How to improve authoring with Content versioning in Joomla 3

Content Versioning in Joomla 3.2

Content version control is one of the new great features of Joomla 3.2 - this is a great feature for many Joomla webmasters particulary either for those webmasters who forget what they change (like myself), or websites where there are multiple users administering the content. 


This is also really good for users who want to revert to previous versions of articles, maybe articles which for some reason or other require a lot of complex code from various sources and which might break in the process of adding something new. Essentially this is like a backup at article level which is supported natively by the CMS.

How does Content Version Control Work?

When you create a new or an existing article, you will find a new button in the toolbar - Versions. When you press this you will see the version history of the article in a pop up window. There are a number of things to note about the Item Version HistoryJoomla Versions Button

  • The STAR which indicates the current version of the article
  • You can choose to "Keep Forever" on one or more of the versions. Since the versioning keeps a limited amount of versions, the "Keep Forever" setting will ensure that those specific articles which are locked will never get overwritten or removed from the history (you can still opt to delete this version though)
  • The RESTORE obviously allows you to restore a different version from the current article. Note that when you restore an article - this does not remove the currently published article. It is up to you to decide whether you want to publish the newly restored version or not.Joomla Article Version Listing

Comparing Versions of a Joomla article

A nice feature of version control is the Compare function. Basically, this allows you to see the differences between two versions of an article so that you can see what has been changed. Take a look at the screenshot below. The columns on the left shows the current article (including new text). The image in the middle shows the original article, whilst the column on the right shows the actual highlighted differences between one Joomla article and the other.

 Joomla compare article versions

Another feature of the version control is that you can choose the see the article in various modes

  1. View only the changes in HTML
  2. View only the changes in text
  3. View all the values in HTML
  4. View all values in text

By all values, it means that's its not just the content of the article which is shown, but other meta changes such as switching the article from one category to another, or what article options where changed from one article to the other.

The HTML change view is also great when you have been tweaking a lot of HTML for a particular article, especially if you have been using a Content Editor which likes to strip away some of the HTML. 

Versioning is another great Joomla 3.2 feature, which makes the CMS more mature for those people who want to use Joomla in a "busy" environment. It also catches up on this feature when compared to Wordpress.

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