Today I needed to render a Custom HTML module within a Joomla Component I'm currently writing.
After some research and testing this seems to be working great for me:
   $mod = &JModuleHelper::getModule('custom', 'Custom HTML'); echo JModuleHelper::renderModule($mod);

I have this piece of code in my default.php file within my views/default/tmpl/ folder. The 'custom' refers to the module mod_custom and 'Custom HTML' specifies which of the mod_custom modules to call.

Lets say you have a Custom HTML module with the title MODULEA and one with the title MODULEB then you can call and render them this way:
    $mod = &JModuleHelper::getModule('custom', 'MODULEA');
    echo JModuleHelper::renderModule($mod);
    $mod = &JModuleHelper::getModule('custom', 'MODULEB');
    echo JModuleHelper::renderModule($mod);
A couple of important notes:
  • At the time of writing I'm using Joomla 1.7
  • The modules HAS to be published.
  • It needs to be assigned to the pages/menus you want it to display.
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