3 minutes reading time (623 words)

Getting extensions ready for Joomla 4 - Ryan Demmer (JCE)


I managed to meet Ryan Demmer at the virtual water cooler on a cold morning in early December, and quickly asked him a few questions about his experiences migrating the very popular JCE Editor to Joomla 4. Read on, for valuable advice, from a very experienced Joomla extension developer.

Joomla 4 was released several months ago. What is the status of your extensions? Are they completely compatible yet, or are you still working on them? Are there any you will not be migrating?

JCE Editor (Core and Pro) and JCE MediaBox are all compatible with Joomla 3 and Joomla 4. For Joomla 3, I’ve set the minimum compatible version to 3.9, which makes it easier to keep the extensions compatible with both versions.

What has been your approach for migrating your extensions? A complete rewrite from the ground up, just editing what was needed or somewhere in between?

Prior to the release of JCE 2.7, JCE supported Joomla 1.5, 2.5 and 3, and this was proving to be increasingly difficult to manage. With the announcement of Joomla 4, I began to rebuild a large part of the extension, mainly the Admin Component, to better use the Joomla API, and follow best practices of a standard Joomla extension as much as I could, using a standard MVC structure, JForm and custom fields, core CSS etc.

Obviously there is some custom JavaScript and CSS, but I wanted it to look and work like a standard Joomla extension as much as possible, rather than creating a completely unique interface and style. This has worked out quite well as, apart from some of the custom stuff, it’s largely been about tweaking CSS and layouts. Also making sure the extension worked in PHP 8 helped too, as this forced me to clean up the PHP code and remove stuff that might have caused problems in Joomla 4.

What process do you have in place for helping your users transition from Joomla 3 to Joomla 4?

Not much is required, just the installation of the latest version of JCE! Of course, if you find an issue when migrating, please let me know!

When did you start the process of migrating your extensions? Do you think it was the correct time?

I started around the time of the release of Joomla 4 Alpha 6 or 7, and the first attempt at compatibility was with the release of JCE 2.7.0. I think it was a good idea for me to have started so early, it’s given me and all the JCE users plenty of time to test, make suggestions and report issues. As a one-man-band, I don’t have a team of developers and testers to rely on, so this interaction has been crucial to a successful migration.

What impact has the release of Joomla 4 had on your business? What impact do you expect it to have in the future?

I’ve not really noticed much impact on JCE specifically, apart from what has been required to achieve full compatibility. Personally, I think Joomla 4 is a fantastic release with a lot to offer those new to Joomla and those migrating from Joomla 3. Of course, I will need to maintain compatibility with 2 Joomla versions now for some time, but at this stage it doesn’t look like it will be too difficult a task. 

Do you have any advice for other 3rd party developers who are in the process of, or are considering starting, migration of their extensions to Joomla 4?

Don’t wait too long! I’m sure interest in Joomla 4 is and will be increasing, so if you want to keep users and customers, and get new ones, your extension needs to be Joomla 4 ready as soon as possible.

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