Joomla! Brief And Pretty URLs

Well the website for my netball club is definitely going ahead, They are even more up for it than I imagined! So you can find the new site at www.shipleynetball.org.uk and hopefully it will actually get some content soon.

Installing Joomla!

I installed a new copy of Jooma! which was just as easy the second time as it was the first – you literally sit down to install it and before you remember you forgot about your coffee, its done and you’re already fiddling with the administration tool. This time I installed some extras.

EventList

I can’t say enough about how much I like the eventlist component from schlu.net. In addition to the date management bit which I tried out before, I’ve also installed the calendar module that is also available. I know its very alpha but I haven’t managed to break it yet and its exactly what this module needed! Also it makes sense for the users on the netball site to click on a particular saturday and see all the fixtures by day so that’s very good.

Another thing I must mention again about this component is the locations functionality. We play at one of five venues and you have to input the venues before you input the events but then once the address information, directions and whatever have been input they get associated with the fixture automatically … and its got a google maps link too :)

OpenSEF

Pretty URLs are something I feel quite strongly about. They’re strong and human-memorable which I think counts for a lot. I understand they’re also really good for search engines although I’m not an expert and I am under the impression that search engines kind of read your content these days. Well this was a complete faff from start to finish. It took me literally two hours from start to finish and that was only because I gave up, set the thing up manually, and sat down to write this before bed. Here are the steps I think I probably needed to follow, in the order it happened.

  1. Firstly, you need apache mod_rewrite and all the forums will tell you to test this first. Which is a good start.
  2. Turn on the Joomla! search engine friendly URLs (under Site -> Global Configuration -> SEO -> Search Engine Friendly URLS) and take a few moments to check that those are working. I have no idea what a search engine would find friendly about those URLS, they had commas in which I always find unnatural but never mind!
  3. Now try to move forward with the OpenSEF component. Basically you install it, and then you keep reading the tutorial because there’s some faffing about with the .htaccess file. Gotcha: The old Joomla! search engine friendly URLs need to be enabled as well – I turned them off when I commented out all the stuff relating to them in the .htaccess file without realising I wasn’t supposed to be doing that!
  4. Once its working, the pretty URLs get generated when you click on the links, so it will show the old link and then when you follow it it generates the pretty one, redirects you, and then uses it forever after. It is possible to input links manually in the administration part. I found that one of my plugins just would not get linked properly, it was listed under Components in the Admin part of OpenSEF, and I enabled that, and the pretty url resolved to the component if typed in directly, but it just wouldn’t update itself. As I say, I gave up and entered it manually … and now I’m never touching my links again! I think stuff like item and category links are going to work pretty well though and I think that’s really important for when we add additional content to the site.

Anyway I still like Joomla! and I think its going to be a nice simple interface for the people who are going to be writing articles for the site so I’m still quite pleased with it, if temporarily exasperated! If anyone knows what I was missing then suggestions are gratefully received.

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