Articles Anywhere

What's New in v9

Introduction

In this video we'll take a look at the new features and improvements in Articles Anywhere version 9.

In previous videos we have already seen how to install Articles Anywhere and what the features are for the free and pro version of the extension. If you are not familiar with Articles Anywhere, make sure to check out the other tutorials first.

This new major release of Articles Anywhere comes with new ordering options, date filters, automatic titles for images, the ability to nest articles, and more cool additions.

This is probably the biggest update in Articles Anywhere to date! - So let's take a closer look at the exciting features that the newest version has to offer.

Let's update Articles Anywhere from the last version to the brand new and shiny version 9.

And what you see here is a Joomla 3.9.3 setup. If you are using newer versions, things might look a bit different.

New Ordering Options

As we know, the Pro version of Articles Anywhere offers several ways to control the output of multiple articles.

In the system plugin settings we can define the default ordering of the returned articles.

And we can override the ordering in the {articles} tag by adding an ordering="..." attribute.

Version 9 introduces a lot of new ordering options. One of these is the ability to sort articles by custom field values, which was a highly requested feature. And there are more new possibilities as well.

Let's see it in action. We have a list of Events we are displaying on our website with Articles Anywhere.

As you can see, we have two custom fields for Events. A calendar field for the Event Date, and a simple text field for the Location.

And here is our Events article in the backend, that we've set up to display articles from the Category "Events" in a 3-columns layout.

We have the Event Title on the left.

Then we show the Event Date custom field, with our specified date format. Yes, if you didn't know, with Articles Anywhere you can also customise the format of any date!

And finally, we show the Location custom field on the right.

As you can see, currently the articles are set to be ordered by Title in ascending direction.

But what if we wanted to show the articles sorted by their Event Date, with the newest on top? Well, with version 9 of Articles Anywhere, now we can!

We simply change the ordering to "event-date". And give it a Descending direction.

And there we go! Now our Events are ordered by our Calendar custom field.

This is now possible with any custom field. For example, let's try to order the events by Location instead.

Here they are! And as you would expect, if there are any articles that don't have a value for that field, they will be listed at the bottom.

Also, if there are more articles with the same value, we can specify a secondary ordering. Here we see that Joostock and JoomlaDay Netherlands both take place in Eindhoven. So how do we decide which one should be ordered first?

We can add multiple orderings, by simply separating them via comma. So let's say that, in case the location is the same for certain events, we want to sort them by our date custom field, in descending order.

If we refresh, Joostock is now listed above JoomlaDay Netherlands, as it's more recent.

Custom Fields are not the only addition to the ordering options. With version 9 we can now sort articles by authors, category data, featured ordering, and more. Check out the complete list of possibilities in the updated documentation.

Check if a value exists or not

Now, what if we wanted to completely hide the two events that are missing the Location value? We can now do so!

Another new feature introduced with Version 9, is the ability to check for empty values inside Filters.

Let's add a filter for the location field. And to make Articles Anywhere only show the articles where a value is NOT empty, we can simply use a "+" ("plus") as the value.

This will exclude from the output all the articles where the location field is empty. And we can also do the opposite.

If we want to filter down to articles where a certain value IS empty, we can simply leave the value here empty.

Now we only see the articles that don't have a value set for the location custom field.

This feature works with any type of filter. For example, it makes it possible to return a list of articles that don't have any tag attached. Or that don't have Meta Keywords. And so on.

Revamped Date Filters

With this new update, Date filters have been completely revamped and improved. Let's take a look at the various formats that we can now use.

The most straight-forward option is filtering articles by a specific date. Let's try to add a filter for the event-date field. We simply input the date in the format that we've come to know in Joomla. So first the year. Then the month. And the day.

Now, the only event showing is from the day we've specified, November 24, 2018.

One of the coolest additions is the ability to filter articles by Year. For example, let's say we would like to show all the events that took place in 2018.

It's very easy. Here between quotes, we can simply input "2018".

And that's it! Articles Anywhere will magically only show articles that have a date value in the year 2018. What about filtering by Month, you ask? We can do that too!

Let's say we only want to show the events from November 2018.

Here's the result: Articles Anywhere now makes it possible to filter articles by month. And mind you, this can be done with any date type. So the core "publish_up", "created" and "modified" dates are all supported, of course. Along with Custom Fields.

And not only we can set specific dates. We can also use comparison operators to show articles from before or after a certain date.
For example, let's say we want to only show articles that have a date greater than November 1st 2018. We simply prepend the date with the greater-than sign.

That works!

The date filter now even supports Date Ranges. This allows us to show articles published between two specific dates. We simply input the two dates, with a "to" in the middle.

There we go, now we are only showing events that took place between December 1st 2016 and April 15 2018.

Finally, we can also use Relative Dates! Relative Dates make it possible to return articles from the current day, yesterday, tomorrow, or any other date relative to today. For example, we can dynamically show only the articles that have a date set in the future.

We insert the special "date" value, and we tell the filter to show articles that have a date greater than today.

At the moment of recording this video, March 8 2019 is yet to come, so we only see the two upcoming events scheduled in the future.

The possibilities are pretty much endless. Check out the documentation to see everything that you can do with Relative Dates and Custom Formats in Articles Anywhere.

Auto Titles for Images

In the video dedicated to the Pro version, we have already seen how Articles Anywhere has the ability to automatically create resized images.

Version 9 also adds the ability to automatically generate the Alt and Title Attributes for any image placed with Articles Anywhere.

The preference can be set individually for each image type in the Articles Anywhere Plugin Settings. We can set the attributes to be based on the Image File Name, the Article Title, and more.

When basing the title on the image file name, we can also select how the title should be cased. We can set it to be lowercase, UPPERCASE, Uppercase only the first letter, Uppercase All Words, or Smart Titlecase. Smart Titlecase allows us to input a list of words that should remain lowercase.

For example, the file name of this image is guinea-pigs.jpg. As you can see, Articles Anywhere has automatically generated the Alt and Title attributes, setting them to "Guinea Pigs".

If we change the setting for this image type to "Article Title"...

Now, the attributes have been set to "Domestic Guinea Pigs", which is the title of the article.

Of course, this feature only applies when the image doesn't already have its own attributes specified.

As we know, the Alt and Title attributes are very important for S.E.O. and accessibility, so this is a very welcome addition.

Nested Articles & Limit One per Category

To go one step further, Articles Anywhere now also allows for Nested Articles tags. This can be useful to output another set of articles for every article shown.

What does that mean? Let's see it with an example.

Let's say we have an "Animals" parent category. Which contains subcategories for Dogs, Cats, and Horses. And each of these categories contains articles for different species of each animal.

With our Articles Anywhere tag, we would like to only show one main species of each animal, and show the others as related links.

{articles category="Animals" include_child_categories="true"}

{/articles}

So, first of all, we filter by the category "Animals". And we include the child categories.

one_per_category="true"

We now limit the results to only return one article per category, by using the attribute "one per category". This is also a new addition introduced with Version 9.

This will only show one article from each child category of "Animals", so one article from "Dogs", one article from "Cats", and one from "Horses".

separator="<hr>"

Let's also add a horizontal line as a separator between articles.

<h3>[link][title][/link]</h3>

So, we display a Heading Title for each of these articles. And here comes the interesting part.

More articles from the "<b>[category]</b>" category:

For each article, we want to output another set of articles showing the other animals contained in the respective category.

{articles-others}

To create nested sets, we have to append the {articles} tag of the nested set with an extra name or id, for example: "-others".

category="[category]" articles="![id]" separator=", "

We then tell the nested articles tag to display articles from the same category, but excluding the article that we're already showing with the main articles tag. And we'll give it a comma separator.

[link][title][/link]

For each of these related articles, we'll simply show a linked title in normal text.

{/articles-others}

Don't forget to close each articles set with a closing tag using the same extra id. In this example: {/articles-others}. If you don't close every set, you will get unwanted results.

Here is the final result. For each category we have one main article showing. And more articles as related links.

Offset Text Headings

The last new feature we'll take a look at in this video is the "Offset Text Headings" option.

When including an article Title and Text, we might end up having Heading tags in a wrong order.

For examples, we decided to output the Title of these Fruit articles with a Heading 3 tag. But as you can see, the text of the article itself contains a Heading 2 tag.

If we add an Index of the Article, thanks to Quick Index, another Regular Labs Extension...

We can see that something is clearly wrong with the Headings levels. So we might want to shift the heading tags of the text to a level lower than the respective title.

With Articles Anywhere 9, we can now do so.

Since our title is a Heading 3, and our text contains Headings 2, we want to shift the text headings by two levels, so that they become Headings 4. We do by using an offset_headings attribute. And we'll give it a value of two.

This converted Headings 2 to Headings 4. Now the heading level of the text is correctly ordered under the heading of the title.

Recap

So just to recap.

We have seen how we can now order articles by the values of Custom Fields...
...And many more new ordering options.

We looked into the new feature that automatically generates Alt and Title attributes for images.

We discussed how we can filter articles that have empty values...
...And how we can now use Nested Articles tags.

And finally we have played around with the ability to offset Text Headings.

And that's not all! There are even more improvements that have been made with Articles Anywhere version 9. Check out the blog post on the Regular Labs website for all the details.

Or if you need, first watch the installation video to see how easy it is to get Articles Anywhere installed.