As a Brit living in the U.S. I really know what George Bernard Shaw was talking about when he said we are “two countries divided by a common language”. Some of the things Americans say really don’t make much sense and I’m sure lots of Yanks think the same about us.
Thankfully our Extension of the Month for April is here to solve all those problems.
Today is the return of our "Joomla Extension of the Month" award! It ran for nearly a year but took a break during the summer when I wasn’t really getting excited about any of the new components being released.
Fortunately that has changed in recent weeks and there have been several great new Joomla extensions. First up for the revived award is Mass Content from Webtotalservice.no.
This month’s award goes to one of the best Joomla extensions and one that is almost certainly the most under-appreciated.
JACLPlus is a hack that allows you to create an unlimited number of new user groups and give them fine-grained access to different content areas on your Joomla site. It works with a few extra components such as Docman and Repository, but by-and-large it is a solution for improving user access to the core of Joomla. Instead of simply restricting people according to "public" or "registered", you can now create user levels of a complexity that rivals
Why is JACLPlus not currently given the credit it deserves?
Installation. Over the years it seems to have acquired a reputation for being a somewhat difficult hack to apply and to an extent that used to be true. However, Byostech.com are charging ahead with development and installation on most sites is a breeze (be warned – as with anything, test this on a demo site before going live).
Marketing. Its admittedly poor. They don’t have a logo or any slick 3D box images. Oh, and guys, you make a great product but the colors on your website make my eyes scream for mercy. Please soften the palette a little.
Our experience is that neither of these things is a genuine issue. JACL Plus is also a really stable product. We’ve clients using JACL Plus to manage 1000s of users generating over 10,000 hits per day. Its a great product and a worth Extension of the Month for July.
Joomla had a problem. It used to be a Content Management System with very rigid content management. Section >> Content >> Article. That was it. No flexibility. No way to change that default heirarchy.? And then, all of a sudden, almost without anyone noticing, the problem was solved.
As popular as Joomla is, its surprising how many gaps remain to be filled when it comes to having an extension to cover the needs of most normal websites.
We’re still searching for a decent jobboard, advertisment management and customer support component among other things. Until recently, we also lacked a good portfolio component. A quick browse around the Joomla world show that most designers have just been putting their site showcases inside of content items.
Working with Joomla SEO on a daily basis, I’ve been through every SEO tool available. There’s only one that has proved to be indispensible – the Joomla Search Engine Optimisation Patch from Joomlatwork.com.
What does it allow you to do?
Have complete control over page metatitles
Control whether Google takes a snippet from your page for the results page
Easily add "follow" or "nofollow" links to individual pages
Add custom meta fields
Disable the Joomla meta generator tag
All of these are key factors in giving your site a ranking boost. JPromoter from JoomlaEquipment.com does similar things. The disadvantage there is that you need to run a scan every time you add new content, although it has a major benefit in that unlike Joomlatwork, you don’t need to modify core files.
The basic version is free and the expanded verion a mere 8 Euros. Great work Joomlatwork!
Our first choice for extension of the month in 2007 is the Run-Digital RSS Feed Manager.
We love to pick extensions that are free, user-friendly and that we use ourselves on key sites. The RD RSS Feed Manager fits all those criteria. It is free to download from their site, simple to use and we utilize it to create multiple RSS Feeds on Alledia.com and for important clients.
After installation, you need only click "New", choose which areas of your site you wish to include in a particular RSS Feed, and click "Save". You’re done. You’ll have an RSS link that will look something like this:
Copying the database is easy, with the help of the Jombackup Daily MySQL Backup Bot but safely backing up and restoring the files has always been much more difficult.
We’ve tried every component available without finding one that works satisfactorily – until now. Joomla! Pack is a simple upload-and-click component from Nicholas K. Dionysopoulos. What we particularly like about it is that it comes with an installer which makes moving or reinstalling sites from backup very easy indeed.
Every month we try to dig out a Joomla! addon that:
can be really useful to people in the day-to-day running of the site
has been overlooked compared to more popular extensions
Our last two prizes have gone to mambots that successfully did jobs that are often done by much larger extensions (backing up the database and collecting RSS Feeds). This month the "Extension of the Month" is also given to a script that simplifies a difficult task – making forms. The winner is PerForms.
I don't expect everyone to agree with me on this, but it really is the successor to the last simple and effective Joomla forms component, which was AkoForms.
With PerForms, we know that we can sit down with a client and get them creating and publishing their own forms inside of 30 minutes. We've tried to do the same thing with FacileForms, Phil-a-Form and there really is no comparison. Both of those extensions work, but they sure do take work (if you know what I mean!).