I know this is a broad question but I really need to ask it. I started using Joomla a long time ago, and I have build a pretty extensive system that is highly used but I never liked the way I did it. Now I am trying to be more professional and I think it is really time to change, but I can't seem to figure out the proper workflow.
So the basics I need is that i have to create an entire website with dynamic databasing content on each page. I need each page to have it's own nice-looking URL. like www.mysite.com/cool-page, www.mysite.com/category/other-page etc.
I also need to have PHP scripts to answer AJAX calls.
The way I have been doing it so far is that I create an article for each page, and link each article to a menu item. This was the only way I could find to linking each article to a nicely-formed URL with slug.
Since I need PHP in the pages I installed directPHP and inserted my PHP directly into articles.
For AJAX scripts to return the AJAX requests I just made another folder in the web folder and put stand-alone PHP files. I could not put these scripts in articles because often the extra content that was loaded would cause problems for me. I needed just a clean RESTish script there to answer requests. I had to put in my own security code to make sure only users with correct permissions get access etc.
Since this all seems so hacky to me, recently I have been doing new projects in django which has many straight-forward docs about how to setup this scheme the right way, linking URLs to back-end scripts (of course this uses python).
I'm just wondering how I am to do this "the right way" in joomla? How do I get complete control over the URLs and content without having to like menu-items to articles this way?