Adding Content in Modules in Joomla!

Creating a 2 Column Compare and Contrast Site

Perhaps you have a political discussion site, and you want to showcase articles in the Democrat camp on the left of your front page and articles from the Republican camp on the right. You want something similar to the Latest News and Popular modules but constrained to display content from only one category (or section).

I will demonstrate how to achieve this using a fresh Joomla 1.5.6 install and the default layout. We will also need an extension that allows us to constrain articles by category (or section).

The Content Item Module by eike should do the trick nicely. Download the file (scroll down a bit to find the latest version) and install it on your Joomla! site. In administrator, go to Modules->Install/Uninstall. Browse for the module file on your computer and upload it.

Take a look at the default front page in a clean Joomla! install.

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The user1 module location has the Latest News in it, and the user2 module location has the Popular in it. For this example, we’ll just use user1 for Democrats and user2 for Republicans. In a live site, we would alter the template or create a new one that showcases our two columns in a more visually appealing way.


Create a Section called Political Parties. Create a Democrat and a Republican Category in the Political Parties Section. Maybe some day we will add a third column for the Independents.

Go to Extensions->Module Manager and disable the Latest News and Popular modules.

Go to Extensions->Module Manager and look for your new module. (It will be called Place Here with a type of mod_placehere.) Open the module for editing.

  • Change the title to Democratic Submissions.
  • Set it Enabled.
  • Set it in user1.
  • In the Menu Assignment, deselect all but the Home page.
  • In Module Parameters, set it to Type = Category. Give it the ID number of the Democrat category. Set the number of columns to 1. Set trim text to 255. Make the titles linkable.

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Create a Place Here for the Republican category. From Extensions->Module Manager, click the New icon. Select the Place Here type and click Next. Name this one Republican Submissions and configure it as you did the Democratic Submissions. Place it in user2.

Create a few articles for your Political Parties section in each category (Dem/Rep) and then view the front page.

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