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Nine Points to Leverage when Selling a Joomla! 2.5 Upgrade

Written by | Sunday, 01 April 2012 00:00 | Published in 2012 April
While the release of Joomla! 2.5 was a great success for Joomla! and its community, it also left a lot of your clients running older versions wondering "what do I do now? Should I upgrade now or wait until later?" This article will highlight some key aspects that will aid your clientele in making a sound business decision.

The Negatives of Not Upgrading

Security – increased risk of being hacked:

This is by far the biggest reason for upgrading. After September 2012, security releases for 1.5 will no longer be available. This leaves your clients’ websites vulnerable to newly discovered security exploits. Downtime, reputation, data loss or many of the other negatives associated with security breaches are major concerns for most people and should be discussed with your client.

Stagnation – harder / more expensive to add new features:

As each new version of Joomla! becomes available, extension developers focus their programming efforts on newer versions and phase out support for older versions. This means that extensions will become harder to find or may not be available at all. So, the addition of a needed feature may require custom development, which can be expensive.

Technology Obsolescence

Server and browser technology is continually being changed and improved. As newer versions of PHP and MySQL phase in older versions will begin to phase out. Hosting providers will begin migrating to the improved platforms possibly leaving older installs in the dust.

As end-user technology such as computers, mobile devices, and browsers improve and change, they focus on the newer technology and web standards. Websites built on older technology cannot take advantage of these newer features and in some instances may not be accessible to them. Your client may lose part of their audience and may give their competitors an advantage. Mobile is a great example of this.

Investments in an older version may not transfer during upgrades

If your client is making investments in their current 1.0 / 1.5 site it may not easily update and they may have to redo some of that work after upgrading to 2.5.

The Positives of Upgrading

Improved Search Engine Optimization

Joomla! has come a long way in terms of its out-of-the-box SEO features. It allows you greater control over many behind-the-scenes SEO factors.

Better SEO means it is easier for prospects to find your client and more revenue for their business.

Easier management of content and productivity improvements

There have been a number of improvements in the management side of the website. If you are managing the site yourself, it can save you valuable time. If you are paying someone to manage it for you, it can save you money because changes can be made quicker.

Easier “One-Click” upgrades with update notification

The Joomla! update process has been greatly improved in 2.5 and offers numerous benefits for your client including better security, saved time and saved expenses.

Access to the latest improvements and newest features

Joomla! 2.5 allows access to all of the most recent improvements and features. This is an invaluable selling point and a major benefit of the upgrade.

Do your clients have to upgrade immediately?

No. Even as the versions of Joomla! reach “End-of-life,” the websites will continue to function just as they did before. There are certain risks associated with not upgrading or with delaying the upgrade, but you do not have to upgrade.

Join us next month as we look at the risks associated with not upgrading and some the major cost factors involved in the upgrade process.

What are some other positive or negative selling points you see for Joomla! 2.5? Leave your comments below and add to the discussion on upgrading to Joomla! 2.5.

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Tagged under Business Matters
Don Cranford

Don Cranford

Hello, my name is Don. I'm a Principal at Katalyst Creative Group and we specialize in Web Design, SEO, Branding, Graphic Design and Content Development. I have been working with Joomla since the Mambo days and love the Joomla community. I have over 20 years in the telecommunications and Internet industry. In my free time, I love running, music and camping.

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Don, thanks for sharing this information, we have no encountered issues where server updates are also an issue. Joomla V1 sites, which need to be upgraded as they are now not running on latest server environments.

Its vital to also communicate this aspect to clients.

The problem is that most clients do not understand the difference between software on a server and software being used to run a website.

This becomes an area where communication is vital.
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Hey Matthew, that is a problem especially for Joomla 1.0 sites. As I'm sure that you're aware, Joomla 1.0 only run on PHP 5.2 or below unless you modify some of the code. PHP 5.3 is the most common version now. PHP 5.4 just recently came out and you'll start seeing hosting companies moving that direction later this year.
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Hi Don,

The core dilemma my clients (and I through advising them) have faced is this exact decision. Not really a decision as to if we should upgrade, but more of a decision of what Extensions to try to rescue and what ones need to be replaced and how much it will cost them to do so.
Some extensions have been slow to make the move to 1.6 - 2.5 and has caused a problem for some users.
My solution to try to mitigate this effect of the Joomla! major release cycle is to advise my clients to keep Extension sprawl to a minimum. The fewer extensions, by different suppliers the better. For example (real), I have recently advised a client who had several different content management applications, that included front end submissions, and user generated content in general to make the switch to ONE CCK (Zoo) and build from there. Less applications, less dependence on too many different development groups with different code bases (not to mention using various versions of the the same and different Javascript libraries, another topic completely).

Great article though. Thanks.
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Hey Cameron, I couldn't agree more. I am a firm believer in only using the extensions that you really need. I've seen business sites that look more like a playground where the admin installed every extension they could. That makes for a real pain to upgrade as well as it makes it more challenging to maintain. You have to monitor all of those different extensions for updates / security issues.
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Hi Don,

Migrating to 2.5 is probably a good thing. But something else is going that the joomla community is slow to recognize. The upgrade/migration from 1.5x to 2.5x is a disaster. When you look at the various forums you'll see that thousands of users are struggling with many are afraid to even attempt. Jugrade is not up to the task it will only migrate simple sites. The other available upgrade utilities have similar problems. There are over 50 million joomla 1.5 sites. This is only the start of an avalanche of problems. The developers seem to be focused on extending/improving 2.5 rather then helping with this problem.
We should have a poll on the frontpage of joomla.org to map the extend of the migration problem.

Gert
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There are definitely issues with JUpgrade. SP Upgrade is a better alternative. The "development community" is aware of the challenges and recognizes it as an important consideration going forward. There was a lot of discussion around that issue when discussing whether to extend the security updates for Joomla 1.5 beyond April. There was a lot of agreement that the easier we can make the upgrade/migration process, the more sites we'll see move to the newer version.
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Upgrade from 1.5 to 2.5 is pain, I'm having all the time request on freelance projects to help with that and I don't want to bother, since the amount of money people ready to give for that is far less then amount of work and confusion I have to have to do that.
No thanks, at this point avoid it, until end of year maybe...
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Guys, i have updated more than 8 websites from 1.5 to 2.5 and i can say that it's pretty easy :)
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I find two problems with urging my clients, who are mostly non-profits and very very small businesses to upgrade:

1. They don't have the finances to pay for my services nor do they have the finances to pay for newer extensions (and for the most part I'm finding better coded extensions) to replace the older 1.5 functions.

2. They see the benefits and downsides that you mention, but their businesses are so small that they don't see the business sense in spending the money.

On the other hand, having done about four conversions, I'm finding that when I install a clean copy of Joomla 2.5 and the new template and start from scratch, I can do the content conversion in two steps: a) run JUpgrade and then ignore everything in the original database but content and b) use the terrific SP Transfer extension to bring users, weblinks, articles, categories, and permissions over.

It's labor-intensive but clean.

Thanks for your article.

By the way, I sort of disagree with the statement to keep extension use down because it really depends upon what the client's requirements are for their site. I'm dealing with quite a different client than larger multi-department and multi-user sites here. For small businesses, I have a package of extensions that provide blog, security, editor, forum (if needed), newsletter connection, event manager (if needed), backup and system maintenance, and SEO. Photo galleries and video galleries, as well as other visual marketing tools and social network connections also sometimes are needed. It really depends on requirements. I wouldn't make blanket statements about limiting features although I understand what is being said about bogging down sites with unnecessary bloat.
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Hello Rita,
Thanks for your comments and for sharing your approach to upgrading.

I don't think every business or organization should upgrade. I think each organization needs to look at their particular situation and make a judgment call based on need and cost and weigh that against the risks of not upgrading.

In terms of minimizing the number of extensions, I think the question is what is really needed for the site. If the extension is needed to further the objectives of the site and/or make it easier to manage, then by all means, go for it. On the reverse side, the more extensions you have on the site, the more you have to monitor for security patches, the more you have to deal with when you do upgrades, and depending on the extension, the more it can potentially slow down your site.

I don't think there are many absolutes here. It really needs to be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
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Good comments here. I found that after migrating from Joomla! 1.0x to 1.5x that I would wait for things to settle down before attempting to migrate to the latest 2.5x. I have competent programmers that handle this kind of work, but I have to say, it does take time and clients are hesitant after they find out the costs involved, especially the ones with lots of extensions (as already mentioned).

With that said, security is a HUGE issue and after I warn clients about it, not long after they come back to me with a wanting the upgrade or wait too long, get hacked and we have to fix the site and also migrate. If you stay with 1.5, secure it! I see probing bots constantly hitting sites so the hackers are looking for any kind of vulnerability.
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My personal comment/opinion about that is... this is a usual, cyclic and traumatic issue for all (deeply skilled or not into Joomla! CMS; web master, developers, enthusiastic user or "super user")!

Uh! some IT experiences says: "don't fix if isn't broken". Vulnerabilities are most understood inside some "banned extensions" that in "old" core code, isn't it?.

Dear Don, I'm absolutely agree with your nines points...(one day, this upgrade must be done! absolutely) but I still some refusals to understand benefits to "force" this upgrade before that "the community" is not ready with an detailed documentation about issues and some robust and automatized checks and certificates migrate tools. [Yes, I know... Voluntaries! But 30,000,000 downloads is not a "small" stuff... and these issues are so common into software life cycle that.. we are ready for J3.5 now!?!?!]

I mean... I'm expecting that "community" may see and solve some dogmatic misunderstoods like versus inside install extension xml manifest for installing "old" extensions into J2.5.; Why? Which concrete benefits for these huge discontinuities (one of more)? Is a real evolution or involution? Surely... some "more compatibility" options with the nearest long term versions extensions can be done/actived only if you really understand what you are doing and you know what kind of code you are using... but if you have "hundreds" old extensions to test with support discontinued or try to discover nearest to well knowed old extension and fully functional to an new never tested and verified one... this is a big problem.

My personal wishes/needs/development before "evangelize" to do this jobs in massive mode from 1.5.26 to 2.5.x are:

- an extension release for pre-migration check-up on website (an administrative component for J1.5 for discover all extension installed/published/operative on website and verify presents into JED J2.5 release support). [Perhaps JED can have API ready for that?]
- an extension "packager" for old templates J1.5 to J2.5 [ok... not so usefull if J2.5 enable to accept copy/paste templates files like J1.5].
- Some review into J2.5 template compatibility schema with "old stuff" like "left","right","user1" (like aliases? compatibility mode? like these positions are those?)
- ALSO. Realy! I WISH an great annunciation from "leadership community": We've joked! J1.5 NEED (an "long term" version installated everywhere around the world) that security support are maintained until "we are sure and ready to upgrades most J1.5 to J2.5 without huge trouble for our community with THESE TOOLS".

Really, I'm say "we" need to do some extra work around that to push gracefully this job (not all Joomla! based website are so "linear" as expected)... and "the community evolution and growing continuity" is an absolute great value to preserve, isn't it?
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Just tell them it's better for Google SERPs, they will fall over in the rush to get it then
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It's actually more of a security risk to have the latest version of a relatively new release than it is to have a rigorously tested stable EOL product. Same rule applies to all the extensions. If you and your host know what you are doing, I don't see it as unreasonable to stick with an EOL product for a year or so if time and resources do not allow more timely progress.
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will chrono form get effected and all other modules and plugin when the upgrade happens.
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