Working with Parameters and Options
Earlier in the chapter and in Chapter 4 we mentioned that there are many options available for displaying your articles. You can see these when you click the Options icon in the Article Manager, when you edit an article, and when you edit a menu item. Most of the time they are the exact same options. Joomla! gives you an incredible array of possibilities for presenting the same content. For example, you can display an article with the author name, creation date, category name, voting, an icon to click to e-mail a link to a friend, and many more. Overall these can be a bit overwhelming, especially since they can be set in three different places. For beginning users we strongly suggest that you decide on a set of global settings for all of the content components. This will give you a consistent design across your site. Later, when you have developed a more complex site, you will be able to customize the display of individual pages if you wish. However, keep in mind that consistency in design helps to define your site.
Go to the Article Manager and click on the Options button. It will open a screen as shown in Figure 5.16.
Figure 5.16. The content options first screen in Joomla! 3
There are nine separate tabs on this screen. Most of the tabs correspond to the specific layouts that we reviewed earlier: Articles, the Editing Layout, Category (covering common elements of lists and blogs), Categories, Blog and Featured Layouts, and List Layouts. These are followed by Shared Options, Integration, and Permissions. We’ll review each.
Articles options control the Single Article layout. Note that some of the words used in the labels have changed between Joomla! 2.5 and Joomla! 3.
- Choose a Layout: This allows you to choose an alternative way to display an article. Alternatives come from templates. In most cases you should leave this as the default unless you are strongly committed to a different design.
- Show Title: Allows you to set whether the article title will show.
- Linked Titles: Allows you to choose whether the title is made into a link to the full article.
- Show Intro Text: Allows you to choose whether to show the intro text of articles. On some sites intro text (the area above a “Read more” line if you decide to add one) is used as teaser content to encourage people to read the full article. If you are not doing this, you would show the intro text on your full article pages.
- Show Category: Allows you to choose whether the title of the category will be shown along with the article.
- Link Category: Allows you to choose whether the category name, if shown along with the article, is made into a link to the category. The linked page will show a list of all articles in the category.
- Show Parent: Allows you to choose whether the title of the parent category of the category containing this article will be shown along with the article.
- Link Parent: Allows you to choose whether the parent category name, if shown along with the article, is made into a link to the list of all of the categories in that parent category.
- Author Name: Allows you to choose whether the author name will be shown in the article.
- Link Author: Links to the author’s contact page if one is available.
- Show Created Date and Time: Allows you to choose whether the time and the date the article was created will be shown in the article.
- Show Modified Date and Time: Allows you to choose whether the article will show if it has been modified or edited and the time and date that occurred.
- Show Navigation: Allows you to choose whether navigation between articles will be shown. This shows links to the previous and next articles for people to use to browse your site.
- Show Voting: Allows you to choose whether to show how an article is rated.
- Show Read More: Allows you to choose whether a “Read more” link will be shown. Used in combination with showing intro text, it allows site visitors to browse to the full article.
- Show Title with Read More: Includes the article title in the “Read more” link. This is important for visually impaired visitors because if all of your links say only “Read more,” they cannot be sure which article the link goes to.
- Read More Limit: This sets a limit on the number of characters from the title to include with the “Read more” link.
- Icons: Allows you to choose whether you want to use icons or text for the PDF, print, and e-mail functions that can be set to show within an article.
- Print Icon: Allows you to show or hide the ability for visitors to print the article they are viewing.
- E-mail Icon: Allows you to show or hide the ability for visitors to send an e-mail with the article information to an e-mail address.
- Hits: Allows you to show or hide the number of times an article has been accessed or read, otherwise known as hits.
- Show Unauthorized Links: Allows you to choose whether links to content that is set to the permission level of Registered will show or not to people who are not logged in to your site. This will display only the intro text of an article. Typically this is used to encourage site visitors to register at your site in order to get its full content.
- Positioning of the Links: Articles have optional fields to include links. These can be found in the same location as the image fields (below the editor in Joomla! 3 and in a slider on the right in Joomla! 2.5). These are typically used for supplemental information (for example, a Help link, a link to product details, or something similar). This option allows you to set the location of these links at the top or bottom of the article.
This controls the appearance of the editing form.
- Show Publishing Options: Changing this will hide the publishing options that are displayed when you edit an article. This can be useful because it prevents users from overriding the settings in the global content configuration.
- Show Article Options: Changing this will hide the article options that are displayed when you edit an article. This can be useful because it prevents users from overriding the settings in the global content configuration.
- Front-End Images and Links Changing: This will hide the fields for inserting images and URLs. These fields are located directly below the editing area in Joomla! 3 and in the images and links slider in Joomla! 2.5. These links provide a standardized way to insert images into the intro text and main text of your article and similarly insert up to three URLs. Using these rather than inserting the images and links by hand allows you to create a consistent layout across your articles, especially if multiple people are creating articles.
- URL Target Window A, B, and C: These three fields allow you to decide whether the links open in the same browser window, open in a new browser window, or open in a pop-up window (smaller than the normal new window and with no browser controls) or in a modal pop-up (a pop-up centered in a gray screen).
This controls Category layouts.
- Choose a Layout: This lets you pick either the List or Blog layout as the default for category layouts.
- Category Title: Show or hide the category title.
- Category Description: Show or hide the category description if you created one.
- Category Image: Show or hide the category image if you added an image using the Image field. This will not impact an image inserted with the editor.
The Categories layout shows all or part of the category tree. This makes it useful for displaying sites with hierarchically organized data but can also be used to create a site map or table of contents for your site as a whole.
- Top-Level Category Description: Allows you to show or hide the description of the top-level or root category of your display.
- Subcategory Levels: Allows you to specify how many levels deep the display should go. Obviously there are limits to the number of levels you can effectively display on one page.
- Empty Categories: Lets you decide whether to display all categories or only those that include articles.
- Subcategories Descriptions: Lets you display or hide the description you have created for each category in the tree.
- # Articles in Category: Lets you display or hide the article count for each category.
Blog and Featured layouts display a number of articles together using the intro text (or the full text if no intro text is available).
- # Leading Articles: Leading articles are at the top of the display and are the full width. This number sets the number of articles that will display as leading.
- # Intro Articles: Intro articles display in columns below any leading article. This number sets the number of articles that will display as intros.
- # Columns: Sets the number of columns in which articles will be displayed. Usually you will want to make sure that the number of intro articles is a multiple of the number of columns (so if you have three columns, you might have three, six, nine, or 12 intro articles).
- # Links: Under the intro articles you can display additional links (title only, no text) to more articles. This field sets the number of links.
- Multicolumn order: Intro text articles that span several rows can be displayed sequentially either down one column and then down the next, or across one row and then across the next. This option lets you specify which of these you want to use.
List layouts display your articles from a single category in a list format. This list can contain a number of columns and can be filtered.
- Display Select: Displays or hides a drop-down allowing users to select the number of items to display on a page.
- Filter: Allows you to specify one field (such as title or author) on which users can filter the article list.
- Table Headings: Lets you show or hide the heading for each column in the list
- Show Date: Shows or hides the article’s publication date.
- Date Format: Allows you to specify a date format such as Month Day Year or Day Month Year.
- Show Hits: Allows you to show or hide the number of times an article has been viewed.
- Show Author: Allows you to show or hide the name of the author of the article.
There are some options that are used in many different layouts.
- Category Order: When you are displaying several categories together, this option will allow you to specify the ordering of the categories. Options include alphabetical and reverse alphabetical by title, by date, or by order in the Category Manager.
- Article Order: The display of articles can be ordered by author, date, title, number of hits, or the ordering in the Article Manager. Most of these options include the ability to sort normally or in reverse order.
- Pagination: Controls whether the Previous or Next links are displayed at the bottom of a page. This is commonly used when there are more articles than can display on one page.
- Pagination Results: Adds the total number of pages to the display of pagination.
Integration options allow you to integrate your content with other sites and with other features.
- Show Feed Link: Joomla! can automatically create an RSS feed for your multi-article views (lists, blogs, and featured). This option lets you control the display of the feed link.
- For Each Feed Item, Show: Allows you to set whether the full article text or just the intro text will show if you have turned on RSS feeds of your articles.
- Show Read More: Allows you to include a “Read more” link in your feed.
Permissions control what actions which groups of users can take concerning articles and categories in the Content component. These work exactly like the global permissions discussed earlier. The only difference is that they apply only to articles, not to all of your site.
If you have changed any of the selections from the default selections of your install in the article parameters, remember to click Save at the top of the Article Parameter box that opened when you clicked Article Parameters. We encourage you to try different options and find the settings that make sense for your site.
The advanced parameters that you see when editing articles are the same list as the global parameters for articles. You can adjust these on an article-by-article basis. You will also see many of these repeated when you create an Article menu item. Overall the many parameters that Joomla! offers you allow you to customize the layout of your site in great detail. Try not to be intimidated by the large number of options. Once you learn your way around them, they will not seem so complex.