ContentBuilder Help Service

ContentBuilder Help Service

If you've ever wished for an extension-making extension, ContentBuilder meets you halfway. It lets you make custom database storage, data entry forms, and input/output transformation rules. The result: you approach it like you're developing an app. When finished, it controls access, data validation, formatting, and more. You simply do data entry; it produces perfectly-formatted articles.

Found the formatting not exactly perfect? Tweak the viewer template or its data transformations, and all the associated articles can be regenerated using the tweaked version. Or, it can be configured so articles already generated are divorced from such changes, to be massaged individually, if you prefer your custom ContentBuilder implementation to be only a starting point for content you thereafter curate yourself via Joomla's Article Manager.

JED Page Authoring and Content \ Content Construction \ ContentBuilder
Documentation .../en/support/contentbuilder-documentation.html
Download .../en/extensions/joomla-cck-download.html
Joomla Versions 2.5 and 3.x
One-Click Updates No (extension is pre-1.0)


What's ContentBuilder Good For?

I rave about this extension, but I only recommend it for specific, limited uses. For example, I don't think it's wise for random users to be given direct access to any part of it; but its final results, the articles, can be shown-off, via normal article-style navigation.

Things to Know

Most of the cautions below apply only to sites where there is no accounting for the intentions of your users -- i.e., sites where anyone can sign up, or where invited users can send buddy invitations. For more strictly-controlled sites, the below factors still matter, but in somewhat less-severe a context.

Obvious = No, Creative = Yes

I wouldn't use this for a comments system, or even for user profiles (though it has that feature). That kind of basically-public, direct access is risky in my opinion. Instead, think of standard styles of articles you'd like to turn into form-entry affairs; or, types of content which would be enhanced by standardized chunks of code, which do their job based on only a couple variables -- such as videos! These are the sorts of things ContentBuilder can make easy for your site's contributors.

Staff-Only Direct Access

This means I don't suggest you provide front-end access to data entry or even list-browsing; or, if you do, only provide it to hand-picked, trusted persons. It is good-enough code under the hood, and is subject to many of the security protections an extension enjoys by using the Joomla API. I'm just saying it's a complicated machine talking to your database with Joomla's credentials - and people tend to use it to build things on a budget. Don't outright beg fate for unforeseen site security problems.

Wear Full Protective Gear

Just remember: Garbage in, garbage out -- don't ask for a programmer's power and then cry when you use it to delete your own foot. Consider making a fresh, full backup of your site before each round of changes to your ContentBuilder implementations - in fact, consider a fresh site backup your only lasting "save button" for all work done in ContentBuilder!

Prototypes Only!

Views created in this extension are insanely customizable for something essentially wrapping around the underlying technology beneath Joomla. It's like a flimsy but well-apportioned tunnel to bypass, yet simultaneously take advantage of, the crushing weight of Joomla's standard features. Did I say crushing weight? That was the sound of your dependence on this extension after it's abandoned, or Joomla renders it inoperable. Use ContentBuilder strategically and get out from under its limitations by commissioning a real extension as soon as it's feasible to outgrow the prototype.


Understanding all the above, I'll occasionally deploy small features in Joomla using ContentBuilder when it's the best tool for the job. It's a highly-adequate quick-start and prototyping tool. It has data export tools, a duality of front-end/back-end record-keeping tools you build yourself, and the aforementioned combination of manual and automatic article management features.

ContentBuilder is an advanced power tool. As such, anyone with admin control over it, can accidentally wipe-out whole apps and/or all data collected, in just a few clicks; and that's true in many, many ways, with ContentBuilder. In the back end, its configuration section should be used only with awe and care by people who read, understand, and follow instructions. Everyone else you allow to use it, however, can use it to produce standard articles in cool and useful ways.

{modulepos readytostart-inline}

© 2019 Nathan Hawks