Yesterday, the first Alpha version of Joomla 3.0 was released. The Alpha version is aimed at developers so they can start testing their extensions. The stable version is planned for release on September 24th 2012.
Read on to learn more about Joomla 3.0. What will mean to you, do you need to upgrade and how will the project get there?
Who is the Alpha version for?
This version is in no way to be used on a live site. The number one reason for this release is to provide an environment in which developers can test their extensions. Joomla 3.0 Alpha 1 is based on the new Joomla Platform versjon 12.2. However, it contains no new features.
New features will be added in Alpha 2 (due July 23rd) and possibly also in the first beta version due in late August.
What features will make it into version 3.0 are not 100% clear at this moment. The CMS Feature Tracker has the list of proposed features.
Nevertheless, probably the most anticipated change in Joomla 3.0 will be the inclusion of Twitter Bootstrap. Bootstrap is a mark-up and CSS framework that will supply the base for the new JUI (Joomla User Interface). I have already written about Joomla and Twitter Bootstrap as well as expanded on it in the report from J and Beyond 2012.
In short, the new JUI provides a common mark-up framework for developers to tap into. This will make the development of extensions faster in terms of building the user interface, as well as provide a unified look for all Joomla components in the administrator. The JUI can also be used in the front-end, but I guess the administrator is where we will see and feel the changes first. I must say: From the small amount of work I have done with Twitter Bootstrap on other projects, I see how much time can be saved by using it.
The JUX team will put together example markup and docs for the JUI which will be a lot like the incredibly useful Bootstrap docs site. The files will be in a Github Repository so everyone can help out and collaborate.
Extension developers start testing!
As mentioned, there are changes in the 12.2 version of the Joomla platform. Extension and template developers need to jump in and start testing their extensions with this new platform. This is also a great time for developers to give feedback about improving the user interface and about which elements are missing.
From a recent announcement called Attention Joomla! Developers - Here Comes Joomla 3:
There are important changes to the Joomla Platform, including the removal of deprecated items, the renaming of legacy classes, and new deprecations. There are also changes to core tables including removal of unused fields in the database. Core content tables will continue to increase standardization to enable progressive enhancement as planned platform packages are introduced.
In the article mentioned above you will get more info about the specific changes that developers need to know about.
Developers also need to start rewriting their extension output to use the mark-up used with the new JUI/Bootstrap. One of the major advantages with Bootstrap is the built-in support for responsiveness, i.e. sites that adapt to different screen sizes. For this to really work, every extension you install needs to be marked up for responsiveness. As far as I know, at least 10 of the major extension developers have already started work to change their products. Now, the smaller extension developers need to jump aboard too.
Should I plan to upgrade to Joomla 3.0?
Some users on Facebook and Twitter have expressed concern about the speed which the Joomla project release versions. "Upgrade again? I just did a major upgrade of my site." Not to worry. As far as I can tell, version 3.0 is kind of a transitional step towards 3.5, which will be the next long-term support release. This is what the 3.0 Alpha 1 release notes say about upgrading to Joomla 3.0:
Version 3.0 will be a standard-term-support (STS) release. If you are running an existing production site on version 2.5, you will probably not want to update to version 3.0. Instead, you will likely want to wait and eventually update it to version 3.5, the next long-term-support (LTS) release. Note that the 3.0 update will not show by default in the auto-updates in the Joomla! Update. By default, version 2.5.x updates will show.
Users who decide to use version 3.0 will need to update to versions 3.1 and 3.5 when these become available. Version 3.0 support will end 30 days after version 3.1 is released.
How do I upgrade to Joomla 3.0?
Depending on the extensions you have installed, it may not be possible to update your site from 2.5 to 3.0 until your extensions have version 3.0-compatible updates available. More information on that will be available before 3.0 is released. If you are using Joomla 1.5 then you will need to migrate your site to version 2.5 before updating to 3.0.
As far as I know, the upgrade to 3.0 will be done using the built-in Joomla Update component found in 2.5.4 and later versions.
What’s new in Joomla 3.0 so far?
So far, the only features that have been committed to version 3.0 relate to the new version 12 of the platform. Other features are expected to be committed before the alpha-2 release.
What happens to Joomla 2.5?
Version 2.5 is a long-term-support (LTS) release and will be supported at least until September 2013. The exact end of support for version 2.5 will be announced later.
Joomla 3.0 Roadmap
The tentative plan for the Joomla 3 release schedule is as follows:
- 12 July: 3.0.0_Alpha1 (Released) Alpha1 contains only the new 12.2 platform version, but does not contain new features. This release is targeted to third-party extension developers to test their extensions with the new 12.2 platform. For a more detailed announcement of the Alpha1 release, see the Alpha1 Release Announcement.
- 23 July: 3.0.0_Alpha2 Alpha2 will contain the first round of new features for Joomla 3.0, based on what is ready at that time.
- Mid-August Feature freeze to prepare for beta release
- Late-August: 3.0.0_Beta1 Beta1 will contain most or all of the features for 3.0.
- 24 September: 3.0.0 Stable We will likely do a beta2 and/or RC1 release between beta1 and 3.0.0.
The Production Leadership Team specifies that these dates are approximations.
For more info about Joomla 3.0, visit these resources: