Getting extensions ready for Joomla 4 - Steve Burge (Joomlashack)
Joomla 4 stable is coming closer every day! If you have been around since Joomla 2.5, or even 1.5 or 1.0, you may remember upgrading as a difficult process, mainly caused by extensions not being ready for the new major version. With Joomla 4 on the way, the JCM asks extension developers what’s going to happen with their extension(s). Joomlashack has been around from the very beginning of Joomla, so if anyone knows what to do when a new major version comes out, it’s them! This month we had the pleasure of talking to Joomlashack’s CEO Steve Burge, who is pleasantly surprised by the smoothness of Joomla 4.
Thanks for joining us in this series, Steve! Could you tell us a little about your extensions?
We develop 32 extensions, ranging from huge products to tiny plugins. You can see the full list here.
If you ask most Joomla people about Joomlashack, my guess is that most people know us for OSMap, which is a sitemap extension. After that, our next five most popular extensions are:
- Shack Forms: a forms extension with over 300 reviews.
- JCal Pro: an events calendar extension.
- OSDownloads: a file download manager.
- OSCampus: a learning management system.
- OSEmbed: embed almost anything in Joomla.
What will happen with your extensions when J4 is released? Will they be compatible or will the developers have to provide complete new versions?
Our developers are working on Joomla 4 updates and they have been pleasantly surprised. They say that the changes in Joomla 4 are genuine improvements.
About half of our extensions were built by our team, and about half were adopted from other developers. As a consequence, some extensions will be easier to update than others. We probably won’t have all 32 extensions ready for the day when Joomla 4 stable is ready. However, we do plan to have the most popular extensions available.
It may be that our line-up of extensions will change. As we go down the list of current extensions, we’ll evaluate each one to see how useful it will be for Joomla 4 users. There will also be opportunities to adopt extensions from other Joomla developers.
As a developer, would you say it is important to start preparing extensions as soon as possible?
In an ideal world, yes! But in practice, not necessarily! We have been through several major version changes in Joomla, but also in Drupal, WordPress, Magento and PHP. We have often started too early in the development cycle and then had to redo our work between Alpha, Beta, and Release Candidate versions.
However, it is important to test as early as possible. It’s vital to be involved with the upgrade process and to provide regular feedback. This ensures that you are prepared for the final release, but also allows the Joomla team to hear from users.
We’ve been testing and writing about Joomla 4 since 2017. This has helped us learn about the changes and share that knowledge with our audience.
What impact do the different types of Joomla versions have on the update of extensions (alpha, beta, RC)?
Joomla 4 has been surprisingly smooth. With versions 2.5 and 3.0, we saw major changes during these stages. I have seen very little of that with Joomla 4.
How do you expect the launch of J4 to impact your business?
Now that is a difficult question! Joomlashack is still growing every month, with more users and more revenue. But these big changes are always tricky. The answer will probably depend on how smooth the update process is. If Joomla users can move to Joomla 4 with few headaches, I think we’ll be fine. If the update process is difficult, then we will struggle, along with Joomla in general. So all our effort at Joomlashack will focus on making the update process as smooth as possible. Our aim is to provide one single file that can be installed on both Joomla 3 and Joomla 4.
Is there anything else you would like to advise our readers regarding extensions and Joomla 4?
If you want to stay on Joomla 3, that’s great. It will be a safe and reliable platform for a few years to come. We will support Joomla 3 for several more years.
If you want to move forward to Joomla 4, it’s time to get excited. Joomla 4 will be a better platform than the current version, and it will give a lot of new features.
Poco a poco nos acercamos finalmente a Joomla 4 y es notable el esfuerzo por crear un CMS tan robusto, confiable y fácil de utilizar, ojala el proceso de migración no represente mayores inconvenientes y que el foro de Joomla este listo para ayudar a todo aquel que lo necesite porque en ese momento será indispensable hacer del foro nuestro mayor recurso colaborativo.
Larga vida a Joomla y a todos quienes utilizamos este grandioso CMS.