The beauty of a system like MODx is that it is so powerful and flexible, yet easy to use. Designers and developers can pretty much make anything happen in MODx, limited only by their imagination. However, the people we often build these sites for usually do not have the experience or knowledge to read or write HTML or CSS. Lucky for them that MODx is so easy to manage content that anyone familiar with Word, or any text editor, will not have a problem making basic text edits or creating new pages.
The Resource Box
1) Resources – these are your site’s “pages”. It looks just like any other directory that you would access on your computer. But since all content in MODx is database-driven, you are not really accessing HTML files here. These are links to the page that you enter all the content for that particular site page.
2) Elements – this is the area of MODx that houses the pieces that make up your site. Here is where you will find all of the template files, template variable, chunks, and snippets. Most basic content editors will not need to access anything here. But it is good to know what resides here.
3) Files – this is the directory of the actual files associated with your site, including all MODx source files. This is where you can access you CSS or image files. You can also upload files via the interface. So if you need to make a CSS change or upload new images, this is where you do it. (right-click on the image folder for the option to upload new pictures.)
Editing a Page
With that out of the way, let’s get on with editing some content. Pick a page to edit, any page. Now click on that page in the resource directory. It should look something like this:
Let’s define some things here that you might be wondering about.
1) Title – This is your page title. This is where you would put your SEO-friendly page title. It’s what shows up as the title in search engines. It is also displayed at the top of some browsers.
2) Long Title – This is the H1 of your page. What’s an H1? It’s your pages main heading, usually above the content and is probably the largest text on your site other than maybe your logo.
3) Description – Just a spot for a description of your page. This is not used by the page. It’s kind of like an internal memo or note.
4) Summary (introtext) – Another place for an internal memo. However, I use this field to put META descriptions. In the template file, I have the META Description tag pulling its content from this field. Otherwise it is just like the Description field.
5) Uses Template – This is where you choose the template file for the page you are editing. I generally only use one template file, so you will not have to worry about setting this as it will be set by default.
6) Resource Alias – this is where you give the page its name. If you look at the first picture of this guide, you will see number next to each page name in the resource tree. Those are the page IDs. Since all the content resides in a database, there are no real pages, or page name for that matter. MODx calls on your page using the ID. Setting an alias associates the name you give it with its own ID. So when people browse your site and land on the About page, they will look up and see “about.html” in their browser address bar.
7) Menu Title – This is very similar to the Long Title except that it is used for menus. Look at the first picture again, all those page names are being pulled from the Menu Title field. Your site’s navigation also pulls its page names from here.
8) Hide and Publish – Checking off “Hide From Menus” will keep your page live, or published, but keep it from showing up in your navigation. If you check “Publish” then your page will be live. If you uncheck it then your page will not be live.
9) Content – This is where all your actual page content goes. This is what they call a WYSIWYG tool. It stands for What You See Is What You Get. There was a time where you HAD to know HTML to make edits. But now you can work on content just as if you were working in Word.
Adding, Deleting, or Moving Pages
In addition to editing existing content, you may need to add a brand new page. Or you may need to delete a page that is no longer needed. You may also want to move the page to a different position in your navigation. Let’ go over these options:
1) Adding pages – Click on this guy right here: This is the New Resource button. Click on it and you will get a page just like in picture 2 but completely blank. You will need to fill out all the required info that we just discussed. Another option is to duplicate a page by right-clicking it the resource box and choosing “Duplicate Resource”. It will ask you to name it. Then you will see a duplicate of whatever page you chose. Of course you will need to go and change all the info and content on this page. Duplicate content is an SEO no-no.
2) Removing Pages – In the resource tree, right-click on any page. You will see a different box pop up than you are familiar with. MODx will give a list of options that can be applied to this page. Two of those options, near the end, are “Unpublish resource” and “Delete Resource”. Unpublishing a page will basically turn the page off. It will not be accessed by users or search engines. Deleting a resource is, well, deleting a resource. However, you will notice that MODx does not truly delete a page at this step. It merely puts a red strikethrough on the page in the resource box. At this point you still have the option of undeleting the page. Once you click on the trash can icon at the top of the resource box, it will gone for good.
3) Moving Pages – Most people who build a site in MODx will be using WayFinder to render the site’s navigation. We are not going over WayFinder in this article but there are things you can do that affect your navigation. The order of pages in the resource box is the same order that your navigation will take. Say you want “Partners” to appear right after “Our Clients”. Simply left-click on “Partners” in the resource box and hold the button down. MODx allows you to click and drag your pages to reorder them So in this case click and drag “Partners” up until a dotted line appears under “Our Clients”. Let go. If you refresh your actual site, you will see that the order of your navigation has changed. One more thing. Say you wanted “Partners” to be a child file of the “About” page. You want it to drop down from “About” in your site’s main navigation. To do this, click and drag the file and drop it inside (or on top of) “About”. You will see “About” get highlighted and a green circle with a plus sign will appear.
And You Thought This Would be a Longer Article
That’s pretty much it folks! This is all you need to know for basic content management in MODx. Yeah, there many other things we could have gone over such as template variables (page-specific changes that override the template), chunks (reusable bits of code that are called on), or snippets (php scripts or code that is called on), but let’s save those for another article another time.