Joomla, the PHP-based, open-source content management system (CMS), has grown in popularity thanks to its wealth of templates, modules and components, as well as its ease of installation. In this article I present the most useful Joomla components I have found in my Web development. They cover everything from e-commerce to internationalization to SEO.
The number one component on my list is definitely VirtueMart. With this component you can set up your e-store within minutes. The well organized VirtueMart control panel allows you to add products, shoppers and vendors, as well as create invoices and reports. VirtueMart also provides a coupon feature, which you can use to offer discounts for specific product categories. In the shipping and checkout settings, you will find presets for the most popular services available. Of course, you can also integrate new services easily. VirtueMart also has its own modules, such as the top 10 products module and the currencies module.
After you create your Joomla e-store, you should advertise it. The best way to do this is to have high rankings in the major search engines, but they do not like Joomla's URLs very much. This is where sh404SEF comes in handy. This component rewrites URLs to a much more suitable format for search engines. Everything is set up automatically during installation, but if you have some special requirements you can change URL extensions, replacement signs, etc.
JCE is a content editor with many more text-formatting options than the default tinyMCE. For example, you can write from right to left, which is useful for Arab speakers. Another remarkable feature is the spellchecker. Although the default one is only in English, you can add additional languages.
Want to have a multilingual website and control the translations? With JoomFish you can set the default website language and add additional languages. Because JoomFish places the original translation above the one you are about to enter, translating a website is quick, easy and efficient. Also, the translations are divided into categories, so you can easily find and edit them later.
If you decide to provide your site visitors a discussion board, Kunena is a perfect solution. Although it offers fewer options than the better known vBulletin, Kunena has a similar control panel and it's free. You can edit the template file, ban users, and create forum categories and subcategories with unrestricted or limited access. To make your board more interesting, you can even add smiley emoticons and reputation marks.
6. Ninja RSS Syndicator
Add the power of RSS feeds to your Joomla website with Ninja RSS Syndicator. You can create any number of feeds, choose whether to show the whole article in the feed or just the introduction, and decide whether to show images or not. Of course, you can also choose which categories and sections to include or exclude.
To manage banners on your Joomla website, use FlexBanner. It allows you to specify on which pages a banner would appear, as well as assign multiple banners to a single banner position, creating a banner rotation system. FlexBanner is also useful for managing different ads for different languages.
8. Akeeba Backup
If you have a big website, it's a good practice to make regular backups. Akeeba Backup does the job. Apart from the usual options, such as an output folder and a backup quota, Akeeba Backup has a feature for limiting access to certain types of users and setting a password.
The Letterman component allows you to send newsletters using Joomla. You can add subscribers manually or import them from a CSV file. They can also subscribe through the Letterman module. To edit newsletter messages, you can just use your Joomla content editor.
If your site is a classifieds website, the AdsManager component is for you. It has everything you need for a classifieds website. After you specify required fields, categories, ad duration, etc., users can insert their ads.
I hope you find these components as useful for your Joomla projects as I have.
Voja Janjic is a PHP programmer with more than three years' experience.