Ok, I'm looking at my new concrete5 site, where's the Administration?
In Joomla, to get to the 'back end' administration you would normally go to yoursite/administrator. In concrete5, you log in by visiting yoursite/login (or depending on your settings, yoursite/index.php/login). The default theme has a link in the footer to the login page.
However, when you log in you'll view the homepage of your concrete5 site, but with an extra editing toolbar. In concrete5 the majority of editing and content management is done via the 'front end'. A logged in administrator simply navigates around their site and uses the toolbar at the top of their site to edit pages. Content is quickly edited and previewed.
There is a 'back end' side to concrete5, called the 'Dashboard'. This area is for managing more site wide concerns such as users, files and site wide configurations. You can change things like your site's name in the Dashboard for example.
I'm in, so where are my Articles?
In concrete5, it's really just about the pages of your site. You could think of each page of your concrete5 site as an Article... But instead of being limited to one chunk of HTML for each page, pages in concrete5 can have one or more 'blocks', which can be for HTML content, but also other elements such as forms, slideshows, lists of pages, navigation and so on. A page in concrete5 is really a collection of blocks placed in different areas. Each concrete5 page still has a page title and alias like in Joomla.
When you are logged in, on the toolbar to the left you'll see an Edit button. Clicking the edit button puts you into an edit mode, but the button is also a drop down for page options - after logging in, that's the first thing you should try out using.
Alright, I'll assume for now that Pages are my Articles. So where are the categories?
Unlike Joomla, pages in concrete5 are organised in a tree structure - a sitemap. This means pages are nested underneath one another, with each page having a parent page (with top level pages being nested under the home page).
To add a new page in concrete5, you simply navigate to where in your site you want to place a new page and press the 'Add a Sub-Page' button (it's under the Edit button I just mentioned). The placement of the page helps to categorise the page somewhat, but there are other ways to categorise pages too.
I want an Article Manager, dammit!
Ok, ok, calm down. Although you can simply navigate around your site to be able to edit pages, if you do want to see all the pages in your site, you can view a sitemap. It is accessed via the Dashboard->Sitemap, and you can view it as a tree or as a list, and search for pages like you would in the Article Manager in Joomla.
But the sitemap looks more like a menu than a list of Articles, where's the Menu Manager?
This is where Joomla and concrete5 differ a fair bit. Joomla has separate entries for Articles, Menus and Menu Items, with menu items pointing at Articles. In contrast, concrete5 has a much simpler approach, whilst still being highly flexible. In concrete5, the placement of a page in the sitemap IS the organisation of a menu structure - there is no need to create menus or menu items.
When you're viewing the sitemap, you can drag and drop to re-order and re-nest pages. What you see in the sitemap is what you'll get in your site structure and in your site's menus.
So I only need to add an artic.., ahem, page, in concrete5 and it will automatically add it to menus?
That's right, there's no need for an extra step, any navigation displayed on your site will reflect the structure of your sitemap, linking to the pages using their page names.
In Joomla I can un-publish menu items and articles, how can I do that in concrete5?
In concrete5, when a page is created it is effectively published straight away. There are two main ways to 'un-publish' a page in concrete5:
- Each page has a set of permissions - these can be edited and 'Guest' unchecked for viewing. Inaccessible pages will not be displayed on Auto-Navs or Page Lists.
- Pages can simply be excluded from displaying on Auto-Nav with the use of a built in custom page attribute (pages can still be viewed by being visited directly).
Can I mark Articles/Pages as 'Featured' (or marked for the Front Page)?
The home page in concrete5 is really just another page, so you can place content on it how you like. If you do want to be able to mark pages in concrete5 as featured, you can create a 'Is Featured' page attribute and use that to mark pages. The Page List block then has an option to show only featured pages, so you could have a list of featured only pages on your homepage (or anywhere else in your site).
Since you're saying there isn't a menu manager, and it all comes from the sitemap structure, it sounds like I'm limited to one menu... what if I want sub-section menus or special menus? How do I even make a menu appear on the site, as there's no Module Manager..?
There's no Module Manager!!
Don't panic, this is probably the *best* difference between Joomla and concrete5.
There isn't a module manager as there simply isn't any need for one. Before I mentioned that pages aren't limited to just one block of html, they can have multiple blocks that do different things, kind of like modules.
So instead of modules, you add blocks on pages... and instead of module positions, you have different Block Areas on each page where you can place blocks.
When you edit a page, you can simply click on an editable area and add a new block. Blocks on concrete5 pages can be quickly edited, moved between areas and even copied to a clipboard for pasting into another area on another page. So you've got the same kind of things modules provide, but directly editable on each page. It's much more intuitive.
Menus on a concrete5 site are really just created using a block called an Auto-Nav block. An Auto-Nav block simply displays a list or tree of pages, directly mirroring the sitemap. An Auto-Nav block can be configured to show a particular number of levels, a particular part of the sitemap, or be dynamic based on where you are in your site. They're really flexible and easy to add. When concrete5 is first set up you'll have an Auto-Nav block already set up, but you can easily add more for additional navigation.
Complementary to the Auto-Nav block is the Page List block. It too will display lists of pages, but it has been designed to list them from a particular area of your site, or list pages of a particular type, along with extra information like descriptions. It will 'paginate' results. It's worth taking note of what it can do, versus the Auto-Nav block.
What about special pages on menus in Joomla, things other than Articles? If we don't have Menu Items as such, how do we have Menu
Item Types to do things like Article lists and Category lists?
Although concrete5 does have the concept of 'single pages' for special cases like login screens, concrete5 simply doesn't need to have Menu Item Types as you are free to build each page how you like using combinations of blocks. Want to display a list of pages (you use a Page List block for this), a search form *and* a contact form all on the same page? It's up to you.
So the same kind of features available in Joomla are available in concrete5, but you're simply not limited to where the features are placed, you can mix and match.
by Ryan Hewitt