You might ask yourself "Why would I need such a module" and the answer is simple - because default Joomla content presentation options are poor, built in options are very limited and their look is outdated. For almost any type of site you will need one of this to match the layout your designer envisioned.
Here is our list of the best content, article or news modules for Joomla (different names, same meaning). We tried to include all famous and promising ones and rate them according to the same criteria.
And the winner is
Display news by BK
The only true Swiss knife of Joomla content modules.
Development of this module began in ancient Mambo times by Rey Gigataras and after he lost interest in it, Boris Komraz took over (that is what BK in the name stands for) and first developed Joomla 1.5 version that is now followed by Joomla compatible 2.5 releases.
Beside just displaying articles, this module can be used to show related articles, display article details (check the top right module on this site) like a category or an author. It supports true image resizing (you need to install BK Multithumb) and can show videos (from Allvideos or Youtube). It also has JComments integration and supports ratings. It is also the only of the tested modules that has advanced plugin running options - you can choose when to fire (or not at all) OnContentPrepare and OnBefore ContentDisplay events, which is quite important, especially if you are using one of the CCKs instead of com_content.
Words of caution: while beeing very powerfull it is not Apple dummies friendly, it has a basic GUI and one needs to know what he or she is doing to configure it, so it is not recommended for begginers. Also its code is really ugly - but - what is most important - it works and it does what it is intended to do and it does it well.
BT content slider
Looking for something with less power but more polish? With a modern built-in template and eye candy extras, but still a wide number of options that are handled via fancy GUI?
Actually this is a module that could share the first place with Display news if only it would be able to run plugins and work with CCKs like Seblod without any modifications. Other than this it has everything that average, not too demanding user will need and it works well out of the box.
News Show Pro GK4
Long time first place holder that has fallen into scope creep trap.
With large set of options and its frontend niceness it was our long time favorite in its previous incarnations. But now it looks like it has become a victim of its success, trying to do too much at once - much buggier that it used to be and frontend templates, especially the portal ones, are not what you would expect from a template company like Gawick
Still powerfull, still nice, but not what it used to be.
Fewer and a little different options that previous three, but those done well.
While DN, BT and GK basically try to do the same thing, Global news approach is a little different, e.g. while there is columns option, second column gets filled only when you select at least two categories and each next category gets its own box.
Preset layouts are animated versions of static layout, but this is fine - what is there works and is easy to configure. Less is more. For more demanding users it also has inline templating via special variables, a bit like Display news.
|Extension name||Display News by BK||BT Content Slider||News Show Pro GK4||Global News|
|Built-in Visual styles||2||4||3||3|
|Appropriate for||Experienced users, pro website builders||beginner to medium users||medium users to pro website builders||Beginners to Medium|
|Runs Content Plugins||Configurable, OnContentPrepare and OnBefore ContentDisplay||No||Yes||No|
|Real Image Resizing||Yes, 5 different modes (requires BK Multithumb)||yes||Yes||Yes, 5 different modes|
|Scrolling, Sliding and Other Special Effects||Yes, 5 different modes||yes||Included in layouts||Included in layouts|
|Layout options / templates||Huge number, inline templating (in module parameters) using special variables||Medium range||5 basic layouts, a lot of additional||5 layouts, medium range of options, some inline templating|
|Can show related articles||Yes||No||No||No|
|Source options||Joomla||Joomla, K2, Bt portfolio||Joomla, K2, Virtuemart||Joomla categories|
|Works with Seblod||Yes||No*||Partially - no images/additional fields*||No*|
|Responsive / % based dimensions||Yes||No, style override needed||Special version||Yes|
|Scripting framework / option to disable loading?||Own scripts||Jquery / Yes||Jquery / Yes||Own scripts|
|Other||Code looks bad - but it works||Small css glitch - when page bullet is clicked it disappears||Backend won't work if you have debug mode on||To create columns select a corresponding number of categories|
|Overall rating (1-10)||9||8||7||6|
Simpler, with less layout options and not much sophisticated functionality
Lof Article Scroller
The above layout is pretty much it - you can choose to either show images, texts or both and add some effect to it if you like. As you can see from the screenshot its template is not 100% polished as left arrow gets cut of when used on default.
Has a bit unique approach to layouts - its space is separated in two basic columns and there are few settings like number of subcolumns and orientation for each of them. Easy to understand, but gives less possible combinations than higher ranked modules. Also it is the first of here listed modules that cabn't perform real image resizing - to create small thumbnails, it loads large images and then uses html to perform resizing in the browser. If you are connected to the internet with fast landline connection you probably won't notice it, but usually there is huge difference in the size of the files that need to be loaded by the user. Now imagine someone trying to load your page using his phone, perhaps even just with GPRS speed as faster networks are out of the reach - in this case size matters in a big way.
Simple options and a distinctive visual styling.
You might like it - we don't.
JU News ultra
Another one with special styling that doesn't look so well. It does offer inline templating options so it might work better for those willing to play with it some more.
|Extension name||Lof Article Scroller||Xpert Contents||Mini Frontpage||JU News ultra|
|Built-in Visual styles||2||3||2||2|
|Appropriate for||All||Beginners to Medium||Beginners||medium users to pro website builders|
|Runs Content Plugins||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Real Image Resizing||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Scrolling, Sliding and Other Special Effects||Yes||Scrolling||Included in layouts||No|
|Layout options / templates||Options are: Only images, Only text and Mixed||Separated settings for primary and secondary column||Basic and tabbed with few animation options||2 templates, inline editor (php knowledge required)|
|Can show related articles||No||No||No||No|
|Source options||Joomla categories / articles||Joomla, K2, Easyblog||Joomla categories||Joomla categories / article|
|Works with Seblod||Partially*||Partially (no article text)*||No||No|
|Responsive / % based dimensions||No||No||No||Yes|
|Scripting framework / option to disable loading?||Mootools / No||Jquery / Yes||Jquery / Yes||Jquery / No|
|Other||Defualt settings are weird, nothing displays as all fields are turned off|
|Overall rating (1-10)||5||4||4||3|
The bad ones
Few basic options and that's it.
So no screenshot. Not something one would expect from the famous Rocketheme.
|Extension name||OT news||RokSprocket|
|Built-in Visual styles||1||0|
|Runs Content Plugins||No|
|Real Image Resizing||No|
|Scrolling, Sliding and Other Special Effects||No|
|Layout options / templates||Just basic - colums, rows etc.|
|Can show related articles||No|
|Works with Seblod||No|
|Responsive / % based dimensions||Yes|
|Scripting framework / option to disable loading?||No script|
|Other||While description on JED mentions random mode, there is none in options. Also linkback is displayed in the frontend.||Fancy interface, but it just doesn't work|
|Overall rating (1-10)||2||0|
* only small code change is needed to make it work: