Quite a low turn up which is probably down to the lack of social media activity done this month. Anyway following intros, we ran through things we could discuss. There hadn't been too much Joomla activity so we turned our attention to RocketTheme’s new Gantry5 framework. Currently in beta3, this template framework has been completely re-written from the ground up. It has several excellent features of note one of them being that it is designed to be framework agnostic meaning you can use your own CSS/JS framework within Gantry to build your sites.
The RocketTheme templates will ship with their own framework called Nucleus and it will be interesting to see what that offers.
Another simply brilliant feature for the small website builder or agency is the ability to use existing module positions of a Joomla site within your own layout. You just need to define the current module positions within Gantry. This allows you to quickly lay over a new Gantry based template without having to change all the module positions
The configuration of layouts is simply brilliant offering save history, drag n drop, in-depth asset configurations and so on. The flexibility allows you to configure your own content blocks and load them as you wish to in the template. Once you save this creates the template files on the fly basically rebuilding the template every time you change the layout settings.
We then started to discuss the new Widgetkit 2.2.1. Really great penknife tool for displaying content in a wide variety of ways. Vastly improved from previous version, non more so than the UI for the component which has decoupled the widgets from the content allowing you to re-use content in different widgets.
This then allowed Phil to wax lyrical about J2Store, a new eCommerce platform we have been looking at. The major benefits of this ecommerce platform are that it uses the Joomla core content for its products. This has been further extended to cover several major Joomla content based components such as Seblod and DJ-Catalgog2 to name but 2. The extension seems to be under huge development with changes and fixes coming thick and fast. J2store are also some of the busiest social media performers in the Joomla sphere which is indicative of their enthusiasm.