Whether you build a static site or a CMS based site, you may need some additional functionality to make your website work. In Dreamweaver, we have extensions that are available for download. Most content management systems offer a similar functionality. How do you choose the right extension for your needs? As you know, I love Joomla! and in Joomla!, there is something called the Joomla! Extension Directory, or the JED, that's listing a series of GPL compliant extensions. GPL is a type of open-source software licensing that Joomla! endorses and uses for its own software, so it lists extensions that also follow the same licensing scheme.
This is a wonderful place to research extensions. As you can see on the screen, there are over 3540 extensions today and there is probably more by the time you look at this movie. Ideally, we want to find extensions that are well established, are regularly updated, have good user ratings, seem to have reasonable support and we want to make sure we read through the comments to make sure that the bad doesn't outweigh the good. One of the pieces of functionality that Hansel & Petal needs is a photo gallery.
So on the left side of the page where you see the Categories, I am going to scroll down to Photos & Images. Within the Photos & Images category, I am going to go to the subcategory for Photo Gallery and here, within the Photo Gallery area, I can read about all kinds of great photo galleries that are available for Joomla! I am going to take a look at this one here, the Simple Image Gallery. The reason I am looking in Simple Image Gallery is I am familiar with the developer, JoomlaWorks, which is based in Greece and I have used this extension before.
Note here in this particular listing, we have a Popular icon by it. The Popular icon on the Joomla! extension site means that it gets over 150 page views a day. So there is a lot of interest in this particular extension. Note that it was last updated on November 29th, 2008. That was almost a year ago. So, we might want to look a little bit more closely to make sure that JoomlaWorks is still in business and is still updating this particular extension and writing other extensions.
I know that that's actually true because I have worked with them before. Clicking on the link will take me into more information about Simple Image Gallery. This talks about the compatibility with the various versions of Joomla! In this case, it is compatible with both Version 1.0 and Version 1.5. Over 240 people have voted for this extension and they have rated it four stars on average, which is great. So, that tells us that people think highly of this extension. It has been around for a while since it was added to the directory in December of 2006.
You can read through the information that they talk about how the extension works and then we can scroll down to the Reviews. So here are some three-star reviews and a four-star review and these are fairly recent dates. As we scroll through here, we largely see four-star and five-star reviews. Nobody looks like they are terribly unhappy with this extension over the past year. So, this is probably a good one to try.
As you can see, we can go to a demo page and see how the Simple Image Gallery works, we are also able to download it and install it in Joomla! To learn more about how to install extensions for Joomla!, make sure you take a look at our Joomla 1.5 Essentials training videos in the lynda.com Training Video Library. Researching extensions is very important. You want to make sure that you get high- quality extensions that will serve your client well, are easy to use and are maintained so that they don't become security risks to your website.
A website like the Joomla! Extensions Directory gives you a lot of information so that you can make good decisions as to which technologies you want to include on your website.
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