Whenever I look at someone's Joomla site, I always wonder what modules they are using, what components, what template, what plug-ins.
So, I thought I'd just tell you here what I'm using on the site.
The template was created using Artisteer, a very nice template generation program. It certainly has its limitations, but is really a very useful tool if you create a lot of Joomla sites. It is expensive if you just need to create a single template, though. You can find more information on Artisteer here.
Components used on this site include:
- JCE: The Joomla Content Editor: I use this to replace the default Joomla editor. JCE is the first extension I add to all sites that I do. I am a premium subscriber which gets some nice additions to the links manager and image manager. Even if you don't buy the premium version (which at $20 per year for unlimited sites is a great deal - you won't regret it), get the free version for 85% of the goodies. Download it here.
- JoomlaPack: JoomlaPack is a site backup, clone, site mover component. No site should be without this utility, especially if you have to move a site from one server to another. I use it to build a site on my computer and then move it to my "live" server when it is ready. Download it here.
- Section-Ex: this component will list all of the categories in a section, and list all of the articles in that category. For many sites that I do, it is the perfect solution. Free. There is a "pro" version that has additional features, but for my site, the community edition works great.
- DocMan: If you need to provide downloads on your site, I've found that DocMan is my favorite component for that. I also add the "Blog" theme to change the default "look" to a lighter, smoother style, and add the jce_docman link too to my JCE editor to provide an easy way to insert direct links to downloadable documents. There is a free community edition, but the newest versions of DocMan are now commercial.
- X-Map: this is a simple, clean, and flexible site map component. This also gets installed on almost all of my sites.
- Gavick Tabs Module: The front page of this site features the Gavick Tabs module. There is no "front page" article on the site at all (at least, as I write this). This little gem is very flexible and allows you to stack multiple articles, modules, whatever in a single module location on your site. Very useful. Download it here.
- Core Modules Used: I'm using the core Joomla modules for menus, "what's new," and "what people are reading / popular."
- Featured Articles: This module allows you to select certain articles that you want to feature. You just put the article numbers in the module, and it lists them (similar to "what's new" or "what's popular." This is very, very useful on many sites.
- Lazy-Backup: This plug in gets installed on every Joomla site I do. Every one of them. It will make a backup of your mySQL database every day (or more or less if you prefer), zip it up, and email it to you. I have an online email account that gets about 70 emails from lazybackup a day, so I have multiple backups of my sites and my clients sites. Now, it doesn't backup graphics, etc. Just the mySQL.
- X-Typo: I use this plug-in for some additional typography options. It provides nicely styled sidebar boxes (in articles), colored boxes with icons, etc. It is very handy.
- MF-Blank: this plug in causes all external links to open in a new window. Now, I normally do this when i create a link using JCE, but this catches the ones I forget, and puts a little symbol by the link so the user will know that clicking the link will take them to an external site.
- Legacy Plug-In: The older version of DocMan that I am using requires the core Joomla legacy plug in to be enabled.
Other non-Joomla related software that I use includes:
- For Screen Shots: Snag-it: I use Snag-It for screen shots. This commercial tool is very handy for annoted screen shots. If you don't need the annotations, then take a look at Gadwin's Free "Print Screen" tool.
- For Image Editing: Corel Paint Shop Pro: I started using PaintShopPro years ago when it was the "poor man's" alternative to PhotoShop. As I have learned how to use it, I have styed with it.
- For Image Management: Picasa: Picasa is a wonderful tool for photo management. I use it to keep track and quickly find my growing collection of stock images for use on websites.
- For Site Planning: MindJet's Mind Manager: I've been using Mind Manager for about 10 years now and use it for planning just about everything. It's a bit expensive, but is a wonderful brainstorming tool. For a free alternative, take a look at FreeMind.
- FireFox Browser: I rarely use Internet Explorer anymore, but still do sometimes. And I'm starting to play around with Google's Chrome, but FireFox remains my standard.
- FireBug: Firebug is a wonderful add-in to FireFox that really helps fine tune CSS and template design. It takes a little while to learn, but it does amazing thing. But, it can slow your browser down a bit, so I sometimes turn it off when I'm not working on a site.
- PSPAD: I use PSPad as my text editor when working on templates and css files. Free.
- FireFTP: This FireFox add-in adds FTP capabilities right into the browser and it very, very handy. Being able to have the site open in one tab, the administrator open in another (actually, I often have 2 or 3 admin tabs open at a time), and the FTP view of the site open in yet another is very useful.
- FileZilla: Sometimes I want a stand alone FTP program, and then i turn to FileZilla. I actually prefer Smart-FTP, but it is now a commercial program (it used to be free for personal and non-profit use).