The first thing we will do is create some articles. Click on the New button. This will open an editing screen as shown in Figure 5.2. Fill in a title for your article (we’ll call ours “First Article” for clarity’s sake). Then in the large text area add some text. Notice that the article is already assigned to a category with the somewhat funny name of Uncategorised. Joomla! articles must always be assigned to categories, so this provides a catchall one for new sites that do not have their own categories. You will notice that there are tabs (in Joomla! 3) or sliders (in Joomla! 2.5) with many other options and also many additional buttons. If you look through them, you will see that they are either empty or set to Use Global or, in the case of Article Permissions, Inherited. As you learn more, you may want to modify these, but for right now we will leave them as they are. Click on Save & Close. Repeat this process at least two more times. At that point the Article Manager will appear as in Figure 5.3.
Figure 5.2. Empty article-editing screen as it looks when adding a new article: (A) Joomla! 3 and (B) Joomla! 2.5
Figure 5.3. Article Manager with three articles added
Now open one of your articles. You can do this by clicking the name or checking the check box next to the name and clicking the Edit button. The Article Edit screen has quite a few options available, but for beginning purposes we will cover only the most important parts of the screen to get you started and give basic information regarding the more complex items. As you get more familiar with Joomla! and content editing, you will be able to decide whether the complex items are a benefit to your site.
First, notice that you can now modify the article if you want. Next, look at the Publishing Options tab or slider. Notice that some of the information that was blank before has now been filled in, including the alias (very important because it is used to create the URLs or links to specific pages on your site), the created date, the author (you), the publication start date (today), the publication end date (set to 0 by default, which means that there is no end date), and the revision number. With the exception of the revision number, you can modify any of these simply by editing the fields and then saving the article. However, most of the time you can just let Joomla! manage these fields for you. For example, you may want to change your alias if the title is very long, or you may have a specific idea about the URL you want for that article. An alias should never contain spaces (Joomla! won’t allow you to save an alias that does), and underscores should be avoided (they can be hard to read), as should uppercase letters (users may mistakenly type the URL in the wrong case and not find your page), but other than that the choice is up to you.
The other tab or slider that you should always pay attention to is Metadata. Metadata provides search engines and other applications with information about the content of this specific article. Previously you created metadata that described the site as a whole, but usually you would like this to be more specific to help search engines identify individual articles to people doing searches. Fill in the description with one or two sentences and the keywords with between two and five terms. Keywords are used internally to find content items with the same keywords as other items and are also indexed by Smart Search, the Joomla! advanced search component.
Go back to the main tab for editing your article. Let’s look at the details of this page more closely. There are a number of things to notice and important settings for the article on this page.
When you created your article and now that you are editing it, you are using the default editor that is installed with Joomla! It’s a very popular Web content editor called TinyMCE. As shown in Figure 5.4, across the top of the editor you can see icons that represent the different editing capabilities that the editor has, which are very similar to the editing icons in most word processing programs and office suites. Hovering your mouse over each of the icons in the editor toolbars will supply a tool tip that will tell you what the editing function does (1).
Figure 5.4. TinyMCE Editor with menu buttons above and below the editing area
Underneath the content text box are a number of buttons (2):
- Article: This is the button that allows you to link your article to another article on your site.
- Image: This is the button for the Media Manager, which will allow you to upload images to your Web site; you can also use it to place the images you have already uploaded into your Web site.
- Page Break: This is how you can break very long content items into a number of shorter pages through which the user can navigate inside the article itself. Joomla! will automatically create a navigational table of contents for your article using the page breaks to define the sections of the article.
- Read More: This is how you insert a link to the rest of the article if you want to show some introductory text instead of the full article on every page. Using Read More allows you to have teaser text to draw people into your site by encouraging them to click to see more of an article. In Joomla! people commonly refer to the first area as the intro text and the second as the full text.
- Toggle editor: This button toggles the editor between What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) mode, which is a visual layout, and a code view mode, which shows your content item with the HTML tags that direct how the content will display. If you are familiar with simple HTML, you can format your content code using HTML tags.
Also on this main editing page are some very important settings. Status lets you assign this specific article to Published, Unpublished, Archived, or Trashed status. Access determines what viewing access level the article is assigned to. We introduced these in Chapter 4. Featured determines whether this article will be included in a featured article layout that you have the option of using. Featured layouts bring together selected articles from different categories. Language allows you to select a language for your content, but if you are using only one language on your site, you can simply leave all articles on the All setting. This option is used for multilingual sites and the All setting means that readers using all languages should see this article.