JV-LinkDirectory 5.8 – Joomla Directory Beta Announcement and Release

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Today we are glad to announce the release of first beta of JV-LinkDirectory 5.8, our flagship Joomla directory extension suite. JV-LinkDirectory 5.8 has numerous changes, and features in look and feel, and usability areas. As always, this will be a closed beta testing. We are calling for customers to volunteer to beta test this version and help us improve the product for you. Please read further to know the major features introduced in this version along with illustrative images, and also to know the beta testing process.

What are the major changes in JV-LinkDirectory 5.8?

Complete makeover of backend css and look: 

We have made a major overhaul of the backend css and look & feel, though the content remains more or less the same. The navigation has been improved to make it easier for customers to access various functions. See the first image of this blog post at the top for illustration of the dashboard screen.

Change primary and secondary categories of a listing in frontend:

This was not possible earlier, and you could only change the category of a listing from backend. You can now do so from frontend edit listing screen as well. See image below:

joomla directory catedit d6775

Fresh look via icons in frontend:

We have updated all icons in site frontend to use fontawesome and it is pretty catchy now in frontend. I am sure you will love the new look of listings in frontend. See image below:

joomla directory frontend icons 11975

New access level permissions for files for listings:

To provide greater control over who can access and download files in listings, we have introduced new access level permissions for files for listings.

  1. The new access level setting is available in file add/edit screen in backend, and will determine who can view the file in frontend.
  2. For files added via frontend, we have also provided a default access that you can set in backend configuration. 
  3. The modules (latest files and popular files) have been modified to show only those which are viewable (access permission based) to logged in user.
  4. We have also provided a button in backend to reset access to a new value for all files in all listings. We foresee this request coming up in the future, and implemented ahead!
  5. The access level for files are also shown in the backend files listing screen. 

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This is a very significant feature in JV-LinkDirectory, as this enables JV-LinkDirectory to be used like a software download directory for Joomla. We do plan to make use of this feature to use JV-LinkDirectory as the Joomla extension powering our product downloads in the near future!

New Traffic Trend Graphs from Alexa!

The existing graphs from alexa did not work as Alexa does not seem to be honoring the request made to it. Hence we have revamped the entire traffic data graphs and are now using Alexa Web Information Service (AWIS) to fetch 4 new graphs for detail page in “Traffic Stats” tab. This will need a free AWS account from Amazon, and the JV-LD backend section to be configured with AWS keys. The new graphs indicate the traffic history and will depict the following:

  • Daily Trend of Traffic rank in the last 30 days
  • Daily Trend of Page views per million in the last 30 days
  • Daily Trend of Page views per user in the last 30 days
  • Daily Trend of Reach per million in the last 30 days

See image below for a sample graph: 

joomla directory alexa traffic graphs a0c25

Sitemap Integration with OSMap:

With XMap, the sitemap component for Joomla no longer in development, we decided to integrate JV-LinkDirectory with OSMap, the popular sitemap generator component for Joomla. With 5.8 version, we have provided the ability to show JV-LinkDirectory categories and listings in the HTML and XML sitemaps generated by OSMap. 

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Related Articles from multiple components!

With 5.7 version, you could select the component (K2 or EasyBlog or Cobalt or Joomla articles) to get related articles from for the listing in detail page. With JV-LinkDirectory 5.8 versionl, we are have provided a new option to show related articles from all of these components and shown as a single list. This will help you show related articles from multiple types of data sources (components) in Joomla! in your directory.

joomla directory related articles 60014

Support for Custom Sized Thumbnail Previews and Parameters from ShrinkTheWeb:

Though JV-ShrinkTheWeb supported the ability to fetch custom thumbnail sizes, thumbnails previews shown in JV-LinkDirectory were restricted to predefined sizes till date. In 5.8 version, we have introduced the ability to seek and show custom sized thumbnails in JV-LinkDirectory as well. The option to set the custom size is available in the Thumbnail preview configuration section in JV-LinkDirectory backend. This will be a major feature considering that users can now determine their own size for the thumbnail previews especially for the detail pages. Ofcourse one will need the custom size PRO feature at shrinktheweb.com for this to work. See image below for a custom size (600px) thumbnail preview in detail page:

joomla directory thumbnail preview custom size a3cf0

Set custom Dimensions for Category Image thumbnail:

The thumbnail generated for categories was defaulting to the value of 48×48 pixel till date. The thumbnail is generated when a category is created or edited, and is then shown in the frontend alongside the category title. With version 5.8, you can define the dimensions of the thumbnail that will be generated via options in backend. We have also provided a new utility to re-generate thumbnail images of categories in bulk in Utiities section in backend. See example image below which has category image thumbnails of size 64×64 px.

joomla directory category thumbnail c6017

Usability Enhancements:

In addition to the above features, we have made a few usability enhancements based on customer feedback. These include:

  1. New option to open links in new window in community actions and activities plugins.
  2. While adding a link via backend if user is chosen, then email if not given will be automatically picked from that user profile.
  3. While adding a link via frontend, if user is logged in, then email address will be auto filled instead of asking for a new one.
  4. When displaying category description in home page, show the description with Html if it is to be shown in full.
  5. Email template changes:
    – Add Name of the plan purchased in offline instructions and email instructions
    – Add coupon if used in the payment info emails
  6. Number of related posts will be shown in brackets in the title of the tab in detail page.

Who can participate in beta testing?

Anyone who has a valid subscription of JV-LinkDirectory can participate in beta testing. If you are not a customer of JV-LinkDirectory already, then you need to purchase Business or Enterprise edition of JV-LinkDirectory first, before enrolling in our beta program.

How to apply for beta testing?

Customers who are interested in beta testing may please volunteer by indicating their interest in the comments section of this blog post. We will then add you to the beta group and acknowledge the same in our reply to the comment. You can then visit the My Account – My Downloads section – JV-LinkDirectory section to download the beta version and start reporting issues and feedback.

Where to report issues during beta testing?

We request beta testers to report issues in JV-LinkDirectory Beta Forum. You can access this forum from the link in the home page at jv-extensions.com or visit Support – Community Forum, and then click on Categories to view the forum link.

How long is the beta testing planned?

Beta testing is planned for couple of weeks from September 14th to September 28th. We request all our beta testers to post their feedback in this time frame.

Are Beta testers rewarded for helping out?

Ofcourse Yes. We are providing 1 month of extension to the existing subscription to beta testers who file bugs and provide feedback.