How-To: MODx Content Management System

Getting Started

Page Contents

George Mason University School of Law uses a web content management system called MODx. MODx allows for template-driven web sites with a great deal of flexibility, and easy editing from anywhere using a web browser. There is no need to install HTML editing software, FTP software, or anything else. Just log in and begin editing the web site.

Overview of the Interface

Navigation Tabs: The navigation tabs at the top of the interface allow access to the various parts of MODx. Depending on what level of permissions you have, you may see only one tab or up to 6 tabs. The "Site" tab allows access to pages for editing. The "Resources" tab allows access to files (PDF, Word, etc.), and, depending on your level of permissions, may allow access to templates, PHP code, and other features. The other tabs, if present, allow access to more advanced administrative functionality.

Document Tree: You'll see a list of the pages that you have persmission to edit in the left hand column. If there are container pages ("folders"), you will see a plus symbol next to the page name. Click on the plus to expand the list of pages within that container. 

Main Window: The main window to the right of the document tree is where you can edit pages and perform other actions.

Editing Pages

There are two ways to begin editing a page:

  1. Click on the page in the document tree, then click on "Edit" at the top of the Main Window, OR
  2. Right-click on the page in the document tree, then select "Edit document" from the menu

Once you are in editing mode, you will need to fill out some information in the top of the Main Window:

Title: This is the <title> HTML element which will show up in the title bar of the browser (above the "File" and "Edit" menus of the browser).

Long Title: This is the main heading in the content of the web page (using a <h1> HTML element). Usually the Title and Long Title contain the same text.

Document's Alias: This is the "file name" of the page, which will show up in the web address of that page. For example, the alias of the Faculty section of the web site is "faculty" and the full web address is http://www.law.gmu.edu/faculty.

Template: The template is probably already selected, and probably does not need to be changed. There are specific templates for each section of the web site. Using the wrong template can give the page the wrong look, or break the page's functionality in other ways.

Menu Index: This refers to the order of the pages in the Document Tree in MODx. The Menu Index can also used to display navigation menus on the public side of the web site. The pages will be ordered alphabetically if the menu index is the same (for example "0") for all of the pages within a given directory. For the main Law School web site, the number 990 should be typed in as the default Menu Index. Other sub-sites may use different numbers. (Using a large number like 990 allows you to type in lower numbers later on for other pages, if you want them to appear at the top of the menu system.)

Show in Menu: If this is selected, it makes the page avaiable to scripts that can generate navigation menu systems on the web site. Not all folders or pages are used by these scripts, but with the "show in menu" option checked, the pages will show up in the menu; with it unchecked, they won't show in the menu.

Document Content: This is where you edit the main part of the web page. Most user accounts have a word processer style interface here, so you don't need to know HTML markup code.

Creating New Pages

To create a new page, go to the Document Tree, find the folder where you want the document to be, right-click that folder, then select "Create document here." Then fill in the information for that page in the Main Window.

Other Features

MODx has many other features. This tutorial will be expanded over time to give more information about those other features.