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Tips and Tricks

Getting The Most Out of TYPO3

TYPO3 Tips and Tricks

TYPO Script

TYPO3 installation can be tricky. Manuals on the TYPO3 subject usually devote a great amount of space to this specific topic. The graphic components are the trickiest aspect of installation and configuration for TYPO3. Experts suggest the use of complimentary software packages like ImageMagick, the GD graphics library and Apache for optimum performance. Knowledge of MySQL, PHP and Typoscript is quite helpful, of course.

A large amount of the difficulties with installation involves adding other supporting tools, such as, MySQL for the most optimum performance. There are many configuration variables that must be designated by the Web developer. TYPO3 has strict requirements for installed libraries and toolkits.

ImageMagick is a software suite for producing, modifying and editing bitmap images. It can manage a variety of different file types including the following: GIF, JPEG, PDF, PNG and TIFF. This graphics program is a tool that can perform typical image modification functions like rotation, adjustment and application of special effects.

ImageMagick can also identify, decorate and combine graphics images into multimedia motion pictures. This server-based image modification tool assists TYPO3 in proper image rendering, especially resizing and positioning.

Developers can test whether ImageMagick has been properly installed by typing "convert" in the command line in a terminal window. If it is present and actively working, then a screen of "Help" information will be displayed on your screen.

ImageMagick is free software with a General Public License (GPL) from the GNU community. This program can be used from the command line or by using various popular programming languages (C++, Java, Perl and PHP, to name a few). ImageMagick can be used on many different platforms including Apple Macintosh OS, Linux and Microsoft Windows.

Be careful to research the different versions of ImageMagick. Experts have noted problems with the 4.2.9 version of ImageMagick due to patent issues with Unisys - the RPM (package format) for Linux-based systems does not have LZW data compression with GIF files. The best performance occurs when placing these in different locations in TYPO3. The Windows version of 4.2.9 has LZW data compression.

The Graphics Draw (GD) library has been developed by the open source community for the creation of images by programmers. The GD is written in the C language, while "wrappers" are written in Perl, PHP or other languages. Basic image formats like GIF, JPEG and PNG are supported. The GD graphics libary is usually used for Web-based development.

Although many systems market themselves as universally compatible, each system has more optimal performance when used with specific technologies. A good example is color printing. Using disparate color graphics displays and printing programs will lead to a final published product that doesn't look the same way it did on the computer screen.

The Apache Web server is an open source construction that is best suited for the TYPO3 CMS. The collaborative open source community of developers and users is involved in the Apache Software Foundation, managing different projects to extend the usefulness of this technology.

Oftentimes, there is a trade-off between usability and functionality in a CMS. The TYPO3 modules allow for customization of different functions depending on the specific needs of the user.

The TYPO3 backend software display is divided into three columns: The Modules Menu is located on the left (this includes groupings for Web, File, User and Tools); the Page Tree is in the middle showing the hierarchy of files and the Module Work Area is located on the right column (where editors can modify text, images and other content before uploading these onto their Web pages).

The Web Page module reveals the architecture of the Web site in the navigation pane. Page relationships are conveniently displayed for editors. The toolbars use familiar Windows icons.

The Web View module offers the page architecture with a preview of the Web Page, showing how it will appear on the frontend. Editors can edit contect directly on this preview.

The Web List module provides the content records stored on the Web page. Many items are identified, including users, content items and addresses for page records. Editors can view and modify records or search for specific content in strings. Headers and titles are also listed.

The Web Access module gives editors the power to control who has the permission to see and modify content and pages (owner, group and permissions settings are listed here). Security can be set for what the owner, group or everybody can see, edit, add or delete for content and pages.

The File FileList module displays thumbnails with their respective file types, size and date of upload information. This allows users to upload, save and store files in list formats for easy file management organization.

The User Setup module has personal user settings for languages, e-mail addresses and passwords.

The New Page wizard is a simple, intuitive capability; it includes a positioning map which enables the editor to choose the place in the tree hierarchy to locate the new page.

Page Content features (typical page content, special elements and form elements) can be accessed by the pull-down menu from the Content Element option. Typical page content choices determine the proper mixture of text and images. Special elements include factors like multimedia and sitemaps. Form elements include choices for Search, Mail or Login forms.

The Rich Text Editor (RTE) provides "What You See Is What You Get" (WYSIWYG) modification of Web pages. This uses the popular Microsoft Word interface (tools and icons). Administrators can manage stylesheets and HTML using this tool.

Frontend editing can be performed using control panels and edit icons; simply click on the pencil icon next to the content you want to edit.

The Mailform wizard can be used for quickly adding features such as radio buttons, text fields and selector boxes. Rows and columns can be resized using this useful tool.

Developers have created many extensions and applications for TYPO3. The best combination is to use standard, well-tested templates with more innovative extensions.