Who is Patrick Jackson?
Joomla 4: What to expect?
I’ve been using Joomla since it was Mambo. This month I’ve installed the Joomla 4 “Beta Dev” version and here are a few of the new features you should get excited about...
Start getting ready for Joomla 4
I’m excited. I’ve seen Joomla evolve since I was first using Mambo, and in the past few weeks have been giving the Joomla 4 Beta Dev a working over in putting this article together for the Joomla Community Magazine (JCM). And I’m impressed. It’s good. Nearly over the line. Start considering what you’ll need to do to migrate. There are a few things still needing some love and attention, so get involved, mainly so I can start rolling J4 out!
There are lots of new features, but there’s a few that change the way you’ll be using Joomla into the future.
Workflow V2 has just been merged into the latest beta dev package and is the one feature I’ve been hoping to see in Joomla since J1.0. To have it in the core is going to change how you think of using Joomla for a variety of publishing projects.
Even if you’re just a solo blogger, you’ll be able to use Workflow to improve your own creative process. Implementing a site for a small to a medium enterprise? Then you can use Workflow to create an editorial process to action steps in your publishing process. The game-changer? Large enterprises - corporates, NGOs, NFPs, government, agencies - can use Joomla 4’s Workflow to manage their content development sitewide.
From managing user-generated content through to scheduling and featuring the CEO’s COVID-19 bulletins (getting lots of those lately?) larger organisations can fine-tune the process to their organisational needs.
In under an hour, I’ve set up and tested my workflow, ending up with 8 stages and 11 transitions that will help automate how my articles end up published:
- Stages set the step of the workflow. I’ve started with an Idea stage, then move through First and Final Drafts before it goes to the Editors. They can then send it back to the Author for review, or move it on to the Publisher group to schedule and publish the article. Once published, a final stage converts the article at EOL to Archived.
Stages define which stage the content is in your workflow. This is an example blog workflow I'm implementing on my site.
- Transitions move the article through the workflow. So as the article needs to move through the stages above, the transitions are available in the article, and you can then select the next transition from the options available at the current stage. For example, once published, there are transitions available to Feature or Unfeature the article, Unpublish it for editing, or Archive the article.
Transitions change the stage, and optionally the publishing and featured states when selected.
- I can then set up my users in the Author, Editor and Publisher access control groups, and they’ll be able to only access the transitions they have permission for. So Authors can move the article all the way from Idea to Ready for Editing while keeping track of the articles they have in the First Draft and Final Draft as they complete their content development.
Set the permissions to give access to the transition to each user group you want to make it available to.
- Once you have your workflow configured, you assign it via the category settings.
- When you start creating an article in the category you've assigned the workflow to, you'll see the Transitions listed on the Content tab.
It’s a feature that might take a bit more time to get your head around, and I’ll be putting some more JCM articles and tutorials together on it as I see this as one of the features that’s going to make people rethink Joomla going forward.
Find out more about how to use the new Workflow features in the Joomla Documentation.
So when I saw the shortlist of features in August’s Alpha 11 Release announcement the next one to catch my eye was the new Media Manager.
I’ve always been frustrated by having to delete the contents of folders first before I can delete the folders, or needing to locally edit and upload an image again for something minor like cropping or resizing.
Like many users, the JCE File Browser has been my goto replacement for the Media Manager in earlier versions of Joomla.
Those frustrations are about to become a distant memory.
From the first click, the Media Manager just felt silky smooth. Dragging and dropping multiple files to upload. Selecting multiple files and folders (with contents) and deleting them seamlessly. Display files in a thumbnail grid, or switch to a list, and even see the properties for the file.
You can also edit an image, cropping, resizing or rotating it from in the Media Manager directly.
Clean. Quick. Exciting.
You can give Joomla 4 a try now for free at launch.joomla.org and see the Media Manager in action.
When the developer post said “Install Joomla in the blink of an eye”, I was curious. Brian Teeman at JoomlaDay Melbourne in 2013 was skiting how he could install Joomla 3 in 14 seconds (having already had the MySQL database set up).
With a few more installations under my belt, I’ll get it down to 10 seconds easily. It’s certainly fewer questions and fewer things to check than Joomla 3.
Sure, it took a few seconds to unpack the Joomla package file in cPanel File Manager, and a few more in the MySQL Database Wizard. But as soon as I triggered the installation, I was clicking the “Remove installation folder” and was logged into the backend in under a minute.
Much much more...
There’s much more coming in Joomla 4, and I’m looking forward to finding it and sharing it with the wider Joomla community as the release gets closer.
Some other features I’m doing my homework on for more JCM articles include:
- Taking a look at the new Joomla 4 Web Services - Does this mean Joomla can be used potentially as a "headless CMS"?
- HTML email templates - you’ve been able to customise your site's email communications with language overrides… but in Joomla 4, you can now jazz up your messaging by formatting it with HTML.
- Override Updates - Joomla 4 now has a tool that checks that your overrides are up to date based on changes in the latest Joomla release.
Add in improved features for accessibility and security, an improved and expanded CLI, a cleaner codebase, and you’ll see why many contributions made over many hours by many volunteers see Joomla 4 around the corner.
All of the major migration extension developers are now on board to provide tools to migrate sites all the way from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 3.10 into Joomla 4.0, so now the countdown to Joomla 4.0 begins.
Comment below to tell us what you’re looking forward to in Joomla 4.
Greek: Joomla 4: Τι να περιμένουμε;
In regards to Mediamanager:
- Will there be a possibility to configure default file path and a tag like /images/[username] ?
- Even better if there as add on to this would be an ACL configuration where you can give Editors, admin etc access to certain folders/ folder levels in the image folder structure.
Does anybody know I these aspects will be covered in the new media manager?
In regards to bigger websites, platform thinking, user-generated content and the thoughts behind workflow features, I think it is important to follow through on these (really good) thoughts and new features about better process design in the media manager, so users can´t access each others image folders.
Will there be a possibility to configure default file path and a tag like /images/[username]?
Similar to the current media manager, the options let you configure a default file path.
As for limiting it to user restrictions, you would still need a specific component or plugin at the moment to extend the functionality to enable that.
Even better if there as add on to this would be an ACL configuration where you can give Editors, admin etc access to certain folders/ folder levels in the image folder structure.
ACL permissions are also similar to what's in Joomla 3 out of the box.
I'll reach out to some people to find out more about whether that's something in the pipeline.
For the workflow, plugins can be used to extend the functionality there. It would be in the TinyMCE editor (I believe JCE Editor has it built in as a feature) that you'd need to look at having it perform the restrictions on where you can upload.
Thank you for your feedback
I use JCE and just studied the filepath config options in JCE more in depth and yes I can see that it actually has the config options I asked about.
The problem is I also use Zoo (which has some of the config options) but also two other extensions that does not have this option and doesn't use the editor for image handling.
Image and file folders access is such a basic functionality that it would be way better and more secure to have the same for all with a native image and file folder handling functionality in Joomla (Like the one with JCE profiles which has both File Directory Path and the File Directory Filter) that all extensions could use ..just like the ACL.
Thanks, mate. Your article cleared up my misconceptions about the purpose of the new workflow manager in J! 4. I thought it was something entirely different until I read that it's actually about managing the workflow to introduce new web content by content authors. I don't mean authors in the sense as we understood it from the old days. I mean, collaborative authoring of content, who does what, when people should do what, and the approval procedure overall. Good to read.