The difference between modules and components
Article Audience: Joomla Webmasters
Unless you understand the difference between a module and a component, you will find it very difficult to administer your Joomla installation. This article will explain the difference between modules and components and give examples of the usage of each of them.
Modules are usually small pieces of functionality designed to present information in your site. They can appear a number of times, on a number of pages in various positions. On the contrary components are a full blown application, usually quite complex and are to the main body if a page. Also each module can be viewed in various pages, and the position of each module can be easily changed. You are allowed to select the menu items where a module is displayed. A good example of the usage of this functionality is targeted advertising. If your site has various sections, you can create module for each section. Each module will contain a targeted advert for the section. Now instead of showing all the modules, all the time, you customise the visibility of the module such that each advert is displayed only in the relevant menu links. Below you can see a screenshot of how to choose the menu items where a module is displayed. The module is displayed in the highlighted menu items only.
Typical examples of standard Joomla modules are the following. As we can see the function of each of the modules mentioned is quite restricted.
- Main / User / Top and other menus
- Latest News
- Popular Articles
- Login Form
- Syndication Details
3rd Party Modules include
Installed modules can be found in the Modules > Site Modules menu, or Installers > Modules. Configuration of modules is typically very easy, and is done by clicking on the module in Site Modules page.
On the other hand, a Joomla component is typically more complex, with extensive functionality and capabilities. A component can only be displayed in the main area of a page, and can only be displayed in a single page (usually). Links to components are usually done by creating menu items as shown in the image below. Components usually have a particular page or pages for their configuration.
Standard Joomla Components
- FrontPage component - this is used to display the contents in the frontpage. One can decide how many items to show in the frontpage, in how many columns, how many articles to have an intro only or not and various other options. To place a content item in the frontpage, the frontpage option must be checked on.
- WebLinks - this is a component where the user can configure different link categories and add items to each category.
- Banners - allows a Joomla website to create and display banners for advertising purposes
3rd Party Components
- sh404SEF - a component which is used to create Search Engine Friendly URLs for your Joomla content. Besides SEF urls, this component allows you to perform a number of functions related SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques.
- VirtueMart - this component is used to create a shopping cart in a Joomla website
- XCloner - allows you to backup and restore your Joomla website
- Image Gallery Components - various image gallery components exist for Joomla
Modules vs Components
| || Modules || Components |
|Complexity|| Low|| Usually medium to high|
|Visibility|| Various || Single Page|
|Position || Various || Main Body only|
|Configuration || Low|| Extensive|
The Joomla Extensions site lists an extensive number of free and commercial templates. There are also reviews and voting mechanisms to help you decide exactly what extensions are best for your needs. Also the Components section of this site, describes a number of extensions which we have found to be very useful.
Warning: 3rd party extension may compromise your site's security. Always make sure that your code comes from a trusted source.