Every Joomla user has their own favorite extensions. Still, there's a huge selection of extensions available in the Joole Extensions Directory. And the task of finding the perfect one's for you can be a daunting one.
In this article, I tell you which are my favorites, and why they make my life with Joomla so much easier.
1. JCE - Advanced Text Editor
Even though the WYSIWYG editor that comes with Joomla (Tiny MCE) is OK, I prefer using JCE. It has great functionality and lots of options for customization through a great interface. The most important functionality of JCE in my opinion is the option to add plug-ins. For instance, you can install Image Manager Extended (upload and resize images, thumbnail generation), File Manager (upload documents and create links), Captions manager (make image captions easily), Media manager (add videos) etc. These plug-ins give you added functionality. JCE in itself is free, but to use the extensions you need a subscription. I have one and it's well worth the money!
2. sh404SEF - Search Engine Friendly URLs
If you want Search engine friendly URLs for your site, I recommend sh404SEF. The component is feature-rich and available through Anything Digital at a yearly subscription fee. I like the interface and the huge amount of options - I can adjust the settings exactly to my liking. This is the SEF extension I use here at JoomlaBlogger.
3. XMap - Sitemaps
A great plugin for making sitemaps, both HTML and XML (for the search engines). I use this for every single site I set up.
Go to the XMap page
4. Joomfish - Translations
Joom!Fish is a a component for providing multilingual content to your visitors! International portals, companies or projects require content in different languages and processes which help to keep track of the translations. The Joom!Fish extension for Joomla! does exactly this. It's easy to use, and lets you translate your content in several different ways. You can make links or buttons for changing the language in the frontend. There are several plug-ins available for Joom!Fish, making translation of those third-party extensions very easy.
5. Virtuemart - shopping cart
Virtuemart has been THE shopping cart solution for Joomla. It provides a lot of options for creating an e-commerce solution with Joomla. It can be somewhat hard to get into, but when you understand how VirtueMart is built your realize how powerful it is. There are a lot of functions that are planned for future releases. However, as with all open source projects, we need to be patient and wait for the developers to finish their tasks in whatever time they need ;)
That said - VirtueMart has come a long way, and I use it for several webshops, complete with credit card payment etc. It's also possible to create integration with other systems, and there are a lot of VirtueMart-specific extensions available. Lately, some template developers have made templates that incorporate Virtuemart functionality directly. Examples are templates from RocketTheme.
6. JoomlaUpdater - update Joomla in a breeze
A very nice component which makes it super-easy to update your Joomla installation to the latest version.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before you upgrade using this component, please lead Brian Teemans blog post about automatic updates.
Only use this component after checking what the new version contains + after having done a full backup of your site!
Go to Joomla Updater
7. eXtplorer - full access to your files
eXtplorer is a component which gives you full access to your server files. You can copy, move, edit, change permissions and lots more. I don't know how I would manage without this component!
8. YooGallery - simple, yet powerful gallery extension
Many alleries are overly complex and involves editing of XML-files etc. YooGallery, a content plug-in from Yootheme, is easy to use and powerful enough for most uses. You create a folder with your pictures, and add a text-string to your articles where you want the gallery to appear. YooGallery then creates thumbnails and displays them in the page. You have the option of showing a slideshow, or showing the thumbnails only and have the large images appear in a lightbox on click. I would like a few more options in this plugin, and hope YooTheme will implement some of my suggestions in future releases. I've used this plug-in on several sites and the clients love how easy it is to add new galleries.
9. Disqus Comments for Joomla - let your users contribute
After using ChronoComments for a few months, I discovered that the component actually inserted a lot of crappy code in my template. It also made my site fail HTML validation, which really s**ks. Those things, combined with the fact that it hasn't been updated for a year now, urged me to look for an alternative.
I landed on installing the hosted solution from Disqus.com. It's been used for a while by several other Joomla bloggers out there and seems very nice. The plug-in I'm using to implement it in my site is http://www.joomlaworks.gr/content/view/56/42/ from JoomlaWorks, but you can also get it as a standalone plug-in: Disqus Comments for Joomla!, also by JoomlaWorks. Now I need to find a way of porting all of the old comments to the new system...
10. Related article tags plug-in
This small plug-in makes a list of related articles below your current article. It has some parametres and is fully stylable via CSS. I use it on this site, as you can see from the below links. I like this much better than using a module which shows the related items in another module position.
I use some other extensions as well, but this is my top 10.
What are your favorite extensions for Joomla?