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Create and Link to articles without a menu in Joomla!

For Joomla! users, I am sure it is a little frustrating sometimes when you write an article and try to reference it with simple URL-friendly titles only to be greeted by a 404 not found error.

The problems is that Joomla!, without the help of some extensions has no built in method for publishing articles or inserting direct links in another article. Each article in Joomla! has a direct system identification number, which shows up in the article manager in the right side column in the list of articles.  These ‘ID’ numbers are unique and no two articles can have the same. For example, “index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=12” references an article with id number 12 and you have to use this link (instead of say, recipe.html) if you want to view the page.

The alternative is to create a menu and give it a “normal” because the Joomla! 1.5 default SEF URL creates search friendly URL based off of the menu items or links.  So, if you do not have a menu item, it is impossible for the software to create Search Engine Friendly link. This can quickly become a problem if you want to publish an article but do not want it to show up on a menu

To avoid having to create a visible menu item for every article, here’s a simple solution:

  • Go to the Menu Manager and create a new menu with any name (a unique name like Offline Menu worked for me).
  • Go into the module manager and locate the Offline Menu module that was automatically created and either disable it, or set it to a non-existent module position. My preference is to disable it.
  • Create a link to your article using the single article layout method.
  • Change the alias to whatever you want to have as your SEF URL (network-monitoring, for example).
  • Link to the new article with http://www.yoursite.com/link-alias.html.

This method works well for me. There are other tricks that involve making changes to the CSS stylesheet etc., but this one is simple and very easily gets the job done. The goal is to be able to create articles or link to them without creating visible menu items for each one.

Happy computing.

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