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28 September 2012, 13:05

Joomla 3.0: Major version jump for the open source CMS

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Joomla logo The Joomla developers have released version 3.0 of their open source CMS. The major version jump is justified as Joomla 3.0 offers many new features along with standard templates for the web site and administration interface that comply with the responsive web design guidelines, producing good results on large screens as well as on mobile devices. The basic Joomla platform was updated to version 12.2 and the web-based install has been reduced to three steps and is now simpler to use. It also includes several sets of sample data that are now available during installation.

The new administrator template is named after the Egyptian goddess Isis, and it is discernibly different from its predecessors in terms of look and feel. Unlike the Bluestork template that was used in Joomla 2.5, the administrator interface of Joomla 3.0 also works on mobile devices with small displays. Joomla 3.0 uses the Bootstrap HTML5 framework and is based on a flexible grid layout. A new addition is the sidebar with menu items that are complemented by drop-down lists at the top of the page.

Important settings are now positioned closer together; opening the configuration tab gives access to the global system settings, while further options are available from the sidebar. When editing items and categories, all features are now accessible as small buttons at the top, and the filter functions have been moved into the sidebar. With Protostar, Jooml 3.0 also offers a new standard template for the web site itself; this template is also suitable for mobile devices.

Thanks to jQuery, Joomla now supports drag and drop, finally allowing items in the backend interface to be sorted using the mouse. The Mootools JavaScript framework is still included for backwards compatibility, but it is scheduled to be removed from Joomla eventually.

Joomla 3.0 requires PHP 5.3.1 and MySQL 5.1 or newer. PostgreSQL can also be used if required. Upgrading from Joomla 2.5.x is simple and can be done using the backend's auto-update feature. In a standard installation of Joomla, the upgrade should cause no problems; however, this isn't necessarily the case for templates and extensions. Versions 1.6 and 1.7 can initially be auto-updated to 2.5.x, and then to version 3.0. Those who still use Joomla 1.5.x must first update to version 2.5 using the JUpgrade extension.

The developers will no longer provide any improvements for Joomla 2.5 and will only release security-related updates from now on – but those will be available until June 2014, as version 2.5 has 18 months of long-term support. Support for Joomla 1.5 has ended with the release of Joomla 3.0. The new version of the CMS is available to download from the project's web site; however, the developers advise users to stay with version 2.5 unless they have a concrete reason to update or specifically need the new features in the latest version.


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