Explore The Core: Newsflash Module
“The Article Newsflash Module will display a fixed number of Articles from a specific Category or a set of Categories.”
Newsflash? Sounds dramatic doesn’t it? It suggests breaking news that is so important that it interrupts everything else. And maybe you have news that your website visitors really have to see over any other content. Lucky then that this is a module, and we can place modules almost anywhere in Joomla.
There are other Article modules in Joomla
Including Newsflash, Joomla generously gives us seven different module types relating to articles. Each contains slightly different parameters. The other article modules each have a niche that serves a particular purpose.
Articles - Categories - shows a list of categories from one parent category and has some parameters allowing us to see metadata for descriptions and the number of articles in the category.
Articles - Category - has lots of options for filtering, ordering and grouping a list of articles from one or more categories.
Articles - Latest - lets you choose a number of the latest articles from multiple categories and to filter by author. ie “here’s Bob’s last 3 articles” that could appear next to an article by Bob, which is quite handy.
Articles - Most Read - like it says, this module gives a list of most-read articles on the website. It’s a useful option for displaying popular content and helpfully includes a date range parameter.
Articles - Related - the relation between articles is established by connecting keywords which can be set in the Publishing section of an article. No other parameters are included.
How does Newsflash differ from other Articles modules?
Of all the Article modules, Newsflash has the most features. You can add Intro Images or the Full Image, turn on Article Titles, show Intro Text and select multiple categories. It also provides a means of showing images from within the article though this didn’t work for me.
Newsflash is the only article module where it’s possible to select content from both specific categories and tags. So if you have a set of articles that relate to a particular subject, this could be the module for you.
Selecting Article Title reveals a couple more parameters meaning you can link titles (so they click through to the full article) and set the heading tag, which defaults to h4 but you could make it anything from H1 to H5 depending on your page hierarchy.
It also lets you show / hide Intro Text, show only Featured Articles and display the articles in a number of different orders including by Hits, Randomly, Created Date, etc much like some of the other modules.
And here’s how it looks on our test website:
And the same module with intro text, h4 titles and letterbox shape full images:
Don’t show the current article
There’s even a nice little feature that allows you to remove the current article from being shown in the list. Imagine this module is placed in the sidebar for all articles in that category, and you want visitors to see other articles under the same topic, then you don’t want to repeat content that’s already showing on the page. That’s pretty neat.
Newsflash does a lot of what you’d expect from an Articles module like setting the number of articles to display but it also includes the option to show Read More button. What it doesn’t have is all the filters, groupings and author options of some of its relatives, which could make it even more useful.
Trigger Plugin Events
What’s this?! Trigger Plugin Events? Which plugins? And what events? Up until this point we were pretty clear about the intention of each setting, but this is more than a bit confusing.
Joomla Documentation gives a bit more detail. If you use Fields in your articles, these will be shown by default in your Newsflash module. It’s a helpful feature but you may not want Fields showing up in your article list, especially if you use lots of fields containing lots of additional information.
In this example we can see a custom field, in purple text, displayed below the article image in the sidebar.
Maybe someone that commits to the Joomla Core might want to change the title of this parameter to make it clearer for users? Or maybe add some tooltips to help explain? At the moment there’s only one tooltip included in the whole module.
Testing the Newsflash Module
Be sure to include some intro text for your article. Think about whether your Intro Images are the same dimensions as the Full Article Image.
I also tested this module using YooTheme Pro as my template and by default this module showed all the article text of the category I chose. If you use the pagebuilder in YooTheme Pro it doesn’t include a Read More option.
Newsflash definitely has the best display options of all the Article Modules, but it doesn’t surprise me that there are extensions that blend the features of all seven for a more controllable articles module experience. In practice we as users may want to display articles using some of the features of more than one of these modules and that currently isn’t possible in the Joomla Core.
If you want to filter this content by author, article popularity or more you may need to choose another module. However If your needs are simple and maybe want to interrupt the flow of your content to bring important breaking news in a nice looking way, then this module is for you.
Test Website Photo Credits:
Kayakers photo by David Boca on Unsplash
Paddle Boarders photo by Krzysztof Kowalik on Unsplash
Yacht photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash
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