The Joomla! Community Magazine™

Joomla! 1.7 - Division or Fission?

Written by | Friday, 01 July 2011 00:00 | Published in 2011 July
On July 19th, Joomla 1.7 will be released and this version is something special because of various reasons. Before I go into details, I want to mention a few user groups.
Joomla! 1.7 - Division or Fission? Barbara Krawcowicz

Joomla! user groups

There are so many people in the world using Joomla! for their own purpose. Joomla! now powers 2.8% of all existing websites in the world. I’ll just mention a few of them here.

Newbies

If you need a website and you are new to Joomla!, you can download and install it and you can build your website in a very easy way. Even when you are only using the core package, and even if you are just a beginner in this field. If you need help getting started, here is a link: http://cocoate.com/j17 Have fun!

Site Builders, web designers

A site builder usually has existing websites which are based on various Joomla! versions. So the interest is more in questions like:
  • Are there any new features for my clients?
  • Is there something inside that helps me to be more productive?
  • Is there an easy upgrade path?

Developers

  • They know the programming languages PHP and JavaScript and like to use them.
  • They create additional extensions to the Joomla! core for free, or for profit as a business.
  • Developers are always thinking of new features and productivity.

Service Providers

  • They run a business and provide services like hosting, training, and extension and theme development.

Architects

  • They are thinking about security, speed and code quality.

The Joomla! leadership teams

  • They are leading the project in some way and should communicate a clear vision

The Joomla! community

All the groups mentioned above are, or could be, members of ‘the Joomla! community’. Ask yourself ‘What do I expect from a new major release’? Most of these group members are asking themselves:

  • Is Joomla! the right solution for my needs?
  • Can I make money with it?

What’s new in Joomla! 1.7

For people who look at the user interface or to any ‘visible’ features I have a short answer. In the user interface of the alpha version I examined, only one single checkbox is added in the mass mail component. It is now possible to include or exclude blocked users in a mass mail. This is a nice feature but it will not ‘blow your mind’.

[UPDATE July 7th]
An important feature concerning multilanguage is added to Joomla! 1.7 (Multilang in 1.7 What's new?)
[/UPDATE]

Introduction of a Release Cycle

It is not that new, but it’s very necessary to understand it. In 2010, a release cycle of short and long term releases was introduced for Joomla!. Every six months, a new version of Joomla! will be released. It started with Joomla! 1.6 in January 2011 as the first short term release, and it continues now with Joomla! 1.7 as the second short term release.

After three short term releases, a long term release will come up. That means, that every 18 months, a long term release of Joomla! will appear. So, the first long term release will be Joomla! 1.8 in January 2012.

I found two infographics made by Gnumla and Sander Poitjer to visualize the release cycles (Figure 1, Figure 2).

joomla_release_dates
Figure 1: (@gnumax)

sander
Figure 2: Sander Poitjer is working since April 2011 on a #Joomla Development Strategy Infographic!

Support

How does support work with this new release cycle?

Long term releases

If you look at the existing Joomla! 1.5 as a long term release, it will be supported three months after the next long term release. This means that you don’t have to upgrade your existing Joomla! 1.5 site to the upcoming Joomla! 1.7. But, in January 2012, when the next long term release comes out you have to think about updating and in April 2012 you should.

Short term releases

The support for a short term release ends with the release of the next short term release.

Update/Upgrade

If you use the newest version of Joomla! which currently is Joomla! 1.6.4, the update process is as easy as one-click in the backend. If you are using an earlier version of Joomla! you can upgrade with the help of the jUpgrade component written by Matias Aguirre. Keep in mind that it is not necessary to upgrade an existing Joomla! 1.5 site to Joomla! 1.7, but it would make your life easier to update once Joomla! 1.8 is released!

Introduction of the Joomla! platform

This is the first release of Joomla! where the core package consists of two parts
  1. the Joomla! platform
  2. the Joomla! content management system

Joomla! Platform 11.2

The idea of this separation was born after the launch of Joomla! 1.0 in the year 2005 and it took nearly six years to implement it. It will be released on July 4th, and it will change the way developers, architects and service providers deal with Joomla! in the future.

Joomla-PlatformRelease
Well, going Gaga is definitely the right description :) Let’s have a closer look.

Numbering

What confuses me most when I tried this version was the numbering. But, I found a very simple answer to that. The version 11.1 is the actual Joomla! Platform version and the first 'major release' will be 11.2. The numbering scheme for the platform consists of the year number followed by a sequence number, so 11.1 was the first release in 2011. The next release on July 4th will be 11.2. The first release in 2012 will be numbered 12.1.

Release cycle

Every three months a new version of the Joomla! platform will be released.

Package content

The platform package consists of the files stored in the folder /libraries and /media. The platform has no user interface. The platform source code is stored in the Git version control system GitHub.

Advantages and benefits of the separation

  1. It allows developers to use the Joomla Platform independently of the CMS. This means that you’ll have the choice between different CMSs on top of the Joomla! platform in the future. This is really revolutionary! Joomla! is the only system in the world which provides that. There is still one core CMS provided by the Joomla! project but other projects like Molajo could use the Joomla! platform as a base, too.
  2. It allows developers to contribute / add features more quickly In the past it was very frustrating to experience that good code wasn’t always included into Joomla! core. With the Joomla! platform stored on GitHub it is very easy to fork it for your own purpose and it is easy too to integrate your code in the main branch.
  3. 3-month release cycle With this short release cycle it is possible to add features into the platform much quicker than into the CMS. This is useful for extension developers to add core features which are necessary for their extension.
  4. It encourages recruitment of more developers, including larger corporations, who may have not otherwise contributed This point is crucial and it will work when the responsible team for the platform starts embracing these new faces!

Conclusion

The release of Joomla 1.7 and the Joomla! platform 11.2 will not introduce anything that is technically new, but it is the beginning of a new phase of the Joomla! project.

To come back to the headline. In my point of view the Joomla! Platform is the heart beat of the project. It's easy to write a CMS but it's hard to envision, construct, and maintain a long term platform.

Maybe it is the real, true beginning of the Joomla! project. Get involved!!

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Tagged under Feature Stories
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@Hagen: awesome and much needed article! Thank you
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The idea of this separation was born after the launch of Joomla! 1.0 in the year 2005 and it took nearly six years to implement it.

So our new Ebay overlord has nothing to do with it? ;-)
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When I wrote the first Joomla! 1.0 book in 2005, Alex Kempkens was the proof reader and he told me about the wonderful possibilities of Joomla! 1.5 to write applications based on a so called Joomla! Framework. Later on, it wasn't 'really' possible in Joomla! 1.5 but the idea exists from the beginning. I assume Nooku Server today is what they had in mind in 2005.
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As a newbie looking to a Joomla! 1.6 free template, should I worry about all this updating? Should I wait a while? I have already made a Joomla! 1.5 based site - not very well, unfortunately.
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Hi Diane,
you have to think about update processes at any time (same with backup).
But if you don't hack Joomla! core you'll have no problems. The update from 1.6.4 should be a 'one click WordPress style' update and even the templates should survive the update.
Good luck
Hagen
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Thank you... this kind of article should have been released before 1.6 ... to be honest, i was going to loose some trust in the whole project.
I hope that the new strategy will drive and evolve the project as it should have in the past years. New (core) features are very nessecary and badly needed. (besides the very good 3rd party extensions!)

Thanks again, for the article.
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Honestly, I hope that too ...
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I am wondering if it will be a good strategy for add-ins developers. We will have joomla! version x and add-ins version x-1 or x-2... Template developers have to do an extensive works to support many versions...

Website developers will be confused to develop or to support many versions...

All this is not clear for us!
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In this article I tried just to describe what I understood about these things. The "why" and the "how" is for me not easy to grab too!
So we are sitting in one boat :)
Subscribe to this list groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/joomla-dev-framework to be more informed
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Good Work! I love Upgrading processes! :-D
This is just the requested Article.
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I like updating process too, but why J1.6 happened at all?
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1.6 was the first short term release. See above the description of the new release cycle.
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i couldnt get the 1.6 upgrade to work, i simply redid small sites and didnt even try the big sites, if 1.7 comes out is it going to be another migration nightmare again. Why cant we simply just upgrade as we do between numbers like 1.6.2 and 1.6.3.
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It should be a 'one click' update from Joomla! 1.6.4!
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From the point of view of a business person only interested in an easy way to build websites for my small-business clients, Joomla is looking more like a system built with the developer in mind than an easy to maintain website. I'm still unconvinced and considering other options.
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I think this is madness!

Many popular third party extensions and templates are still not available for Joomla 1.6. So it seems inevitable that many will fail to keep pace with the new and ongoing 6-month release cycle. This will leave users with the choice of not upgrading and running an unsupported and likely insecure Joomla installation; or upgrading and forgoing their existing extensions and/or templates.

So to me, this seems like a formula for disaster! But I'd love for someone to convince me that my fears are unfounded :)
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I don't know whether the Joomla! PLT will solve that problem soon but the idea is to have 'one click' updates in the future.
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Ironically, I just realised that the comments for Joomla Community Magazine are powered by a commenting system "Compojoom Comment" which according to the Joomla Extensions Directory, is not yet compatible with Joomla 1.6.
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What I described in the article was about the future - Welcome to the reality :)
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we are hopping for the best of 1.7
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Excellent update! Thank you!
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Oscar Bustamante Saturday, 09 July 2011
Thank you for making this 'in basic terms' to understand. This is truly exciting to know this and makes me see and understand the potential and power that lies underneath.
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I love joomla, but I am troubled by the many upcoming releases. As we stand, documentation for Joomla 1.6 is lacking, so it is difficult to create components, plugins, etc. Although we can copy from working 1.6 native extensions, adhoc developing can be headache for those not so familiar with joomla's technical trail.

Please, as you release this, that and the other, provide appropriate and complete documentation. If proper documentation is contingent on volunteers, keep this in mind as you plan releases.

Bests,
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Oh yes, I will keep that in mind!
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Robert Anthony Pitera Tuesday, 19 July 2011
Geez leave Joomla! alone for a couple of months and this happens! Actually this sounds promising - if the 3PD community is on board with it. Part of what made Joomla! appealing was the enormous 3PD ecosystem. If that goes away or is damaged by these changes, or if another split erupts like in the past, then WordPress will start looking more attractive to me and my clients. But I'm keeping the faith; I've been with the project since the Mambo days and I can't imagine doing a site without it now.
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I saw in a spanish blog dedicated to Joomla! that they are comparing the Molajo project as a distro.
First: Is it correct to descibe Molajo on these terms?
Second: What does it means? I'm a Linux user since a while now, and I'm able to understand the concept for an OS, but for an application?

I hope I don't bother you with my question, but I confess I'm a little bit confused about (many changes in a short time... my brain is overloaded).
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In OS terms a distro is a collection of 'features' around the kernel. With the platform idea the same system will be possible for projects like Molajo. A bunch of 'features' around the Joomla! Plattform.
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By the way, I forgot to thank you for your splendid content! Shame on me!
So, thanks for a so superb content of you sir (with the exception of this ugly eggs relative image... it's obscene if you want my opinion--but you don't want it I'm sure...) See you.
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I have chosen the eggs to demonstrate the new 'twin-structure':)
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This is a wonderful blog where we are getting more information
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Your heading Division or Fission is right on target. Interesting reading other people's comments here too. I sense an overall concern about where Joomla is heading.

Fission - yes, sounds very exciting and I've always favoured new and innovative thinking and I'm sure Joomla is out there carving new paths, and I sort of get what the platform/cms concept is offering.

Division - I'm sure others will identify with what it is like to get a site up and running, sourcing all the modules to get it functioning well, you blink and Joomla has changed. I understand the need to constantly keep ahead of the hackers and security breaches, I understand the need to progress and develop Joomla, but I see all the sites I've developed in recent years using J1.5 becoming redundant. I'll need to spin a long story to my clients as to why they need to spend more money to upgrade their site when it is performing perfectly OK as is.

It is a pity there is not a recognition by the Joomla team that some people don't need all these new features. What they had at time of building the site was all they needed. A better bridge between the two is needed or Joomla will outsmart itself and loose support!
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It is a pity there is not a recognition by the Joomla team that some people don't need all these new features.

exactly!
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Yes now I can work on the Framework only...and claim I know a new Framework...cake and Zend can go for a hike across the milky way ;)
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just trying the captcha good job...
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Thank you for sharing it ! Very nice..
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Thanks for this neath clarification ...
Personally I was wondering if I had to go to Drupal to find a suitable framework to built applications upon ... Can I use the joomla framework for these purposes or is this looking to far ahead or ... into a desert ?
I agree with some comments that it is high time to baseline in a profound way again so that it is clear where the boundaries are between the layers, where they meet each other (through the api I suppose) and that software is not released just to get back in the picture. I also do have concerns about the way to find extensions that fully profit on the latest releases facilities. The community of developers are asked a lot of time to cope with all these changes ... I hope 1.8 will be a real stabilizing period.
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Thanks for Joomla, but the 'going Gaga' thing is very insulting for those of us with an IQ above 70 (meaning those who aren't clinically retarded).
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Hi Andrei, sorry for the gaga thing ... it was an idea and I liked it.
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Comparing with other Cms like drupal , Do you think joomla is best? How?
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There is no "best" CMS. They have all their history and their spirit. Beside Joomla! I use Drupal and WordPress too.
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My major concern is that I have a one-man website development shop with around 80 clients. Right now I still have a few (very few) still running earlier versions of Joomla prior to 1.5 but most run 1.5. I have a couple running 1.6 (1.6.1 ARGH!).

Looking ahead, if I update all of the sites to 1.7, is there anything in development that will allow a script to run and automatically update all sites or will this have to be done individually?
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Hi:

We are looking for professional readymade Joomla 1.7 Templates for

the following modules:

a. Matrimonial [Match Making]
b. Yellow Pages (Directory) with B2B
c. Jobs portal
d. Sale and Purchase of used Cars
e. Sale, Purchase and Rent of properties
f. Classified Advertisements.


These readymade Joomla 1.7 templates shall be used to migrate our

website www.LaoJee.com from PHP to Joomla 1.7.



Kindly advise if you can assist.


Regards
Dr. Saleem Siddiqi
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Sorry if this is a bit off topic.. but in some ways.. it is on topic... I have Joomla 1.7 installed on a few sites and am struggling with finding the best comments component for 1.7.. I played with a few and am looking for something highly polished, slick, and professional.. and, of course, I am willing to pay for that.

Any suggestions?? Are there any in development I should wait for?
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enter your message here...
Luke wrote:
My major concern is that I have a one-man website development shop with around 80 clients. Right now I still have a few (very few) still running earlier versions of Joomla prior to 1.5 but most run 1.5. I have a couple running 1.6 (1.6.1 ARGH!).

Looking ahead, if I update all of the sites to 1.7, is there anything in development that will allow a script to run and automatically update all sites or will this have to be done individually?

BUMP!
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