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ArtCats for Joomla! Examples

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Article Index
ArtCats for Joomla! Examples
ArtCats Introduction and Brief History
Static Module Examples
Dynamic Module Examples
Sitemap Mode Example
All Pages

Download Information

ArtCats is a completely free extension (there are no limited versions...just the full version available from the link below). Please refer to the Article Index to the right for more information about ArtCats and to see a few Example Usages of the Module.

Click here to Download the Latest Version of ArtCats for Joomla!


Introduction and Brief ArtCats for Joomla! History

Probably the first thing you'll notice when you first open up the ArtCats for Joomla! configuration screen is that there are a whole lot of options for you to play around with, making the module very flexible according to your needs.

Because of the many different parameter combinations, I'll only be covering the basics here in my examples, but hopefully it will be enough to help you figure whether or not the module will take care of your needs.

I guess to start off, it would be nice for you to know why I ended up creating ArtCats in the first place. I did so because as I began creating (or at least thinking about) more complicated websites with many pages worth of content I began to realize that by default, Joomla! did not really include any capabilities for listing articles in a module. In other words, most of the examples I had seen relied on menu modules being creating by hand with the links to the articles you wanted to link to (and then the menu module would be configured to display on the pages you needed them to be displayed on).

So like most people, I went onto the Joomla! Extensions Directory to see if somebody had already tried to fix my problem. I didn't find what I wanted, but I did find a module that did something similar, except it listed Joomla! Categories (instead of articles) named Categories 1.5, by Rich Dorfman. By this time I was looking to begin developing my own Joomla! Extensions and this seemed like a good project to begin with, and Categories 1.5 seemed like it would provide a good starting place for me to begin writing my own module, especially with Joseph LeBlanc's excellent Learning Joomla! 1.5 Extension Development on my desk to help guide me.

I thought about my project for a while before beginning development, and as I thought about it more and more I began thinking that I could integrate the Categories functionality of Categories 1.5, in addition to my own thoughts about listing Articles. Since my module would be able to display both Articles and Categories it led to me being slightly creative and naming my project "ArtCats". Up until that point however, I had only ever seen what you might call "static" modules. That is, modules that you configure them, and you set them to be displayed on certain pages, and that's it...their output always remains constant no matter which page you're on. It was a little later during the development of ArtCats where I came up with (what seemed like unique idea to me, as I'd never seen it before) the concept of the "dynamic" module.

In the ArtCats parameters, the one that determines whether the module will be dynamic or not is the "Automatic Mode" toggle, which by default is turned ON. The concept is extremely simple: rather than let the articles/categories being displayed be determined by a static module parameter...why not allow the module to check the URL (which for com_content might look something like index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=19&Itemid=27 for an article, index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=1&Itemid=50 for a category and index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=4&Itemid=37 for a section) and allow the module to pull out the needed values (namely, the article, category and/or section IDs) and use those values to determine which articles/categories needed to be displayed for that page.

This opened up the door for so much "automagic". Now instead of worrying about which pages you wanted to module to be displayed under, you could simply turn on Automatic Mode and set your module to be displayed on all pages and it would show up when it needed to.

Module Examples

So going back to those examples. To start with you can simply use ArtCats as a very simple static Article or Category Listing module, with Automatic Mode Turned Off.

On this page you'll see two modules to the left-hand which are demonstrating the following configurations:

Static Examples:
Static Articles Mode (note: I've condensed the parameters list in order to save space and prevent confusion by showing all of the other parameters):

Static Categories Mode (note: I've condensed the parameters list in order to save space and prevent confusion by showing all of the other parameters):

These are the very simplest configurations for the module available...simply turn Automatic Mode off, select either Articles or Categories modes and then select the Category/Section you want the Articles/Categories to be shown from, respectively. The other part of course (which is not displayed) is setting the Menu Assignment for the my example here I've only set the two modules on the left-hand side of the page to show up on this page, but I could have easily set them to display on the homepage or other pages as well, if I wanted.

Dynamic Examples:

One important thing to note about the Dynamic Examples (those with Automatic Mode turned ON) is that ArtCats will only display something if it is on a com_content article, category, or section page (it can't display itself on any other pages, simply because any other page would not have the needed information in the URL required by the module when using Automatic Mode to create a list of Articles/Categories to be displayed).

The following 3 Joomla! Sample Content pages will each serve as good examples of an Article, Category and Section page:

  1. Article Page (Joomla! Overview)
  2. Category Page (The News)
  3. Section Page (About Joomla!)

On the pages above I've created 4 different instances of the ArtCats module that will show you how they are displayed across each of the main com_content views.

ArtCats 2.0.4 (Default Settings)
  1. Article Page - By default the module has the "Show up on article pages" parameter set to YES so if you visit the Article Page you should see a list of articles displayed automatically (the module does this by taking in the current article ID and category ID, if available, and determining the other articles that are in the same category), with the current page highlighted as the active one.
  2. Category Page - By default the module has the "Show up on category pages" parameter set to YES so if you visit the Category Page you should still see a list of articles displayed (the module pulls out the category ID and uses this to find the other articles in the same category).
  3. Section Page - If you visit the Section Page you should see a list of Categories for the current section displayed (in this case the module pulls out the section ID and uses that to determine the list of categories to display for that section).
ArtCats 2.0.4 Demo (Default Settings + Exclude Current Article ON)
  1. Article Page - The output for the Article Page is different in this case because we are on an Article Page and with the Exclude Current Article parameter turned ON what happens is that the current article is removed from the list (instead of being displayed and highlighted as the active article the way it is with the Default Settings).
  2. Category Page - We are not on an Article Page so there is no Current Article to Exclude, so the output remains the same as it did with the Default Settings.
  3. Section Page - Same, the output remains the same.
ArtCats 2.0.4 Demo (Combined List)

This can be enabled by setting the "Combine Category and Article Lists" parameter to YES.

  1. Article Page - The Combined List shows a list of Categories, and their list of Articles (current Category and Article are highlighted).
  2. Category Page - The Combined List shows a list of Categories, and their list of Articles (current Category is highlighted).
  3. Section Page - The Combined List shows a list of Categories, and their list of Articles (nothing is highlighted because we are on a Section Page).
ArtCats 2.0.4 Demo (Expandable Mode + Expandable Template)

When the Expandable Mode is enabled, you must also make sure to set the Template Type to "Expandable" and set the Expandable Template to "default.css" (or one of the other available templates). If the Template Type and Expandable Template parameters are not set, you'll most likely just end up getting the same output as you would in the Combined List example.

I'm particularly proud of the Expandable Mode, simply because of the effort it required to put together (and the bits of JavaScript required to make it work) and how cool I thought it was :-). The Expandable List is similar to the Combined List, except that now there are little "open" and "close" icons next to the Category Titles that can be used to Expand a Category so that it displays its list of associated Articles (or Collapsed to hide them).

  1. Article Page - Any other Categories except for the current one will be collapsed, and the current Category will be highlighted as well as the current Article.
  2. Category Page - Any other Categories except for the current one will be collapsed, and the current Category will be highlighted.
  3. Section Page - All Categories will be collapsed
ArtCats 2.0.4 Demo (Sitemap Mode)

I envisioned the Sitemap Mode being used in conjunction with the loadposition content plugin that comes with Joomla!. In order to use Sitemap Mode you must create an instance of the ArtCats module and then do the following:

  1. Set the Module Position to one that does not exist in your template (e.g. "hidden")
  2. Set the Module Mode to Sitemap
  3. Set Template Type to "sitemap"
  4. Set HTML ID for Expandable Mode to "artcats_sitemap"
  5. Set Sitemap Template to "default.css"
  6. Additionally, depending on your template, you may want to open up modules/mod_artcats/tmpl/css/sitemap/default.css and comment out line 27: "padding-left:0 !important;" which was keeping the nested lists from being indented properly on the template being used for this site.

Click here to view an Example of the Sitemap Mode or use the Sitemap link in the Main Menu above.


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