Something that has been on my personal Joomla todo list for quite a long time has been a real coming soon page. Setting Joomla to offline mode is OK but it looks ugly and because it requires you to login to view the site you don't get to see the site as a regular user will do.
While building my current project it moved from being a wish to a requirement so I had to to sit down and do something. I did check several options from the JED but I didn't really like them for a variety of different reasons. So there was no option I had to try and write it myself.
While I was editing Jisse Reitsma's excellent book "Programming Joomla Plugins" I realised that I could probably achieve everything I needed with a plugin. So I dusted off my copy of the book and sat down to work and just a day later I had a working plugin.
My requirements were as follows
- It had to look good - if someone stumbled across the site I didn't want an ugly screen. I wanted something attractive and enticing that would encourage them to bookmark the site and come back later.
- It had to have customisable messages. If I was ever going to use this again then I knew I would have to "hard-code" as little as possible and that included the text.
- I needed a way for the client to see the site under the coming soon page and I needed a way to permanently make sure that I would only see the site and not the coming soon page.
- I had to make sure that google and the other search engines would not index this coming soon page.
- Finally although I didnt need it for this project I added some social media links and a countdown clock.
I am pretty happy with the results and the people that I shared it with as a Xmas gift seem to be happy as well. They have even contributed translations into Dutch, Brazilian-Portuguese,French and now German.
After installing and enabling the plugin you have the choice of 10 attractive backgrounds and 10 different font pairings. You can add a countdown clock and links to your social media profiles. But most importantly you can whitelist IP addresses that will never see the coming soon page or add a "secret" paramater to the site url that will disable the coming soon page for that session. Perfect for showing the client the web site.
Download the Haraka Coming Soon plugin for Joomla it and give it a try.