From Seo Wiki - Search Engine Optimization and Programming Languages
|Developer(s)||Sigrid Suski & Radek Suski|
|Stable release||RC 126.96.36.199 / September 2, 2009|
|License||GNU General Public License|
Sigsiu Online Business Index 2 (also known as SOBI 2) 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.
Sigsiu Online Business Index 2 is an addon to Joomla that makes it possible to run and manage a directory in your Joomla website. The core Joomla system offers a link component it is limited. SOBI2 on the other hand has many features that makes it stand out from other directory components. You can use it strictly 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 plugins available just for SOBI2. 
You also have the option of making certain features of the listing paid for or free. You could make listings free but charge for links to the websites. You have the option to decide all of this when you setup and manage the component.  This is an extremely powerful component that could be used more many functions and is frequently updated. 
SOBI2 - The Directory Component for Joomla (by Ken McDonald)
SOBI2 (Sigsiu Online Business Index 2) is an open source directory component for Joomla!, the very popular open source content management system. Using SOBI2 a Joomla user can have a fully functioning 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 your data, and you have a working directory on your Joomla web site. SOBI2 is also designed to be very flexible, and with that flexibility comes some complexity. The flexibility is a powerful feature which enables users to use SOBI2 in many different ways as you will see on the webs sites listed in this publication. 
Already in 2006, as no one talks about CCK for the content management system Joomla! Sigsiu.NET developed a Content Construction Kit for Joomla!. Designed as a business directory (online business index) SOBI 2 could already 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 build 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 build up almost object oriented, but still runs under PHP4 and MySQL4. 
Content Construction using SOBI 2 Fields Manager
All fields which are necessary for a directory can be created easily 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.
SOBI 2 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 isn’t shown in any of the views.
To earn money with the directory, it is easily 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 freely selectable.
Clear Overview by Classification into Categories
For a better lucidity of the directory, the entries within SOBI 2 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.
Presentation of Images in the Directory
According to the configuration of SOBI 2, 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 SOBI 2 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.
Simple Adding and Editing of Entries
SOBI 2 provides an entry form, which will be called from front-end of your site. This form contains the self-defined fields. The layout of this form can be changed by the usage of the built-in template engine. Thereby it is possible to divide the input data into tabs. This is useful especially for a lot of fields.
SOBI 2 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 SOBI 2 available. With this Entry Manager it is possible to easily create, edit or delete an entry.
Publishing an Entry only for a certain Period
Especially for directories with paid entries, but also to keep the directory up to date, SOBI 2 has the possibility to associate the entries with an expiration date. Either a fix period for which the entries will be published (e.g. 90 days) can be setup, 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. A defined period prior to expiration, a message visible only to the author of the entry will be shown. By the use of an additional link the author can renew his entry.
Simple Email Generation
SOBI 2 sends out emails on occurrence of different 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 a 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 SOBI 2. For that different placeholders are available.
A previously defined signature will be added at the end of each email.
Different Views for Presentation of Categories and Entries
As a complex Joomla! component, SOBI 2 has different views for front-end.
The main view of SOBI 2 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.
Adaption of SOBI 2 / Templates
SOBI 2 can be used „out of the box”. But SOBI 2 can also be adapted individually to the site. This adaption take place in different levels.
SOBI 2 has its own style sheet file (CSS). Nearly almost all elements of SOBI are addressable by CSS classes (or IDs) and therefore configurable. Change specifically margins, colors or fonts only by changing the CSS file. The CSS file can be edited comfortably in the SOBI 2 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 easily. It is also possible to create an own template for the add entry form.
The description of possibilities of this template engine can be found on the official homepage in the article Template Commands
Since the version RC 2.9 SOBI 2 template system has been extended significant. It is possible now to select individual templates for each category. Therefore also a template installer has been implemented.
Extensive diagnosis systems integrated
SOBI 2 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 SOBI 2, a built-in system check is available. SOBI 2 will be updated regularly. To know if there is a new version of SOBI 2 available, just execute the built-in version checker.
All highlights of SOBI 2 at a glance
- CCK with different field types and convenient custom fields manager.
- Multilevel category structure with unlimited nesting depth and convenient category manager.
- Extensive configuration possibilities via administrator settings and/or registry editor for ease of use of the configuration file in SOBI 2 administration panel.
- Individual entry form styling in front-end to add and/or edit entries by authors.
- Fast 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.
- Different 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). Various settings for meta data generation for the different SOBI 2 views (SEO).
- Extended and widely 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.
- Extensive 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 of emails for various events. Comfortable creation of email templates in administrator panel using place holders for different 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 SOBI 2. By default Google Maps will be used.
- Integration of Google Maps directly in detailed view.
- A language manager to install different SOBI 2 languages is also part oft he SOBI 2 administration panel. Various languages are available for SOBI 2.
- Via SOBI2 plugin interface and plugin manager of SOBI 2 administration panel you can develop your own functionality for SOBI 2 and integrate it easily.
- Different modules, Joomla! and SOBI 2 plugins are available to extend the possibilities of SOBI 2.
Multiple instances of SOBI 2
The SOBI2 Development Team provides also a special bash script called "SOBI2 Cloning Tool". It is simple script to clone SOBI2 and all possible add-ons. It allows to install multiple instances of SOBI2. The official SOBI2 demo site uses a clone called com_extensions (similar to Joomla Extensions Directory). This SOBI2 clone (and all add-ons for it) has been created with this script. 
SOBI2 plugins enhance the functionality of SOBI2. There are plugins available to add an image or media gallery or to use SOBI2 as a download directory. 
Some of the plugins to SOBI 2 include a Review & Rating Plugin and Gallery Plugin. They make it possible for you to create and run a complete rating and review directory where people can submit listings, submit reviews and upload photos. Even if you don’t run the Community builder component SOBI2 can allow people to build entire web pages about their listing. 
- Download Plugin - a plugin to upload and download files.
- Gallery Plugin - a plugin to show an "unlimited" number of uploaded images in Details View (horizontally or vertically) with Lightbox effect.
- Featured Listings Plugin - a plugin to show entries on a featured position.
- Flash MP3 Player Plugin
- Import and Backup Plugin - a plugin for SOBI2, to import and export data into/from a CSV file.
- Media Plugin - a plugin to show audio or video files (Youtube support).
- OpenSEF Plugin - a plugin to generate SEF URLs with OpenSEF component.
- Payments Plugin - a plugin to view payments that have been done by users on their website.
- Radius Distance Search Plugin - a plugin to search within a radius of cities.
- Report Listing Plugin - a plugin which allows visitors or users to send a report (e.g. about SPAM or rules violation) about an entry.
- Review & Rating Plugin - a plugin to vote and comment an entry.
- SobiSEF Plugin - a plugin which creates Search Engine Friendly (SEF) URLs for SOBI2 in Joomla! 1.5 (without 3rd party SEF components).
The following language packages are available for SOBI2: Arabic, Basque, Brasilian-Portuguese, UTF-8, Bulgarian UTF-8, Catalan, Croatian, Czech UTF-8, Danish, Dutch, English (included), Farsi (Persian) UTF-8, Finnish, French, French UTF-8, Galician, German, German Language formal, German Language informal, German Language formal UTF-8, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian UTF-8, Polish, Polish UTF-8, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbien, Simplified Chinese, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Swedish UTF-8, Thai UTF-8, Traditional Chinese, Turkish
- Joomla! 1.0.x (>=1.0.12) or Mambo (>= 4.6.2) or Joomla! 1.5.x.
- PHP 4.4.x or above - recommended: PHP 5
- MySQL 4.1.2 or above - recommended: MySQL 5.0.x
- Apache 1.13.19 or above - recommended: Apache 2.x
- GD Library installed
- ECMA standard encoding (ISO/IEC 8859 and UTF-8)
- For Non-UTF-8 sites with special characters: Iconv library or mbstring module installed
- Mambo (CMS)
- Open Source Matters
- web directory
- List of web directories
- ↑ "Joomla Directory Component SOBI 2 in LGR Webmaster Blog". 2008-01-31. http://www.lgr.ca/blog/2008/01/joomla-directory-component-sobi-2.html.
- ↑ "Creating portal with Joomla and SOBI2 in mycmsblog.com". 2007-12-28. http://www.mycmsblog.com/index.php?option=com_mojo&Itemid=27&p=4.
- ↑ "50 SOBI2 Joomla Web Sites by Ken McDonald". 2008-11-10. http://www.sigsiu.net/50-sobi2-sites/.
- ↑ "Component description on the official homepage". 2009-09-01. http://www.sigsiu.net/sobi2.html.
- ↑ "Article "Use of Templates" on the official homepage". 2007-10-03. http://www.sigsiu.net/use_of_templates.html.
- ↑ "News about new version release". 2008-10-05. http://www.sigsiu.net/latest_news/sobi2_rc_2.9.0_has_been_released.html.
- ↑ "Cloning Tool description at Joomla Extensions Directory". 2008-10-21. http://extensions.joomla.org/component/option,com_mtree/task,viewlink/link_id,6565/Itemid,35/.