The fight continues to beat my website into some kind of shape. Here are some of my discoveries/battles with Joomla!, Facebook and Google.
Consistent, simple URLs in Joomla! 3.2
You would think they would have figured this out by now, but no. All I (& many others) want is for Joomla! to generate a page URL from the article alias and that alone. That way you can guarantee that pages have simple, human-readable URLs that are under your control. But no, Joomla! has to stick its beak in and prefix the article ID number, e.g. seanos.id.au/en/blog/20-2013-12-14-snakes-and-ladders instead of just seanos.id.au/en/blog/2013-12-14-snakes-and-ladders.
Fortunately there is a solution...which only involves editing one file. Thank you, Karen Neicy. Just make sure you read the comments where you’ll find the solution to the solution which stops Joomla! 3.2 giving you 404 errors when you do this! Doh!
Article sorting (is a pain) in the backend
By default Joomla! shows articles in the Article Manager sorted in ascending order by Title. I find it more useful if they appear in descending order by Date Published. Once again this can be fixed but requires hacking about in the PHP files. Details are in this forum post.
Of course, the author of that post wanted to sort by article ID so I had to do a bit of testing to find the right formula:
// parent::populateState('a.title', 'asc');
// $orderCol = $this->state->get('list.ordering', 'a.title');
// $orderDirn = $this->state->get('list.direction', 'asc');
$orderCol = $this->state->get('list.ordering', 'a.publish_up');
$orderDirn = $this->state->get('list.direction', 'desc');
How Facebook & Google+ deal with links
There is clearly a good deal of voodoo at work in this area. I’ve discovered that Facebook will append an article’s MetaData Description (<meta name="description" />) to it’s link box thingy. I haven’t been able to figure out yet if there’s any way of getting Google+ to do the same kind of thing. I think G+ only uses title, site name and whatever pics it can find.
Useful link: Facebook Developer’s Debug Tool. You can clear the link cache by putting a link in here as well as see what FB thinks it’s getting.
Supposedly Google has this great new thing where you can link your Google+ profile to anything you’ve written to get better rankings and have your picture appear in search results. So I thought I’d give it a try, just to see if it would work. It’s typically Google in the way it’s badly documented and yet involves fairly technical details. It’s like they have this idea that it’s really easy so doesn’t need much documentation when really it’s nothing like that. There often seems to be a weird disconnect between their self-image and the reality.
So anyway, despite verifying a otherwise useless e-mail address in this domain and there being quite clear<meta name="author" content="Seán Ó Séaghdha" />tags and having enabled the stupid Show Author setting, apparently it’s all not quite good enough for Google. Maybe having Written by at the top of articles isn’t clear enough. Maybe they just don’t like me.
I know not.