Create a Category Blog

In this lesson we are going to use categories to organize information on our site into menus. To do this we need to create a number of articles and assign them to categories. 

If you have not yet decided on categories imagine you are creating a website for an online restaurant. You will need categories called 'Mains', 'Deserts', and 'Drinks' and articles called 'Stir Fry', 'Chocolate Cake' and 'Lemonade'.

In the backend go to content - category manager - add new category. Give the category a title and click Save and New. Repeat this process for the other categories. On your last category click Save and Close and you will be returned to the category manager. (Alternately click cancel).

Now go to content - article manager - add new article. Give the article a title, select a category and add some text. Click Save and New. Repeat this process for the other articles, assigning each one to a different category. On the last article click save and close.

Now go to Menus/Main Menu/Add New Menu Item. In the Menu Manager:New Menu Item window click on Select next to the Menu item Type text box. This will open the menu item type popup. Menu items can link to a range of content. For our example we are going to set our menu item types to link to category blogs.

In the menu item type popup under Articles Select Category Blog. The popup will be closed and you will be returned to the menu manager window. Give the menu item a title. (eg 'Mains' ) Under Required Settings choose a category (Mains). Repeat this for your other categories and articles.

Click Save. Go to the front end of your site click on the menu items check that they link to the right pages and the default blog layout it links to.

Now create some more articles and assign them to categories (use some filler text). View how the joomla displays your articles for each category.

Advanced task: create some nested categories by assigning categories Parents in the category edit window. For instance in our restaurant example supposing you wanted to divide the Mains into  Vegetarian and Meat, the Deserts into Cakes and Puddings and the Drinks into Alcoholic and Non Alcoholic. 


Article Manager Options

In Joomla Article Options can be managed in two ways. Either on a per item (menu or article) basis, or Globally, for all articles or menu items. If an option, say number of articles to appear in a blog layout, is set for a particular menu item it will override the global setting. 

The local options for individual articles or menu items are changed for each menu item or article in the right pane of the article or menu manager. 

In this tutorial we will be editing the global options. Just remember that most of the options can also be changed for an individual article or menu item. 

Firstly we are going to change how many articles to display in our blog layouts. Go to Article Manager and select Options in the top menu bar. Click on the Blogs/Featured Layouts tab.

We can choose how many articles will be styled as leading articles and how many will be styled as intro articles. How these styles will appear on the page is very much dependant on the template being used. Generally the Leading article will be the full width of the page and the Intro articles divided into columns according to the column setting. You can experiment with the layout you prefer, but for now lets just have one leading article and four Intro articles in two columns. When we add more articles to our blog we can choose to display links to them. In this example we are going to display four links. The completed  Blogs/Featured Layouts page of the Article Options should look like this.


Click Save and view your category blog to ensure the changes have been made.

Now, in order to make our page as uncluttered as possible we are going to hide the print icons, category title, author and creation date. This is done under the Article  tab of the Article Manager Options.

Simply check Hide against the Show Category, Show Author, Show Create Date, Show Print Icon, Show Email Icon and Show Hits.

Click Save and view your category blog to ensure the changes have been made.


Create 'User' menu items

Menu items can link to other things besides articles. In this tutorial we are going to create a set of menu items that link to the various user functions, such as logging in, registering and obtaining a password reminder. We will also create a menu item to allow an administrator to create an article. This will become very useful because it will add the ability to create articles from the Front End. By assigning them to a category we can make them display in the category blog we set up in the previous lesson. 

There are a number of things to consider. Firstly the menu structure is nested. We first need a top level menu item called 'User'. This acts as a container for the menu items below it. If your template supports drop down menus then it will be viewed as such, if not you will probably see it as a nested list.

Secondly we need to assign Access Permissions to some of the items. For instance we would probably want to make sure not everybody can create articles. There will be more on permissions and user management later. First lets create our user menu items.

The first thing we need to do is create a top level menu item called 'User'.

Go to menus/main menu/add new menu item 

This really is just a container for the nested items, so for menu item type select text separator.

Give the menu the title 'User' and press Save and New. 

Now lets create some nested menu items.

Lets link this menu item to our login page. To do this select Login Form for Menu Item Type.

We can name this simply 'Login' and to nest the menu item set Parent Item as User.  


In the right pane of Add Menu Item (Login Form) window you add text and images to the login form as well as assign the pages the user is redirected to after they log in or log out.

We can proceed in an identical way to create menu items for a registration page remembering to select User for the Parent Item.

The remainder of the Users Manager menu items are for users that have already registered. Although Public users will not be able to view these pages it is best practice to hide the menu items to Public users (any one that has not registered) To do this in the Access selection box select Registered. Do this for the User ProfileEdit User ProfileUser Name Reminder Requestand Password Reset menu items.


Finally we are going to create an Create Article menu item under the users menu. Simply create a new menu item and give it the menu item type of Create Article. (Under Articles in the Select Menu Item Type window.).  

We want the article to appear in one of the category blogs we created last tutorial. So set the category of the Create Article menu item to this category (eg Mains). 

Set its Parent Item to User. This means it will become a sub menu of User.

Set its Access to Special so only a Super Administrator (currently you, as the creator of the site) will see the menu item. 

Finally we are going to set the Template Style to Atomic-Default. This is because the Article Editor may clash with the current template style. We want to create our article as easy as possible and do not want the screen cluttered with the layout and style of the rest of the front end. Atomic is Joomla's 'bare bones' template.

The completed New Menu Item window should look like this:


Now go to the Front End of your site and check your user menu. If all went according to plan you should be able to add a articles to your category blog.