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How to create an automated news website with Joomla cms
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The goal: Create a news site and automate the process of fetching and displaying posts

  • Create a site that aggregates news automatically
  • Group the news according to their main category (eg sports) and the  the news source (eg BBC)
  • Display news automatically filtered by category, source and date

Visit aylo3 demo site or headlinesToday.com to see what we are going to create

 

 

 

create news site aylo3

 

STEP 1 Create your site

Create you site using the cms (Content management system) of your choice. Wordpress, Joomla! and Drupal are some of the best free cms choices. In this tutorial we have chosen Joomla! cms because is more advanced than wordpress and less difficult than Drupal. Also, for the sake of simplicity we are not going to describe how to install and customize Joomla! cms. In the internet you can find great tutorials about this.

 

STEP 2 Install template

A news site requires an appropriate design. There are thousands of Joomla! professional free or paid templates to choose from. Sometimes, templates may be built on top of a template framework, such as gantry5 or other, so prior to installing the template you have to install the framework. Installing a template and/or a template framework is a very simple process in joomla! 3.x. It is just like installing any extension.

In this tutorial we use Aylo3 template. Aylo3 is a free, responsive template designed to fit news sites. What makes Aylo3 an excellent choice is its feature to auto-display thumbnails images for every aggegated post. This means that you do not have to set intro or full article images manually for the posts. Aylo3 template selects and displays the first image it founds in the body of the article. This is a great feature that automates the process of displaying eye-catching headlines. See a demo of Aylo3 news template.

Consider reading How to download and install gantry5 framework

 

STEP 3 Create article categories

create news site categories

 

This is a required step in order to have your posts properly filtered and displayed in the front end of your site.

First step is to create the main categories. In headlinestoday.info we have create the following categories according to subject: World, Global, Politics, Technology, Business, Sports, Science, Entertainment, Travel, Health, Money.

Second step is to create the subcategories according to the news source, (in our case the news agencies: CNN, NBC news, BBC, Reuters, Fox News, Sky News etc.) for each main category you have created previously. This means that if you have created e.g. 4 main subject categories and you have various rss news sources for each one of these categories, then your category schema would be: 

  • main category 1
    • news source 1
    • news source 2
    • news source 3
    • news source 4
  • main category 2
    • news source 1
    • news source 2
    • news source 3
  • Politics
    • CNN
    • BBC
    • Reuter
  • CNN
    • Fox news
    • BBC
    • Sky news

Of course, it's up to you to choose what and how many categories and sources you intend to use

 

STEP 4 Install news aggregator extension

News aggregator extension, also known as feed or RSS aggregator, or simply aggregator, is used to fetch syndicated web content such as online newspapers, blogs, podcasts, and video blogs (vlogs) and store it in your site database. Inside Joomla! Extensions Directory™ (JED) you can find excellent aggregator extensions to work with.

Install your aggregator extension, and configure it according to the respective documentation. It goes without saying that such instructions you can find at the aggregator's developer site.

Now, what is important is to link each rss source with one news source category you have created in the previous step. So, if you aggregate news from e.g. CNN sports rss , Reuters sports rss  and CNN politics rss, adjust them as follows:

 

RSS SOURCE
Main category > Subcategory
CNN sports
Sports > CNN
Reuters sports
Sports > Reuters
CNN politics
Politics > CNN

 

This way all your new content will be categorized inside your subcategories.

 

HEADS UP: COPYRIGHT PROTECTION: Have in mind that syndicated content is copyright protected, so you need a license from the to respective owners if you wish to display images, full content or even a small amount of text from the original source. Headlines are the only part of a syndicated content that is not copyright protected, although the use of headlines more than 11 words may be considered as copyright infringement in certain circumstances

 

STEP 5 Create menus

create news site menu only

 

It 's time for the $1.000.000 question(s); How can we display all the posts in the front end of the site grouped by the main category (eg sports) and also grouped by their source? Even more, how about displaying only today's news? and how about setting these options once and for all? Well, the good news are that Joomla provides built in functionality for these.

A. Create a menu or use the default main menu of your joomla! installation: Menus > Main menu > add new menu item

B. For each main articles category add a menu item with the following settings (the example is for the sports category, adjust accordingly the other categories):

Menu title: [sports]

  • Details tab:
    • main item type: Category blog (or Aylo3 Category blog Layout if you use Aylo3 template])
    • Choose a category: [sports]

Repeat the same for all main categories and change accordingly the words in brackets [...]

 

create news site menu item

 

STEP 6 Create a module to automatic group, filter and display articles

Here is where all the magic happens; create an "Articles - Category" type module (attention: not Articles - Categories) with the following settings:

SETTINGS FOR ARTICLE – CATEGORY MODULE
 
Module tab
mode
dynamic
 so as to filter articles according to the menu content
Dynamic mode options tab 
show on article page
show
select if you want the module to appears alongside with the full article when it is shown. if you intend to display the full article is better to select "hide"
Assignments tab
module assignment
only on the pages selected
Also, select the menu items you created in the previous step
Filtering options tab
count
40
select how many articles titles you want to display in one menu page. The higher the value the more resourses it consumes and the more time-consuming it will be. Adjust according to your web hosting resourses plan
category
all categories
 
category depth
2
or more according to the number of  of subcategories levels you have created
Date filtering
relative date
 
Relative date
1
so as to display articles created 24h before
Ordering options tab
article field to order by
created day
 
ordering direction
descending
so as to display most recent first
Grouping options tab
article grouping
category
group articles according to category, in this case is the news source


These settings are the least you must use. Configure the other options of the module according to your needs.

create news site module

 create news site module dynamic

 create news site module ordering

 

create news site module display

 

 

STEP 7 Position and order of "articles - category" module

Where should we display the module? Wherever you prefer. We recommend to put it  below the page content, so as not to hide the article content when displayed.

If you follow this tutorial and use use Aylo3 template which implements the power of Gantry5 framework, use these settings:

  1. go to menu Extensions > Templates
  2. select Aylo3 - default
  3. select tab Layout
  4. Add a particle "module instance" to the "main" block container
  5. Select the module you have previously created

 

Conclusion

So, now you are ready to create a site like aylo3 demo site or headlinesToday.com.

If you have any questions, ideas or comments feel free to ask or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

download for free the Aylo3 template

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