Why K2 Is Essential For Joomla

Why K2 Is Essential For Joomla

Every web application listed as Content Management System (CMS), should include a Content Construction Kit (CCK) (AKA custom fields) within the core framework. A method to allow a developer to create custom content objects for his client, to easily insert while posting a page / post / article, without the need for third party extensions.

All these object types generally require additional extensions, but with a CCK built into the core, these content types will reduce extension clutter.

  • photo gallery
  • slide show
  • contact form
  • shopping cart
  • video playlist
  • audio playlist
  • google map
  • poll and much more.

Note: Usage of any CCK is not for basic CMS users. It is primarily a developer tool.

The native CCK ability is the primary reason WordPress is superior to Joomla. The Joomla developers are well aware that a core CCK will enhance the framework, but just too stubborn to implement it. So to compensate for the lack in page posting flexibility, Joomla site owners must install numerous third party extensions to achieve special object display desires, and they need to move back and forth to publish content within each extension, then use 'shortcodes' to insert the extended object into the page. This is tedious and can easily be simplified with a CCK.

The K2 Solution

If you are not familiar with K2, it is a free third party extension developed by JoomlaWorks for Joomla, which facilitates page/article posting, and brands itself as a replacement for the core Joomla article manager, and rightly so. If you install K2, you absolutely do not need to use the core article component. In fact, you could uninstall it, but like Internet Explorer, if you remove it, the core breaks.

K2 when installed, does everything the core Joomla article manager does, and then some. It will even import all categories and articles from the Joomla article manager so you can quickly abandon that inferior software and get on to superior productivity.

The first advantage is the easy ability to use different K2 templates per category. This allows a developer to alter the display and functional behavior of category items view and single page view, to serve up custom content fields or simply rearrange.

Since this article is about the CCK ability of K2, all its features and default advantages over Joomla's article manager can be viewed at getK2.org. Let's focus on CCK.


The K2 Custom Fields At Work (labeled Extra Fields)

All the following content objects are inserted with custom fields

A Video Playlist

Your client wants to post articles with video playlists of related videos. Most WYSIWYG editors will automatically create an iframe when a Youtube URL is detected, but never a playlist.


With a custom field and specific coding, all the site owner has to do when posting the article is insert the video URLS. Without leaving the item being written. The default display area for the video player is above the text. However, the file item.php can be coded to allow usage of a shortcode that will place the video player anywhere in the post. Using [video-player/]

This is the custom field used for the above video playlist.



An Audio Playlist

Your client wants an audio playlist and one that will play local and remote files and internet radio stream. The method as the video playlist is used. The site owner just enter the URL.


The custom field used for the audio playlist



A Contact Form

Your client wants to place a contact form in the post along with the video and audio. Simply enter the destination email address and a form will be displayed. Again, no third party plugin at work.


The custom field to insert a contact form



PayPal Cart

Your client wants to sell items related to the post. It may be an event ticket or a book. Though this uses PayPal, the coding can be developed to use any payment processor that provides an API.




Google Map

Your client wants to insert a directional map in a page. This is done simply by adding an address in a single custom text field. The coding to create the map is in a K2 template file.




Photo Gallery

Your client wants a photo gallery placed in the post. This gallery is using JoomlaWorks Simple Image Gallery Pro, which is a third party extension and seemingly defeats the goal of eliminating such, and that would be correct. However, JoomlaWorks specifically developed the extension to function seamlessly with K2, so galleries are easily inserted within posts, while writing a post. One is not limited to the SIG extension. Any jQuery gallery plugin can be implemented and use the Joomla JImage class and caching.




Your client wants to quickly and easily add a poll to the page without using an additional extension. Code any polling function into the K2 template and set the custom fields for the title and choices.



To Sum It Up

K2 is the savior of Joomla! K2 is the only third-party extension you need for Joomla to give your clients a productive website.

The above custom coded objects are just a few common content objects that can be created with K2's CCK custom fields, and there are no limits. This makes for a much more productive posting system. No need to install a video, audio or PayPal component with all its associated modules and plugins that clutter and possible weaken the security of the website. No need to leave the article to publish to another component.

All the inserted custom field objects are called within the K2 template item.php file at default locations, but within the article text area, shortcodes can be used to place the objects anywhere.