Google is a great way to find extensions, especially if you are unsure of exactly what you are looking for. However, it is important to verify that the extensions then come from a trusted source. The Joomla Extensions Directory or JED is a great way to do this. Extensions have to be accepted into the JED, and also you can read reviews from other users to aid in evaluating the extensions. Asking other Joomie’s is also a great way to find extensions when you know what you need to do, but aren’t quite sure how to go about it, or if there is an extension to meet your needs, or even which one is the easiest to use once you install it. Joomla User Groups are wonderful for these questions, and also going searching the groups history will often yield a great amount of information!
These are 4 extensions that I will never build a site without. All are free, and the first and last just won J!Oscars at Joomla Day in Germany. The second is developed by Bill Tomczak who is a member of the NE JUG, and presenting at Joomla Day NE. While the extension is not found in the JED, it is from a trusted source and a great basic extension for your website. It will put the name of your site at the top of every page (in the browser) The Update Manager, will handle all of those security updates in a fast easy manner for you or your client. It is the easiest extension I have used, 3 clicks, and your site is updated!! While the JCE Editor itself is free, some of the plug-ins do require a paid subscription. However, for $30 for a lifetime membership, it seems to be minimal cost for what they offer. While the file and media manager that are available with the free version are very good, the ability to resize images and create thumbnails via the editor is a nice feature for some sites, as well as the ability to add captions to photos without having to use the evil tables, or write a bunch of CSS.
All 4 extensions are installed via the Extension Manager in Joomla. You will download the zip file from the site, and then upload it via the upload a package file in the Extension Manager. Ideally, you will see the Blue “Install Component Success bar across the top once you have Uploaded and installed your file. Akeeba backup you will need to configure to work with your site. Ideally, you will want to back up your site to a folder on your server, or even somewhere in the Cloud. With the paid upgrade for Akeeba you can do the cloud automatically. Often I will back up to my server and then move the backup either to my desktop or a flash drive. Another great use for Akeeba backup it to pair it with Kickstart. This will allow you to pack up your site, and then reinstall it on another server. Just be careful to follow the instructions provided on the site, and within the install. If you don’t delete the installation file when you are done, you will end up not being able to access your site. It can be quite frustrating!
Personally, I am a very visually person. I can forget things very easily if they are not right in front of me! So, I find it very helpful to have this reminder to back up my site right in my face as soon as I log in. Plus, I think it will also help clients when you turn over the site. While I also make myself reminders via my Google Calendar so that I complete regular backups, I still find this helpful, especially for a site I’m building, since the content is forever changing!
Site Name is a very simple little extension that does what it’s title suggests, it adds the name of your site to the blue bar at the top of the screen. Without Site Name, you get the page title, and the browser name. With Site Name, you get the name of the site, the page name, and the browser name. This is something that Barrie North will tell you is important in his Black Belt Joomla SEO session.
Install additional plugins to extend JCE's abilities² File Manager - Insert links to files of any type with customizable descriptions that include file date, size and icon. Media Manager - Upload and insert media files (flash, windows media, quicktime etc), embed Youtube movies² and create popups³ to any media type! The Media Manager also includes a custom built FLV Player! (³ Popups require the optional JCE MediaBox extension to be installed and published ) Image Manager Extended - Resize, rotate and thumbnail images on upload or after, and create create image popups³ with just a few clicks!² Captions - Create captions around images with control over the caption container and text styling²
Critical Extensions Melissa Wetherby, MSIT, MAT Joomla! Day New England
Where do you find Joomla Extensions? <ul><li>Search Engines </li></ul><ul><li>JED </li></ul><ul><li>Ask other Joomies! </li></ul>
Favorite Extensions <ul><li>Akeeba Backup & Admin Icon Module </li></ul><ul><li>Site Name (find at g rumpyengineering.com) </li></ul><ul><li>Update Manager for Joomla! ( Jupdateman) </li></ul><ul><li>JCE – WYSIWYG Editor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>File Manager </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Media Manager </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Image Manager </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Captions* </li></ul></ul>