How I migrated my website to Joomla 4
A couple of months after the release of Joomla 4, some of us already have experiences with the migration of sites created with previous versions. In this issue, Sergio Iglesias, one of the organizers of JoomlaDay Madrid, tells us how he made his first migration to Joomla 4.
Thanks, Sergio, for joining us in this interview. Could you tell us a little more about yourself?
Hi Andrea, thanks for the invitation.
For those who don't know me, my name is Sergio Iglesias. I'm from Fuentesaúco (a town in Zamora, Spain), although I live in Madrid, where I work as Front end & Back end Developer in the Spanish Society of Cardiology (SEC). Almost all my work is focused on developing and maintaining web projects related to the SEC. We use Joomla as a CMS in 90% of the cases.
Why did you decide to migrate to Joomla 4?
We always have to be up to date with the latest features we want to implement in our projects. So, as soon as I had time, I started to analyse the first releases to see what this awaited Joomla version had to offer. In the end, to go deeper into it, you have to get down to work, and I decided to migrate the website that I know the most of all the ones I have developed and maintained, which is my own website. This way, you always have a controlled view of the steps to follow in the migration.
Tell us a bit of the site you migrated: what it is about, what kind of template it had, third party extensions, etc.
As I mentioned before, the website that I have migrated is mine, https://sergioiglesias.net.
It's a personal website. I introduce myself as a web developer and offer my services. I have my portfolio and a blog, where I try to write every week about our favourite content management system: tutorials, recommendations, tips.
The website had a custom template based on Bootstrap 3 that I had used for a long time. With the release of Joomla 4, I set myself the goal of migrating the website and a complete redesign by developing a new template (this time based on Bootstrap 5).
As for third party extensions, the truth is that I used very few, almost more focused on management than on content presentation: JCE, Akeeba Backup, jComments and a little more.
What checks and planning did you do?
At the beginning of the year, I like to take stock of what I have done in the previous year and set a series of goals to meet them in the new year.
For this year, 2021, the main goal was to have everything ready to make the migration and design change when the stable version of Joomla 4 was released.
Reaching this milestone requires planning as I have to combine it with my SEC work, freelance work, blog articles, and personal life...
First of all, I analysed the first releases and the documentation to see changes in the code that could affect the website. At the same time, I was working on the website’s design and how to "fit" the content and structure on the new design.
Another important issue was to see the steps (roadmap) taken by the developers of the extensions I had installed, to know if they were going to upgrade to Joomla 4 or not and how long they would take. If they did not move to Joomla 4, I had to look for reliable alternatives for when the time came for the final migration.
How have you approached the migration process?
As I’ve mentioned before, from the first versions of Joomla 4, you have to see what the Joomla project is doing in this new stage: changes in code, new features, roadmap...
But I didn't get "serious" with the migration until the release of Joomla 4 RC5 and, above all, Joomla 3.10 RC1. These versions are already more stable and reliable than Alpha or Beta and allow you more control.
What issues have you faced?
To be honest, if you do things right from the start, you shouldn't run into any problems. I first upgraded "the hard way"; that is, I upgraded to 3.10 and from there directly to Joomla 4. I got a beautiful error 500; the idea was to see where it broke and fine-tune it.
However, if you follow the steps in the migration documentation, there is no problem.
The steps I followed for the migration to Joomla 4 were the following:
- Upgrading to Joomla 3.10
- Backup (again)
- Analyse the information of the Pre-Update Checker: it indicates extensions with which you may have problems when migrating to Joomla 4
- Uninstall third-party extensions that I had (in my case, I didn't need them in the new one as now I do everything with Core)
- Uninstall the template that I had in the middle and put the one that comes natively in Joomla 3 (Protostar)
- Migrate to Joomla 4
Following these steps, I made the migration without any problem. Of course, I have to say that my website is based almost entirely on content managed with Joomla CORE.
The only "problem" I found was that the comments system I was using was not going to be migrated to this new version of Joomla, so I had to change and migrate that content to the new extension (in this case, to Akeeba Engage).
If you want to have more information about the migration of my website, you can see three articles I have written in my blog about it.
Will you continue to migrate other sites?
Of course. We have quite a workload right now, but as soon as we can, we will be migrating several projects to Joomla 4.
We will go from more straightforward projects to more complex ones as we believe that the new features added in this new version will give us many possibilities and options to work on.