Welcome to the blog of Dan Cogliano, who is the developer of the Zap Calendar and Z Weather extensions for Joomla.  He has been creating websites and extensions for Joomla since before it was called Joomla. He lives with his wife and 2 sons in Maryland in the U.S.A (for those outside of the U.S.A., Maryland is adjacent to Washington, D.C.).

Looking Good...

Wow, it has been too long since the last blog post.  I guess time does fly when you are having fun!  It has been a busy year here.  New Joomla 3.x compatible versions of Zap Calendar and Zap Weather have been released, and over 20 Zap Calendar add-ons are now available.  We have a few more Zap Calendar add-ons to convert and a few more bugs to fix, but the production release of Zap Calendar should be out soon, hopefully in the next month or two.  The current beta release is "Looking Good" and we are happy with the features and stability of the product.  We hope you are too!

Zap Calendar has gone through a major rewrite in Zap Zalendar 4.  All the back-end screens were re-written to conform to the new Joomla user interface.  For the front end, the MooTools enabled popup windows have been replaced with the jQuery equivalent.  Zap Calendar also utilizes the new font icon feature of Joomla (seen in the settings dropdown menu in the Zap Calendar front end and other areas), providing a clean and minimalistic style to the calendar.  Internally, all events are now stored in Universal time, so multiple calendars for different time zones are now possible.

There are a few add-ons from Zap Calendar 3 that will not be converted to version 4.  The recaptcha plugin will not be converted since this is now integrated with the Joomla CMS and Zap Calendar supports it now in the comment plugin.  Also, the Google Weather plugin will not be converted since Google recently dropped the API.  This was a nice feature, but Google decided to drop it along with their iGoogle product.  The Zap Weather plugin was recently converted to verson 4, so that is an option for USA weather.  We will be looking at other weather API's that support global weather that would make a good fit for Zap Calendar.



Happy Birthday Zap Weather!

zapweather200Zap Weather today celebrates its 7th year on the Joomla Extensions Directory (JED). You can visit the Zap Weather page at the JED by clicking here. While you are there, why not vote for it?  According to the JED, Zap Weather has received over 200 thousand hits and is the most popular weather application for Joomla. Thank you!

Zap Weather (formerly Z Weather) was developed to provide a free, non-commercial method of displaying weather on a Joomla site.  This is accomplished through use of data provided freely by the National Weather Service (NWS), which provides the weather information at weather.gov . Zap Weather retrieves this information and formats it for display on a Joomla site.

Interestingly, there have been attempts to curtail the free use of the NWS data by Congress and commercial weather interests.  The "National Weather Service Duties Act of 2005" bill was introduced by Former U.S. Senator and 2012 presidential hopeful Rick Santorum to eliminate the free dissemination of taxpayer-paid weather data from the NWS.  Many believed his legislation was influenced by the owner of Accuweather, a constituent and political contributer to Santorum's campaign.  The bill died in committee.

Version 7 of Zap Weather was recently released to support Joomla 2.5 . This version is a nearly total rewrite of the previous version of Zap Weather, which was originally written for Joomla 1.0.  This version includes 12 and 24 hour forecasts, current conditions and weather alerts, and cronjob support, with more features planned.

Z Content will continue to support Zap Weather and will continue to support the free dissemenation of weather data for "commercial free" weather reporting.

The First Blog Post


So this is my first blog post. I have been meaning to start a blog on Z Content for quite a while, and now since I just upgraded the Z Content website, I thought this would be a good time to start one.  By the way, in case you have not noticed (or you are a new visitor to the site), the Z Content website just went through a major upgrade.  The previous site had been running Joomla 1.5 for several years, so it was time for an upgrade to Joomla 2.5.  In addition to the upgrade to Joomla 2.5, the site's extensions were updated too.  The site also uses a new responsive template, which means it adapts to display screens of various sizes, including tablets and smart phones. Portrait mode or landscape mode, the site should still look nice on the screen.

The site's menu layout has been modified a bit, but it should not be too much of a change for seasoned users.  Downloads for subscribers are still available from the Zap Store (oh how I like that name!).

I used J2XML to transfer the articles and users from one site to another.  For other extensions, I used a straight SQL export/import with a table prefix change from the standard "jos_" prefix in Joomla 1.5 to a new extension.  J2XML worked pretty well, except that nearly all of the links within the articles were broken after the transfer (I still think it is the best method, though).  The site is still being tweeked a bit, and I am still looking for broken article links from the migration.  If you find any, please send a note to me via the "Contact" link at the top of the page.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more news, info and ramblings on this blog.