03 April 2015

Why should I care about the menu items?

Written by Valentín García, Posted in Tips and Tricks,

Why should I care about the menu items?

Menu items are essential in any Joomla installation. Individually they represent a link to a page such as contact, home, about us, blog, etc.

It is highly recommended to understand more deeper its importance in order to have more control over the modules and the urls mainly, but is not limited to only that.

Continue reading this post to see what it's this about.

What is a menu item?

A menu item is a link to a component; represent a page in your website. Being more general, the menu items allow us to create and manage the site structure and the urls.

The most important features are title, alias and type.

joomla menu items

Menu title. Is the visible name.

A few examples:

  • About Us
  • Blog
  • Contact

 

Alias. Is the string that works as path in the url; doesn’t include spaces.

A few examples:

  • www.mysite.any/about-us
  • www.mysite.any/blog
  • www.mysite.any/contact

 

Menu item type. Choose a component view in this pattern: Component > View

A few examples:

  • Articles > Single article
  • Articles > Category blog
  • Contacts > Single contact

 

How many menu items can I have?

There is no limit in the number of menu items you can create. Actually you can split all your menu items in different menus from Menu > Menu manager for organizational purposes.

By default, any new Joomla installation include a Main menu that would become the visible menu for your visitors. You can add more menus to handle "invisible" menu items, providing a comfortable url management based on the alias.


Why should I care about menu items?

I can think in three big reasons:

1. Modules

Modules can be linked to menu items. In a practical situation when you want to display a block of content only in specifics pages, the only way to make it happen is by assigning to menu items.

joomla menu items modules

2. Access

Create pages that will be available for specific users groups such as "Registered". Very useful for sites that sell memberships or access to paid contents.

3. Short urls

Let’s think in an article that contains our “About us” information.

By default the link would look like:

  • www.mysite.any/99-uncategorized/99-about-us - where 99 means the category and article ids

Having a menu item we can get a short and friendly url:

  • www.mysite.any/about-us

This same behavior apply to other components in general.

There are more advantages about using menu items. I shared the ones I personally consider important for general purposes.
 

Inherited menu items

A Menu item type Articles > Category blog generate the following result:

  • www.mysite.any/blog - where "blog" is the alias

Automatically the articles from that category will inherit the parent alias in the url:

  • www.mysite.any/blog/id-article-alias


Conclusion

The more content we have associated to menu items, the more control we have in a website.


Read more about menu items in Joomla docs.

 

About the Author

Valentín García

Valentín García

Web developer and designer that love building sites with Joomla. Currently working at OSTraining as Director of Design.