Joomla 4 is on the horizon: The Release Candidate
Earlier this month Joomla 4 Release Candidate was made available, and Release Candidate 2 came out last week. With a fortnightly release schedule for updated RC releases, Joomla 4 is fast approaching the stable release, and you can get involved in the final stages.
Having spent much of the last year testing Joomla 4 since its Beta release just over twelve months ago, it has been interesting to see how much it’s changed during the Beta phase. Now that the Release Candidate is available, I’m excited to see how quickly extension developers have been working to release Joomla 4 RC compatible versions of their extensions.
With each release, particular features of Joomla 4 are going to be highlighted in the announcement posts. Subscribe to Joomla's official newsletter to be sure not to miss out on release announcements and what's next to be highlighted.
For RC2, the spotlight was on Accessibility and having checked out the Additional Accessibility Features plugin after this week’s announcement, it's one of many enhancements in Joomla 4 that improves Joomla's accessibility functionality compared to previous versions.
The plugin isn't the only place accessibility has been improved in Joomla 4. With an aim to achieve AA Compliance with W3C Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, lots of work has been done on implementing A11y features. Amongst the pull requests I've tested in the past year, I've noticed particular concentration on the implementation of Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) attributes, alongside changes that improve the deployment of image alt tags.
To get ready for Joomla 4.0, the Release Candidate phase enables extension and template developers to work on preparing their extensions and templates for the stable release of Joomla! 4.0. Developers, as well as users, are encouraged to test the package for issues and to report issues in the Joomla! CMS Issue Tracker.
Test sites based on this release candidate can be taken through to stable but it's not recommended to use this version to create a production site. There will be an upgrade path between release candidates and the final release candidate to the stable of Joomla 4.0 should you wish to try a new site build.
In testing the RC myself I'm appreciating the work done by extension developers to start releasing Joomla 4 Beta compatible versions of their extensions.
Overcoming weeks, work on 3.10 Alpha and is going to be concentrated on finalising the migration tools that will assist users easily migrate production sites to Joomla 4 when the stable version is released.
The migration will work by first upgrading your J3.9 site to J3.10, which will be available the day J4.0 is stable. J3.10 has a compatibility checker to help guide you through the migration to J4.0.
The Pre-Update check looks at all the extensions you have installed on your site, then checks whether they're already ready for Joomla 4, need to be updated before you migrate to Joomla 4, or still need to have a Joomla 4 version released.
You can help by testing 3.10 Alpha on a development copy of your production website. You'll be able to quickly gain an insight as to whether migrating is going to be easy for you. If you find a large number of extensions are not ready for Joomla 4, get in touch with the extension developer to find out about their Joomla 4 roadmap.
In the announcement posts for the Release Candidate, getting involved with the Joomla! Bug Squad is mentioned as to how you can get involved with Joomla! Development.
However, coding's not everyone's forte. Never fear! There are many other ways you can contribute.
Of particular note in the lead up to the release of Joomla 4, there's lots of work needed on writing Joomla Documentation. Technical writers are needed to help complete the To-Do List of Joomla 4 Tutorials. There are lots of maintenance tasks needing to be done. Existing documentation articles need updated screen captures and to be checked that their content is still accurate for Joomla 4.