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4AI - New AI-powered Joomla assistant

Hi all,

Trying to keep up with technology is not easy these days, with nearly daily announcements of lots of different things. Some are just passing distractions, but some are likely to stick with us long term. I think most agree Large Language Models, often just called "AI", are one of these technologies that are going to stay and will change many things.

This is why a few months ago, looking at the API becoming available from different providers, I decided to start developing a new Joomla extension to bring AI-powered assistance to Joomla website owners: 4AI.

Why an extension when I can just use ChatGPT?

I believe chat-like interfaces such as ChatGPT are a good fit for many use cases but not the best for all - and I'm not the only one to think that by the way.

There are drawbacks to using chat-based tools, for instance:

  • you need to write your question, and to get a good result, it may take multiple attempts. Writing the right questions is not for everyone.
  • Being a Joomla extension, 4AI knows how to provide the prompt context the ChatGPT AI needs to do a proper job
  • Using the output is not always easy, for instance performing changes to existing content while respecting existing design, or just injecting the response into your Joomla site

In other words, ChatGPT is great for "open" discussions but using it directly inside of Joomla may not be as easy as it seems at first

There have already been a few plugins to use the ChatGPT API from inside Joomla, but they are mostly just an input field that's passed to the API, therefore not providing that much assistance.

And so here are the guiding principles for designing 4AI, the new Joomla assistant that we launched a couple of weeks ago at JoomlaDay Netherland:

  • Integrate directly with Joomla (3&4) where it makes sense to use AI in practical ways for common tasks.
  • Provide an always-on assistant that can be used (mostly) without typing in long questions.
  • Use responses by clicking a button rather than tedious copy/paste and reformatting.

Here comes 4AI4AI logo

I won't bother you here with a detailed description of what 4AI does, there's a 4AI product page for that. Let's just mention that:

  • I believe the AI-powered APIs available today are excellent at transforming content: spelling, rewriting for clarity or better syntax, summarizing, near-perfect translations to many languages, writing a Facebook post or Twitter thread, finding related keywords, and much more.
  • Be careful when asking them (through 4AI, of course!) to write new content: simply put, they will say false things, and you need to carefully read and validate their response before using them on your website.

A few more practical details

  • For now, 4AI uses the API provided by OpenAI, the makers of ChatGPT. You'll need an OpenAI API access key to use 4AI - but NOT a ChatGPT+ $20/month subscription, that's not needed. OpenAI API costs are very low, you'll likely end up paying only $1 or $2 a month for heavy use.
  • 4AI comes in 2 editions: the Community version is available through the JED, free of charge, while the regular edition is fully-featured.
  • 4AI works the same on Joomla 3 or 4.
  • It's available in 22 languages.
  • As with all our extensions, documentation is available here, including a video of my talk at JoomlaDay Netherlands 2 weeks ago.

Join Tim Davis and me for a live YouTube stream on 4AI.

Tim Davis runs the BasicJoomla YouTube channel, one of the very few channels entirely dedicated to Joomla. He's been doing so for years and kindly asked me to present 4AI live on his show. This will happen:

  • on (, )
  • on Tim's BasicJoomla YouTube Channel: Direct link to the live video

You'll be able to comment and ask questions live while the stream is happening, so please join us!