The Joomla! Extensions Directory ™


bySoundEagle, December 23, 2008
Phoca Gallery
I thought that I should write a detailed review here as a Christmas and New Year presents to Jan, who has continued to develop and improve Phoca Gallery. When I first encountered the extension, I realised that it is significantly different from many other Joomla extensions. Not only is it easy to install, it is just as easy to upgrade without requiring deinstallation.

Apart from being able to code very well, it is evident that Jan has had a well-developed sense of design and colour, so much so that for quite some time I thought that the person is a female, until I saw Jan's avatar in his forum (assuming that it is an actual photo of himself). Great! Here is a person who is unafraid of showing facial hair, loving cute animals like wide-eyed seals, being highly creative and sometimes quite feminine in colour and design, and most of all, willing to help others with his expertise in his spare time, and also accept suggestions for improvements and requests for new features. For example, I asked in late September of 2008 for the inclusion of Ratings, Comments and Image Protection in Phoca Gallery gaving pertinent rationales for their necessity. A couple of months later, their preliminary implementations have already become quite concrete and commendable.

At the moment, it seems that ratings and comments can only be applied wholesale at the level of individual categories, not of individual images. I assume that the latter is forthcoming. In anticipation, comments for images would probably best be implemented via AJAX: the user simply clicks on the comment/rating icon of any thumbnail, and a dialogue box (modal or popup) appears to allow the user to insert a rating and to provide comments.

It would be very expedient when page loading is rendered unnecessary with AJAX, meaning that page navigation could be done with AJAX so that the user does not have to wait a long time for the entire webpage to be reloaded just to see the next, the previous or a particular set of images.

As notified, there are also a few very tricky bugs to iron out when the component is deployed. One of these involves jos_content for some unknown reason(s) as follows:

DB function failed with error number 1064
You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near ': LIMIT 0,30' at line 1 SQL=SELECT `title` , `introtext` , `fulltext` FROM jos_content WHERE state = 1 AND catid=29: LIMIT 0,30

We should be very grateful and feeling lucky that Jan has not been spending his spare time indulging himself at the pubs and/or playing computer games, that he has not been required to be content with too much domestic bliss or to many family responsibilities in his personal life, and that he is very palpably in loving, indefatigable devotions to his extensions, and wanting to do ever more and even better . . . . . Yes, Jan is indeed one of the finest specimens in the Joomla 1.5 pantheon!

Let us hope that this review will be published in time at by Christmas to honour Jan's flairs and dedications!

bySoundEagle, August 13, 2008
1 of 3 people found this review helpful
Ozio Gallery
I really like Ozio Gallery, and would like to make several very important suggestions for further improvements (after which this Joomla extension will/can definitely deserve an excellent rating):

(1) Please allow different skins to be chosen for different menu items. Currently, only one skin can be used for all the menu items. The skin should be capable of being independently chosen for each menu item when it is being edited in the Menu Item Manager, rather than being globally set in the General tab of the Ozio Gallery Settings, which forces all menu items to use only that skin, and thus severely limiting the usefulness of Ozio Gallery.

(2) The introduction of the FlashCategory skin is to be commended because each folder in images/oziogallery is a new category. However, rather than insisting that these folders have to be created or found in images/oziogallery, it would be really advantageous for Ozio Gallery to be able to work with any folders. This means that the user only needs to specify any folder or directory (using a built-in file and directory browser) of his website, and Ozio Gallery will show all the folders and subfolders for the user to choose from, and then display only legitimate image files in the chosen folder or subfolder, ignoring non-image files.

(3) The ability mentioned above can also be applied to Tilt 3D and Image Rotator skins. The Accordion skin may also be a candidate.

(4) The preservation of previous user settings during an upgrade so that users do not need to remember and re-enter their settings again.

(5) The Ozio Gallery module is much less reliable than the component, and does not seem to work in many instances.

I would consider item (1) to be the most important and beneficial, and also the simplest to implement through the Joomla API. It is a matter of creating an extra field for the Ozio Gallery Menu Item sandwiched between "Parameters - BasicType" and "Parameters - System", calling it "Parameters - Component". You can even add additional fields so that each menu item can have not just different skins but can also have different parameters for the chosen skin.

I look forward to future versions. Keep up the great work!