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10 Joomla extension modules for easier and better websites

By Brian Proffitt
January 10, 2013 06:00 AM ET

Jtouch Mobile Template

Developer: JtouchMobile.com
Version tested: 2.5.12
Certified for: Joomla 1.5/2.5
Price: Free

Of all of the tools examined in this roundup, this one's different. It's not a plug-in or extension -- it's actually a template designed specifically for presenting your site on mobile devices such as smartphones and templates.

Jtouch Mobile Template
Jtouch Mobile Template can make your site look good on mobile devices.

The package you download has two main components: The actual template itself and the extra Mobile Controller plug-in that detects an incoming browser to see if it qualifies as a mobile platform.

The template is easy to configure as far as look and feel; it shows up well on smartphones.

I also appreciate how you can set up the Controller plugin to also display the mobile version of the site on tablet devices. This worked quite well on my iPad.

There are other mobile-suitable templates available for Joomla -- for example, the same developer also offers the Kunena Mobile Template and the Joom2Mobile Bootstrap Template. However, the variations on a theme that you can configure using Jtouch Mobile Template make this among the best of the bunch, especially for the price tag: Free.

Simple Image Gallery

Developer: JoomlaWorks
Version tested: 2.2_j1.6
Certified for: Joomla 1.5/2.5
Price: Free (basic); 14.90 euros (about $19.50) (Pro)

If you're looking for a fast way to display your photos in a slide-show manner on any page in your site, look no further. This is probably the easiest way I have seen to date to just drop photos onto your pages.

Simple Image Gallery is from JoomlaWorks, the same team that put together AllVideos. And, Simple Image Gallery works in much the same way.

All you need to do is upload all the images from a particular event or theme into a single folder of your choosing in Joomla's Media Manager. Then, using the {gallery} tag, you basically add the gallery of images to any page you want. The format is just: {gallery}Name_of_Folder{/gallery}.

Simple Image Gallery
Simple Image Gallery can add slideshows to your site in seconds.

That's it.

Of course, there's more you can do with this plugin. If you opt for the Simple Image Gallery Pro tool, you can get additional gallery themes, different popup engines and captioning features. For the flat fee, I would definitely pick up the Pro version, especially if you like to display images on your site.

VirtueMart

Version tested: 2.0.12b
Certified for: Joomla 1.5/1.7/2.5
Price: Free

This is not the first time I have taken a look at VirtueMart, and it's had some nice updates in the intervening time.

And it's been noticed. VirtueMart is mentioned in nearly every Joomla tools list out there, and there's a burgeoning ecosystem that's growing up around plugins just for this shopping cart framework. The last time I reviewed this product, this ecosystem was a mere "healthy" -- now it's on steroids.

Compared to other e-commerce platforms, VirtueMart is still a bit light out of the box, but that is far outweighed by the sheer volume of all of the additional tools you can get. And even as is, VirtueMart has a lot of tools under the hood.

VirtueMart
The Product catalog for VirtueMart integrates well with Joomla.

If you need a Joomla-specific commerce system, then VirtueMart would definitely be the place to start.

Brian Proffitt is a veteran IT writer with experience in open source, mobile and big data technologies. An unrepentant Hoosier, he can be followed on Twitter: @TheTechScribe.

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