I’ve been revamping a site that’s been collecting dust for far too long. The original site is in really ugly (codewise and in design) plain vanilla HTML, so I’ve decided to move it to Joomla; not so much because Joomla is the ultimate tool for this site, but because there are too many fun CMS-type tools out there, I’d be doing nothing else but getting myself buried in playing with them 🙂
The quest at hand: to find a suitable file and directory browsing (aka “download”) add-on for Joomla.
Anyway, the old site had a direct-to-file mapping for downloads, something that is hard to maintain for tools like Joomla, or so I thought. I found VFM File Repository by Giao Trinh which is a pretty simple but effective AJAX-capable file and directory browser. It allows mapping to a physical file and directory structure. Unfortunately, the author has managed his “simple but effective” approach a little too well. I need just a bit more functionality, but I will check back on VFM from time to time to see how it’s doing. If you’re looking for a fast and efficient file and directory browsing component for Joomla, I suggest you check it out.
After having spent a few hours with VFM, I decided to give ReMOSitory a run for its money. Its latest release candidate (RC5 at the time of this writing) looked promising. With ReMOSitory I ran into the opposite problem, it does too much; and it does it with some “bulkiness”. The component is very “loud”, placing fat icons everywhere. This does not fit in very well with the design I’m working on for the site (which is a port of an OSWD template).
You will find both VFM and ReMOSitory on the extensions.joomla.org site. Check them out. In my search for a file and directory browsing module (or “downloads” for short), I also checked out Leech, which is leaning towards the approach used by VFM. I was going to give DocMan a shot too, but a colleague of mine told me there’s very little activity in that project.
For now, I’ll stick to using Joomla content items, organize them into sections and categories, and link them to physical files on the server. I won’t be getting any fancy download statistics this way, but it’ll keep texts in Joomla and files on disk, and it won’t clutter up the template I’m using.