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Know what to expect in Joomla 4 - Interview with George Wilson at JAB 2017

Know what to expect in Joomla 4 - Interview with George Wilson at JAB 2017

At the Joomla & Beyond Conference this year in Poland, the Marketing team was on a mission. With Joomla 3.7 already out and Joomla 4 just a few versions away, we had to get the inside scoop on what is happening with Joomla 4. And what better way to find this than catch hold of George Wilson - The release lead for Joomla ! 

So here is the full transcript of the interview. 

Ufuk : Hi George! Can you tell us how you got involved in Joomla?

George : I started using Joomla around 2009 as part of a gaming community. We were using Joomla to manage its members & using Kunena for its forums. Post that me & my friend got interested in software & started playing around with it.I fell in love with the community really! It was 2012 by the time I got involved with Joomla as a project.

Ufuk : Great! So Joomla 3.7 just released. Any thoughts about that?

George : I think 3.7 is a really strong release. We are doing a lot of things much better. I was personally quite taken with the Multilingual associations extension. I think that think is going to make a big different for people building multilingual websites with Joomla. It will be a big game changer and will make Joomla even stronger at something its really good at. I am also really looking forward to the rest of Joomla 3 as well.. For instance, the new router is coming in 3.8. It looks really promising.

Ufuk : You are the release lead for Joomla! 4. How did you get involved & what is your  Vision for Joomla! 4 ?

George : We had a couple of false starts for Joomla! 4 already. This is now the third attempt to make Joomla! 4 work.Obviously we are going to be making people upgrade websites ..which is you something you should never do lightly. However have reached the time and place where this needs to happen.. We are at a point where we are maintaining too much code and it’s becoming hard to make releases of the software without doing substantial clean up that will involve breaks for extensions in limited cases.

When we started Joomla 4 one of the key motivators was to clean up a lot of the code and make sure there is one good way of doing things. Then hopefully we can make the software less buggy for extension developer and make things more cleaner in the future.

Ufuk : What challenges have the team have faced as you’ve developed Joomla 4? 

George : I think, there’s been have been several things. One of the things that’s personally taken  me by surprise was that Bootstrap 4 has taken substantially longer to come out than we thought. It’s still in Alpha phase. Of course everyone in Open Source projects has delays - we have taken more time for Joomla! 4 that we thought.. But still Bootstrap being still in late alpha was something we did not expect. Overall there are lots of nooks and crannies in the code that have taken us more time than we expected.

Ufuk : What are the major features for Joomla! 4 both for developers and site integrators? 

George : So for Site integrators who are  probably the main target group for Joomla - There’s some really nice features there. We’ve completely rewritten the Media Manager, with a fresh interface and now you are able to edit images inside the media manager, which is really cool. We’ve also got fresh templates coming based on Bootstrap 4 for both the admin and the frontend. On top of that we’ve also got a new single page installer.

Ufuk : What is the upgrade path going to be like for developers & site integrators?

George : The upgrade path should be reasonably easy. We are doing two things to try and make this easier. The first thing is that - when we do Joomla 3.9, we won’t have any major features in but we will be adding a compatibility layer. This means for extension developers you can have a code base, that can run on 3.9 and Joomla 4 without any major issues. 

The hardest bit for extension developers will obviously be removing any deprecated code that extension developers might be using and updating the extension markup to support Bootstrap 2 & Bootstrap 4 (To support both Joomla 3 and Joomla 4). But the actual process for developers should be really easy and as a result the will also be really easy for site integrators. We all know that one of the biggest problems is, ensuring that your templates and extensions all up to date. And if it’s easier for extension developers to be compatible with a new version, it will be easier for the site integrators.

Ufuk : What are the plans for the future development and will we see a Joomla! 4 stable version this year?

George : We are rapidly reaching point where we can start tightening our releases. I’m hoping that a Alpha to happen within the next week or two. When i say alpha, i mean that will be something, that will be buggy,it will be featuring incomplete. But it will be something that we want the community start looking at and talking about and giving feedback.

Because we will have have namespaced on our extensions, we have rebuilt the plugin system to make it faster. We will have got all these new templates in and it’s now time to take a step back and say that now we’ve got time to start thinking about anything else.The longer term aim is that - Once the GSOC projects for this year finish, we’ll start looking at what we can bring to the core. After that - It will take what time it takes to get a stable version. If we are lucky we can get something out this year but hard to say how much time it will take to get things stable

Ufuk : Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. Subscribe to Joomla! on YouTube for more interviews like this!


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