Ever heard the saying don't go to a job without the proper tools? No? Yeah you are right that is probably not a saying. Nonetheless, we are going to take a look at 5 proper tools for building a successful Joomla! website. Minus the Joomla! software of course.
For those who don't know, Joomla! is a Content Management System (CMS) used to create dynamic sites. Infact, Joomla! is one of the most popular CMS in the entire world powering everything from government sites to powerful newspapers. Entire companies have been built around this software and its extensibility.
One of the main appeals about Joomla! is that you can extend easily. There are over 8000 extensions built capable of turning your once bare Joomla! site into a powerful business tool.
8000 though is a huge number and not all of those extensions are any good. Some however, are simply amazing. I am going to offer advice on five Joomla! extensions that you should have with every installation. You website will still work if you don't have these, but you are probably missing out on a lot of functions if you don't.
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Security needs to be at the forefront of everything you do when it comes to a website these days. AdminTools is a backend tool that allows you to manage certain security features of your Joomla! installation.
It will check to make sure that your site is up to date and will provide you with the tools required to plug those easy target vectors. It will even give you the chance to change your Joomla! database prefix just in case your forgot when you installed the site. One really neat, tool is the ability to also change the Super user ID from the default one.
AdminTools is published by Akeeba Limited and it's free. There is also a paid professional version if you want more features. Check it out on the Extension Directory
Sooner or later the time will come when you have to get your hands dirty and do some actual heavy lifting. No, I don't mean lift your Joomla! website. It's still code afterall. What I meant is make some hard coded modifications.
You could wait until you have access to an ftp client or you could use what I would simply describe as "an extremely powerful" component to access your files and edit them in real time. If you haven't used eXtplorer before, you are missing out on a lot. It's fast, fluid and does not require you to expose your websites ftp settings unlike the built in file manager. What's more, it comes with a robust code editor with syntax highlighting capabilities.
I could go on but then again, where is the joy in that. Head over to the Extensions Directory and download it today. It's free.
We couldn't have this list without adding jQuery Easy into it. It simply wouldn't be right. Many, many components come with really cool effects and with those effects come a price. Multiple calling of the jQuery library. jQuery is amazing and allows web developers to do amazing thing really quickly. But what happens when you are calling many different copies on page load? Well ....... ....... ........ Precisely!
You don't want that, plus, it looks really untidy and could cause problems. This is where jQuery Easy comes in. In an ideal world where all your components were programmed to Joomla! standards, jQuery Easy would gobble up all those calls to jQuery libraries and simply offer you with one version of your choosing. This plugin is literally genius. It shed tons of valuable milliseconds off your page load and ensures your extensions that rely on jQuery are getting a clean working version. It's even backwards compatible.
You can find jQuery Easy on the JED. Again, it's absolutely free!
If you are looking for any sort of sitemap functionaility, look no further than Xmap. Infact, Xmap is so good, that it is built into the latest version of Joomla! Xmap is a sitemap generation tool that allows you to create quick links based on menus and some components in your website.
It works with Joomla Contents, Virtuemart, Mosets tree amongst other extensions. It allows you to create dynamic sitemaps with priority settings and display them in html format for your users or xml format for site engines. You can even exclude menu items from any sitemap giving you full control.
Xmap again is free on the JED.
Advanced Module Manager
If this list had ten items, the next four would also have been from this developer. No Number extensions are a thing of beauty. Elegant in design and fluid in execution of their services. Some years back when we started looking for better ways to design our Joomla! website, we stumbled upon No Number's extensions by chance. Since then, Peter van Westens components have featured a lot in the sites we build. The module manager however, really stands out.
Joomla!'s default module exclusion options are somewhat limited. They are very, very limited and unfit for purpose. The AMM is really something. It allows you to control modules "they way it should be". And there is truth in that statement. You can control where modules show up down to menu level, or operating systems, or browsers, or a host of other options that are available to you. You can even ensure that some modules only show up at certain times of the day.
What make AMM so good is that despite all of these exclusions, you do not suffer a performance penalty. As a matter of fact, when tested with the default module manager, AMM showed no visible performance penalties but it showed plenty of ingenuity and craft. This is a must have component for any serious Joomla! website.
You can download it free although there is a paid version with even more robust features. It's available on the JED.
That concludes out list. What components do you think should be here? Do you use any of the components mentioned? Comments below.