Live with grace. Write superb software.

Whenever I hear about Firefox, I cringe a bit.

Its news lately seem to be only scandal after scandal. If you don't follow the tech news, basically:

  1. They just ousted their previous CEO and also founder of the organization in the name of tolerance, a concept I'm not sure all people understand. No, not because he was incompetent, but because he was against gay marriage and decided to support this from his private money a few years ago. So it seems tolerance at Mozilla goes as long as you agree with them, and sends the clear message what are your career paths at Mozilla if you don't align correctly with sensitive political issues at hand.
  2. Another interesting move from Firefox, was the desire to have the initial nine tiles that appear when you initially install Firefox, having sites that would bid to be there the first time when you open Firefox. I don't know the status of it, but a lot of the community went ballistic against it, since apparently would make Mozilla less impartial. It seems better for them apparently, to take money only from Google their main competitor, that at the moment crushes them with their browser Chrome when it comes to usage. Brilliant.
  3. And last and not least, they actually signed a deal with Adobe to allow DRM videos to be played in the browser. Normal since your competition has it, not normal for some of the open source code purists. As if everyone still uses only open source software. Again, outrage.

Meanwhile Mozilla, and their main product Firefox slides into obscurity in the face of the shining stars: WebKit/Blink, the rendering engine, and V8 the JavaScript engine.

They lost the desktop battle to Chrome, and the enterprise world is still into IE.

On mobile it's even bleaker, and they are virtually non existent, since they lost the mobile market to Webkit as well, but this time really-really bad: Safari on the IPod, Chrome and the default WebKit browser on the Android, and even platforms like Cordova that allow publishing web apps as native apps, are rendering with the phone's webview, that is ... WebKit, or IE on Windows Mobile. Opera as well switched to WebKit and V8.

On the server side, node is all the buzz, and Mozilla or IE are not existing.

So, slowly but surely, Mozilla and their Firefox slide into obscurity and instead of fixing their products or strategies they go with random stuff like Firefox OS, dreaming that the future world is a world of web things, and people will switch to their no-real-apps-available platform, ignoring the elephant in the room (the fierce battle between Apple, Samsung and Microsoft into the mobile arena), and somehow in their parallel world aren't able to see that native apps are here to stay.

Yes, Web is becoming more prevalent, but people are not using their browser, and yes many mobile apps are now HTML5+JS powered, but they're not running on the Mozilla's stack, and yes the JS is permeating now even the server side world, but not using the JS engine from Firefox, but rather V8. So this is why all the talk from Mozilla regarding open web, remains just that, talk, talk that fails to materialize into a good product and strategy.

So Chrome adapts, Opera adapts, but I have a feeling that Firefox slowly dies.

I surely hope, for your sake Mozilla, that you'll prove me wrong with time.

Updating Joomla between major versions is painful, since plugins are not guaranteed to be compatible anymore. CentOS 6.5 adds to the difficulty since it's stuck to version 5.3.3 of PHP, and since Joomla 3.3, only versions from 5.3.10 and higher are actually supported.

This article is a general overview on how to upgrade.

1. Do a backup, and run the actual update process on a virtual machine

Two times I managed to screw up my update on the virtual machine, and had to start all over, and believe me it's easy to do so. If you don't backup you are pretty much bound to do the same at some point. Regular backups should be anyway done on a regular basis.

To do a backup you just need a copy of all the files, and of the database:

$ tar -z -cf joomla_site.tar.gz /path/to/joomla/folder
$ mysqldump -u joomla_user -pjoomla_pass | gzip - > joomla_db.sql.gz

2. Remove all the custom extensions and templates (Extensions > Extension Manager > Manage)

I've seen people recommending trying to find if the plugins you have installed are available as well for Joomla 3.3. Personally I ran into trouble since some of them don't support newer versions of PHP and just spectaculously crash. This is why I decided to remove all of them, and add new plugins with the same functionality directly for Joomla 3.3.

The easiest way to do it was to sort them by ID descending, since the extensions I installed after the Joomla default setup had obviously bigger IDs.

3. Change the Template to one of the Joomla defaults

Custom templates I've seen they generally don't play nice between different versions of Joomla or PHP.

4. Update PHP to 5.5

If you are like me on a CentOS machine, you need to add a repository that actually contains PHP 5.5 (unless you feel brave enough to compile it yourself).

(root)# rpm -Uvh

Remove the old PHP:

(root)# yum remove php
(root)# yum remove php-common

Afterwards you need to install the packages you need:

(root)# yum install php55w php55w-pdo php55w-mysql php55w-xml php55-mbstring

This package list might be different. For example I needed mbstring just for Piwik, that also runs on the same instance, not for the actual Joomla install.

5. Change the update policy to short term support

Joomla 3.3 should appear in the update list. If it doesn't you need to fix the database (Extensions > Extension Manager > Database), and purge your cache (System > Purged Expired Cache).

6. Update Joomla

I just update by overwriting files. For this I make sure that all the files can be written by the apache user, thus in the folder where Joomla is installed I generally run:

(root)# chown -R apache:apache .

7. Download a new template, install plugins, and configure their modules and positions

While this last step seems the shortest, since you at this stage are on Joomla 3.3, it turned out to be the half of the time in case of my installation, to get about the same positions, and features, and even some extra functionality that I suddenly decided it would be nice to have (like FB likes).

That should be about it.

In practice you'll run into trouble, and I know I'm repeating myself: do a backup.


So, do you want to see some JavaScript in the amazing world of IE11? Well it's simple: Open IE developer tools by pressing F12 and try out:

typeof ActiveXObject

intriguing the result is:


Did Microsoft dropped support for ActiveXObjects? Is this real life? Then miraculously when you call:

new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLDOM")

you do actually get:

[object] { }

You just miraculously created an undefined object. Good job!

Fascinating implementation indeed. 

If you want to edit your Joomla or Wordpress article. and you want to insert a programming code sample, you can do that by the click of a button with Ciplogic's CodeEditor. The good thing now is that you can also add PowerShell into your article, this being the new programming language added in version 1.2.

Here is a sample on how it looks for a random script from the Internet:

$greeting = "Hello"
$name = read-host "What iyour name?"
"$greeting, $name!"

Happy blogging.

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