Still has that new software smell...
Just in case you’ve been lost in cyberspace or behind a firewall, Joomla! 4 was released back in August, along with Joomla! v3.10, the “mini-migration bridge” which includes the “Joomla! 4 Update Check” facility as part of the “Joomla Update” process. The regular update and fixes cycle continues next week with Joomla 4.0.4 and Joomla 3.10.3 planned for release.
This is a huge turning point for the project and codebase, not only regarding the Content Management Systems’ life-cycle but also with implementing underlying structures enabling Joomla! in throwing off old technologies and limitations. The improvements in Joomla 4 will provide users with functionality to move forward beyond the limits of today’s available web technologies and trends and look to prepare for what comes next.
Talking with seasoned Joomler Russell Winter, one of the Admins on Joomla's Facebook Group, he thinks that the improvements in Joomla 4 are more than a big deal. "Looking to the future, we will all benefit from, and get used to, the new layouts, processes and functions bringing new capabilities and opportunities to Joomla!. Has it been worth all the effort, pain and confusion? You betta believe it! Remember Windows Vista or IBM OS/2?"
That level of comparison sounds like Joomla 4 is a significant leap forward - and it is. Joomla 4 provides enterprise-level features to even the simplest website, including content workflows, core accessibility improvements, great out of the box performance, along with all the features Joomla's dedicated long term users have been loving for over 16 years.
Is Joomla 4 for me?
Migrating to Joomla 4 or building a new Joomla 4 site might not be the ultimate solution right now for all your projects or sites. Migrating, though straightforward, still requires appropriate knowledge and careful consideration to ensure your new Joomla 4 site works without a hitch. Now is the perfect time to start planning and working towards Joomla 4, while also improving the performance, business and SEO outcomes for your sites or client sites.
Planning your step by step migration is so important that there's a comprehensive tutorial available on Joomla Docs that will help you determine what you need to know before you migrate your site.
A key takeaway: Templates are currently the major sticking point you need to resolve before starting your upgrade.
Once you're done planning, move on to the step by step migration guide to then work your way through migrating your Joomla 3 site to Joomla 4.
Documentation on its own is not the only resource available to you.
- The Joomla forum has a dedicated board for Joomla 4 Migration and Upgrading questions.
- Joomla Stack Exchange is another great place to post questions.
- Adhoc support is available too if you ask questions on Joomla's Facebook Group, but you might find the answers there redirect you quickly to articles highlighted in this article!
More information about the “Pre-Update Check” facility
We all know that keeping Joomla! up-to-date is important, but updating to Joomla v3.10 is the first checkpoint on the road to successfully moving to Joomla! 4 for existing sites.
Joomla 3.10 contains the new Joomla! 4 “Pre-Update Check” utility, found on the “Joomla Update” page. The magazine introduced the check back in August, and the check now runs whenever there's a Joomla 3.10 update. The main thing the check is doing is letting you know whether your various installed extensions are all ready for Joomla 4 yet.
How to interpret what's displayed in the results of the check is important, and is outlined in the Pre Update Check docs.
Developers have been putting out Joomla 4 compatible versions in recent months. The magazine has been interviewing developers on their plans for Joomla 4.
There are still many commonly installed extensions, and a majority of templates, that are not yet compatible with Joomla 4. If you find that there's no information available about an extension you are waiting to be released for Joomla 4, we recommend contacting the developers of these items to determine the next steps. You may need to update your extensions and template(s) before proceeding with your planned J4 update/migration. In some cases, you may need to re-subscribe for updates or support, even uninstall them while finding alternatives.
For the casual and hobby extension developers
Not every extension is built by commercial or professional developers, many of the community's favourite and most used extensions are non-commercial or hobby projects built by Joomla! enthusiasts and understandably may take a little longer to be updated and made compatible.
If you're programming for Joomla 4, during its development cycle a list was created of potential backwards compatibility issues between Joomla 3 and Joomla 4. Deciphering this list may need some different skills, but over time more detailed solutions to implement code to get past these issues is being added to the page.
Taking your first steps with Joomla 4
I've been writing about new Joomla 4 features for the past year. Where the articles have aimed to give a great user-level introduction to the features, the accompanying documentation played catchup as the release of Joomla 4 approached.
There's still more on their way, but you can jump to the Joomla 4 Tutorials index to find some helpful starting points and hidden gems.
Writing Joomla's Documentation
When you take a look at the Joomla 4 Tutorials you'll see there's still a number of tutorials needing to be written. JDocs also has a range of maintenance tasks needing to be done, particularly to either update Joomla 3 docs to include Joomla 4 screenshots and updates, or to split pages to have a Joomla 4 version.
Last month Time4Joomla was introduced, which is the first in a series on ways to get involved with Joomla. The Time4Joomla docs page outlines easy ways you can get involved, including contributing to documentation. So if you have a particular interest in improving documentation, we look forward to seeing your contributions come in soon.