Joomla 5, find out who is in the driving seat
Wait, what? Joomla 5? Surely that’s a typo?
It is not. You read correctly: Joomla 5 is on the horizon and due to land in October 2023. JCM has the pleasure to meet with Release Manager Harald Leithner, who is excited about all the improvements coming our way!
First of all, Harald thanks for meeting virtually for this interview. I know you through our time doing the releases of Joomla 3 and that fun day we were involved with the launch of Joomla 4 but for those who don't know you, or those who are new to the project, please give us a quick intro.
Thanks for the interview Phil, I’m happy to be involved in Joomla! 5.0 development process as Release Manager. Besides that, I’m also the Operations Department Coordinator and co-organiser of the Joomla D-A-CH. I have had an IT company since 2002 and use Joomla since (and before) 1.0 to create websites and web applications.
Just to show how rounded you are as a human, can you share one hobby or interest that's totally unrelated to Joomla or websites?
What do you mean by “unrelated to Joomla”? I’m addicted to the tech world in all aspects from hosting and housing web applications and servers to managing company networks. That said it doesn’t mean I don’t have a personal life, I meet regularly with friends and go on excursions with my family.
Can you tell us how you first came across Joomla?
That's 2 questions in one! Coming to Joomla itself was through Mambo. And coming to Mambo was because I needed a CMS that was not written by myself. The alternatives were too complicated or didn’t fit my needs. Coming to the community is the other question, which is easy to answer. I got caught by the community on my first (the second) Joomla!Day Austria in Vienna.
You are a member of the community; many use Joomla and don't give back to the community so what made you decide to make that journey from user to community member?
It’s always hard to say what hooks you into one topic but I think it was simply the people who gave me so much more than I thought I could give back. Going on that journey, I learned so many things as part of my different positions, not only development skills but also social skills by leading teams or just interacting with other members on Github, Mattermost, and Joomla Events.
At first, I was scared. I expect many other people to be scared too when they first meet new people but with time you find friends and learn everything you need to know about being a community member.
Do you use Joomla 4 in your daily life? And if yes, then what do you like most over Joomla 3?
Of course! I must confess to my shame that I still have customer sites running on Joomla 3. That doesn’t mean I create any new sites on J3; all my new sites are J4. There are so many things in Joomla 4 I really like that it’s hard to pick 1 or 2. But from a developer point of view, I love the new (old-new) MVC, it makes it much cleaner how Joomla does things. Also, the web asset manager is really a step forward and of course, the new administrator template makes Joomla a lot fresher. (We know not everything is perfect).
Is there anything about Joomla 3 you miss or think we left out?
Hmm, can’t think of anything I miss from Joomla 3 in Joomla 4.
What are your plans for Joomla 5.0?
Since Niels Braczek is not available as Release Manager due to his illness, it is a bit more difficult to get everything under one hat, but we have a good maintainer team as well as a release team that takes care of everything important regarding the release. Get well soon Niels!
In the meantime, Benjamin Trenkle supports me on the road to J5.0.
Plans are always hard to fulfil, nevertheless. I have a personal roadmap besides the improvements other people will contribute, for example, we have a (hopefully last) TUF sprint at the end of June. Also, I’m excited about a couple of Smart Search improvements, like custom field support and fine-tuning the taxonomy properties. On my personal roadmap, I have the cleanup part. I’m in the process of creating a b/c (backward compatibility) plugin which tries to cover as much of the deprecated stuff in this plugin and could be disabled if your website uses only fully Joomla 5 compatible extensions.
As part of the cleanup, I would like to see a couple of performance improvements by caching cost-intensive code paths like the layout helper path finding function or the template override finder. On the other hand, I would like to introduce base templates which decouple the CMS from its loosely bound (in frontend) to bootstrap. Sadly another announced feature will likely not be in Joomla 5.0: the Multidomain / Multisite feature, which had its kick-off meeting at the Cloudfest hackathon. As a result of this sprint I personally think it’s too complex to bring it to Joomla 5.0 within the next couple of months.
As requested by the community and voted by the production department, Joomla 5 will be as compatible as possible with Joomla 4. We will have some b/c breaks which can’t be avoided in some areas for security reasons or when the effect is minimal (for example removing code that hasn’t been used since J1.6).
Is there anything you want to change or introduce, anything you think we could do better as we go through the process of making a new major Joomla version?
As always you can improve every process. At this point I could say that longer plans only create bigger b/c issues, so having smaller time frames between releases makes upgrading much smoother and less time-consuming for site owners and agencies.
Thank you Harald for taking the time to share your thoughts with us and good luck with all your work in making Joomla 5 a reality!
Parlez-vous Français? Here's the French translation: https://www.joomla.fr/actualites/joomla-5-decouvrez-qui-est-aux-commandes
The Migration from J3 to J4 was very hard and I needed to charge my clients. They won't except another one. So please make it an easy upgrade.