Tag Archives: guide

How to remove Articles in a joomla! article

Last week, I was working on a client website when my eye fell on something. Some articles had a heading which said “Articles”. If this happens to you, don’t bother looking for the solution inside Joomla.  There’s still a simple fix for this problem, though. Actually there is more than one way to fix it, I will just explain the solution that worked for me.

Using Language Overrides

If you do some research, you’ll discover that this “Articles” header only appears for articles which aren’t linked to a menu item. To remove this header, we’re going to use a built-in Joomla! option: the Language Overrides.  Here’s how it’s done.

1.  Go to your Joomla! back-end and log in.

2. Navigate to “Extensions > Language Manager”

3. Click the “Overrides” tab.

Screenshot 23

4. Click “New”.  A new screen opens.

5. In this new screen, write the following in the “Language Constant” field: JGLOBAL_ARTICLES

6. Leave the text field empty, and save the override.

As a result, the “Articles” will be stripped everywhere in your website, which solves your problem with the unwanted text!

Using an invisible menu in Joomla!

One of the questions I keep running into – and by running into, I mean keep having trouble with – is that every component in Joomla! requires a menu item to be useable.  While that’s not always a problem, I often scratched my head when our designer wanted to use fancy modules and images to replace the menu.

But today, I found what might be the obvious solution.  I present you: the Invisible Menu!

How it’s done

You already heard one of the possible scenarios in which a menu item seems to be unavoidable.  I’m sure you can think of some of your own.  So, let’s take a look at this “quick and dirty trick” I discovered today.  For this example, let’s assume that I want to link to ALFcontact, a contact component we use regularly.

  1. Create a new menu.  (Menus > Menu Manager > New)
  2. Go to Extensions > Module Manager and open your brand new menu.  Make sure to publish the menu.
  3. Don’t save quite yet!  Under Details, go to “Position”.  Instead of choosing one of the regular positions, click in the box, and type the following:  invisible.

    You’ve now created a so-called user position.  Normally you’d use this to display a module in an article.  Well, we’re not going to.  We wanted the menu to be invisible, remember?

  4. Go to Menu, and open your new menu.  Create a new menu item like you normally would for the component.
  5. Create your module, article or whatever it is you want to link from.  Create a link, and using the JCE editor, create a link for the menu item in the invisible menu.
  6. You’ve now created a link to ALFComponent (or the component of your choice) and no menu-item is to be seen.  How’s that for being a Joomla! Ninja?
Note:  If you choose not to use the JCE editor, of course there’s other ways to find out what the needed link is. But it might not be as easy as my method😉

Free download: "Joomla 1.6 beginner Guide" by Hagen Graf

**Please Note: Joomla! 1.7 is now out, and Hagen Graf has written a new manual, which is also free to download. Read all about it here.**

On the 1st of each month, the Joomla! community looks forward to one thing in particular:  the Joomla! Community Magazine.  But this post isn’t about the magazine. Although you’ll probably want to check it out.

One of the articles that grabbed the attentions of many readers, was an announcement by the multi-talentend Hagen Graf.  He announced a free, 174 page e-book on Joomla 1.6

You heard me right.  You can download the e-book “Joomla 1.6 beginner Guide” from his website, for free. (Or there’s a “webversion”, on the same site. Your choice).   The book covers everything you need to known about Joomla 1.6.  Of course, I didn’t read the whole thing yet, but from what I’ve seen the guide pretty much covers anything you’d want to know about Joomla 1.6

The target audience are Joomla! beginners.  They’ll find the book to be quite informative and a great help in their discovery of Joomla! 1.6 But also more experienced Joomla! users, who want to get to know the “new version” a bit better, can benefit from this e-book.

You can download the book as a PDF here.

Review: Joomanuals

On monday, I was asked if I’d be interested in testing Joomanuals.  As I’m always ready and willing to test anything Joomla-related (yes, that’s a hint for any other Joomla developer out there) I couldn’t say “no”.  It was the first time ever I heard about Joomanuals – you’d be surprised how many cool add-ons for Joomla manage to fly below my radar.

So I did some research.  Joomanuals isn’t an add-on an sich, but it’s a web-based application.  It targets people like you and me who build websites for customers.  One of the parts of delivering a “complete solution” is providing your customer with  a proper manual on how to use Joomla.  I’ll admit that I’ve been lacking in this department.   And, from what I’ve heard / seen; many of you lack the time or skills to write a good manual*, too.  You’d be amazed how many excellent developers / site builders find it to be impossible to write down how Joomla works!

That’s where Joomanuals comes in.  Joomanuals is an online tool that can generate manuals for you!  To start using Joomanuals you’ve got to buy a 1-year subscription which costs $ 25.  This’ll allow you to use the service for a full year; for as many times as you want / need.

How it works

Once signed in, you’ll be taken to the control panel to start creating PDF manuals.  This is an amazingly simple process:  All you do is provide some information (name of the customers’ site, their username, password…), choose what sections you want in the manual (how to manage articles, menu’s, users…) and add additional information to the manual.  When you’re done providing the information; you can start generating the manual.

This went faster than I had expected.  After only a few minutes, your manual is ready to be downloaded.

The resulting manual

Of course,  I had to be critical when reading the manual.  But aside from a single typo, and a small error that was fixed five minutes after I reported it (In your face, Microsoft / other software company!)  the content of the manual was… great.  The instructions in the manual were clear and well-written.  Because it’s using your own data; the manual allows users to better understand what to do.  Hell, they could even use the manual to guide them step by step if they want to.  Because of the level of detail; even a complete beginner shouldn’t have a problem working with the Joomla website you built (unless you screwed up, of course).

Something I like about the manual, is that it offers just enough information.  It will allow users to manage their site, without overwhelming them with information they won’t need.  Or – I’m speaking for myself here – you don’t want them to have; like installing add-ons; messing with the configuration settings; making changes to the templates…

Conclusion

Joomanuals is a great tool for anyone building Joomla websites for others.  It’s easy to use, and the result is a clear step-by-step manual that’s customized for your customer and ready to be sent to them straight away.  The price tag of 25$ a year is almost trivial, if you consider how much time you save by not having to write a complete, professional manual.  I honestly believe everyone building Joomla websites should consider using this tool.

Joomla project: help site

Last friday, I was sitting at work, trying to figure out what to do next.  My bosses have this “Do what we tell you to do, then find your own work” approach, so this wasn’t new. 

It didn’t took me long to find a next task.  There’s a tool I’ve tested and implemented, Dotproject.  It should help us to organize our projects.  The specific goals is to allow management to see what we’re working at, and to allow them to assign us new tasks. 

Because of this – and because I’m the only one who’s got experience with the tool – I needed a manual.  My first idea was to just write a manual.  But there were enough reasons for me not to do it:

  • People seem to forget we have a file server.
  • My e-mails aren’t read by anyone, it seems.
  • I wanted the manual to be “dynamic.  So, I needed images, and maybe even videos.

Since I’ve started to appreciate WordPress more and more; I first tried to build a solution in WordPress.  But, I quickly gave up on that idea in favor of Joomla; which is still my favorite CMS solution. 

The concept

The concept of this project is simple.  I’m building a site, where people can read instructions for Dotproject.  Because I’m using a website, it’s easy to use big images, video’s, hyperlinks and so on.  The image I had of the website, was one of a website that’s easy to use.  Simple navigating between the different articles was a must.

Tackling the project

I started with much enthusiasm; and made a design of this site.  What did I need? How did I plan to achieve it?  What I wanted was a site that was simple; yet got the message across.

I started by installing Joomla.  For this, I created a folder named [help] in the directory of Dotproject.  If people need to read the manual, all they need to do is type http://urltodotproject/help  Logical, at least for me. 

For this project, I chose to start with a “blank” copy of Joomla.  This means that I didn’t install the example data; because it would only get in my way (Installing a “blank” copy is, imho, always the way to go). 

Once that was done, I prepared the site for the “test articles” I always create to verify if things are configured the way I want.

  • I created a Section, named “General” and a category in that section named “General”.
  • Then, I created a section named “Guide”; and a category in that section named “Articles”.

Next on my to do list; was the creation of two menu items.   As you probably know, this is an absolute must to publish articles. 

I started with a menu section named “Guide”.  I made this menu item a Category Blog for ‘”Articles”.  Then, I created a Category List for that same category.  For both items, I changed the order so the oldest articles would show on top.  For me, that’s the way to go when building a site Guide.  I want people to see the articles they need to read first, on top of the list. 

Next, I went to the general article settings.  I made sure that “navigation” was enabled, and that the article title linked to the article.  It makes for easier navigation; both when reading an article and when looking at the “Blog”. 

My next task was to create a few test articles to see if all worked as planned.  After some tuning, I was satisfied with the settings. 

The hardest part, however, was to find a template.  I wanted a template that looked nice, but which was “clean” as well.  No images in the header; no complicated design… I considered using Artisteer to build my own template, until I found a nice template over at joomlartworks.com.  I downloaded their theme, jaw 039.  It’s a simple template, but perfect for this project. 

The final touch

As a final touch, I started to enter the articles that I had already written.  To do so; I first installed the JCE editor.  Once you’ve worked with this editor; you’ll start to realize that TinyMCE just isn’t up to par.  JCE, however, was designed for Joomla (at least , I think it is) and offers some nice options.  E.G the option to right click in the article to format the text; an image button which lets you both upload and insert images, and much more. 

After my first few articles were inserted, the day was over.  I’m pretty pleased by the result so far.  Of course, the site won’t be finished until all the neccesary articles are written and inserted; but so far I think I’ve done a good job. 

If I decide to make some changes to this “Help Site” I’ll make sure to let you know in an update.  This little project has once again proven what a great tool Joomla can be.