Getting extensions ready for Joomla 4 - Alex Andreae (SourceCoast)
Joomla 4 Stable is out, and of course, you want to migrate your site as soon as possible. But… wait… what about your extensions? If they’re not ready, they might cause your site to break (always make a backup, people). Of course we have Joomla 3.10 with the pre-update checker to establish if your extensions are ready, but the JCM goes a little further: we ask the developers. This issue we had a nice conversation with Alex Andreae from SourceCoast, the developers of the go-to tool for connecting your website to social networks: JFBConnect.
Thanks for joining us in the series, Alex! Could you tell us a little about your extensions?
Sure thing! I run SourceCoast along with my wife, Melissa. We are the developers behind JFBConnect, a social network integration extension for Joomla. It adds authentication, profile import, social widgets and a ton of other features for almost 15 different networks.
The first release of JFBConnect was back in 2009 when Joomla 1.5 was still a baby and Facebook was still an upstart within the social network sphere. It’s been in active development ever since, expanding features and just keeping up with all the changes constantly happening on the web!
What will happen with your extensions now that J4 Stable is released? Are they fully compatible or will the developers provide complete new versions?
I’m excited to say that we released a Joomla 4 compatible version of JFBConnect the day Joomla 4 launched. The version we released is dual compatible with both Joomla 3 and Joomla 4 for the easiest setup and migration for our users when they are ready.
As a developer, what would you consider the best moment to start preparing extensions when a new major version is on the way?
As early as possible. We periodically installed some of the early Joomla 4 alphas to determine the scope of changes we’d need to implement. Based on our very early testing, we started early development back in December 2020, with our first beta release in February 2021. By getting a few beta versions and release candidates of our own, along with feedback from our users, we were able to have the confidence to launch in tandem with Joomla 4.
What impact did the different types of Joomla versions (alpha, beta, RC, stable) have on your extensions?
Thankfully, the Joomla development team had amazing communication and planning for Joomla 4. There has been a constant stream of updates letting developers know exactly what to expect every step of the way regarding changes, release dates and everything else we’ve needed.
Each progressive release from alpha through stable hit all the targets you’d expect for increasing stability and really made upgrading JFBConnect a straightforward process.
How do you expect the launch of J4 to impact your business?
We’re overall very positive about the future of our favorite CMS. Joomla 4 brings some much-needed modernization and we’ve already seen some pretty strong interest from our user base in moving to the newest version. It will be a long transition period, but the smooth migration path available from Joomla 3 to 4 ensures that most users will eventually upgrade versus switching to something else altogether.
Is there anything else you would like to advise our readers regarding extensions and Joomla 4?
Always check with the developers of your extensions to make sure they are compatible with your version of Joomla. While a grace period is understandable to let some extensions upgrade, if your favorite doesn’t support Joomla 4 over the next few months, I’d recommend looking for alternatives.