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In-depth insights on content, code, and creativity

Google Page Speed Service and eZ Publish loading performance

Google Page Speed Service is an interesting new offering for websites. It is currently free, but with limited availability for the time being. It claims up to 20 - 60% speed-up in overall page load. It accomplishes this by routing all site traffic through Google, which will automatically perform some optimizations such as minifying CSS and JavaScript and serving some page assets through its own content delivery network (CDN). This is quite interesting, and there is even a site that runs a test to show you how your site performance will change if you use the service. We ran this test on a few client sites, and certainly there was up to a 25% performance improvement on some; however, for others the Google-optimized version was slower!

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Expanded eZ Publish hosting requirements on shared server environments

We've worked with clients who use multi-server, fully redundant, clustered environments, and we've worked with clients in unique shared environments. If you are trying to determine the suitability of a LAMP web hosting environment for eZ Publish, there are a few simple requirements, which are well documented. In a dedicated or virtual hosting environment with full shell access, setup can be a breeze. However, sometimes the client has a specific shared web server that they must use, whether due to contractual limitations or various other internal constraints. Here is a list of extra eZ Publish requirements and complications that we've seen in shared hosting environments -- something you can check before proceeding!

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Country, State and Page break questions in eZ Survey

In addition to the Matrix question type, we have added these question types: Country (dropdown list of countries), State (similar to country but with USA states and Canadian provinces) and Page break (enabling paginated surveys) to the eZ Survey extension.

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Creating and executing eZ Publish tasks with Mugo Queue

The Mugo Queue extension is a generic framework for queuing specific tasks in eZ Publish. It stores tasks in the ezpending_actions table and can execute such tasks in batches. It includes a ready-to-use task for re-building the eZ Find search index, whether for an entire site or only specific parts of a site. (You can build your own fetch function to re-index, say, just objects of a certain content class.) This blog post explains how to develop your own task.

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New Matrix question type for eZ Survey

eZ Survey is an eZ Publish extension that enables you to quickly and easily build surveys on a site. Its power is in its "ezsurvey" datatype, which enables editors to add different questions (of different question types) per object, without having to create separate content classes for each different survey. The Mugo Survey Addons extension adds a Matrix question type to the default question types available with eZ Survey.

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Creating dashboard widgets in eZ Publish: disk space example widget

In eZ Publish 4.3 and higher, the default Administration Interface landing page after a user has logged in is the dashboard. On this dashboard is a listing of widgets, such as a list of the latest edited content. It is very simple to add a new widget to this dashboard, and we've built an example widget -- showing the server's disk space information -- to illustrate this.

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Create your own Firefox search engine plugin

Do you frequently use the Google, Wikipedia, and other search boxes in Firefox, typically in the top right of the window? Ever wanted to add your own for a site that isn't on the directory? Here's a quick and dirty guide to creating your own Firefox search engine plugin, using the api.jquery.com search as an example.

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Cross-siteaccess internal links in eZ Publish

Among the many advantages of hosting multiple sites on the same eZ Publish installation is the ability to create internal links. eznode:// and ezobject:// links preserve the accuracy of the generated URL links even when content is moved around or renamed within any of the sites. (Of course, you can also use such links even when you host only one site.) However, out of the box, eZ Publish is not siteaccess-aware when generating cross-siteaccess links. For example, if your site sitea.com is contained within the subtree /sitea and your site siteb.com is contained within the subtree /siteb, internal links from sitea.com to siteb.com would end up linking to "sitea.com/siteb/article" instead of "siteb.com/article". While the user can be redirected with rewrite rules, it still creates a confusing user experience. Here's a simple solution jointly developed with another eZ Partner Granite Horizon that results in generated links that are siteaccess-aware.

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Custom eZ Publish VAT handler: state- or province-based taxes

For us, the introduction of the HST in BC means more complex cross-province tax rules. For our software service judgmentcalculator.com we previously charged all Canadians 5% GST. Now we must charge our customers a different tax rate depending on the province that they live in. Thankfully, with eZ Publish as our webshop platform, we were able to quickly implement a custom VAT (value added taxes) handler.

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Growing again

We're still growing. This is becoming a theme.

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2009 Mugo year in review

2009 was a busy year at Mugo, and we were actually a bit surprised to find that we had worked on over 40 different websites and web applications. eZ Publish has enabled us to provide a wide variety of powerful and flexible web solutions. Before 2010 speeds by, we'd like to take a moment to look back at a sampling of the types of solutions we've built (and continue to build), as well as a few other successes from the past year.

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Translating eZ Publish websites: a simple tool for template/script translations

eZ Publish is well-known as a Content Management System with built-in multi-language features. To present different translations of pages, eZ Publish uses 3 major components: content translation, content class translation, and template / script translation. In this post, we will explain these 3 components and introduce a script to help translate strings in templates.

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