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[Fixed] Virtuemart 4 Custom Field Labels not displayed despite having show labels set to Yes

Recently we had a client project where we used Virtuemart 4 Custom Fields extensively for product attributes along with CSV Improved for product data import. Despite haaving the Custom Field setup for Show Labels set to yes, we would find that the labels were not showing up after importing new data. To solve this we accessed the database directly to find the setting which controls the visibility of the labels in for the custom field dropdowns we see on the single product page for Virtuemart.  

If we view the database table #__virtuemart_product_customfields we can see the field customfield_params contains a boolean variable showlabels=0 which we we need to switch to showlabels=1 for teh labels to appear on the frontend single product page again. If you have many records to update you could do this with a query, or manually if you have only a few to update. Remember to always have backups before running queries directly on your database or better yet, create a development or staging version to test your work on before deploying to a production environment. 

Updating VM4 field to show labels in custom fields

In this case we had just a few to change so we manually updated the variable to showlabel=1 and the resulting labels then showed as expected on the front end. 

Do you need help with a Joomla or Vietuemart problem? Get in touch for specialist help.

 

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Support has ended for your version of Joomla 3.10. Migrate to Joomla 4 as soon as possible.

Support for Joomla 3.10 has officially ended and now all Joomla 3 sites warn administrators to migrate to Joomla 4 as soon as possible. In this article we'll show you what that process entails, so you can decide to start migrating directly or ask for help where you need it. Here at The Joomla Expert, we provide fixed price proposals for Joomla migrations! We have been offering Joomla development services since the very beginning of Joomla, from 1.0 through to today's Joomla 4 migration needs. 

Support has ended for your version of Joomla 3.10. Migrate to Joomla 4 as soon as possible.

Can we skip the Joomla 4 migration?

In the short term - Yes - Joomla 3 is a very stable CMS and over the years we have noted that Joomla CMS tends to degrade quite gracefully. Typically, when there is a failure it typically presents a message that tells us what the problem is. However. the main reason we find customer require Joomla 3 to Joomla 4 migrations are because hosting companies are now also upgrading server software, such as updating PHP to PHP8. This often causes PHP to throw errors, as code is deprecated. Typically, this is code in the template or a 3rd party extension rather than Joomla core itself. This is a pretty bad scenario because typically it will mean your business website is either entirely offline, or is showing serious errors to your customer base. 

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Support ends for Joomla 3.10. How to migrate to Joomla 4?

Joomla 3.10 is soon to be at its End of Life (EoL) stage and so all Joomla 3.10 sites are now warning administrators to migrate to Joomla 4 as soon as possible. In this article we'll quickly run you through the scope of that process so you can get started migrating or ask for help where needed. At The Joomla Expert, we have provided Joomla migration services since the very beginning of Joomla, from 1.0 through to today's Joomla 4 migration needs. 

Warning
Support ends on 17 August 2023 for Joomla 3.10. Migrate to Joomla 4 as soon as possible.

Do we really need to migrate our Joomla website?

The short answer is no - the Joomla 3 CMS is very stable and tends to degrade gracefully - i.e. when there is a failure it typically presents a message that tells us what the problem is. In fact, we even have some past clients still running Joomla 1.5 sites, the codebase for which has been EoL since January 1st 2012, and is still running 11 years later! That said, older versions of Joomla are slower and can be vulnerable to malware because no new security patches are to be released for these versions. The main reason we find people requesting Joomla 4 migrations are when their hosting company upgrade the PHP or MySQL version on the server, which causes PHP code deprecation to run and either display issues or make the software throw a server error. This is really the worst scenario, when your live site is no longer available. Which leads us to the long answer.

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Warning Joomla 3.10 has entered security only mode. What does it mean?

Are you seeing a warning message in your Joomla administrator panel? This is because the Joomla 3 major version has now entered its security only phase. After August 2023, no new patches will be released. Its time to plan a migration to Joomla 4 but you still have plenty of time. Even if you are reading this after August 2023, a Joomla 4 migration can be implemented so your Joomla site can be back on a stable, supported production version.

Warning
Joomla 3.10 has entered security only mode. Support ends 17 August 2023. Start planning to migrate to Joomla 4 today.

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Solving the vmError: updateStatusForOneOrder unknown virtuemart_order_id

When changing Order Status in Virtuemart you may see an error vmError: updateStatusForOneOrder unknown virtuemart_order_id which is caused by a small bug in the Virtuemart 4.0.4 package. It will be patched in the next version but in the meantime here's how you fix this Virtuemart Error.

vmError: updateStatusForOneOrder unknown virtuemart_order_id

Before you start, always remember to backup - make sure you have a verified backup of your Joomla Virtuemart software

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Joomla 4 update not showing? Here's how to fix

Recently we have been upgrading and migrating lots of Joomla 3 websites over to Joomla 4 and from time to time, the Joomla Update screen does not show the Joomla 4 upgrade information. In most cases, this is because the Joomla 3 Update Channel is set to the Default Channel. To check and change this, while you are on the Joomla Update screen, press the Options button in the top right hand corner and see what Update Channel you are on. To see Joomla 4, this needs to be set to the Joomla Next Update Channel. 

However, in some instances we have found that even with that setting correct - the Joomla 4 update does now show. 

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When should I upgrade to Joomla 4?

Well managed Joomla upgrades can mean you keep the same valuable content you have curated, the same valuable links, SEO effort, software and extensions working hard for you and your business. Trying to update too early or without correct precautions is asking for a headache. In this article we take you through deciding when to update to Joomla 4 and how to ensure a safe & smooth process so you can enjoy Joomla 4 working for you for years.

TL;DR Wait until lots of the community have switched over, and all the bugs have been found. Summer 2022 is a good bet, but watch the Joomla release roadmap for changes.

 

Do you need help with a Joomla update or migration? Get in touch for a free assessment.

 

Upgrading from Joomla 3.x to Joomla 4.x should be a carefully managed process. It should not be done directly on a live website because that is a very risky option. Instead, we prefer to test the migration on a development clone. This way, if an issue arises we can solve it and move forward without scrambling to manage a site down situation. This sort of risk averse approach is the gold standard for good web development.

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Update error solved: Error SQL Duplicate entry for key 'idx_username'

The recent release of Joomla 3.9.16 includes the addition of a database index to the users table. If your Joomla website happens to have duplicate usernames, this index addition will fail and you will see an error as in the attached image. The rest of the update will typically succeed just fine. 

Should you have this error, you must first find and solve the duplicate username problems. Each username in your site should be unique, so you should either rename or remove duplicates. 

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Implementing SSL on your Joomla website

SSL or Secure Sockets Layer is a security standard for websites that encrypts data sent to and from a website. This means that if you are on a compromised or hacked network, the data you are sending and retrieving from the website cannot be seen, only the web address you are accessing can be seen. SSL has since been replaced with a stronger encryption protocol called TLS or Transport Layer Security but getting a certificate is still often referred to as buying an SSL certificate.

Having a security certificate in place has a number of great benefits. As the site owner you are helping to protect your visitors and the Internet more generally from malicious actors. Google and other major search providers prefer secure website and so will rank your site higher than competitor sites, all other things being equal. Lastly, browsers such as Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Opera will often display warnings to users where a site does not have a security certificate in place.

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