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Alric

Reviews(4)
 
byAlric, September 21, 2010
JCH Optimize
I have had great success with this plugin. It does what it is supposed to do, and strikes a good balance of ease of use vs flexibility&transparency.

As usual with performance optimization, it pays to take some time to work with the plugin. Out of the box it will give some improvements. But the biggest gains are seen from setting other options, and making the small, site specific changes to ensure everything still runs smoothly.

With everything configured, big jumps in PageSpeed and YSlow scores are easy to see over unoptimized sites. And of course, precious seconds off your measured real-world download speeds.

Consider setting this one up on any production Joomla site. It is unglamorous, but there aren't many things you can do with half an hour that will make such a worthwhile difference in the long run.
byAlric, December 23, 2009
Akeeba Backup
I found this to be an absolutely top drawer component. Very possibly the best component I have seen for Joomla.

It more or less gets everything right. Easy to install, easy to use, poweful, flexible and well documented.

With JoomlaPack the potentially complicated business of making, managing and restoring backups really becomes simple. This alone is very important as it allows backups to be made frequently with hardly any work. Also reliably - it's very hard to do anything wrong.

Backups are stored in a single file, so you are confident that nothing will get lost or confused. The file includes the whole Joomla install, all of your extensions, your settings, server config and your database - literally the whole site.

Recovering the entire site from a backup file is a quick and easy process. But here is where you see more of the power and possibilities of the tool. It's easy to recover the site to a new domain, a new database etc. So you can easily take a production site and copy it to a local development environment. Or you can migrate your site to a new database. You can change the database prefix if you so choose, which is in itself a useful feature of the tool.

Really can't say enough good about this - it's complete, professional, well documented and free.
byAlric, December 23, 2009
Xmap
I was disappointed in this extension after reading the huge number of positive reviews.

When adding a menu that includes alias items (ie the menu item is set up in another menu and this one just has a link), the component fails to deal with it and produces an invalid link.

Many extensions are installed by default, I would prefer just to install what I need. Of those installed, I saw MyBlog which the site uses. However, it fails to work. OK having the extension is a bonus really - but worse than just failing to get the links back, the whole sitemap bombs as soon as it hits that menu item - producing an incomplete, and invalid sitemap.

I could go on but I don't want to be unfair. Evidently the component works well for many sites. But I do not find it to be solid or polished, and do not have confidence that it will produce good clean output for my site.
byAlric, September 23, 2009
Ignite Gallery
Photos are a key part of my site content so I took quite a bit of time to choose the right gallery.

I looked into a lot of options and trialed 4 before I picked Ignite Gallery.

It was easy to install and worked right out of the box. It has a great balance of being configurable but not over-complicated.

A feature that was important to me was the ability for users to create categories (multiple), and upload pictures in a user friendly way. Ignite Gallery handles this better than any component I have tried - the latest release allows multiple upload from the front end.

Photo galleries are all about visuals and it wins here too. Galleries look clean and professional however you set them up. You do not need to do a lot of work to get them looking right - all the options look good. Your images are always the focus, with a minimum of clutter from the component itself.

Simple configuration changes, along with the module and plugin components give you a ton of flexibility to use the gallery in different contexts. For example, turning off the main image then embedding a gallery in an article to give related image thumbnails at the bottom of your text. Or by turning off the thumbnails and controls, and setting the slideshow to auto-start you can use the gallery in a similar way to something like Rok Slideshow - with changing images that link to your articles.

Last but not least, support seems to be excellent. I am trying the latest beta release on my test server. The download was clearly marked to say that bugs would very likely exist in the beta release. Sure enough I found a couple - fairly minor it has to be said - and reported them via the forums. Both were fixed by next morning, my time.

I would very much recommend this component - certainly I had a preference for none-commercial, but this one is well worth $40.