A Fond Farewell to Joomla! 2.5

Written by | 01 December 2014 | Published in 2014 December
The last four years has seen quite a lot of excitement in the Joomlasphere as the community continues to grow and the software continues to be driven by innovative ideas. As with everything in a quickly evolving software marketplace, platforms come and go and Joomla! 2.5 is no different. Today we reflect back on its nearly four year life span and the framework it laid for Joomla to grow.
A Fond Farewell to Joomla! 2.5 image by @Helvecio

It Begins - January 2011

For the first time in three years, a major update to Joomla was released in the form of Joomla 1.6, released in January 2011. Under the hood, a huge modernization of the platform had occurred in cleaning out older 1.0 style code, optimizing for newer PHP versions, and refining existing systems. Several larger features were introduced into the CMS and some existing conventions broken. Gone were the Section and Category relationship and replacing it was nested categories. Gone was the primitive and limited ACL system with a more granular solution replacing it. Gone were the days of FTP updates, now you could update Joomla within Joomla.

Admittedly, it took a little time to gain acceptance as a stable platform, and there were some refinements needed in the underlying structure, but overall the new release introduced a lot of new opportunities to the CMS.

New Schedule - July 2011

As far as features go, the 1.7 release wasn't all that notable. Truthfully, as I read the release announcement while writing this article, I felt like it was a larger bug fix release instead of the feature release you would expect from a bump in the minor version number. It did do one important thing overall though; demonstrate the project's commitment to a new release strategy and pushing releases every six months. In fact, this schedule was followed quite well for nearly three years. During this time a lot of features and refinements made their way into Joomla.

Long Term Support - January 2012

Once again, the community didn't rest and worked hard on continuing to improve the Joomla code base. In this period, a shift in how we collaborated around the code happened by shifting our code from our hosted SVN solution to GitHub, making it easier to collaborate on code and easier to follow development activity. Leading up to 2.5, and even in the time right after its release, a new round of features came into the CMS, including the update component, update notifications on the control panel, Smart Search, and the database check screen. 2.5 was starting to show true signs of maturity and usefulness thanks in part to the features that made 2.5 a much friendlier experience than 1.5.

Forward Compatibility - September 2012

Joomla was moving quickly now and was faced with another major release. This release gave the project a new way to demonstrate its maturity, namely how we would handle another major version release and the pending migration that would surely happen. In reality, the bridge from 2.5 to 3.x ended up being a rather easy one to cross by making use of the features we had been adding to Joomla and backporting code into the 2.5 branch to make the transition for developers easier too. Personally, I think this has been the most successful migration for Joomla.

Continued Maintenance Support

Another area of improvement with 2.5 was the continued maintenance support for it. Even today, bug fixes continue to be merged to 2.5 as we get close to its final release, a change from how 1.5 support was managed. By not abandoning the branch and giving it full support, we gave users trust and confidence in using 2.5 all the way until its final day of support.


Though 2.5 may have had what felt like a rushed lifetime, in many ways it leaves behind its own legacy. It helped the project to demonstrate its ability to grow quickly and produce a stable product along the way, demonstrated that we have learned from our own history and mistakes and have taken steps to not repeat them, and in many ways has served as an effective bridge between two releases which will have truly lengthy lifetimes with focuses on long term support and stability.

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Michael Babker

Michael Babker

Michael is an active member of the Joomla! community, participating in the Bug Squad, contributing code to the CMS and Framework, and is currently a member of the Production Leadership Team.

His contributions to the community have been recognized with the 2012 J!OSCAR "GitHub Junkie" Award. His high standards for code and focus on automated testing have raised the overall quality of Joomla's code and helps ensure a stable and quality product for every Joomla user.

When he isn't working on core code, he can be found working on his own set of extensions, opinionating on Twitter, or out in the real world enjoying the sights and sounds of wherever he may be at the time.