AutoTweet Joomla Plug-In
As I have mentioned previously on this blog, I am a big fan of the Joomla content management system. I love it’s open source coding and the active community that is developing for this system. It provides a powerful framework for creating a web presence.
I have also become a big fan of Twitter as a communication tool. Within its 140-character limit you are able to share all kinds of information and reach people you may not otherwise be in contact with.
Through using Twitter I have made several friends and contacts. Many of these contacts want to be notified whenever content changes on my web site. Out of the box, Joomla does not offer the ability to broadcast site changes to Twitter.
Like many other features though, the development community has come to the aid of web site owners and have developed Joomla extensions that will incorporate this new functionality. A quick search of the Joomla Extension Library showed that there are several modules capable of integrating with Joomla.
I think I tried each of the modules attempting to find a good balance of functionality with minimal interaction by the web site owner. After all, what good is a solution if it requires you to spend more time managing the tool than the benefit you derive from it?
Initially I used an extension called Twitter Status. It would allow me to post a Twitter message each time I published a new article. It did not allow posting of updates and was relatively basic in its functionality. The developer first introduced Twitter Status as a free extension but then decided to make it commercial leaving early adopters hanging unless they paid.
From my research I could not determine whether the newer version would allow any additional functionality and I was unwilling to purchase the extension without knowing whether it would meet my needs. I attempted to contact the developer but his response was basically that I was not a paid customer and therefore he had little or no time to answer my inquiries.
Based upon his responses I decided I needed to look for another solution. After installing and testing several Twitter extensions I settled on Auto Tweet written by Ulli Storck.
Auto Tweet acts as a Joomla plug-in installing through the Joomla Administration module. Once installed the plug-in is quickly configured. Besides securely storing your user name and password, the configuration page also allows you to decide whether you want the page URL appended to your Twitter message and how many attempts the plug-in should make if it is unsuccessful in posting.
You can define specific sections and categories that will be tweeted and you can exclude sections and categories. You can post just new articles or modified or private articles. You can also include static text and hash tags to your messages to make sure the tweet reaches the appropriate audience.
Overall Auto Tweet has worked flawlessly and I have received several comments from friends thanking me for keeping them informed of changes to my web site. It is one of those set it and forget it kind of extensions that make managing a web site easier while driving traffic to your pages.