Since the release of Joomla 1.6, and now 1.7, most people are aware of the major changes and features that were added to this great CMS platform since the 1.5 version, such as infinitely nestable categories (and the removal of sections), the powerful Access Control List (ACL) system, and the modifications made to the layout of the admin interface of Joomla.
There’s a number of new features that are less well known, and I thought I’d give them a little love in this post. Here’s a list of several new and useful features in Joomla 1.6/1.7 that you may have not been aware of.
1) Easily added background images for custom html modules.
It’s now super easy to add a background image to custom html modules without editing or creating any new code. You might find this feature useful if you’re wanting to add a nice subtle texture background image for just one particular module, and you don’t want other modules to have the same look.
In the Basic Options section of parameters for a custom html module, you’ll see the new option below:
2) One click upgrades of Joomla core files and extensions.
Okay, so you’ve probably heard about this feature, but it’s so welcomed that it bears mentioning.
The extension manager in Joomla 1.7 now has an Update tab that shows you a list of available upgrades for either the Joomla core files or extensions that can be upgraded by this method (as opposed to extensions that require an upgrade process that has further steps involved.)
It's still a very good idea to make a backup copy of your site with Akeeba Backup before you go through the new, simple upgrade option!
3) Include your site’s name in each page’s title in the browser.
With a couple clicks, you can now have your website’s name appear in the page title (which appears at the top of the browser and in the browser tabs) either before the page title or after it.
If your business or company’s name has keywords in it that you're trying to rank for in search engine results, using this feature can give you a bit of a boost with your SEO work.
If you have a very long business name, or if you don’t have any keywords in your business name, using this feature will likely not help out your search engine rank.
If you want to use it, you can find it in the Global Configuration section in the SEO Settings area:
4) Easily remove the installation directory after installing Joomla.
On the very last page of the Joomla installation wizard, there is now a handy button that will remove the installation directory with one click.
You no longer have to manually delete that directory via ftp or the file manager of your webhost’s control panel.
5) Batch processing for categories, menu items, and articles.
With the new batch processing feature, it’s now a lot faster to change the access level of multiple categories, menu items, or articles, or to move/copy them, all at once.
The batch process options appear at the bottom of a list of menu items in a menu within your Menu Manager, at the bottom of your list of categories in the Category manager, or at the bottom of the list of articles in the Article Manager.
6) Easier control of where modules appear.
In the menu assignment section of any module, there's a drop down menu for the Module Assignment that allows you to select “On all pages,” “No Pages,” “Only on the pages selected,” and “On all pages except those selected.”
That last option is a new one, and if you’ve got a ton of menu items and you want a given module to appear on all of them except a few, selecting “On all pages except those selected” can save you a lot of time in the process of setting up which menu items/pages you want the module to appear on.
7) Easier to identify and fix broken internal links on your site.
Joomla now has a new component called the Redirect Manager that will record any urls of your site that are throwing "404 Not Found" errors and allow you to redirect them to pages that are working on your site.
To get this functionality prior to the release of 1.6, you had to install an sef url extension that had this feature built in. But now it ships with Joomla as part of the core. Very nice.
You can find the Redirect Manager in the Components drop down menu.
8) Site admin’s can manually approve or disapprove new registered users.
If you find that you’re getting a lot of spam bots registering on your site (despite having a captcha form on your registration form), you can now select to manually approve new registered users of your site in the options of the User Manager.
This gives you full control over who does and doesn’t get in to your list of registered users for your site.
9) Easy to see what modules are assigned to a given menu item.
Prior to Joomla 1.6, it was very difficult to get a quick snapshot of what modules are published to a given menu item/page.
With a new view in the parameters of any menu item, called “Module assignment for this menu item,” you can see this information very quickly, and by clicking on a module’s name, you can even edit the module’s settings in a modal box:
Wether by leaps and bounds, or by small incremental improvements, Joomla continues to evolve and grow into a better, more powerful CMS with each new release.
Improvements like the features listed above make it easier, more powerful, and more enjoyable to use.