Joomla! 1.7 - Division or Fission?
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! user groupsThere 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.
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 designersA 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?
- 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.
- They run a business and provide services like hosting, training, and extension and theme development.
- 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?)
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).
Figure 1: (@gnumax)
Figure 2: Sander Poitjer is working since April 2011 on a #Joomla Development Strategy Infographic!
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.
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! platformThis is the first release of Joomla! where the core package consists of two parts
- the Joomla! platform
- 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.
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.
Every three months a new version of the Joomla! platform will be released.
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.
- code: https://github.com/joomla/joomla-platform
Advantages and benefits of the separation
- 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.
- 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-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.
- 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!
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!!