Creating image galleries and slideshows
Joomla! is a Content Management System designed primarily for organizing and managing website content. It contains numerous multimedia features built into it, but its main focus is providing two roles: Powerful CMS features, and a well-designed framework which allows additional features to be added to the system, thus creating powerful functionality.
These additional features are called Extensions and are designed to plug in to the core Joomla! Framework and extend the functionality of it. With regards to the core Joomla! CMS, we have already looked at how images can be included into content items and modules. However, image galleries and slideshows are asking a bit more than just simple image management, and so require the power of extensions to provide these features:
The number of multimedia extensions now available for Joomla! is staggering. We have extensions which can create complex galleries, stream in videos, and compile jukebox type audio features.
Having considered at great length the best approach has resulted in one option. That is to highlight some of the most popular and useful image gallery and slideshow extensions, and hope that these will provide understanding as to the complex image management capability that can be achieved by using Joomla! Extensions.
Image management extensions, and how to install them
Before proceeding with covering third-party extension functionality, let’s quickly cover how image extensions are added to your Joomla! site.
As with most things in Joomla!, the process of installing extensions has had careful consideration from the development team, and is a very easy to perform. Most Joomla! Extensions come with their own installation instructions, and these general guidelines will help you get them installed on your site.
Before installing anything, make sure you copy your file set and backup your site database.
For the purpose of this example, I am going to install one of my favorite Joomla! Multimedia Extensions—the RokBox extension by RocketTheme. RokBox is a MooTools powered slideshow plugin that enables you to display numerous media formats with a professional pop-up screen lightbox effect:
The installation steps are as follows:
- Download the required extension and save this download on your computer. The file will be in a .zip format, or possibly a .gzip or .tgz format which may require unzipping before installation:
- Log into your Joomla! Administrator’s Control Panel, and navigate to the Extensions menu, then to Extension Manager. The page will default to the Install screen:
- Browse your computer for the extension .zip file using the Choose File button on this page and once the file is located, use the Upload File & Install button. The Joomla! Installation Manager will perform all of the work and if your extension has been built correctly, the installer will place all files and documents into their correct directories:
- An installation success message will show to inform you that the extension has been successfully installed.
Some extensions success text may contain additional links to configuration pages for the extension.