In this review, I’ll take a look at one of iJoomla’s offerings of what I call “Content Control” extensions. This one is called the iJoomla News Portal and its designed to create news sites quickly and easily with Joomla.
To give you a sense of how useful it can be, here is a Joomla site out of the box:
Here is the same content with News Portal
That’s a much more professional looking design, which is critical for the perceived credibility of your site. Not just that, but it doesn’t look like “just another Joomla website”!
How iJoomla News Portal works
The portal consists of three pages: the News Portal Home Page; the Section Home Page; and the Category Home page. Each of these pages has a separate HTML layout with 11 tags that represent the different zones. You can reposition the zones or make any changes to the page layout you wish with minimal or no HTML knowledge.
The basic concept is that you are able to easily manipulate the positions of the template you have, and then it easy to funnel your content articles into these placeholders. One feature I especially liked was one click access to the CSS file used, without having to dig through the site with FTP or JoomlXplorer.
I found iJoomla’s News Portal easy to use, though I would admit I have a strong Joomla background with the background knowledge that brings. For brand new users it might not seem as obvious. I would be very interested to see a usability test of a brand new user. Having said that, it definitely helps new users get that snappy looking layout as it controls the article placement much better.
Documentation is strong with an included 15 page user manual and healthy forum (over 500 posts).
Summary Review of iJoomla News Portal
Probably a must have if you have a news site. Priced at only $79, it will give you a professional layout that would have cost hundreds if you had had it done custom. Its interface is a little daunting, but it does alot, and the documentation helps get you started.
- Gets you a professional looking layout
- Good Support/documentation
- Encoded (needs ioncube to run)
- Somewhat complicated interface
- Targeted for News Portals
Overall 3.5 out of 5
Note on score. The News Portal is a very specific extension. For what it does, its really a 5 out of 5. I gave it a 3.5 because I think that great extensions should be more universal.