Choosing the right component

As a Joomla developer or even as a owner of a Joomla website one thing that you may have come across is the ability to make changes and perform functions which you feel should be fairly straight forward. The unfortunate fact is that if you do not have much knowledge or experience with Joomla you may find yourself in a world of hurt.Do not panic though you are not the only ones that have faced this problem.

Just to give you a brief example of what I am talking about I had 2 NEW clients approach me over the last week and they both had similar styled issues. Both customers had got websites built and wanted to achieve 2 different things however the sites had been developed using components that probably were quite good in their day but unfortunately due to the nature of time and project activity these things had proven impossible.

The biggest cause of this issue was the fact that they had got "developers" (not sure if it was in house or otherwise hense the " marks) to develop their Joomla websites. For no fault of the customers the components that were chosen simply were not up to scratch.

The first one believe it or not was a commercial component. This means it was a component that the "developer" or the customer had to purchase. The component itself was for the most part functional but for various reasons, namely geographic location, the component did not function as expected. This was a true sign that the "developer" and/or the manufacturer of the component had not tested or catered for this scenario but PRESUMED it would work as expected.

The first component (the commercial one) is something we have seen from time to time over the years doing work on sites for customers and ourselves. The component itself was just not functional, luckily the customer can get a refund and has already applied for it. That being the case, the customer was rather happy with that fact and in turn has now gone for another commercial component which we know works well.

The second component like most Joomla based ones, was FREE. Now I know that you are probably saying that "What do expect, it is free!!!!" While yes i tend to agree with that statement there are ALOT of great FREE components out there in the marketplace. Some of which I use daily however they have been extensively tested before being used in customers sites.

The problem with this component was the programming logic in the way that the package processed the data it was given. None the less after about 4 hours of attempting to work with the component and to identify where the issue layed we worked out that the problem was the component itself. To fix this it was a simple matter of replacing with a very powerful component that costs under $100.

In saying this both of the issues could have easily been avoided if the "developers" had clearly identified what the customer was hoping to achieve. One of the "developers" was an expert in their area (not sure what area it was to be honest) but hey there is always an expert somewhere.

The whole moral of this post is not so much the value of the component (financially) that counts, while it can play a major factor when the decision process (usually because customer wants it for nothing), it is important that you as either the "developer" or as the customer understand each goal and idea thoroughly before choosing or identifying the component that will be used. This means things may need to be well documented and reviewed to help identify the right component to use in the next project. Failure to do this can cause excessive amounts of grief.

If you are not sure on how you should proceed with a particular issue / item then I would encourage you to check out the Joomla Extensions Directory and review items with good ratings with over 100 ratings and atleast 5-10 reviews. If you are not sure after all that then consult with people on the Joomla forums or associated product forums.