Choosing the Right
Third Party
Components



Kigali - March 2018

Presented by Daniel - @web_eau_net
Written by Jaz Parkyn - @jazparkyn

Hello, I'm Daniel :-)


I have been a Joomla! user since 2007 and a Joomla! Evangelist & Volunteer since 2014

My community involvement includes:

  • Writing for the Joomla Community Magazine
  • Serving as a JED Team member
  • Board member of the French Association of Joomla Users
  • Founder of the Joomla Users Group Breizh
  • 3 JWC, 2 JAB (in real), 5 Jday and 1 CMS Africa

Choosing an extension

Everyone has their favourites when it comes to extensions

But which one do you choose when the choice isn't obviously?

What resources are available to help evaluate the different options?

JED has nearly 8000 extensions

How do you choose the right one?

Selecting an extension

We have all chosen the 'wrong' extension before

  • Not as described
  • Didn't fulfill the requirements
  • Incompatibilities
  • Doesn't look 'pretty'
  • Difficult to configure / manage
  • Poor documentation or support
  • Doesn't provide regular updates

Know your requirements

So, how do you avoid making the wrong choice?

It all starts with using the Joomla Extensions Directory (JED) effectively

  • Know your requirements
  • What functionality is required?
  • Do you need support / documentation?
  • What type of extension do you need?
  • What budget do you have available?

Searching for extensions

The Joomla! Extensions Directory currently lists nearly 8,000 extensions. The search allows filtering by:


Browse JED categories

  • Organisation of extensions into categories and subcategories
  • Removes need to search on keywords

For example, some developers might refer to an image slideshow as an image rotator or image carousel


Browsing by JED ratings, reviews & more

JED also allows browsing throught extensions ordered by:

  • Top rated
  • Most viewed
  • New extensions
  • Compatible with J4 Alpha
  • Custom Fields


JED extension page details

Extension descriptions are an important part of JED; They provide detail to help users evaluate an extension.

The detail page should include:

  • Dev details
  • Version details
  • Extension type & compatibility
  • Reviews
  • Score
  • Others extensions of the dev

JED extension page details

The detail page of an extension should also contains quick links
to:

  • Download
  • Support
  • Demo page
  • Documentation
  • License (paid extensions)

Extensions types

Do you know which type of extension you require?

Licensing

All extensions listed on JED are released under the GNU GPL v3 license.
The GPL provides freedoms which means that users can:

  • use it
  • view it
  • change it
  • share it
Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. GPL means free as in "Free speech" not free as in "Free beer".

Free vs Paid extensions

When choosing an extension, your budget can be a big contributing factor. However, there are others points that you should consider:

Free vs Paid

Quality
Features/Functionality
Support/Documentation
Cost
Basic vs Complex
Limited vs Complete
Updates & development

Release history

  • Releases are cycles of development

  • Changelogs detail the notable changes

  • Shows development over the lifespan of an extension

  • It should be available on the dev's website

Documentation

Documentation is great resource that should not be ignored.

  • A resource for searching into the extension's functionality

  • A resource to aid in configuration and setup

The answer to your questions is most likely found here, and should be searched before utilising others resources such as forums or tickets

Support & updates

  • Support and updates often come as a package

  • You may need a subscription

  • Support can take many forms as
    forums, email, live chat, ticketing system, documentation and community resources such as the Joomla forum.

  • Keeping your extensions up-to-date is very important

Know the developer

A developer's website provides an insight into:

  • Blog / latest news

  • Security release information

  • Links to social media

  • Others extensions

JED scoring & reviews

Take a look at the reviews and the score of an extension.

Submitted by the users of the extension, they can show:

  • User experience
  • Satisfaction level
  • Possible problems
  • Usage examples





Don't forget to browse the developer's replies to the reviews.

Extension demo

Probably the most important thing to look for

Extension demos range from screenshots, to fully interactive and live installations.

Live extension demos allow you to:

  • 'Try before you buy'
  • Experiment with features
  • Explore the configuration options
  • Check against requirements
  • Compare with another extension

Extension specific extensions

This type of extension provides additional functionality or features to another extension.

Examples include:

  • Display of content
  • Payment gateways
  • Additional functionality
  • Event handlers
  • Integration between two extensions

Requirements

Before you choose an extension, make sure that it meets your requirements of:

  • Back-end views
  • Front-end views
  • Compatibility
  • Support
  • Updates
  • Integration
  • Costs
  • Reviews
  • Responsiveness
  • Speed
  • Librairies
  • Console errors
  • Code quality
  • PhP 7.x

Download

So, using the knowledge you've gained, you have now chosen an extension.

Go ahead and click the download button, install and start configuring.

  • Keep your subscription details safe
  • Save a copy of the extension zip file
  • Bookmark the developer's website and documentation links

95% suitable...

Wait a minute. What if you can't find an extension that is exactly suited to your requirements? Don't give up, carry on researching and select the closest match.

Your options are now:

  • Find another extension to 'fill the gap'
  • Contact the extension developer
  • Hire a developer
  • Creates overrides



A word of caution: know your limitations, this is where things can get complicated.

In conclusion

We have all chosen the 'wrong' extension at some point along the way.

Don't be put off, you simply need to carry on researching into and experimenting with extensions.



Joomla has a fantastic community, take advantage of this.

Give back by sharing your knowledges.

Don't forget!

Extension developers devote hours and hours of their time into the development, maintenance and support of their extensions.

Support them by:

  • Buying the PRO version
  • Submitting a review on the JED
  • Sharing on social media
  • Finaly, don't forget to say THANK YOU

Thank you Joomla, JED and Jaz!





Questions / answers





This presentation is available at
https://goo.gl/tkQSwB