The recent upgrade of Joomla to version 2.5 has made me think about the extensions and template providers I use. Whenever I choose a new type of extension for my clients, I take a look at the company's trackrecord. I ask myself some questions to determine if this is a developer I would like to bet my client's money on.
How long have they been around? What does users write online about their products? What do my friends in the Joomla community think about the product? How do they respond to support requests? What is their release cycle? How quickly are they supporting new, major versions of Joomla?
Do they have a future?
The reason I'm doing this is to make sure that the solutions I choose have a future. The move from Joomla 1.0 to 1.5 was a pain for many, as lots of developers didn't port their extensions to 1.5. Still, we had the legacy mode in 1.5, which helped ease the transition a bit. At least until the extension was upgraded or you could find another to solve the same need.
The same has happened with the transition from 1.5 to 1.6 and later versions of Joomla. This time around, we didn't have the legacy mode, though. And the changes in 1.6 were of such a nature that the developers needed to create 1.6+ compatible versions of their extensions and templates. Otherwise, they will not work at all.
Limit the number of extensions
So, I'm looking at the template and extensions developers I use to see if they are active and provide reliable services. The worst case for me is to be stuck with a solution that is not upgraded. This is another reason why I tend to limit the number of extensions on my sites. It's tempting to add all types of bells and whistles to your site. But it soon becomes a nightmare to maintain. You'll just create a lot of work for yourself, and chances are that your clients won't be paying you to do it.
The future of Joomla core upgrades looks brighter now since the inclusion of upgrades through the administrator. Nevertheless, it won't hurt to be concious about what extensions and templates you install. And how much you can count on the people behind them to deliver over time.