CMS in the Fast Lane: Joomla! 1.7

This week, Joomla! 1.7 was officially released to the public. New features in this new version of the popular open source content management system include:

  • One Click Version Updating - The new built-in updater handles updates for Joomla and Joomla extensions.
  • Multilanguage improvements - You can now associate menu items in different languages for faster navigation. Language packs can now also be built to automatically select the best font for that language.
  • Pre-defined search options for search menus. This allows developers to create a menu item that pre-fills out the search fields so end-users can have a built-in search for a specific phrase.
  • Better example code for different plug-in types. The enables developers to more easily build custom extensions.
  • The ability to automatically validate form data against a list of options during the save operation. This makes it easier to protect against hackers manipulating forms and trying to save invalid data.
  • Enables the submit article form to automatically set the article category. This makes it easier for site administrators to restrict users to a specific categoryy meaning content isn’t accidentally added to the incorrect page on a website.
  • Batch processing (copy & move) of articles is now available in the same way as it is for categories and menu items.

Joomla LogoThis is the second major release of Joomla! this year, with Joomla 1.6 released in early 2011. Given that new releases of Joomla! historically are measured in years instead of months this is something of a nice surprise to see from Joomla!. It can be weary on both users and developers waiting for the inclusion of wanted features found only in the next official release of their favorite content management system. I know in the past, I've expressed my own dismay for the lenthy development cycles of Joomla! betas amd release candidates.

On the other extreme, the shorter life cycle of Joomla! can be quite startaling for some Joomla! users not expecting the change. Short-term releases will be in active development for six months, then reach the end-of-life one month after the next version’s release. In other words, Joomla 1.6 will reach the end of its life in August 2011 (be sure and breath there). Version 1.7 will have a support cycle of seven months. Eventually, 15 month long-term support will be active for 15 months, starting with Joomla version 1.8. Version 1.7 will have a support cycle of seven months.

So, I'm not joking when I say Joomla! is a CMS definately in the "fast lane". While there are Joomla! users more comfortable with longer support cycles, the One Click Version updating addresses this concern and is shown in the graphic below. It's a nice graphic that says "don't worry" because you're only one click away from making everything alright with Joomla! 1.7.

Joomla 1.7 Upgrade Path

Joomla! 1.7 is available for download at Joomla.org and there is a demo site availble for you to evaluate this version of the CMS. Congratulations and thank you to all those in the Joomla! community involved in helping bring us Joomla! 1.7.