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How to use the new Joomla Version Tool in Joomla 3.2

Joomla 3.2 Versions ToolJoomla has come out with a new tool for their content management system called "Versions" which simply put, is a way to roll back previous changes to your content articles, categories or components. All most everything on the Joomla website can be rolled back to a previous saved version. As time moves on, more and more components will adopt this type of functionality for compatibility reasons as well as more extensibility within the Joomla CMS itself. This is an awesome feature and will drastically reduce development time for non-savvy Joomla users.

How to use Joomla's Content Versioning Feature?

There are a couple of things we need to do first before we start using this new feature. If you are installing a fresh version of Joomla 3.2 you do not have to do anything to start using the Joomla Version feature. However, if you have recently upgraded to Joomla 3.2 this functionality has to be turned on.

  • For existing sites - you must turn this feature on
  • For new sites - this feature is already turned on

Existing Sites - Upgraded to Joomla 3.2

To turn this feature on if you have upgraded to Joomla 3.2 you must first go to your article manager and click the options button which is found in the top right corner of the screen.

Once you have clicked on the options button in the article manager you will want to click the second tab called "Editing Layout". The 3rd option down is the "Save History" field. When upgrading to Joomla 3.2 from a prior version this will always be off. Click yes to enable Joomla Versioning. The field below is the Maximum versions you want saved. The default is 10. However, you can change this to 15-20 or more depending on how many previous versions you would like to keep.

Note: The more versions you save, the bigger your database. The bigger the database the slower it loads.

Once you have enabled the Joomla Versions tool any FUTURE changes that you make to articles, categories or components will be saved. It is important to note at this point, once you turn this feature on, there are no saved versions of anything. Only after this tool is turned on, and only after you open something up, make changes and click save will it start recording your changes. Let's take a look now at how to access the versions feature for an article.

Go to your article manager and click on any article and open it up. It the article menu bar seen below a new button appears called "Versions".

For new Joomla installs and existing Joomla 3.2 and higher updates

When you click this button, a pop-up window will appear (more than likely blank at this point) to show you your revision history. For the sake of this article, I have made some changes to an article multiple times to show how this versions feature works.

The starred version was the original before I made any changes. The one below it and the one above it were created when I opened up the original, made changes and then saved. You might be asking yourself, if the starred version is the original, then why is it not at the bottom with the two changes above it? It took me a minute to figure that out as well. When I made my first change the starred version was at the bottom and the first change was above it. Then, I reverted the first change back to the original which made that saved version the second change. Then I made a third change which is showing at the top. The changes are based on the time of the change.

Now there are several features to this pop-up window to take note of.

  • Restore: by selecting one of the check boxes to the left of a saved version, you then click the "Restore" tab and that will restore your page to that particular saved version.
  • Preview: before you restore you can preview the saved versions before you restore to make sure you are restoring the correct version. You can preview the versions by either click on the version itself which will give you another pop-up window showing you that version, or you can click the check box next to the version you would like to look at and then click the "Preview" tab.
  • Compare: this is a handle little feature that allows you to compare different versions at the same time. Simply put a check in the box next to at least 2 versions you would like to compare and then click the "Compare" tab.
  • Keep On/Off: this feature allows you to select whatever versions you want to keep indefinitely. This will stop the system from overwriting your version once you hit your version limit you establish in the options window previously. This comes in handy when you want to save the default version that you can always revert back to if you want.
  • Delete: this should be pretty self explanatory. Select the ones you know you want to delete and then hit the "Delete" tab. WARNING: once you delete a version, it cannot be undone.

Front End Joomla Versioning

The Joomla Versioning Tool also works on the front end of Joomla when editing an article the same way it works in the backend.

This tool is just that, a tool. It is not meant to replace a Joomla backup routine. We highly recommend daily backups of your entire website and database. For those that can not back up their entire website daily, at least backup your website once a week. An awesome tool for this is the Akeeba Backup component. This makes backing up your website a breeze.

To see how all of this works, you can also watch this youtube video below that walks you thru the process step by step.

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