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Droptables 4: a new tool to manage tables in Joomla


It is easy to think that web tables are a relic of the past, but the illusion fades when you need them. Web tables can be useful for several reasons: to summarize data, to show different price tiers or to compare subscription plans. If you do end up needing tables, Droptables 3.6, the latest version of our Joomla plugin, breathes new life into web tables.

Droptables is Joomunited's extension for Joomla tables. Droptables has just received a new update that, among others, makes the plugin compatible with the newly-released Joomla 4. The update also improves table auto-saving and load performance, but the biggest changes affect user experience: the improved managers, editors and database tables.

New user experience for table management and editing

The clearest sign of an update in Droptables is the cleaner interface and the improved user experience that comes with it. The entire workflow to manage tables and categories has been greatly simplified, with less clutter and more white space.

The table and category manager remains a single but simpler page. On the top, a simple toolbar to create categories or tables, filter tables or access the configuration. On the left, the category tree. And in the middle, occupying the largest share of your Joomla space, the tables in a given category.

You can use the toolbar to limit the selection of tables. From the first dropdown, you can display all tables, or just database tables or normal tables. If you already know what table you want to edit, you can search for it directly from the toolbar by typing its name. All filtering uses AJAX, ensuring optimal user experience. Click on any table to access the editor.

The table editor has also received updates, though more subtle than the ones in the table and category manager. Most notably, the editor now has an explicit save button. The auto-save function has also been optimized under the hood, and if you have large Joomla tables, you might notice quicker loading times in the front-end.

Improved Joomla database table workflow

One of the lesser-known functions in Droptables is the ability to create tables from Joomla databases. You can use database tables to tabulate your Joomla blog's data and display it in the frontend: your e-commerce sales, your subscribed users, your blog posts. You can create database tables from the table and category manager.

To create a database table, click on the create new button, and then choose database table. The process to create a table from a database has been streamlined, modeled after MySQL. In other words, you start by choosing the tables and then the columns you want to use.

If you select multiple tables, you can link them together—analogous to SQL JOINs—next. You can also filter rows—WHERE—, group data—GROUP BY—and sort the data—ORDER BY. In addition to SQL's basic functionality, Droptables provides features to limit the number of rows and to activate pagination. To make sure that your selection reflects your intention, click on preview, and if everything looks as intended, create the table.

From this point onwards, the database table acts like any other normal Joomla table. Back in the table and category manager, you can click on the newly-created database table to edit the way it looks and functions. Differently from normal tables, you can change the way the table is created by updating the data source from the Table menu.

New themes for our Joomla tables

One of the best features that Droptables offer is, definitively, the themes because with an easy click, we will have a perfect template that we can make fit our site with just a few customizations, Droptables 4 offer us new themes, let's check them!

After going to our tables and clicking on Theme > theme selection we can see how now the themes are more.

Planning Table

With this table, we can create a schedule with tasks or also an appointment calendar to track the weekly tasks that should be done or if we have weekly events, for example.

Default Theme

This table suit perfect when we want to store records of anything like the total sold or maybe a list of products available in our store.

Blue Feature Comparison Table

This table fits perfectly when we want to offer services or plans on our site.

Dark Price Grid Table

This is another plan table that works better when we want a dark theme by default and also has more features depending on the plan

Blue Price Table Theme

A price table that fits perfectly with blue sites

Task list

We will be able to create a list of tasks to be shown on our site or for internal use.

Purple plan theme

A price plan with an awesome purple color scale.

Purple feature theme

A perfect theme to separate our site in sections, will allow us to direct our users to certain parts of our site.

It is also important to say that all the themes can be edited using the available tools in Droptables as well as HTML and CSS.

After taking a look at the new themes available for our responsive tables from Droptables 4, we can see how easy it is to adapt our tables to almost every case use that we could think of, and the best part is that it is just a one-click configuration! So it will be done in a few seconds.

It's very easy to underestimate tables, but with Droptables, Joomla data takes a new meaning. Whether you are presenting your offering to users in a structured manner or converting your databases into an easy-to-consume table, Droptables does it all. Now that Droptables is compatible with Joomla! 4, nothing stops you from exploiting your data's potential.

Does your Joomla blog need tables? Interested in using Droptables? Check out our Joomla 4 extension here.

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Friday, June 21, 2024

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