Joomla 3.5 Features
It’s December once again and that means gifts of all kinds, including a gift from your favorite CMS, Joomla! It looks like it may come a little later than expected, but due in February 2016, Joomla 3.5 will bring some very nice upgrades and enhancements to your website building experience. Here’s what you can expect in the first quarter of 2016.
Messages Out, Notifications In
Everyone’s favorite component is, of course, com_messages. No? Never heard of it? Then this part of Joomla 3.5 probably won’t affect you. If you look in the Components menu, you’ll probably see a messaging component. Well, just as the Joomla 3.4 update removed the Weblinks component from the core Joomla package, 3.5 is removing the Message component, used to send and receive internal messages to users (which would then send an email, telling the user they have a message. Redundant, perhaps?) Along with the Weblinks component it was probably the least used component in core Joomla, so the team has decided to remove it and package it separately.
That doesn’t mean you’re done receiving notifications; on the contrary, with Joomla 3.5 you may now receive more than ever before. Nicholas Dionysopoulos of Akeeba has been tasked with integrating his excellent notification system for his components into core Joomla, so administrators of Joomla sites will now see notifications for Joomla (and if developers start to use it, plugin and component) updates. So while you may not receive any more Messages, you should start seeing some Notifications come your way soon.
Joomla 3.5 Big Data
While WordPress and Drupal have been happily monitoring server environment data for years (what server software the website is running on), and sites like builtwith.com provide mountains of data just by crawling websites on the front end, Joomla has been left on its own to see how websites are actually being run. No longer! A new plugin in Joomla 3.5 will phone home to Joomla headquarters about the main server software on top of which the Joomla site is running. It will report (to start with):
- PHP version
- database type and version
- Joomla version
- operating system version
While all this may sound invasive, all the data will be anonymous and there will be an opt-out feature. Users of Microsoft Windows will know that this is the way of the future, though, with companies liking their data and wanting to collect it.
If you have ever tried developing a Joomla website on your own, you know that there are options for Search Engine Friendly URLs and using URL Rewriting. Those are part of Joomla’s routing system which, after a successful campaign, is very close to being rewritten. This is both the least and most obvious update in Joomla 3.5. If your website was built correctly with SEO Friendly URLs, the chances of running across URLs with id numbers was low, so the new routing software won’t be so obvious. But if you’ve ever wondered why your website address had numbers in it, then this should make you very happy indeed.
Joomla Project Progress
Joomla is making some great progress lately with lots of behind-the-scenes work in cleaning up its PHP codebase and moving to newer and faster technologies. The new routing system will be object-orientated, faster, and work better right out of the box, with less need for URL-fixing extensions. The notification system will alert you of critical updates, and removing unneeded components is good so the teams can focus on more improvement in parts of Joomla that more people use.
There are even bigger plans for the future, as improvements are made to the media manager, the override system continues to improve, and webservice integration moves closer to reality with the integration of a REST API.
All that means everyone’s Joomla experience will continue to improve throughout next year and for years to come. If you have development needs for your website, you can always contact 4Web for personalized, helpful assistance.