SOBI2

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Sobi2
Sobi2 2.png
Developer(s) Sigrid Suski and Radek Suski
Stable release 2.9.4 stable / July 13, 2011 (2011-07-13)
Written in PHP
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Directory
License GNU General Public License
Website www.sigsiu.net

Sigsiu Online Business Index 2 (also known as Sobi2) is an open source web directory component and content construction kit (CCK) for the Joomla! content management system (CMS). Sobi2 is written in PHP and requires the MySQL database environment for storage. It is best suited for low to medium-level traffic web-sites.

Sobi2 is an add-on to Joomla that makes it possible to run and manage a directory in a Joomla website. The core Joomla system offers a link component; it is limited. Sobi2 on the other hand has features that make it stand out from other directory components. It can be used as a web directory or as a directory to physical locations, like golf courses. It has built-in integration with Google Maps (API key from Google is required) and it has additional plug-ins available just for Sobi2.[1][2]

Sobi2 works in Joomla! 1.5 native mode without the legacy plug-in enabled. The Joomla! 1.5 FTP-Layer will not be supported.

There is an option to make features of the listing paid for or free. Listings could be free but charge for links to the websites. This is decided when setting up and managing the component. [1][3]

Sobi2 - The Directory Component for Joomla[edit]

Sobi2 (Sigsiu Online Business Index 2) is an open source directory component for Joomla!, the open source content management system. Using Sobi2 a Joomla user can have a directory of contacts, members, distributors, manufacturers, locations, products, or whatever very quickly with little or no "coding" - most or all of the set-up may be done using only the configuration interface. Add data, to produce a working directory on the Joomla web site. [4]

History[edit]

In 2006 Joomla! Sigsiu.NET developed a Content Construction Kit for Joomla. Designed as a business directory (online business index), Sobi2 could be used for every kind of directory.

Sobi2 has been designed as the follower of the SOBI (or SOBI1) component but it is not based on SOBI. It has been built up new from the bottom. This was necessary because the table structure of SOBI1 was not suited for the features "sub-categories", "one entry in multi-categories" and "user definable fields". Sobi2 uses a relational database structure. Sobi2 is built up almost object oriented, but still runs under PHP4 and MySQL4.[5]

Features[edit]

Sobi2 is an add-on to Joomla! that makes it possible to run and manage a directory in your Joomla! website.

Content Construction using Sobi2 Fields Manager[edit]

All fields which are necessary for a directory can be created using the Fields Manager. There are several field types to choose from like text input fields, text areas (w/o WYSIWYG editor), check boxes, check box groups, select lists (drop down lists), simple text fields or a calendar field.

For text input fields there are additional settings available. A text input field can be defined to be used for an URL address, an email address, a link to an image or to a video/audio file. According to this setting the entered data will be shown in the views with the necessary syntactical format.

Sobi2 shows the data in two views. In an overview (Category View) all entries of the directory will be shown in such called V-Cards (similar to small business cards). Each entry has a link to its detailed description (Details View). It is definable which fields should be shown in which view with a simple click in the Fields Manager. Therefore it is also possible that a field is not shown in any of the views.

To earn money with the directory, it is definable in the Fields Manager for which information the author of an entry has to pay a fee. Also the amount of the fee is selectable.

During installation, Sobi2 creates by default several custom fields for a business directory. They can be deleted or extended by any number of own fields.[4]

Classification into categories[edit]

For a better lucidity of the directory, the entries within Sobi2 are divided into categories. For that a Category Manager is available. With the Category Manager it is possible to create, edit and delete categories within the directory.

As many categories as the administrator of the website likes can be created with an unlimited nesting depth. That means, each category can contain sub categories which can contain sub categories as well, and so on.

An entry can be assigned to one or more categories. For a simple directory it is also possible to assign all entries automatically to a pre-defined category. Thus, the category selection by the user isn’t necessary.[4]

Presentation of images in the directory[edit]

According to the configuration of Sobi2, the author of an entry can upload up to two images for each entry. At this, the images will be reduced to a pre-defined size. These image can be shown either in the V-Cards of the overview (Category View) and/or in the detailed view of the entry.

Additionally the Sobi2 Gallery plugin can be installed. This plugin allows the users to upload an additional unlimited number of images to their entries. These images will be shown in the detailed view as small thumbnails and on click they will be shown enlarged with lightbox effect.[4]

Adding and editing of entries[edit]

Sobi2 provides an entry form, which will be called from front-end of the user's site. The form contains the self-defined fields. The layout of the form can be changed by the usage of the built-in template engine. Thereby it is possible to divide the input data into tabs which is useful especially for a lot of fields.

Sobi2 can be configured in this way, only registered users of a site can add entries to the directory. It is also configurable that adding entries is allowed for guests too.

For the administrator of the site there is an Entry Manager in the administration panel of Sobi2 available. With the Entry Manager it is possible to create, edit or delete an entry.[4]

Publishing an entry only for a certain period[edit]

Especially for directories with paid entries, but also to keep the directory up to date, Sobi2 has the possibility to associate the entries with an expiration date. Either a fixed period for which the entries will be published (e.g. 90 days) can be set up, or the expiration date of an entry is defined individually.

Additionally the author of an entry can define the expiration date by himself using a calendar field. This is meaningful especially for directories with advertisements.

If an entry is expired, it can be renewed by the author himself. At a defined period prior to expiration, a message visible only to the author of the entry is shown. By the use of an additional link the author can renew his entry.[4]

Email generation[edit]

Sobi2 sends out emails on occurrence of events like adding, editing or renewing entries by the author or also if an entry is approved by the administrator. It is adjustable if only the author of the entry and/or also the administrator will get an email. The Joomla! user group which will get the administrator emails is freely selectable. Also selection of several groups is possible.

Sending out an email can be set up separately for each event. The content of the emails can be defined separately for each event in the administration panel of Sobi2. For that different placeholders are available.

A previously defined signature will be added at the end of each email.[4]

Views for presentation of categories and entries[edit]

As a complex Joomla! component, Sobi2 has different views for front-end.

The main view of Sobi2 typically consists of the presentation of the main categories. Additionally the entries within those main categories or all entries in the directory can be shown in V-Card view.

Additionally to the category views there are other views available which will show V-cards of entries. e.g. it is possible to show the newest/latest, the most popular or recently edited entries or only the entries of a specific user.

An alpha index is available to show entries and categories (or only entries) starting with a certain letter in V-Card view. The alpha index is configurable and the letters can be arranged.

The meta keywords entered for the entries, can be used as tags. All tags of an entry can be shown in the detailed view as links to lists with all entries with the same tagged word. Using tags is recommended for a good indexing in search engines.[4]

Adaption of Sobi2/templates[edit]

Sobi2 can be used "out of the box" but can be adapted individually to the site. Thes adaptation take place at different levels.

Sobi2 has its own style sheet file (CSS). Nearly almost all elements of Sobi2 are addressable by classes (or IDs) and therefore configurable. Change specifically margins, colours or fonts only by changing the CSS file. The CSS file can be edited in the Sobi2 administration panel, using an editor with syntax highlighting.

For advanced adaptations there are separate templates available for the V-Card view and for the detailed view. With some HTML skills and using the so-called template commands, own views can be created. It is possible to create an own template for the add entry form.

All templates are editable in the Sobi2 administration panel, using an editor with syntax highlighting.[4][6]

The description of possibilities of this template engine can be found on the official homepage in the article Template Commands[7]

Since version RC 2.9, the Sobi2 template system was extended. It is possible now to select individual templates for each category. Therefore also a template installer has been implemented.[8]

Extensive diagnosis systems integrated[edit]

Sobi2 has a debug mode to log occurring problems in a file. The debug level is adjustable. The template parser is helpful in finding syntactical errors while developing an own template. To detect if a server meets the requirements for Sobi2, a built-in system check is available.

Functions of Sobi2[edit]

  • CCK with field types and custom fields manager.
  • Multilevel category structure with unlimited nesting depth and category manager.
  • Configuration possibilities via administrator settings and/or registry editor for ease of use of the configuration file in Sobi2 administration panel.
  • Individual entry form styling in front-end to add and/or edit entries by authors.
  • SigsiuTree script to show the categories in a tree view in administrator panel and entry form.
  • Built-in image upload with automatically resize of the images to pre-set values.
  • Views available to show the content of the directory.
  • Dynamical page title generation with a lot of configuration settings (SEO).
  • Entry dependent meta data (keywords and description). Settings for meta data generation for the Sobi2 views (SEO).
  • Extended and configurable search function with built-in category search.
  • RSS feeds for the whole directory and for each category view. Additional configuration parameters available to generate RSS feeds of newest or most popular entries or for random selection.
  • Diagnosis systems like error logging or version checker.
  • Built-in multi state cache system for fast retrieving of data (reduction of data base queries).
  • Built-in template system for creating own templates of V-Card view, detailed view and entry form.
  • Send out emails for events. Creation of email templates in administrator panel using place holders for data.
  • Integration of Paypal and/or display of account data at the end of a paid entry.
  • Integration to a router possible (way search function). Routers available in Internet can be integrated into Sobi2. By default Google Maps will be used.
  • Integration of Google Maps directly in detailed view.
  • A language manager to install Sobi2 languages is also part of the Sobi2 administration panel. Various languages are available for Sobi2.
  • Via Sobi2 plugin interface and plugin manager of Sobi2 administration panel, functionality for Sobi2 can be developed.
  • Modules, Joomla! and Sobi2 plugins are available to extend the possibilities of Sobi2.

[4]

Multiple instances of Sobi2[edit]

The Sobi2 Development Team provides a bash script called "Sobi2 Cloning Tool[9]". It is a script to clone Sobi2 and all possible add-ons. It allows installation of multiple instances of Sobi2. The official Sobi2 demo site[10] uses a clone called com_extensions (similar to Joomla Extensions Directory[11]). This Sobi2 clone (and all add-ons for it) has been created with this script.[12]

Plug-in interface[edit]

Sobi2 plugins enhance the functionality of Sobi2. There are plugins available to add an image or media gallery or to use Sobi2as a download directory.[4]

Some of the plugins[13] to Sobi2 include a Review & Rating Plugin[14] and Gallery Plugin.[15] They make it possible for creation and running of a complete rating and review directory where people can submit listings, submit reviews and upload photos. Even if the Community builder component is not run, Sobi2 can allow people to build entire web pages about their listing.[1]

Languages[edit]

Language packages are available for Sobi2.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]