FREELessons: 35Length: 7.7 hours

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7.1 Extension Types and Manager

This lesson will shed light on the differences between extension types, whether they be components, modules, plugins, templates or languages. Understanding the different types will dramatically increase your understanding of Joomla as a whole. Also, we’ll look at the extensions manager and how to effectively install, find and manage extensions through this component. We also will take a look at specific management of modules towards the end of this lesson.

7.1 Extension Types and Manager

Hi guys. Welcome back to a Beginner's Guide to Using Joomla. And in this lesson, we wanna focus our attention on extensions, and how they are managed in the Joomla system. So we can now start to focus on the extension types, the differences between them, and how they're managed. So we have five different types of extensions. We have components, plugins, modules, templates, and languages. So we have all these different types of extensions, and we must have a clear, distinct difference between all five. Now the largest and most prioritized extension out of the five extension types, is components. Components are quite large. They're normally called as mini applications within the Joomla system. And they usually have a front end and a backend. Or a site part and an administrator part. So let's take the articles component as an example. this component allows us to modify articles on the back-end. Then, on top of that, we can also modify articles on the front-end. And also, the component renders the articles. So this is why components are quite large. They integrate into both the back end and the front end, and not to mention that you also have the menu item types, that allow you to display content from that component. So the menu item types are associated with a component, you also have certain modules that can be associated with components, and so they all tie in together. So, these are quiet large mini applications that extend onto the Joomla system. Now, Joomla does come with some components pre-installed. For example, articles, now the articles component is a protected component. This means that you can not uninstall it. You can't delete this component. It is a part of the Joomla system, and it's a critical component. But there are some default components that come with Joomla, that you can uninstall and delete, for example, the Banners components. The Banners component Is a nice component, and if you don't use it's features it's just wasting space and memory, so you might as well just uninstall the Banner component. So you can uninstall some default components, but some default components like the articles components, and so on and so forth, they cannot be deleted. Now let's discover a little bit more about modules. So, modules are another extension type. And they simply produce content. And this content can come from a component, or it could be stand alone such as custom HTML. But the module is ultimately generating content. This content can be displayed on the front-end and also on the back-end. If you take a look at the control panel, you will find that it contains modules that generate content. And you can add in modules onto the back-end as well. So modules just simply generate content that can be viewed. Also with your modules, you have different types of modules. These types normally come from components, and they generate content because of the components themselves. So for example, Newfeeds gives you some newsfeed type modules, which generates content that is associated with that component type. So, now let's take a look at a little bit more of an advanced extension, and that is plugins. Plug-ins allow us to deal with events. And it's found throughout the Joomla installation, so plug-ins can be attached to the Joomla core. They can be attached to a component, and even in a module you can have Events. So let's take the articles component as an example. The articles component generates the article category pages. Now we also have a Read More button, with some articles where they've been cut off. What happens is, we click on that button and that button is generated by the plug in, and it triggers an event. And the plug in deals with that event. So that plugin is registered to the article's component. So the main job of a plugin is to deal with events. It can generate a little bit of content, such as the button itself. But overall, the main task of a plugin, is to deal with the event when an event is triggered. For the next extension type, we'll keep it brief, it's templates. This extension type allows us to change the look and feel of either the back end or the front end. And on top of that, the default template can be overwritten, if you allow it to, under the user's preferences. Also, you can change the default template style through menu items as as well. Finally, we have the language extension type. This allows other users that don't understand your native language, to then install a language, and be able to use the Joomla installation. Now, please do note that this language extension will not translate content. So, for example, you have articles that will not be translated either on the front end nor the back end. All that is It's doing is it's changing the menus, and the main buttons, so that the user that doesn't speak your native language, can convert the system so that they can use it. But it doesn't mean that it's gonna convert your content. So now let's take a look at the Extensions Manager. So we have the Main Extensions Manager, and this deals with all the different extension types. But then also you have Individual Managers. So there's a manager for modules, and there's a manager for plugin extension types and template extension types, and language extension types. So each one of those types of extensions you can manage. Now if it is a component, then you have to go with the Extensions Manager itself. So we also have the option under the Extension Manager, to add the install from web tab button. This then adds the tab that allows you direct access in the Joomla back end, to the Joomla Extensions Directory. This is managed by the Joomla team, and community and people submit their extensions there. And you can install the extensions just with one simple click. You'll download it into your hosting area, install it on the Joomla installation and away you go. So we now have the possibility to install from the web. But also we can upload a package file, by choosing a file from our local hard drive. We also have the ability to install from a directory, where we can point to a certain directory and Joomla will find the extensions within that directory, and install them. We also have install from the URL, so we can provide an online location so it would download from one site to the Joomla installation and install it. Then we can check to see if any extensions require updates. We can also manage our extensions. From here we can manage all the extension times. We can filter through all of these extensions by saying select a location. So only show extensions that are located in the administrator back end, or extensions that are found on the front end of the site. Next we can filter by Status. So such as enabled or disabled, or only show protected or unprotected extensions. Also, we can say, show only extensions of a certain type. So the type is either a module, plugin, template, language, or component. And also, you can say, only show extensions from a selected folder. Next up, under the Extension Manager, we have Discover. Discover is here for extensions that are very large. These extensions can't typically be installed via the web. Or let's say we're having real trouble with an extension, cuz it's so large. Then what we can do is use FTP, upload the extension into a directory within our Joomla installation. And then we can use the Discover feature to discover that extension, and then install it. You can also hit the Discover button to refresh and rediscover. And install multiple discovered extensions, if you wish. Next, under the Extension Manager we have Database, which allows us to take a look at some information about the database, and to see whether the table structure is up to date. We can click the button Fix, to go ahead and fix any issues that arise from a not up to date database table structure. We also have Warnings, such as security issues with certain extensions, and so forth. And then also we have installed languages, and we can view all the installed languages from there. No on top of this, we can take a look at the global options for the extensions manager. So first of all we can show and hide the Joomla Extensions Directory message. We can also say how often in hours, would we like to update the cache. At the moment, by default, it's six hours, and then it will refresh the cache. And then, finally, we have the permissions for the extensions manager. Now I want to move on, and take a look at the different managers for specific extension types. So you have a manager for modules, plugins, templates, and languages. What I'd like to do is discover how those managers manage those specific extension types. So the first manager we're going to take a look at is the manager for the module type extensions. So in the module manager we can select multiple modules, and we can change the state of the selected modules, such as publish, unpublished, and trashed. Also we can duplicate the selected modules. We can check in any checked out modules. So for example, this module has been checked out by the superuser on a certain date and time. I can click the button there, to unlock or check in this particular module. Or I could select multiple checked out modules, and tell them to check in if I wish to. Then on top of that, we can select multiple modules and batch process. This will allow us to target all of the selected modules, and reassign the access level, the language, and also the position. And with the position we can say Move, which means just reassign the position for the selected modules, or we could say Copy, which duplicates the module, and then reassign the position to what we've set in the drop-down menu. So now that we know this, we can also take a look at the filtering. So we have Status, Position, Type, Access Level and Language. Now one thing to note is the first filter, which is filled in for you. Which means you're allowed to view either the site or administrator modules, you can't view them both at the same time. You'll also notice those two sections are here. So site modules are modules that are generating content on the front end of our size. So this right here, this module would be classes of site module. However, we also have administrator modules, that can produce content In the back end as well, such as popular articles that's found in the control panel, also recently added articles, and so on and so forth. And what you can do is add in a new administrator back end module, that generates code on the back end, and then you can easily just target one of these, and take a look at all the different types. So let's add statistics on to the control panel. We can say show server information, site information, hit counter, and so on and so forth. We can choose a position, and we have now the back end templates being listed for the positions. So you have Hathor, and then you have Isis. Isis is the one we currently have. So we can go down right here, take a look at Isis and we can say, put that in the menu or the Control Panel or put it in the footer. So I'm going to put it in the Control Panel, and then we're just going to give it the title of Stats and say Save > Close. Now what we can do is go over to the Control Panel. And there is stats. So that's nice and easy. And again, on top of that, let's go back to the module manager, and go to administrator, and take a look at stats. You can also change the ordering right here. So we can put it underneath site information. Say save and close, and now when we go back to the Control Panel, you'll notice STATS is below SITE INFORMATION. Now, let's head back over to the Module Manager, and take a look at the global configurations. And for the module manager component, all there is the permissions that you can set for the component. Thank you for watching me in this lesson, and please join me in the next lesson, where we'll continue on learning about the managers for specific extension types.

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