4 minutes reading time (821 words)

I've a secret to share, but dont tell anyone


Are you a developer who needs to know when you can expect deprecated old functions, an administrator who may have new features to gem up on, or perhaps just nosy and wants to know when the next release is due? Then read on and get the inside knowledge.

I am an old Linux user. There was a distribution that will remain nameless, and it advertised its latest version would be out in April. By June, the main caveat became, “Which year?” Over-optimistic, unrealistic?
It's important to understand that committing to a specific release date can be a risky proposition. The potential for over-optimism and unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment and loss of trust.

For years, Joomla would keep its exact release dates a closely guarded secret for years. No one likes to fall short, and so it was understandable to be nervous about such an announcement.

Wind of change

So it was doubly bold when George Wilson, the sole release manager for Joomla 4, nailed his colours to the mast and nailed the Joomla 4 release date once it was announced.

It had been a long time in the coming but the last push was announced - and stuck to!

It was Benjamin Trenkle, the Joomla 4.1 release manager, who announced the date right from the start and worked with others to form a release plan.

The 2 years to a major release and 6 months between minor releases was proposed and initially there was a lot of negative feedback. Some changes to the month of the releases were proposed and so the March/August release period moved to April/October and with it the releases rolled out:

  • Joomla 4.1 on the 15 February 2022
  • Joomla 4.2 16th August 2022
  • Joomla 4.3 18th April 2023
  • Joomla  5.0 and 4.4 17th October 2023
  • Joomla 5.1 16th April 2024

The roadmap is on the Joomla Developers portal: https://developer.joomla.org/roadmap.html and shows that the next release is 

  • Joomla 5.2 15th October 2025
  • Joomla 5.3 15th April 2025
  • Joomla 6.0 and 5.4 on the 21st October 2025

In the developer portal, the 6-week releases are all planned out.

Release dates are no secret

So why am I saying it's a secret if it is all published and out in the open?

Well, because I keep hearing it's a secret that if only developers knew and could plan: how are we meant to plan if we don't know? Well, we have all known for over two years, but the message seems to still need saying so that it spreads far and wide.

It is precisely because we have this release cycle that we can plan, work towards the finished product, and know when to write articles and publicise the releases.

More than that, another comment that I keep hearing is, “How can extension developers know what to do when something is deprecated?”

That was the whole point behind manual.joomla.org, an initiative realised some years ago. 
It collects all the changes and updates a developer might need in an easy-to-use manual.

More than that, all the Joomla code has these comments in the files:


     * Custom clean the cache of com_content and content modules


     * @param   string   $group     The cache group

     * @param   integer  $clientId  No longer used, will be removed without replacement

     *                              @deprecated   4.3 will be removed in 6.0


     * @return  void


     * @since   1.6




     * Application object.


     * @var    \Joomla\CMS\Application\CMSApplication

     * @since  3.9.0


     * @deprecated  5.1.0 will be removed in 7.0 use $this->getApplication() instead


    protected $app;


     * Database object.


     * @var    \Joomla\Database\DatabaseDriver

     * @since  3.9.0


     * @deprecated  5.1.0 will be removed in 7.0 use $this->getDatabase() instead


    protected $db;

How cool is that? The code no longer has just that stomach-churning message.

@deprecated  5.1.0 will be removed in 7.0, but the all-important helpful comment - use $this->getDatabase() instead, or the equally helpful

No longer used, will be removed without replacement

So with that helpful comment system throughout all the Joomla code, developers can quickly find the information they need.

So if you come across someone suggesting that the development cycle is in some ways covered in secrecy or that developers are resourceless to fix the changes that Joomla's march to progress brings, point them here and suggest they read up on what we have been pushing out for some years now.

If you can think of further improvements or want to help get the message out, please sign up to the volunteer portal and join Mattermost. There are many articles to explain how, such as Getting the most out of Mattermost, and then you can join a team or find help to get your ideas out from one of the channels, such as Joomla Improvers. And this one will help you on your way if you're new to the community and want to help out: Finding your way in the Joomla community 

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