I looked into generic event planners like JEvents, JCal, RSEvents, etc. I needed something that would allow my site members to create and sign up for events. But they either looked horribly dated or the features were overkill. And none of them were free (JEvents is only free if you don't need member signup).
And then I found RaidPlanner. At first I wasn't sure if I wanted a WoW-specific extension, but after looking at it, I then discovered it is set up to be a generic planner with game-specific themes, so you can customize it any way you want. Perfect!
Except, I'm experiencing an issue but cannot get any help since the support forums have been disabled. This is a huge disappointment.
Until support is re-enabled, I cannot give this component 5 stars.
Support forum can be reached on http://taracque.hu/forums/forum/raidplanner-discussions/
I looked into Akeeba, but they have dropped support for PHP 5.2 and, from what I can tell, they no longer support J1.5. This was a serious problem for me.
Then I found XCloner, which still supports PHP 5.2 and J1.5! I tried it out on my site, and loved it so much that I installed it on my other 3 sites!
Hard to believe this is not a commercial extension. Top notch.
I was disappointed at first that it did not pull in feeds automatically through the component. I tried the pseudo-cron plugin, but it was creating heavy site load. My only solution was to set up a cron job, which I had never done before, so I was a little intimidated. However, since I host through GoDaddy, after reading a quick walkthrough and the support files in the component backend, I had it done in about 2 minutes. Incredibly easy! Now FeedGator automatically imports news every hour, posts it, and sends me a daily email report. Now I'm no longer chained to my website, but footloose and fancy free!
I use Kunena and push articles into my forums via the Kunena Discuss plugin. It's a bit buggy when used with FeedGator as it will double-post the article into a forum post unless you tell FeedGator to only post intro text. Then it works like a charm!
For these reasons, I can't give this extension 5 stars. However, it's very impressive for a free component. It's been a lifesaver and a tool I will gladly support.
The Kunena plugin will be updated soon to achieve compatibility with the 2.4 and 3.0 branches. FeedGator by default posts introtext to be hidden when viewing a full article (fulltext). However, this doesn't work with Kunena and we need to look at this to avoid it happening at all.
Then jVitals came along and brought it back to life!
jVArcade will remind PUA users of the same great arcade they grew to love, but is cleanly rewritten and fully supported.
Thanks to jVitals for giving this extension back to the community. And best of all, they decided to keep it free!
Then I found DatsoGallery.
This gallery and its modules have a clean, elegant and easy to use layout. It's updated often, and is constantly improving and adding new features. Plus, I use this on more than one website and, so far, it's liked all of my templates.
Currently, the only front end function that it is missing is user album creation (which must be done in the back end). However, Andrey Datso has assured me that this will be implemented in the future as the component is made to be fully MVC compliant.
Anyone who says this component lacks support clearly hasn't used the system in place. Submit any issues that you have on the DatsoGallery website through a simple contact form. I've rarely ever had to wait more than one day for a response. And if you think about it, that is a faster turnaround time than getting a reply on a support forum for a free product. Plus, any bug reports I've submitted have often resulted in a new release within that very same week (as opposed to what usually happens, someone gives you a snippet of code and expects you to patch it yourself).
My latest experience, which prompted me to post this review, was a DatsoGallery navigation issue. But in reality, the problem was with my site template. Andrey made a fix to my template the very next day and the problem was solved. Not many devs will go to such lengths to make sure that their customers are happy. Most will tell you that if it's your template, it's your problem. But that's not the case here.
DatsoGallery is a paid component, but the price is reasonable and you actually get good customer service. I see myself using this gallery for a very long time.