A How to on Creating an Article Site Using Joomla

This Article presumes fundamental knowledge of Joomla. A working installation of Joomla is required.

Let's say you need – or just want – to create a site just like EzineArticles or similar. If you are keen on using a more generic CMS, and not an article-site targeted script, you might think about using Joomla. That is always a good choice.

If you tried to use Joomla as it is, with the default Article Management you will soon feel its limitations, there are some flaws that will hinder you to manage your site like a professional Article publishing Webservice.

1. You have to make the users Editors. Regular users (Registered) do not have the right to create Articles. You have to make them manually editors. This might work for some website concepts, but for most an automation would be welcome.

2. Users Can not View their submitted content. There is no list of submitted articles.

3. Administrators do not get any notification per email when a new Article was submitted.

4. Users do not get an email notification when their articles got approved and published

5. Users do not get a message or notification when their Article is NOT approved.

6. Article Submitting interface is confusing and rather complicated for novice users and users not used to Joomla interface. There are some features that are not needed in a regular article based website. For instance the whole mosimage concept is merely a pain for a regular user, since no webmaster in the right mind would allow any user to upload media on their server. Also the whole image embedding concept that Joomla uses is not very intuitive for the first time user.

7. The most annoying part of the whole Article Management process is the approving system of Joomla. By default there is no way to filter the unpublished content or even to have the latest submitted articles first. Imagine you have hundreds of articles already submitted by users and around 10 submitted a day. To find these and to check the contents you have to search after the title or somehow narrow the list.

8. There is no way to have a reject-edit-republish workflow. That means if your user publishes an article that you then reject, there is now mechanism to ensure that the user has received a feedback on his mistakes so he posted the article and resubmit it. This is a major flaw in the article concept of any respectable article publishing website.

Looking for overcoming these shortcomings of Joomla we tried to find a set of components that allow you to complete these tasks and use the standard Joomla article Management. We do not tried out core hacks or similar since these are hard to maintain to the latest version of Joomla and also could interfere with other components that are vital for a good Joomla Website (Community Builder, etc)

We looked in several resources in the hope to find an integrated solution for our problems. We could only find scattered components that solved some of the problems, but not in the way we hoped:

JA Submit and Ninja Simple submit – ninjoomla.com

– simplifies the submission process

– allows non-registered submission (not our goal though) but overcomes the problem with manually making the users Registered.

– Remove some of the confusing errors Joomla throws at the unknowingly user

MyContent

– Allows users to edit their past submissions

– Allows users to unpublish their content

– Allows users to submit in any section

Article Factory Manager – http://www.thefactory.ro

– The installation of this component went without a problem, just like a normal Component. Then we made a Menu (displayed just for registered users) with some links to the main functionalities of this component. We defined "My Articles", "Submit new article", and "my Resource Box"

– An interesting feature the component introduces to our workflow is the "resource box". This is a small signature box allowing only limited HTML code in it (just Anchor and Breaks – a and br). This is an information box regarding the user that will be appended to their submitted articles. This way users save their info and backlinks once and can focus on the Article submission process.

– Another neat feature we discovered and that proves to be a very useful for us webmasters that do not want our webpages to turn into a link farm – is the limitation of the number of anchors in an article and separately in the Resource Box. This way we ensure that users will not submit articles with a lot of links in them without having to reject them. They simply can not submit them.

– We were also suddenly surprised by the HTML tags limitation potential, a feature that strips all tags including the allowed ones. As we discussed with the authors, all "script" tags are automatically striped regardless of your settings. This is a must-have security feature.