator and the NOAA solar activity indicator. This is located at the top of the screen in the where many sites place advertising banners. We felt this was much more useful than silly adverts!
  4. Internet radio tuner. The old Joomla Radio module was never very popular and was always a bit flaky.This has been replaced with a Portuguese product written by Luis Conduto called LC_Player. LC_Player in its original form was somewhat limited though. It only had ten stations.We hacked ours a bit and it supports up to 400 stations! This can be accessed from the Internet Radio item in the main menu..
  5. URL translator. Many of the old supposedly “search engine friendly” URLs we used with Joomla 1.0.x will not work with version 1.5.x. This means that many other pages that link to us were reporting error 404’s (page not found). After a lot of head scratching, we finally decided to tweak our .htaccess file so that it captured and converted all the old supposedly SEF URLS and converted them into native Joomla 1.5 equivalents. This seems to work for around 99.5% of all old URL’s. It’s not perfect but it is better than it was! Moreover we will not be attempting any SEF Urls with this version of Joomla, in case the developers decide to mess about with SEF again and leave us in SEF-URL hell again!

Also you will notice that a reworked version of the old Garfnet Counter now appears on the front page – counting up from New Year and counting down to Christmas. And many of GarfNet’s more useful tools are available from the new GarfNet Toolbar that appears at the top of most pages.

Well, that’s it for now. Enjoy the site and tell us what you think via our contact form:-

We’ll keep you posted. Best wishes, G.

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