It is unavoidable that as Joomla! extensions develop, new features are missed by end users. You only need to look at Microsoft word as an example of an application suffers from feature creep - common requests for addiitonal features often include requests for features that already exists in the program.

There are some Joomla extensions that I am using that I know that I am not taking full advantage of. While the feature I found in sh404 yesterday is a new one (I think - I hope) it has still made me feel like I've been using a ferrari to drive to the supermarket.

If you are using sh404 to create search engine friendly URLs on your site, then the new 404 request manager is a simply brilliant improvement to the somewhat laborious task of re-routing urls that may have gone awry.

In the past routing 404 urls required being able to recall the non-sef URL for the page that the original 404 url was looking for. The new manager makes this process a lot easier by providing access to a pop-up that can list all sef URLs on the site or - and this is the kicker - it can recommend URLs that are similar to the 404 URL.

In my testing the recommendations were mostly accurate and so in a matter of a few clicks I was able to implement a 301 redirect on wrong URLs and then save the correct URL to the database.

Using the 404 Request manager

To use this new feature, in your Joomla! administrator you need to navigate to components > SH404 via the menu and then click on the icon or menu item for the 404 requests manager.

Once you've done this you will see a list of the 404 errors on the site. To the right of each URL you will see two options:

  • Redirect to a SEF URL
  • Enter a direct URL

Both of these options are useful but the redirect to a SEF url is where the magic happens. If you click on that link for one of your 404 URLs you should see a list of suitable URLs in the pop-up as the screenshot below.


So selecting the new URL you would like the 404 to redirect to is as simple as clicking on the most accurate or appropriate URL in the list. Once you have done this the old 404 URL will just be redirected to the URL that you have just selected. In the case you cannot find a suitable URL then you can use the second option to answer a direct URL which will allow you to redirect the 404 URL to the correct page.

Finding this new feature has made me wonder about all of the other features that I might have missed in our components so it looks like Im going to have to do some research nad perhaps even read the manuals of my favourite Joomla extensions.

What are some of the features that you have missed in your favourite Joomla! extension? How do you track new features and what sort of workflow do you use to implement them?

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