This is the second of a series of blog posts about improvements in Joomla 1.6. If you'd like to contribute, please click here to find out more.

In the first blog post we talked about improvements for site-builders in Joomla's administrator area.

This time Kristoffer from talks about category improvements for articles in Joomla 1.6.

Joomla 1.6 Categories

Joomla 1.6 introduces a couple of new concepts. Among them are the way categories are handled.

In previous versions of Joomla we've had sections and categories. One section could have several categories attached to it. However that was it as far as hierarchy went.

Goodbye Sections. Hello Nested Categories

In Joomla 1.6, sections are gone. Now the only thing we have is categories. The greatest thing about this is that you can nest the categories. This means you can create a hierarchy of categories. Each category can have one parent category, but one category may have unlimited child categories.

There is no limit to the number of levels in the hierarchy. I doubt that anyone would need to have more than three or four levels, though. Adding more levels might also have some negative impact on your search engine visibility.

Now, let's see how this looks in Joomla 1.6:

First, we need to create a new category. This is not much different from Joomla 1.5. Go to 'Content', then 'Category Manager'. Enter a category title and click 'Save' (or the 'Save & New' that's now available in Joomla 1.6).

Add new category - 1st level

The next step is to create a 2nd level category.

Add new category - 2nd level

I add my category 'Coffee beans' and choose 'Coffee' as the Parent.

Again, I click 'Save & New', this time to create a third level category:

Add 3rd level category

As you can see, I could go on and on doing this, adding as many levels as I need.

This is how the Category Manager list now appears:

Category list

Unlike Joomla 1.5 you can easily see the hierarchy of all the categories, as well as the Alias for each category.

If I now create an article, I can choose whichever category I'd like this article to belong to:

Article categories

The new way of dealing with categories is more flexible than the old section-category methodology. Even though it's not yet implemented, I hope the search engine friendly URL system in Joomla will replicate the categorization. I guess third-party SEF extensions will have this solved quickly.

The breadcrumbs will show the path to the category by showing all of the nested categories in the particular tree:


New Category View for Menu Items

There is a new option in the Menu Item type selector for Articles. The new view is called 'List All Categories'. I won't go into details about the view, as that's another part of this series.

Menu items

This is how the view looks in the front end of the site:

Category list on front page

Category Meta Data

In Joomla 1.5, you were unable to add specific meta data to the section and category pages. That's been fixed in 1.6. You can now add not only meta description and keywords, but also an 'Alternate page title' as well as the author and robots tags.

Category meta data

The improved category system for Joomla! 1.6 makes more sense and is more flexible to use than the old section-category system. It will be interesting to see how developers will embrace this new methodology in their extensions.

The migration script from 1.5 to 1.6 is not ready yet. However, I believe the conversion from section-categories to nested categories will be among the easiest tasks for this script.