Just recently I stumbled upon a quite interesting video, reviewing front page news modules for Joomla. The video is published by SmartTactics and devotes most of the time talking about AJAX Scroller. The video is pretty informative so check it out below (jump to 3:35 if you want to go straight to the AJAX Scroller part).

  Now, the video is quite old, made almost 2 years ago. AJAX Scroller and its DEMO site have evolved since, but the author still catches the essence of AJAX Scroller and its most important features:

  • It uses AJAX, and that's quite important, because it's on the front page. So, if we can scroll through a number of stories, you don't want all of those stories loading as the first page loads, cause you're just gonna slow down people getting on to your home page. The AJAX Scroller actually loads one story bringing the others in as it needs them.
  • The AJAX part is written in JavaScript, which is fantastic. But everything else, like the layout and all of the rest is written in CSS. We liked that because that gave us absolute freedom to start working with it and really melt it into what we wanted.
The author also highlights another important feature that I actually haven't thought about much when I wrote AJAX Scroller, but which seems to be a deal breaker for many other similar modules:
  • It is editable from the front end. That's critical for us, because in many of the sites we run and manage for our clients, they are only editing from the front end. In fact, we could have dozens of editors on some of the sites, and they only have front end access. Many, many, many Joomla scrollers simply wouldn't do what we want it to do because there was no way of interacting for all and making it more dynamic. What's really great about AJAX Scroller is that the stories are added by a single editor who doesn't need to control all sections of the site.
What I would add to this nice review is that AJAX Scroller is also much more than that. It can also fetch and scroll other content than just Joomla articles, like RSS feeds from remote sites, making your site dynamic without any editor having to do anything. It can also fetch the Twitter updates and banners from the Joomla banner component using appealing visual effects.

Emir Sakic Emir is Electrical Engineer turned web developer, co-founder of Joomla and a former member of the core development teams of Joomla and its predecessor Mambo.

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