Joomla! Extension Building Options

Recently we took on the task of continuing, and expanding, a popular Joomla! extension. Little did we realize the complexity of undertaking such an endeavor. It has been a lot of work, especially coming from the design side of Joomla! websites, and rapidly needing to shift in the role of developer. Add to that, every developer has their own "style" in their coding. In my reading on development, there was a lot of information, out on the web, that there were, as it was put, lots of redundant, but necessary files that needed to be created for MVC extensions. The project was looking daunting, but we stayed the course.

Thankfully, there are numerous services and components available to assist in the creation of components for Joomla!. A few of these are Component Creator and Cook Self Service for online subscription based services, and jDeveloper, EasyCreator, Component Architect, and Advanced Component Builder, to name a few components to aid in the process.

Component Creator was an easy service, when I used it. Create your component in their online page, add your fields, views, component options, then click build. Component Creator would then create all of the necessary files and package the structure, database, and base views for a component, module, and a plugin. Once you build and download, you would then extract the archive to your computer and begin your edits to the code to add all the layouts, templating, modals, and custom code that you would want. Component Creator was designed to create the base structure and files, so you don't have to.

jDeveloper, EasyCreator, and Component Architect were of a similar nature, except that they were components that you would install on your development site, and build your component, fields, and views within your Joomla! development site. These components added the additional ability to build and install on your development site for testing. This was a nice convenience, which was only due to the build being done locally, rather than through an online service. Still, as with the online services, you would download to your computer, extract the files, and edit the files locally.

But I wanted more than just something that would create the structure for me. Maybe I was just greedy, but in the end I wanted something where I could fully build out my component, including any custom code, all my views, in one place, without the need of downloading, extracting, editing, then repackaging. Was there actually a service or component that had all of that ability? Was there a component that was a Joomla! extension builder, code editor, code repository, and compiler all wrapped in one nice, sweet package?

After a lot of searching, I came across Advanced Component Builder. I downloaded, installed, and played with the free version (which has the functionality of the paid version, but with only a handful of the added ability of the full version). I only had to play with the component for about 30 minutes before I knew that Advanced Component Creator was what I was looking for. I could create my fields, add my component, add all my views (frontend and backend), add custom gets, add custom PHP, JavaScript, and CSS to the various views, and compile. Advanced Component Builder did the rest, building out admin views, frontend views, the menus, various database and language files, integrated gets where needed, everything that was needed. With the addition of code snippets from UIkit, it sped up the process, and allowed for some sweet customization. When I need to make a change, I update the code/fields in Advanced Component Builder, rebuild, and it's done. No opening a repository and digging through various files to find what I needed. Everything was maintained in one place, all work was done in one place, and the ability was even present to push my changes to GitHub, or push the completed builds to a sales server, and an update server. Yes, this component even adds the ability to update using the Joomla! extension updater.

In the end, Advanced Component Builder is a phenomenal component for Joomla! developers, completely open-source, and totally free, and this goes for all its features and concepts on a code level. You can find the whole project in the Joomla! Extension Directory (http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/extension/component-builder) and on Github (https://github.com/vdm-io/Joomla-Component-Builder).

The way the project earns revenue is with its extra demo data that is basically SQL data of examples of how things work, called "Developer". You can purchase this on vdm.io (https://www.vdm.io/joomla-component-builder). Furthermore, the developer also has video tutorials on sale, called "Dev + Howtos" that walk you through various processes with hands on explanations and even more demo data of the implementation. Take it from me, this option has proven to be really worth it.

Support is above board (I was receiving responses to what I believed was a bug at 2 am his time). He found what I was referring to, and it was a scenario he hadn't encountered, and a fix was released almost immediately.

Whether you're a seasoned developer, or have been toying with developing a component, seriously consider taking a look at Advanced Component Builder (vdm.io).

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