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This article by Allan Walker, author of Joomla! 1.5 Multimedia, explores one of the most important tasks when using multimedia in our Joomla! websites, the ability to upload and manage the files on your web server. Once uploaded, this content may not require further attention, or you might need the ability for constant management and file revisions.
In this article, we will look at using the built-in Joomla! Media Manager which includes:
- Overview of the Joomla! Media Manager
- Uploading media using the Media Manager
- The view
- Organizing your content
- Uploading your content
- Managing media using the Media Manager
Overview of the Joomla! Media Manager
The Media Manager is a useful file management tool, which is included in the Joomla! CMS.
The Media Manager tool is located within your administration area and can be accessed by using the "Quick Link" icon on your Control Panel, or by going to the Menu: Site | Media Manager:
One of the main purposes of the Media Manager is to easily allow site administrators, and frontend users with permissions, the ability to upload and manage files for their Joomla! site. In circumstances where you do not have FTP (File Transfer Protocol) access to your web server, the media manager might be the only available tool with which you can add new images, videos, documents, and other files to your website.
Uploading media using the Media Manager
During initial site development, there are usually regular requirements to upload new files to your Joomla! site. Depending on the content for your website, this process can decrease as you move into the maintenance stages, or stay as a requirement for sites which are updated often.
Media Manager settings
As with all software applications, the Media Manager tool contains a set of predefined settings. Before using the Media Manager for the first time, it is recommended that you take a look at these as they offer the ability to customize media handling for your website. Depending on your file requirements, adjusting the media configuration settings now may save you time and effort down the line.
Your Joomla! site Media Settings can be found by going to Site | Global Configuration. Once the page has loaded, you will then need to click on the link named System.
The Media Settings area not only allows you to adjust settings related to the Media Manager, but also contains general settings for the media used throughout your Joomla! website. Information regarding each setting is as follows:
The fields are:
- Legal Extensions (File Types)
This field is a comma-separated list of file types that you want to allow to be uploaded to your Joomla! website. This setting applies to the frontend of your site, as well as the backend which includes the Media Manager tool.
- Maximum Size (in bytes)
This field holds the maximum size of the file (in bytes) to be uploaded. This can be set to "0" if you do not wish to restrict your file upload sizes. Most web servers will have their own file size limit that is usually configurable for the server by adjusting the server information file.
- Path to Media Folder
By default, Joomla! has a media folder called <joomlaroot>/images. This is the area where all files will be uploaded to when using the Media Manager. You can change this value to a different directory if you wish, creating a default path for managing your media. The majority of Joomla! projects would probably leave this value as default.
If you do decide to use another folder name for your media directory, it is important to leave the current /images directory on the server as this can often be used by other components.
- Path to Image Folder
This is generally a path where you put your images for your Joomla! Content Articles.
By default, it is set to <joomlaroot>/images/stories. You can change this to be what you wish. If you want to access this folder from the Media Manager, then make this a subfolder of the "Media Folder" previously mentioned. For example, <joomlaroot><mediafoldername>/<imagefoldername>.
If you do decide to use another folder name for your image directory, it is important to leave the current /images/stories directory on the server as this can often be used by other components.
- Restrict Uploads
This feature restricts uploads by user type. The default is set to Yes, which means that users below the status of a "Manager" will only get one folder option to upload files into. That folder is your main "Media Folder". If you set this option to No, then users will also be allowed to upload to subdirectories within your main media folder.
- Check MIME Types
This is a security feature, and uses MIME Magic or Fileinfo to verify your uploaded file types. By checking the MIME file information, you help ensure users don't upload malicious files to your site. Further information about Fileinfo can be found at http://www.php.net/manual/en/book.fileinfo.php.
- Legal Image Extensions (File Types)
This is a list of legal image extensions that you and other users are allowed to upload to your Joomla! site. The default list includes bmp, gif, jpg, and png files. Adjust, if you require further image extension types.
- Ignored Extensions
- Legal MIME Types
This sets the list of legal MIME types for uploading. By default, this setting includes some file types, and it is recommended that you do not adjust this setting unless you know what you are doing.
- Illegal MIME Types
This sets the list of illegal MIME types for uploading. As with the legal MIME types, it is recommended that you do not adjust this setting unless you know what you are doing.
- Enable Flash Uploader
The Media Manager contains an integrated Flash uploader tool. If enabled, this allows you to upload multiple files at once. The default setting is No.
If you do decide to enable the Flash uploader and receive uploading issues, then disable this feature again. Issues can arise from incompatible Adobe Flash settings.
This setting checks the file types which should be ignored for MIME checking. By default, this is left blank so all files would be included if MIME checking is turned on.
If you have made adjustments to the default Joomla! Media Settings, then you will need to save these by clicking on the Save button at the top right-hand side of the page in the Global Configuration section. A confirmation message to inform you that these settings have been saved should show on the following page.
Now that we have configured our site's Media Settings, let's head over to take a detailed look at the Media Manager upload feature.
The Media Manager tool is located within your administration area and can be accessed by using the "Quick Link" icon on your Control Panel, or by going to the Menu: Site | Media Manager.
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When you open the Media Manager, one of the initial options available to you is the choice of viewing your files and the associated information about them.
The two options are "Thumbnail View" and "Detailed View".
- Thumbnail View:The first (and default setting) is called Thumbnail View. This offers a thumbnail preview of your files and a delete button below each file. Thumbnail View is great for a quick scan of your files (especially images), as you can actually see the list and a thumbnail icon in front of you. This view, however, can be cumbersome when dealing with larger quantities of files.
- Detailed View: The Detailed View option shows a five column layout. This contains additional information about each file. The following information is offered in the Detailed View:
- File Preview
- File Name in alphabetical order
- Image Dimensions
- File Size
- Delete option
It is a simple click to switch between both of these view types. Depending on the directory you are in and how many files are contained within this, you may find that you often use both of these views.
Organizing your content
By default, the Joomla! Media Manager contains a number of subdirectories which will show up in a column to the left of the Media Manager. By clicking on the folders in this tree structure, you can show their content in the right-hand section of the Media Manager. Navigation through subdirectories in the Media Manager can be done using this method, or by clicking on the folders in the right-hand section which will also show the contents.
The organization of your website media content is of utmost importance. Just like with your Joomla! Articles, the correct structure of your files can save you time and frustration down the line when you want to easily find an image or media file.
One of the limitations in the current version of the Media Manager is that files cannot be moved into other directories. This means that it's important to get your file structure correct at the start of the project, and then files can easily be uploaded to their destination.
Creating a new directory
At the top of the Media Manager, you will see a horizontal bar showing the current directory location you are in. New directories can be easily created in the Media Manager by using the Create Folder, situated to the right of this bar.
To make a new directory, first make sure that you are in the directory where you wish to create a new folder. Populate the text field to the left of the Create Folder button and then click on this button to create your new directory with that name.
The page should reload, showing your new directory in place.
A forward slash is already pre-populated, so you only need to enter the name of the directory and nothing else.
Just like with your Joomla! Articles, the better you organize your site files, the easier it is to manage these on an ongoing basis.
As with most things, a spring clean regularly can help in keeping things organized and efficient.
If you are not using your files any more or have created newer versions of them, then you can easily delete them by clicking on the red "X" icon next to the file type:
If you wish to delete multiple files at once, then you tick the checkbox next to each file, and click on the Delete button in the top-right of the Media Manager.
Uploading your content
Depending on your "Media Settings" in the Global Configuration, you have the option of using two types of upload features in the Media Manager.
Single file upload
The de fault uploader in the Media Manager is the single file upload tool, which is located at the bottom of the Media Manager. This tool will allow you to browse your local computer for a single file type, and upload this to your web server in the directory you have chosen.
To upload files using this method, first make sure that your destination for the file upload is correct. The easiest way to do this is by using the Folder Directory Menu on the left-hand side, and making sure the directory you want to upload your file to is highlighted.
To upload a file, click on the Choose File button. This will allow you to browse your local computer for the file to upload. Once selected, click on the Start Upload button to upload this file to your chosen directory on your web server. The Media Manager will refresh once the file is uploaded and you should see your new file inside your selected directory.
Multiple file uploads
If you have enabled the "Enable Flash Uploader" option in your Global Configuration Media Settings, then you should be able to benefit from the Flash based upload feature.
Like the single file feature, the multiple file Flash uploader is also located at the bottom of the Media Manager.
To upload multiple files, first make sure that the directory you wish to upload to is highlighted. Click on the Browse Files button and browse your local computer for a file. Repeat this process until you have a list of the files you wish to upload. Click on the Start Upload button to upload the files.
The process will show the status of each file upload.
At the time of writing this book, Flash 11's security settings have broken the built-in Joomla! Media Manager Flash Multi-file upload tool. This may be addressed in future releases of Joomla! However, the single file upload feature is the stable upload tool to use at present.
Managing media using the Media Manager
As mentioned earlier in this article, the necessity for good organization of your site content is very important.
Analyzing your project requirements at the start may save you hours of work in the future. A defined directory structure and clear descriptions of these folders can be very helpful for not only your own management, but for other administrators and users who may be uploading files to the site server. Even the default <joomlaroot>/images/stories structure can become challenging at times; now, did I put it in the /images folder or was it the /images/stories folder?
The built-in Media Manager is a wonderful tool for Joomla! administrators. In fact if you have a Joomla! website that has been built by someone else, then this may be your only tool for uploading new files to your web server.
So we agree that it's a cool tool; one, which can limit file types and allow you to create directories and upload files, but unfortunately one that is simplistic and has its limitations. One of these drawbacks is the lack of ability to move files about once they are uploaded.
Remember, we can create as many subdirectories as we wish (under our main media directory). So the trick is to analyze your site purpose at the start of the project, and set up these directories accordingly, which will save you time and frustration down the line. If your site is already established with files and links to these, then the job will certainly become more time consuming to do. A spring clean of the established site is possible though, and will require new directories to be created, files moved into these, and content and links checked to make sure they go to the correct destination.
Good organization and structure of your website media is as important as it is to Joomla! Articles.
When your project is in the development stage, you should review and customize the Media Settings for your project, as well as define usable directory structures, which will make file management a simplified task.
Using the built-in Joomla! Media Manager is a great way for administrators (and frontend users with permission) to create directory structures and easily upload files from their local computer to the web server. Once uploaded, files can then be used in Joomla! Articles and in Components and Modules.
For developers (and site users with additional access to the server), the use of FTP is a powerful way to manage your files and site content, allowing you the ability to move and manipulate files, and gain access to other areas of your Joomla! file structure.
If you have read this article you may be interested to view :
- Adding Image Content in Joomla!
- Managing Image Content in Joomla!
- Managing Menus in Joomla! 1.5: Part 1
- Managing Menus in Joomla! 1.5: Part 2
- Media File management in Joomla with FTP and Third-party Extensions
- Building a Calender Application in Joomla! using Fabrik
- Building Form Applications in Joomla! using CK Forms
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About the Author :
Allan Walker lives in the United Kingdom, where he runs “Amplify” http://www.projectamplify.com , a CMS and e-Commerce Consultancy and Development Company.
Growing up in New Zealand, Allan studied Fine Arts, majoring in Photography. An interest in Video soon led to an Editor’s role producing a weekly Television programme, with this content being available for Television and Online.
In 2000, Allan moved to the UK and started Amplify, a business name for Allan’s web consultancy and development services. As well as providing open-source CMS and e-Commerce solutions for companies taking their business online, Allan established a successful e-commerce business of his own , which was sold in 2005.
In recent years Allan has been involved with a number of large-scale Joomla! projects, helping to establish Joomla! within the UK Government and Corporate sectors.
Allan has been a mentor for the Joomla! Google Summer of Code program. He helps the Joomla! community with Joomla! User Groups processing, and is a member of the Joomla! Marketing Team