The Joomla! Extensions Directory ™


byjbarrington, January 3, 2009
Ajax Stock
Based on the high score this module received on the Joomla! extensions site, I downloaded and installed it. It installed fine, and it appeared that it would be easy to use.
It got the each stock symbol’s data and displayed the data correctly in each column, and it seemed to abide by the user choices in what to display, but my biggest problems were concerning its ability to display the data correctly as far as format.

It seems that all of the data is displayed in a table format but the table and its cells wouldn’t space far enough outward to prevent the data from running into each side of the next cell. This makes it very difficult to tell where one number ends and the next number begins. It did have various controls for the user to choose from for displaying different amounts of stock data for the stock symbols.

I contacted the author and I must admit he tried to be helpful, but for a simple program, it was a problem. I was the one that finally gave up, but he did offer to go in and play with the code himself. I’m not comfortable with giving anyone that I do not know the keys to the kingdom, so I politely declined even though he most likely would not have done any harm. I’d rather be cautious.

Beyond it not being able to display the stock data format correctly, the most obvious item is that it lacks the ability to show the in a portrait mode instead of displaying it across in landscape mode, so the best areas for displaying this module are in the user areas and not in the right or left areas. You could display it in the right or left areas, but everything would be jumbled, or perhaps you could have only one stock symbol and only show the current price.

The next obvious item it lacks is a way for the user to control the table cells and control the display of the fonts (size, color, bold, and such).

The author did say the portrait mode and the font control could be done, so I’m assuming that these might be something for a future version.

What do I like about it?
The two good things about the module are its ability to get the correct data and it provides a small example of a daily trend stock chart when you roll the mouse over any of your stock symbols.

How would I grade everything?
Support… I give the programmer extremely high marks for trying to help support his product, in so as far as trying to make the module work correctly on a site. 5 stars *****

Getting data…I give the program extremely high marks for being able get the stock data and displaying it. 5 stars *****

Controlling Data…I give the program extremely high marks for allowing the admin to determine what pieces of stock data to show on the page. 5 stars *****

Control Display/Format…I give no marks at all for not allowing the admin to control cell padding or spacing, and also, portrait versus landscape, plus font control towards bold. There are several other control issues too. No stars

Does what it’s suppose to do out of the package…I give any program lower marks whenever you or the developer feels the need that really have to go into the php coding just to try and make it work properly. This is coding for Joomla, and I feel that any presented software should work correctly at least somewhere close to the 100% range. This includes what it is suppose to display and its functions or options. My experience rates 50%. It works at getting and presenting the data, but not at presenting it in the correct formatted way. My negative scoring doubles for this whenever it is something that you pay for AND you cannot try it before you buy it. No stars

These five items average out for a total of about 3 stars ***

If it had been working better, it might have been 4 stars, and if it had better display options, I might have given it 5 stars.

I feel this software shouldn’t be a commercial product at this stage of its life even though it is at a low price of about 7 US dollars. It would be better as a non-commercial product until the author can better refine it and get it working better, and the only way he is going to learn how to make it better is to allow people to use it for free to test it out. Perhaps then it could be a decent commercial product and he could charge some level of a price for it.

It was hard to write this review mainly because the author is so nice and very helpful, and I’m really pulling for him and his product, but I feel that since there is no way for people to try it before buying it, that people ought to know as much about it as possible. I believe the other reviewers gave this product high marks because of the niceness of the author, but if you really read their reviews, most of them state that changes had to be made to it for it to work correctly, and I feel that any module should work correctly without having to go into the original program and hacking it to make it work like it is suppose to do from the start. I want this product to succeed and I’m rooting for him because he is so nice, so I’ll revisit this module in the future if he has made improvements to it, but for now I feel that it’s unpolished and incomplete.
Owner's reply

Thanks for the review. it is unfortunate that you felt this way. However, I do want to add a little bit background for the benefit of others. The customer does not know much about PHP, which is the main constraint for the customization work he needs to do. From a PHP developer's perspective, his ask is actually quite simple to do, however, I am limited since he does not want to grant me temp access to the backend.

That said, I think the product can be improved and hopefully the customer will come back later.

Also for jbarrington, for this type of LAMP software, it is better to have some trust in the developers.