The latest version of the open source CMS tackles issues of security and extensibility. It is the first release under Joomla's new six month release schedule. We marked the arrival of Joomla! 1.6 in January 2011and 1.8 is promised for January 2012.
So is 1.7 any more than a stepping stone that can be bypassed?
The recent blog post, What You Need To Know About Joomla 1.7 points out that while Version 1.6, which took 3 years to produce, had major enhancements there isn't as much in 1.7. Site builders will find some minor improvements including:
- the ability to add a background image to the custom HTML module
- the ability to specify the site name before or after the page title
- a "remove installation folder" button as part of the installation process.
However it notes:
From a developer's perspective, the changes are more significant. Joomla's framework is separated from the CMS, meaning that it's possible to build new applications with the Joomla framework.
It also refers to 300 bugs that have been "squashed with this release".
The major new feature of Joomla 1.7 is its built-in updater, Quick Update, that is headlined as providing "one-click" version updating. The push towards easy updating is motivated by issues of security and the fact that Joomla 1.6 comes to the end of its life next month, August 2011 and no more security updates will be issued for it after that.
However in order for Quick Update to fulfill its attractive promise of simplicity your site needs to be fully up-to-date, i.e. running Joomla 1.6.5, and all its installed extensions need to the compatible with 1.7. running extensions. While the blog urges those running 1.6 to upgrade the situation is far from clear for those still working with 1.5. Its advice is:
if your Joomla 1.5 site is working well, I would not move it yet. Joomla 1.5 will be supported through April 2012. Joomla 1.8 will be released in January 2012, and it is a long-term release, meaning it will be supported for 18 months instead of 6 months.
There's even a mixed message for those building new sites which goes, as long as the extensions you need are available for 1.7 then choose it as it will be easier to upgrade to 1.8, but as many extensions such as shopping carts are still only for 1.5 you may need to stick with it!