Joomla! 1.5 Top Extensions Cookbook

By Suhreed Sarkar
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  1. Producing and Displaying News and Content

About this book

Joomla is an award-winning open source content management system and satisfies all your website needs. It can be extended to add features not present in the default system. Many people using Joomla! build their site easily but when they think of extending their site to the next level, with so many extensions available, they face hurdles.

Get over these hurdles with the help of Joomla! Top Extensions Cookbook. This book contains top Joomla! extensions to add maps, image galleries, slideshows, udi and video players, security, forums, shopping cart, guestbook, and other mind-opening functionalities to your site. This book provides step-by-step recipes to enrich and expand your site using Joomla! extensions the way you want to.

This book will begin with teaching you how to control access to your Joomla! site and ensuring your site’s security. You will then move on to learn migrating your website to a newer version and integrating Joomla with phpBB. You will also learn how to improve communication among your site users, collecting feedback from visitors by adding a guestbook, adding Ajax contact form, building database applications without coding, and more. As you reach the end of the book you will learn how these Joomla! extensions allow watching users in real time, adding Google map, improving advertising, adding e-commerce functionalities, and better previewing of the contents we created.

Publication date:
October 2010
Publisher
Packt
Pages
460
ISBN
9781849511803

 

Chapter 1. Producing and Displaying News and Content

In this chapter, we will cover:

  • Adding a blog to your Joomla! site

  • Adding multiple sections, categories, and articles from a single screen

  • Adding a content slider to your front page

  • Making your featured articles sticky on the front page

  • Showing a hot newsflash on the frontend

  • Adding an article slide show on the Joomla! frontend

Introduction

Content is the king, and in Joomla!, content can be produced in different ways using Joomla!. Most Joomla! sites are for showing content some change frequently, while some do not. News in Joomla! is a rapidly changing content, and there are several extensions for assisting news production and its display.

In this chapter, we are going to learn about some of the most popular extensions for producing and displaying content in Joomla!. First, we learn about adding a blog to the Joomla! website. Then we move on to adding multiple sections, categories, and articles from one screen using Ajax. Then we move on to adding a content slider to the site's front page, making featured articles sticky on the front page and showing the hot newsflash.

 

Introduction


Content is the king, and in Joomla!, content can be produced in different ways using Joomla!. Most Joomla! sites are for showing content some change frequently, while some do not. News in Joomla! is a rapidly changing content, and there are several extensions for assisting news production and its display.

In this chapter, we are going to learn about some of the most popular extensions for producing and displaying content in Joomla!. First, we learn about adding a blog to the Joomla! website. Then we move on to adding multiple sections, categories, and articles from one screen using Ajax. Then we move on to adding a content slider to the site's front page, making featured articles sticky on the front page and showing the hot newsflash.

 

Adding a blog to your Joomla! site


Registered users in Joomla! can submit articles, and these articles can be displayed in Blog Layout. However, separate blog functionality, such as tagging and commenting, may sometimes be required. To add blogging facility, there are many extensions developed for Joomla!. In this recipe, you will learn to add a blog to your Joomla! site so that registered users can post to that blog.

Getting ready...

There are at least three popular extensions for blogging in the Joomla! Extensions Directory. The most popular one is SmartBlog. We will be using this extension to add a blog to our Joomla! site. Download the extension from http://dev.aarthikaindia.com/downloads/category/1-smart-blog.html. The downloaded package contains three packages: one main component, one plugin for searching a blog component, and a module to display the posts. Unzip the main package and you get the three sub-packages. Install all three sub-packages from the Extensions | Install/Uninstall screen.

How to do it...

Carry out the following steps to add a blog to your Joomla! site:

  1. 1. From the Joomla! administration panel, click on Menus | User Menu, and then click on the New button. This shows the Menu Item: [New] screen.

  1. 2. From the Select Menu Item Type section, click on the Blog | Addpost | Add-Blog-Post-Layout link. This will show the Menu Item: [New] screen, as shown in the following screenshot:

  1. 3. In the Menu Item Details section, type the Title of the menu item, that is, Add Blog Post. In the Parent Item listbox, select Top and select Yes in the Published radio box.

  2. 4. Click on the Save button in the toolbar.

  3. 5. Preview the site and log in to the frontend using a regular user's username and password, and you will see the Add Blog Post link in the User Menu. Click on the Add Blog Post link. It shows the Smart Blog screen with the post editor. It has Title and Content fields. At the bottom, you can upload the image for this post from the Upload Image field. Select Yes in the Do you want to publish? radio box.

  1. 6. Click on the Save Post button to save and publish the post. The post will look like the following screenshot:

  1. 7. For viewing the post written by you, click on the My Posts link at the top of the editor. The list looks like the following screenshot:

  1. 8. Now log in to the administration panel and select Components | Blog. The Smart Blog Manager lists the available blog posts. As an administrator, you can Publish, Unpublish, Edit, or Delete any post from this screen.

There's more…

You can add the following types of menu item links to the blog component:

  • Addpost Add Blog Post Layout

  • Blog Default Layout

  • Blogger Default Layout

  • Comments Default Layout

  • Myposts Default Layout

  • Myposts Myaccount Layout

From the Myaccount Layout link, you can provide your blog's title, description, and a logo image.

 

Adding multiple sections, categories, and articles from a single screen


Joomla!'s Article manager provides us with an easy way to add articles to the Joomla! website. Similarly, you can add sections and categories from the Section Manager and Category Manager, respectively. The only limitation is that you have to add a section, category, or article one at a time. For some sites, especially during initial development, you may need to add multiple sections, categories, and articles at once from a single screen. In this recipe, I am going to show you how to add multiple sections, categories, and articles from a single screen in the Joomla! administration panel.

Getting ready…

The QuickContent extension helps you to add multiple sections, categories, and articles at the same time. Download this extension from http://www.einszuzwei.de/quickcontent/downloads/category/1-components.html?download=2%3Aquickcontent and install it from the Extensions | Install/Uninstall screen.

How to do it...

Once the extension is installed, carry out the following steps:

  1. 1. From the Joomla! administration panel, click on Components | Quickcontent. This shows the Quickcontent ajax form for adding sections, categories, and articles.

  1. 2. For adding a section, type the section Title and Alias and click on the green tick icon. This adds the section. You can add as many sections as you need from the same screen.

  2. 3. For adding categories, in the Category section type the Title and Alias, and select a section from the Section drop-down list. Note that the sections you added a few minutes ago are available here. Click on the green tick icon to add the category. You can add as many categories as you need from this screen.

  3. 4. For adding an article, go to the Add Article section. Type the Title and Alias, then select a Section and Category for the article. Set other options such as the publish date, front page display, and so on. Type the text of the article in the text area and click on the green tick icon to save the article. The article is saved. The Status Message section will display the status of your article.

There's more...

Besides adding sections, categories, and articles, you can also add dummy articles. At the initial stage of development, you may need to generate some dummy articles. For adding dummy text to the article, carry out the following steps:

  1. 1. Click on Components | Quickcontent. This shows the Quickcontent ajax form. Go to the Add Article section on this page and provide the article's title, section, category, and other details.

  1. 2. For filling the article with dummy text, in the Lorem ipsum textbox, type a number, for example, 150, then select either characters or words, and then click on the Go button. This fills the article with that number of characters or words.

  2. 3. Finally, click on the green tick icon to save your dummy article.

 

Adding a content slider to your front page


Content sliders are useful for attracting site visitors by highlighting some articles. You may select articles in a category to be displayed in the content slider. This draws attention of the visitors to these articles. In this recipe, I am going to show you how to display a content slider on your site's front page.

Getting ready…

You can display a content slider on your site's front page by simply adding and configuring a module. The Content Slider Module is a popular module for displaying articles as a slider. Download this module from http://www.dynatec.at/joomla-extensions-modules-plugins-components/content-slider-module-for-joomla-1-5 and install it from the Extensions | Install/Uninstall screen.

How to do it...

After installing the module, carry out the following steps:

  1. 1. From the Joomla! administration panel, click on Extensions | Module Manager. This shows the Module Manager screen listing all the installed modules. From the list, click on Content Slider Module. This shows the Module: [Edit] screen for the module.

  1. 2. In the Module: [Edit] screen, select No in the Show Title field, and Yes in the Enabled field. Then select a module position from the Position drop-down list. Set the Access Level. From the Module Parameters section, select a category from the Category drop-down list. As an alternative, you can specify article IDs in the Unique ID field. Accept the default for other fields and click on the Save button in the toolbar to save the settings.

  1. 3. Preview the site's frontend and you should see the module where content articles are displayed as slides.

 

Making your featured articles sticky on the front page


By default, when you add a new article to the Joomla! website, new articles appear first on the front page. However, there are some articles that need to be made sticky on the front page, so they can be displayed for some time. In this recipe, I am going to show you how to make an article sticky on the front page.

Getting ready…

MiniFrontPage is a popular extension that allows you to make an article sticky on the front page. Download this extension from http://www.templateplazza.com/view-details/minifrontpage-module/90-minifrontpage-for-joomla-1.5.html and install it from the Extensions | Install/Uninstall screen.

How to do it...

After installing the extension, carry out the following steps:

  1. 1. From the Joomla! administration panel, click on Extensions | Module Manager. This shows the Module Manager screen, listing the installed modules. From the list, click on the MiniFrontPage Module for J! 15 module. This shows the Module: [Edit] screen:

  1. 2. In the Module: [Edit] screen, select No in the Show Title field and Yes in the Enabled field, then select a module position, for example user1, to display the module. From the Module Parameters section, type the number of sections in the Section(s) field and the IDs of the categories in the Category(s) field. Then select Created in the Order by field. Accept the defaults for the other fields and click on the Save button in the toolbar.

  2. 3. Preview the site's frontend and you will see the module in the designated module position.

  1. 4. Based on the settings of the module, and the contents available in the selected sections and categories, the module will look similar to the preceding screen shown. You can customize the display of this module by changing the settings in the Module Parameters section in the Module: [Edit] screen.

 

Showing hot newsflash on the frontend


For some sites, you need to make some articles stand out more than others. These articles may be called hot newsflash or hot articles. Showing these hot articles on the front page draws special attention to these articles. In this recipe, I am going to show you how to show a hot newsflash on the front page.

Getting ready…

The Hot newsflash module is one of the popular extensions that allow you to show the hot newsflash on the front page. Download this module from http://www.hotjoomlatemplates.com/free-downloads/doc_download/6-hot-newsflash and install it from the Extensions | Install/Uninstall screen.

How to do it…

After installing the module, carry out the following steps:

  1. 1. From the Joomla! administration panel, click on Extensions | Module Manager. This shows the Module Manager screen, listing all the installed modules. From the list, click on the HOT Newsflash module. This shows the Module: [Edit] screen.

  1. 2. Select No in the Show Title field, and Yes in the Enabled field. Then select a module position from the Position drop-down list. Module-specific settings are in the Module Parameters section. Go to the Image Properties section. Accept the defaults for fields in the Image Properties section, then look into the Article 1 section. First type a title for the article in the Heading of article field, then type URL in the Link to full article field. In the Article Info text box, type a brief summary of the article. Then type the name of the image, for example article.jpg, in the Article Image field.

  1. 3. Fill the Article 2 and Article 3 sections in a similar way, and click on the Save button in the toolbar.

  2. 4. Preview the site's frontend and you will see the module with the configured articles. The module looks like the following screenshot.

Note that you can see article lists to the right as tabs, and an image to the left with the descriptions in the middle. The text changes one after another without refreshing the whole page. Clicking on the image takes you to the full article. You can add up to five articles in this module.

 

Adding an article slideshow on the Joomla! frontend


Articles can also be displayed as slideshows on a Joomla! site's frontend. Like other featured articles, you can select a category of articles and display the article headings and intro text in this slideshow. In this recipe, I am going to show you how to use an article slideshow in the Joomla! frontend.

Getting ready...

Lof ArticleSlideShows Module is a popular extension for showing article slideshows on a Joomla! frontend. Download this from http://landofcoder.com/download.html?task=summary&cid=8&catid=2 and install it from the Extensions | Install/Uninstall screen.

How to do it…

After installing the module, carry out the following steps:

  1. 1. From the Joomla! administration panel, click on Extensions | Module Manager. This shows the Module Manager screen, listing all the installed modules. From the list, click on Lof ArticlesSlideShow Module, and you should see the Module: [Edit] screen.

  1. 2. Select No in the Show Title field, and Yes in the Enabled field. Then select a module position from the Position drop-down list. From the Module Parameters section in the Source from radio list, select Category. Then click on the categories in the Categories Selection listbox. Accept the defaults for the other fields and click on the Save button in the toolbar.

  2. 3. Preview the site's frontend, and you will see the module at the specified position. The module will look like the following screenshot:

As you can see, the articles will rotate automatically one after the other, and clicking on one of them will take you to the respective full article. The number of articles to include in this slideshow, and the number of characters to be shown in the article heading and intro text, can be defined from the Module Parameters section in the Module: [Edit] screen.

About the Author

  • Suhreed Sarkar

    Suhreed Sarkar is an IT consultant, trainer and technical writer. He studied Marine engineering, served on board the ship for two years, and then started journey in to IT world with MCSE in Windows NT 4.0 track. Later he studied business administration and earned MBA from University of Dhaka. He has a bunch of BrainBench certifications on various topics including PHP4, Project Management, RDBMS Concepts, E-commerce, Web Server Administration, Internet Security, Training Development, Training Delivery and Evaluation, and Technical Writing.

    He taught courses on system administration, web development, e-commerce and MIS. He has consulted several national and international organizations including United Nations, and helped clients building and adopting their web portals, large scale databases and management information systems. At present he is working on building a framework for education sector MIS, and promoting use of ICTs in education.

    Suhreed is renowned technical author in Bengali – having a dozen of books published on subjects covering web development, LAMP, networking, and system administration. He authored Zen Cart: E-commerce Application Development, Joomla! E-commerce with Virtuemart, and Joomla! with Flash, published by Packt Publishing.

    While not busy with hacking some apps, blogging on his blog (http://www.suhreedsarkar.com), reading philosophy of Bertrand Russell or management thought of Peter F Drucker – he likes to spend some special moments with his family. Suhreed lives in Dhaka, Bangladesh


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