Joomla’s next major version, the Joomla 4.0 along with its 2.0 Framework has gone through a lot of development so far, so we can expect a lot of improvements in the platform once it comes out. Some of these improvements include a brand new Media Manager, an even better event dispatcher than before, and support for prepared SQL statements.
In addition, the developers have gone through the system searching for deprecated code. These will all be changed as a maintenance procedure until Joomla 4.0 comes out. It was also announced that PHP 7 will be a main requirement for the new Joomla and they are willing to support it for a longer time than Joomla 3.x.
Why Did They Choose PHP 7?
It is always important to choose a PHP version that is fully supported for an amount of time that enables the new Joomla version to run for years. Currently, the only version that meets this requirement is PHP 7. The current list of supported versions goes back to PHP 5 which won’t be supported for much longer. There is no point in choosing a version that’s only supported for the first few months after Joomla 4.0 comes out.
There are huge benefits of using PHP 7 instead of PHP 5 anyway. The PHP 7 version is 50% more powerful when it comes to memory consumption. Its overall performance has gone through a lot of improvements. As a result, Joomla websites will be much faster with PHP 7 than with PHP 5.
Let’s take a look at the current supported versions of PHP. Every time a version is fully released, it gets two years of full support from then on. The support includes fixing security issues and bugs based on reports. These fixes come out as updates quite regularly, so that you can apply them and rest assured that it runs fine.
After two years, the particular PHP branch only gets partial support for one additional year. This is only limited to fixing critical security issues, nothing more. After that additional year, the branch is considered as outdated so you better pick a newer version because it becomes more and more vulnerable over time.
Now let’s see the list of PHP versions that are currently supported:
- PHP 5.6 – Came out in Aug 2014, actively supported until Jan 2017, only security support until Dec 2018
- PHP 7.0 – Came out in Dec 2015, actively supported until Dec 2017, only security support until Dec 2018
- PHP 7.1 – Came out in Dec 2016, still gets active support until Dec 2018 and only security support until Dec 2019
- PHP 7.2 – Came out in Nov 2017, still gets active support until Nov 2019 and security support lasts until Nov 2020
As you can see, they extended both the active and security support for the 5.6 version of PHP. However, the newer versions don’t follow the same practice.
Joomla 4.0 Comes with New Features
Joomla 4.0 comes with plenty of improvements and new features that will completely change the user-experience. It will have better design and performance, while the whole dashboard will be neatly organized. We made you a list of some of the mentionable features just to give you a feel about how different Joomla 4.0 will be:
- Bootstrap 4 Integration – The previous version in Joomla was Bootstrap 2, but they are finally going to upgrade it to Bootstrap 4, the newest one. This is a key requirement that will help you to create mobile-ready websites in the future. It’s not only a powerful tool for websites, but Joomla also wants to make sure that there will be no compatibility issues.
- Pages will Load Faster – We already mentioned that the developer team is getting rid of deprecated code. This maintenance process is also about improving the code, using better technologies. This is a huge step forward, as it will significantly improves Joomla’s page load times.
- Framework 2.x – The 1.x framework for Joomla is also going to be outdated soon. Time to switch to the new one, as the framework 2.x is already released. We can expect big changes in the library packages and PHP 7 will be the bare minimum version that is going to be supported.
In the 1.x framework, there were numerous functionalities that weren’t really useful or straight up bad. These all going to be removed and the Joomla Framework 2.0 will come back in a much better form.
- SEO Improvements – We don’t know much about this one, but at least it’s clear that developers want to work on the SEO before they release Joomla 4.0. SEO was always an essential part of Joomla, as the platform provided numerous features just to ensure a top-notch SEO for the users. In the new version, we can expect new SEO features to come out as they already have a detailed plan for it.
New Joomla, New Backend
The first thing you will see in Joomla 4.0 is a redesigned login screen which is more flexible and attractive than the older one. You will be able to customize your login screen by adding a background image to it. There will be major changes applied to the dashboard as well. Since the Joomla dashboard represents the backend of your website giving you access to a wide range of functionalities, it needs to be as straightforward and flexible as possible.
There were lots of negative reviews of the older dashboard, explaining how confusing it is sometimes. It was often cluttered and hard to work with, but the new dashboard will be a lot more user-friendly. In 4.0, you will be able to arrange the shortcuts and modules in a way that suits your workflow the best. All in all, there will be no countless options all around the place, only the options you really need in the right places.
Besides the dashboard, there is a smart little menu on the top of the screen that can also be personalized. You can put your most used menu items there like Media, New Article and so on. But there are even more functionalities that are simplified or moved to a better place and the overall picture will be pretty impressive.
Still, the part that got the most negative reviews in the older version is definitely the Media Manager. The community pointed out so many nerve-racking details that it simply had to be changed. They are currently working on improving this part as well, while giving the whole CMS a clean, user-friendly design overall.
Re-evaluating Software Support for Joomla 4.0
The 3.x version of Joomla was released back in September 2012 and if we add up all the support scheduled for the version, it sums up to more than eight years. It will soon reach its end date, but it was quite a lot of time and soon, Joomla 4.0 will need full attention. We can expect a similar lifetime for the new version as well, meaning that Joomla 4.0 will be supported from 2018 to 2025 at least.
For this time period, developers need to regularly work on fixes and improvements. Joomla is still one of the most popular CMS out there and people need it to be a reliable platform for building and managing websites. But there is no need to worry because Joomla’s developer team is already prepared for the future support needs of Joomla 4.0.
They already made the right choice with PHP 7 which will provide long-lasting support. However, the web industry is evolving in many different ways and there are plenty of technologies that Joomla fundamentally depends on. In order to function properly, all its building blocks need to be up to date. With these rapid changes, the Joomla 4.0 and its 2.0 Framework will be a great opportunity for Joomla developers to re-evaluate the system and provide regular fixes, updates and extensive support.
Become a Joomla 4.0 Tester
Joomla is now starting to follow WordPress by greatly improving their installation process. It becomes much simpler and faster to install the new version. With WordPress, it takes 3-5 minutes to fully install and try the platform and we can expect something similar in Joomla 4.0.
You will be able to choose the “Customize installation” option. This will allow you to change the language of the setup and demo data will be also available. In the same installation process, you will be able to add extensions that you want to be available once the setup is finished.
Joomla 4.0 still doesn’t have a specified release date, but at least you can try it out. Simply install the alpha version, log in and start testing. It will be a version that changes the whole experience, so it’s definitely worth to try it out. If you are curious about Joomla 4.0 but you don’t want to install the real thing, there is also a prototype version that can be checked online.
It is basically an online app simulating the experience. We have used the previous version for quite a long time, but finally Joomla comes up with something new and up-to-date. Clean design, well-organized dashboard, smart menus, top performance and it will be all beginner-friendly. This will be the new age of Joomla, the CMS in its modern form.