Today, Joomla! 1.6.0 has been released. The wait has been long, and now it's finally here!
Of course, there are still things to be resolved. The version is not released as stable, because it still contains bugs.
Even so, I think it's important to get the software out there. Developers need to rewrite their extensions. Template designers need to update and create new templates. Users need to test and learn the new version.
From the press release:
Joomla 1.6.0 is now available for immediate download. This new version of Joomla includes more power, more control, and more options than ever before.
Rebuilt from the ground up in much of the application, this latest Joomla release will delight the casual site builder while helping small, medium, and enterprise businesses succeed in delivering web sites, intranets and applications to their respective markets.
Delivering power through simplicity, Joomla 1.6 ensures its place as the popular CMS of its kind.
Many improvements in Joomla 1.6
Joomla 1.6 delivers new features to end-users and site administrators including:
- Finer access controls for viewing and editing content with configurable user groups and viewing levels
- A user-defined category structure, from simple one-level to complex multi-level categories
- Installation improvements allowing for multiple extension installations in one package, updatable with a single click
- Expanded language support for easy production of multi-lingual sites
- Start and end publishing times for modules with more control over where they display,
- Fresh new templates and semantic markup to please the eye as well as the search engines
- More creative control through template styles
- Hundreds of additional features, streamlining workflow and productivity
The Joomla 1.6 landing page - 40 reasons to use Joomla 1.6
A special Joomla 1.6 launch page has been made over at joomla.org. The page has links to other resources for more information on the release. And it highlights 40 compelling reasons to use Joomla 1.6. These are divided into 10 for each of the four user groups most common for Joomla:
Updated Joomla 1.6 infographic
As you might remember, I created a HUGE infographic about the Top 10 Joomla! 1.6 improvements since version 1.5. The infographic was a great success, and was even translated into Spanish. Last week, I was asked to create another, updated version of the infographic, for use on joomla.org and other places. I'm honoured that Open Source Matters wanted my infographic for the launch of Joomla 1.6, and I made a special version for this purpose (it's even bigger now...):
In the days and weeks that follow, there will be release parties around the world.
All Joomla! User Groups (JUGs) and Joomla! developers and community members around the world are encouraged to plan a celebration in the two week period from January 24 - February 7. Eat Joomla! cake! Take pictures! Make videos!
More info about that in the Joomla Magazine article Party Like It's Joomla! 1.6 by Alice Grevet.
Now the dirty work - and the fun - starts ;)
What lies ahead is the 'dirty work'. As I mentioned earlier: Developers have to create Joomla 1.6 versions of their products. And template designers need to take advantage of the new features of Joomla 1.6, among them the template styles. And you and me, users and webmasters of Joomla, will need to learn all the new features and get them under our skin.
When it comes to upgrading extensions, there has been a lot of discussion around that Some people think it's going to be easy, others claim it's a huge job porting a large extension to the new 1.6 framework. I guess it remains to be seen. In my opinion, the success of 1.6 (and Joomla?) largely depends upon availability of compatible extensions.
I've written about preparing for Joomla 1.6 in my post Is your site ready for Joomla 1.6?.
To upgrade or not to upgrade?
It will take some time before Joomla 1.6 is ready to replace version 1.5. So the 1.5 version will be supported for at least three years. A realistic upgrade path for many users can be to wait for 1.7 to upgrade their site, but use 1.6 for new sites (when it's stable). It really depends on the needs you have and whatever solution fits best. And if the tools you need are available.
There is some information available on the next version of Joomla, code named 'Bowerbird'. This 1.7 version will include things like improved search, content tags and seo improvements (titles, descriptions and keywords). It is, quote: 'Focused on making the content you already have more connected and accessible.' At least that's what's planned.
Is 1.6 secure?
Joomla 1.5 is really stable and secure as it is now. It took 22 patches to get where we are today.
So don't expect 1.6 to be ready for prime-time just about yet. But it's a good start - and I think the release will speed up the need for fixes.
I guess it will take some time before I can use Joomla 1.6 for client projects, but I'll definitely test it on some of my own less critical projects. The current version will probably contain security holes, so you'd better not use it for live sites yet.
Why was 1.6 released now?
I asked Ryan Ozimek about why Joomla 1.6 was released now. Some thought it would be another few months until the release:
I'm probably not the right person to answer this question. The decision to release 1.6 comes from the Production Leadership Team, and folks like me in Open Source Matters work with that team to get the word out. I think that the sooner we're able to move to the time-based release cycle, the better, and I believe the release of Joomla 1.6 on the timeline that it's being released will help in that effort of moving into a new development cycle.
There has also been some critique about the General Availability version not being tested enough before launch. Any thoughts on that?
From my seat, and I can't speak on authority since I'm not on the PLT, I know that there will always be opportunities to test more. I think it will be good to have 1.6 in the wild for more people to start using, providing feedback, and helping us all improve it.
Support Joomla 1.6 by using banners
As mentioned, Kyle Ledbetter also made some great Joomla 1.6 banners that you can put on your own site to promote it.
- Joomla 1.6 launch page
- Official release announcement
- Joomla 1.6 infographic and other promotional material
- Joomla 1.6 credits
Stay tuned for more posts about Joomla 1.6 in the coming weeks :)