The release of Joomla 2.5, a popular open source content management system, is expected to occur within the next few weeks. This release gives Joomla! fans a reason to celebrate and those new to the CMS a chance to consider Joomla! for thier next project. Like clockwork, the Joomla community is preparing the way by educating the masses on the new features and enhancements included in this version. I'm not an expert on the Joomla! development process, but I'm going to do my best here in summarizing the information that I've gathered so far on Joomla 2.5.
The general availability of the official Joomla 2.5.0 release is due on January 24, 2012. Also, in case you missed it, Beta 1 of Joomla 2.5 was released just as the holidays were getting in full swing. You can also expect another beta and a release candidate from the Joomla developers between now and Release 2.5.0.
For those new to software development, the beta and release candidates of software typically is not suitable for production sites and should be used only for testing purposes. Testing the pre-release software isn't only a great way for you to get to know Joomla 2.5 better but it is also a great way to help the developers identify and fix bugs in the software.
There is a long list of new Joomla! 2.5 features found in the Beta announcement. However, Andrea Tarr also wrote a blog piece on the Joomla Community Portal titled, New Features in Joomla! 2.5, details not only the new features in the upcoming release but also included some great screenshots showing off the improved Joomla!.
Some of the new Joomla! 2.5 features highlighted in Tarr's article include:
Sudhi Seshachala has also written a detailed summary on Joomla's new support for Windows Azure. Windows Azure is a Cloud platform from Microsoft. In addition to supporting MS SQL Databases covering SQLServer 2008 and SQL Azure, Joomla 2.5 supports Azure Storage CDN (as an extenstion) and Azure deployment. There are a lot of possibilities here with both Microsoft and open source communities realizing there is common ground where everyone can work together for the customer's benefit. In fact, the tech media has recently reported that Microsoft plans to support Linux in their cloud solutions too.
Joomla! is claiming that upgrading from Joomla 1.7 to Joomla 2.5 will be very easy. Most users can use the automatic update or install the update archive using the Extension Manager: Install option. If you are using Joomla 1.5 then you will still be required to migrate your site using the jUpgrade component.
There are some support and end of life issues once Joomla 2.5 has been released. According to the beta announcement:
Joomla 2.5 is the direct upgrade for Joomla 1.7. Joomla 1.7 will be supported for critical security issues only for a period of one month after the release of Joomla 2.5. After that time, only Joomla 1.5 and Joomla 2.5 will be supported by the Joomla project. Note that Joomla version 2.5 is a long-term-support (LTS) release and will be supported for at least 18 months.
That's all I currently have on Joomla 2.5. It seems every time I post something about Joomla! there is always someone from the Joomla community rightfully correcting me on an error or omission in the content of my articles (you guys don't make it easy, do you?). So if there is something you wish to be added or clarified in this post, please don't hesitate to leave a comment or send me a tweet. I'll adjust this article as needed.
Edit 1/4/2012: Changed due dates of Joomla! 2.5.0 General Availability from January 10 to January 24.
Bryan Ruby is the owner and editor for CMS Report. He founded CMSReport.com in 2006 on the belief that information technologists, website owners, and web developers desired visiting sites where they could learn about content management systems without the sales pitch. Besides this site, you can follow Bryan at Google+ and Twitter.