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What is a Plugin, a Module and a Component in Joomla?

Joomla Components, Modules and Plugins can have a great influence on your final website design. They can enhance your website design ranging from interesting content such as blogs to desired action items such as purchasing a product.  Some of you may already know what these additional pieces of Joomla are... But for those clients or future clients that are new to Bear Web Design and Joomla! lingo, here's an introduction.

A component in Joomla! is the most complex add-on. This usually adds a completely new, or different, function to your site. A component handles data input and storage into the database.

Some Examples:

  • An Online Store System
  • A Blogging System
  • A Business Directory
  • An Advertising System
  • A Slideshow or Photo Gallery

A module in Joomla! is usually an add-on to the site that extends the functionality of another part of the system. It usually has fewer options and most of the time does not handle any storing of information into the database. A module usually supports a component by allowing more options on how to display data from the component.  Modules are the most commonly referred to in a design meeting environment at Bear Web Design.  Many modules can be customized to fit your color-scheme and style.

Some Examples:

  • A module that shows a visitor their account info, shopping cart, and or login/logout info. (Works with a store component.)
  • A recent blog area or featured blog listing. (Works with a blog component.)
  • An advertisement area that holds an advertising banner. (Works with an advertising system component.)
  • A mini calendar. (Works with an Events component.)
  • Customized Quick link buttons. (Works with Joomla! menus.)
  • A slideshow on the homepage. (Works with a slideshow component.)
  • Search Box (core Joomla!).

A Plugin in Joomla! will manipulate output already generated by the system. It typically does not run as a stand-alone element but retrieves data from other sources like content on your site.

Some Examples:

  • Search Plug-in (works with components, to make some of their data able to be searched within the entire site)
  • Simple Image Gallery - pulls images from a folder in a database and displays those images when called into an article.
  • Article Editor Plug-ins - allow for embedding of special media such as iframes, videos, etc.

It is also good to know that modules and components are great ways to provide interaction with your website visitors.

These items are important to know when starting or redesigning a Joomla! website. In a design meeting these will help express how you would like your site to look and function.

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