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How to use Joomla article versions

Joomla Article Versions

Remember the last time you open an article and didn't know why there were some changes that you do not expect? You had no idea know who was the one who changed the article, and...Oops...you did not keep the old version anywhere in your computer! It would be so stressful if you have to sit down and try to find every little detail to make sure that important words and figures remained as expected. In many cases, a tiny unexpected change in your website's contents could be a big deal for your business.

The above is just one among many situations when content versioning is super important. Luckily, this feature has been made available since Joomla! 3.2. Here is the list of useful things you can do with Joomla article versions feature:

  • Keep track of saved versions;
  • Preview previous versions;
  • Compare two versions of an article to see all the modifications there;
  • Restore from a previous version of your article.

How To Enable Joomla Versions

To make sure that your article versions option is enabled, go to Content → Articles → Options.

Next, go to ‘Editing Layout’ - Turn On ‘Enable versions’, and input the number of ‘versions’ to keep. By default, the number of maximum version is 10, but you can change this number as needed.

Now that article versions control is activated, let's start with creating the first version of your Joomla article.

Start Using Joomla Article Versions

First look at article versions

Let’s open an article, then click on the Versions button on the article toolbar to open Item Version History. You won't see anything here, as no changes have been made.

Now, you can try to modify the content of your article to see how changes are saved. As an example, I will add the phrase "Joomla versions test" on the top of the article.

After that, click on Save button, then click the button Versions on the toolbar again to see if the new change have been tracked in the Item Version History.

Here is what you will see: a version, with date & time when it was saved.

Comparing changes between two versions

Now, we can go back to the article and make some edits. After that, click on the Save button then 'versions' button again to see our saved versions in the Item Version History.

There will be two versions in this case: Our last saved version and a previous one. To compare the differences between these two versions, select both of them and click on the button Compare on the toolbar.

Once you click on the Compare button, the Compare View will be displayed, showing you two versions and highlights all the changes that have been made. To make the screen more simplified, you can click on the button Changed Values on the top to see only changes values.

Managing your versions in an effective manner

As an article could involve various editing, there will be many versions. In our example, if we keep on modifying and saving our article, there will be at least 10 versions. At some point, it might be complicated for us to know which version is the one we need, and what changes could be expected in a specific version. The time & date a version could not make much sense.

Therefore, it is suggested that we should have some meaningful notes for each version. The version notes should be added in the article before you hit the save button. These notes will be displayed in the versions window and give you some hints about changes in each version.

Restoring a version

After reviewing your versions, you want to restore one of them. You can easily do this by selecting the article that you want to restore and hit the Restore button on the versioning toolbar. In this example, I restore the version that has the note "My second test".

After that, the content of your article will be replaced with the one in the version that you have just restored. Don't worry about your recent content, it's still there and you can restore it again whenever you want.

Deleting a version

In case you don't want some version in the Item Version History, just select it and hit Delete button. 

Protecting a version from being deleted

When the maximum number of versions that you set up has been reached, Joomla! will remove older versions so that new ones can be added. Sometimes you may not want some special versions to be deleted due to their level of importance or other reasons.

To protect a version from being deleted, just open the Item Version History again, then select No under Keep Forever. This will change the value to Yes, meaning that this version won't be deleted. 

Wrap-up

We have just explored the basics of Joomla! versions. The good news is that this feature is not only available in Joomla articles but also other components that has built-in content history, such as banners, contacts, newsfeeds, tags, users, etc.

Have you ever tried to use in such components? If yes, please share with us your experiences below.

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