Custom Fields Revisited

A better way to author content

Published: October 29th, 2021

Sometimes you look back on how you use to do something and think - what was I thinking! For me one of those things is about the use of custom fields in Joomla and how I created content.

Back on 2019 I wrote a blog post about how powerful the custom fields feature of Joomla was, and at the time it was powerful and allow me as a developer to do things that previously would have required coding in the editor in order to achieve the layout - something that for content managers is unacceptable.

Over the last couple of years I have built some great websites with different layouts and all using custom fields, but over the last few months since I have really sunk my teeth into Statamic I have come to realise that things can be even better!

One of the biggest differences between how you can create custom content structures in Statamic vers Joomla is in Statamic it's an inline experience. What I mean by that is you create all your content, which could include text, images, stylised blocks, anything really, on a single screen in a logical flow. Joomla on the other hand pushes all it's custom fields to a separate tab which breaks the content creation flow. You need to add your main copy then go into a separate tab (or multiple tabs) in the editor to add your extra content items.

Now in Statamic you can also use the approach of having different content fields in different tabs, but the difference is - choice. You decide how you want to set-up your content creation flow.

An example of where I have used tabs in the Statamic editor is for a call to action. On a site I developed each page had a coloured block at the bottom with a call to action. The text and buttons for this was set as a site-wide default (I think I need to write about Globals at some point), but on a per-page basis you could override that, and because that was only done on some pages it made sense to move that content to a separate tab.

Having built a coupe of sites now in Statamic and seeing how powerful the Bard editor can be I look back at some of the more recent sites in Joomla and think how I could have done things better - both from a development point of view, but also make the site easier for content mangers to update, but I guess that happens with lots of things in our life - it's called learning. It's how we grow.

They say that people come into your life for a reason and that may be for a short time, long time or a life time. If Joomla was a person I'd say you have served me well and been a great friend for a long time, but now it's time to move on and start a new journey with a new friend.

Many many years ago I use to have a typewriter just like the one in the photo at the top. I use to type my high school projects on it.

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I am the Head of Arts & Crafts (and co-owner) at Mity Digital, a Melbourne-based digital agency specialising in functional web designJoomla, Statamic and Shopify CMS platforms and beautiful graphic design.

Mity Digital