Consistent Titles + This Advice = Less Work

Make it stop.This is a quick tip for anyone building-out or expanding a site, and especially anyone who does so regularly. You've probably noticed by now, Joomla sometimes requires you to enter the same item title, repeatedly in numerous places. For instance, you'll make a category, and a menu item, all with the same title; then go on, to make several modules for that page, and possibly more.

You can improve the tedium by following an efficient procedure, which I'll teach you - use completely consistent titles, so that your browser's form autofill feature will provide drop-down menus, from which to select previous data entry! Maybe it sounds obvious, but it's more of a revelation than it seems, once you work out relevant procedures for chunks of your site's architecture or growth plan.

Note: This article was improved on Feb. 18, 2015 to be more accessible to beginners.

This tip was inspired by the following work-flow:

  1. Create a category
  2. Add its Category Blog menu entry
  3. Add a slideshow category
  4. Add a nested slideshow subcategory
  5. Create a slideshow
  6. Create two modules for that category's blog page

Quick build-out total: Entered the same title, seven times!

Your hands and wrists will thank you for considering the following details of ergonomic micromanagement:

  • Field memory doesn't care whether you forgot the copy step.
  • Field memory doesn't care whether you needed the copy buffer for something else during transit.
  • Consistent naming also means you find parts of a chain, faster.

If I've Suddenly Lost You

Maybe you're not familiar, but most web browsers -- even on mobile devices -- offer menus which skillfully guess possible entries for form fields, while you're typing data into that form field. (Anyone who hunts and pecks instead of touch-typing, don't forehead-slap yourselves too hard.) In this article specifically, I'll refer to this as "field memory" or the "field memory menu" (although it's commonly called by different names based on various triggers, such as form autofill vs autosuggest). If you're having trouble using this feature on mobile devices because the on-screen keyboard covers the field memory menu, you can usually close the virtual keyboard with the back button.

You take advantage of this and save work time, by using it to avoid typing things over and over. After typing a title -- e.g., "Recipes" -- the first time -- say, into the New Category screen -- you will now have added that new name, to your browser's field memory. The browser organizes these via the under-the-hood name of the field -- which enables you to recycle that one effort of typing, wherever there's a Name field -- e.g., in the New Menu Item, New Module, ad infinitum.

The Procedure

So, in subsequent steps of your overall task, having already typed "Recipes" into another Title field, you can repeat the entry by typing only the first one or two characters into the next Title field. Then, look at the newly-appeared menu below that field, and choose the correct title from the field memory menu

If you habitually do this instead of retyping each time, or juggling copy-paste lists, a slice of your time and effort will be shaved off the "one task" of building-out a page. Efforts of thinking, data entry, and checking for consistency, are all reduced. The benefit grows with page complexity - if that page had needed its own accordion menu, plus accompanying module, for example, that's more unwanted opportunities to retype that title. Using this procedure, you won't have to type them in full -- not if the first couple letters you bang-out, are consistent with your naming conventions!

Related: Save (Time) as Copy

In a similar vein, you can use the near-omnipresent Save as Copy button to save time when a situation calls for mass creation of nested categories. Create all the top-level categories first:

  1. create one, Save;
  2. change the Title and delete the Alias, and Save as Copy;
  3. repeat step 2 until all top-level categories are done.

Then, a slightly different procedure for creating the 2nd-level categories:

  1. Click the first top-level category to open its editor
  2. Change its Title and Alias, and Save as Copy
  3. Change its Parent, and Save and Close
  4. Repeat all steps until all 2nd-level categories are done.

Et cetera for nth-level categories. During a site expansion with numerous new features, it's so much faster to batch them out quickly with this procedure, than to round-robin each step needed for each page!

© 2018 Nathan Hawks

Friends are just enemies who've decided to kill you with kindness.
A lover is someone who actually gives a fuck.