Route 66

This is the official documentation for Route 66 Joomla! extension.

Introduction

Route 66 is a Joomla extension which allows you to define beautiful search engine friendly URLs for your site and improve your site's SEO. It also allows you to create Facebook Instant Articles and XML sitemaps for search engines.

This extension comes in two versions the free and the PRO version. The PRO version gives you access to our official help desk and also includes support for some more extensions than the free version.

Compatibility

All of our extensions are tested with the latest stable version of Joomla! available at the time they are released. Compatibility with future versions of Joomla! is added with extension updates.

Requirements

There are no special requirements for this extension. It will work fine as long as your server meets the Joomla! system requirements.

Installation

Route 66 can be installed on your website the same as way as every other Joomla! extension, using the Joomla! extensions manager. You can refer to the official documentation to learn how you can install extensions on your Joomla! website.

Updating

There are two ways to update this extension:

  • One click update: This extension can be updated using the Joomla! extension manager updates. If you are using the PRO version which is a paid extension you will have to enter your account Download ID to the extension options. Read the section "Setup" of this page to learn where you need to enter your Download ID.
  • Manually: Download the latest version from our website and then install it over the current version using the Joomla! extension manager installer. Note that in order to download the PRO version you need an active subscription.

Upgrading

Upgrading from the free version to PRO is very simple. All you have to do is install the PRO package. There is no need to uninstall the free version first, but it is fine even if you do so.

Setup

When you install Route 66 you get some plugins installed:

  • System - Route 66: This is the main plugin of Route 66. It loads the required code for generating and handling custom URLs. You have to enable this plugin right after you install Route 66.
  • Installer - Route 66 (PRO version only): This plugin handles updating through the extension manager. It has only one option named "Download ID". This where you enter your Download ID in order to enable one-click updates for this extension. You can find your Download ID on this website. You also have to enable this plugin if you are using the PRO version.
  • Route 66 pluginsThose plugins belong to a custom Joomla! plugin group named "route66". Each extension that Route 66 supports has it's own plugin in that group. Those plugins allow you to define URL patterns in order to generate SEF URLs for each specific extension and its resources. So if for example, you want custom URLs for Joomla! articles, you have to enable and configure the "Route 66 - Content" plugin. If you want to enable custom URLs for K2 items you need to configure the "Route 66 - K2 plugin" etc. Each of those plugins provides an input field to define the desired URL pattern for each resource that is supported. For example, the "Route 66 - Content" plugin provides two pattern fields, one for Joomla! articles and one for Joomla! article categories. Read on to find out how you can define URL patterns.

URL Patterns

It's really very simple to define a URL pattern in Route 66. URL patterns can include any valid URL friendly character and some tokens for generating dynamic variables ( like the article's date for example ). Here are some examples of URL patterns you can use in Route 66:

  • blog/{articleYear}/{articleMonth}/{articleAlias}
  • {categoryAlias}/{articleAlias}
  • {articleAlias}
  • page-{articleId}

As you may have noticed the tokens are wrapped inside curly brackets. There are some things you need to keep in mind regarding tokens:

  1. Some of the tokens are required. Those kinds of tokens are named "Identifier tokens" and are used to identify the resource for a given URL. You have to include at least one of them in the URL pattern.
  2. Each extension/resource has its own tokens. For example, the token "articleDate" is not available for use in the URL pattern of category links.
  3. When you define a URL pattern in a Route 66, you will see all the available tokens for that plugin right below the input field. The "Identifier tokens" are marked with bold letters.

Modules Assignments

The modules you have assigned to your pages will keep working as before even if the URLs are changed by Route 66.

Let's say for example that you have a menu link to a category named "Cars" and you have assigned some modules to be displayed on that page. Let's also assume that this page is accessible to your site under the /cars URL. The generated article URLs by Route 66 will probably ( depending on the pattern ) not include the "/cars" part. However, all the modules assigned to that page will also get displayed in article pages of the category "Cars" ( this is the default Joomla! behavior ).

Route 66 automatically detects the correct modules which means that you don't have to change anything in your site structure.

Supported Extensions

Here is a list of the supported extensions. Note that the identifiers tokens are marked with bold letters. Keep in mind that you have to use at least one identifier in the URL pattern you define.

Type Tokens Version
Joomla! Article articleIdarticleAlias, articleYear, articleMonth, articleDay, articleDate, articleAuthor, categoryAlias, categoryPath FREE and PRO
Joomla! Article Category categoryIdcategoryAlias, categoryPath FREE and PRO
Joomla! Tag tagIdtagAlias FREE and PRO
K2 Item itemIditemAlias, itemYear, itemMonth, itemDay, itemDate, itemAuthor, categoryAlias, categoryPath PRO only
K2 Category categoryId, categoryAlias, categoryPath PRO only
K2 Tag tagId, tagName PRO only
K2 User userId, userLoginName, userName PRO only
Virtuemart Product productId, productAlias, productSku, productYear, productMonth, productDay, productDate, productAuthor, categoryAlias, categoryPath PRO only
Virtuemart Category categoryId, categoryAlias, categoryPath PRO only
HikaShop Product productId, productAlias, productSku, productYear, productMonth, productDay, productDate, categoryAlias, manufacturerAlias, categoryPath PRO only
HikaShop Category categoryId, categoryAlias, categoryPath PRO only

Facebook Instant Articles

Facebook Instant Articles is a mobile publishing format that enables news publishers to distribute articles to Facebook's app that load and display as much as 10 times faster than the standard mobile web. You can learn more at the Facebook Instant Articles website. Route 66 can automatically transform your site's Joomla! articles and K2 items in the Facebook Instant Articles format. The articles are imported into Facebook using a feed. Route 66 can generate this feed for you based on your site's content.

There are options allowing you to filter the articles/items that will be included in this feed based on categories. You can also setup Google Analytics and Google DFP integration for your instant articles. Below is a list of all the available options/fields when creating a Facebook Instant Article feed in Route 66:

  • Title: This is a title used for your own convenience. It has nothing to do with Facebook integration. Just a give title of your choice.
  • Published: Choose whether this feed is published or not. Make sure this is set to "Yes" before submitting the feed to Facebook.
  • Joomla! Articles: Choose if you would like to include Joomla! articles in this feed and filter them based on categories.
  • K2 Items ( Route 66 PRO only ): Choose if you would like to include K2 items in this feed and filter them based on categories.
  • Google Analytics Tracking ID: Tracking ID of your Google Analytics setup.
  • Google Analytics Campaign Source: Use a custom campaign source for Instant articles. 
  • Google Analytics Campaign Medium: Use a custom campaign medium for Instant articles.
  • Google DFP Network: Enter your DFP network id to enable DFP integration.
  • Google DFP Slots: Define the ad slots you want to render in Facebook Instant Articles.

Note that this document only covers the process of creating the Facebook Instant Articles feed in Route 66. If you are going to use this feature you have to read first the official Facebook Instant Articles documentation.

XML Sitemaps

Route 66 can generate XML Sitemaps for search engines. Route 66 implements the sitemaps protocol as found at http://www.sitemaps.org/. Route 66 also supports the Image and Video sitemap extensions defined by Google. Below are the available options/fields when creating an XML sitemap in Route 66:

  • Title: This is a title used for your own convenience. Just a give title of your choice.
  • Published: Choose whether this sitemap is published or not. Make sure this is set to "Yes" before submitting the sitemap to search engines.
  • Include ImagesInclude images in the sitemap ( where applicable ) using the Google image extension for sitemaps.
  • Include VideosInclude videos in the sitemap ( where applicable ) using the Google video extension for sitemaps.
  • Joomla! Articles: Choose if you would like to include Joomla! articles in this sitemap and filter them based on categories.
  • Menu Items: Choose if you would like to include Joomla! menu items in this sitemap and filter them based on menu type.
  • K2 Items ( Route 66 PRO only ): Choose if you would like to include K2 items in this sitemap and filter them based on categories.
  • Virtuemart Products ( Route 66 PRO only ): Choose if you would like to include Virtuemart products in this sitemap and filter them based on categories.
  • Hikashop Products ( Route 66 PRO only ): Choose if you would like to include Hikashop products in this sitemap and filter them based on categories.