How EasyLayouts works
How does EasyLayouts work?
This article will give an quick overview of how EasyLayouts works in the frontend of your site.
Joomla! template overrides are PHP scripts that can change the way that components and modules are output from the default Joomla! layout.
EasyLayouts allows you to create a special type of template override using a drag and drop interface - thereby eliminating the need to code up custom template overrides to get the look and feel and functionality you require. The code intercepts the output of Joomla in the same way as a template override does but does so using layout information stored in the database as opposed to a static template override script.
All your data is stored as standard Joomla content and custom fields - the only extra data stored in the database is the layout you want to use, which means that the frontend performance of a site with EasyLayouts barely affected.
Less Technical Explanation
Joomla! has been written in a way that allows a lot of customisation of output. One of the ways this is done is via a type of PHP script called a "template override" which allows "normal" Joomla output to be customised - for example to change the layout of an article or module output. These scripts are placed in template a folder on your server (templates/YOUR_TEMPLATE/html) and they can change the way that components and modules are output.
Many commercial template developers create basic template overrides to make your site content fit the "look and feel" of the template. However, none of these will support Joomla custom fields in an attractive way and if the layout isn't what you want you have to resort to modifying the php code.
These scripts can become complex to write and maintain, especially when you introduce Joomla custom fields or want output that is dependent on an article category, for example. EasyLayouts handles all this logic for you and and allows you to concentrate on the layouts you want to achieve.
In the backend we use a drag and drop interface to generate the information we need to reproduce your layout in the frontend. This layout 'template' is stored in your site's database - other than this, everything else is standard Joomla content and custom fields.
When you load a page where EasyLayouts is controlling the layout of an article or list of articles. for example, we fetch the layout from the database and use it to generate the content output in a way that is very similar to the way that a template override intercepts the output from Joomla.