The most noticeable difference is the totally revamped administrator, which is updated to a modern design with many simpler and more friendly user-interfaces. Also, starting with Joomla! 3.0, Joomla! is now device responsive. Simply, Joomla! is mobile friendly and can be used with any modern device.
In addition, there are dozens of improvements to the details of all of the Joomla core. Some highlights are:
- A new installer which you will notice when creating a new Joomla 3.x install.
- Joomla 3 is packed with goodies for extension developers, such as Bootstrap support and jQuery support.
- Joomla 3.1 adds Tagging capability.
Each major release of Joomla is supported for over 4 years and includes one-click upgrades. For example, the 2.x series (which included 1.6 and 1.7 due to naming conflicts) has a support life of over 4 years (January 2011 until December 31st, 2014). 1.6 to 1.7 was a one-click upgrade. 1.7 to 2.5 was a one click upgrade. 2.5 will be supported until December 31st of 2014. So the 2.x series has over four years of support and, overall, it was a smooth experience for users and extension developers.
The 3.x series will have over 4 years of support as well. This of course is taking into account all the STS versions, 3.0 to 3.1 then 3.2 which will only have 7 months of support each, followed by last version, 3.5. The final version of the 3.x series will be Joomla! 3.5, an LTS version, planned for release in March of 2014 with support until the end of 2016. All of the Joomla! 3.x versions will be one-click upgrades and should, overall, be smooth transitions for users and developers as the 2.x series was.
Because Joomla's new timed-release cycle makes moving from major version to major version (e.g. 2.x to 3.x) relatively simple (see the below FAQ's for more information), users get the added benefit of compounded support, where they can move from major version to major version to get continued and uninterrupted support.
For most new sites, the Joomla! 3 series is the preferred series and starting on it avoids a mini-migration from Joomla 2.5 later down the road. Starting on the Joomla 3 series for a new site, also provides you with longer backward compatible support (with one-click upgrades) than starting a new site on 2.5 right now, because support for 3.x ends in 2016.
When starting a new site, please plan ahead and check to make sure that any extensions (including templates) that you plan to use are Joomla 3 compatible. If not, then Joomla 2.5 still provides you a well supported option in the meantime.
Sites that are currently on Joomla 2.5 are encouraged to stay on 2.5, until Joomla 3.5’s release, unless they need to be moved over sooner to take advantage of Joomla 3’s new features. We’ve provided a one-click upgrade from Joomla 2.5 to any Joomla 3 version and you just have to make sure that all your extensions are compatible before upgrading. (See the “How do I find Joomla 3.x compatible extensions?” FAQ below for more information)
Yes, you will be able to install extensions compatible with Joomla 3.x. The Joomla Extension Directory (JED) will have a compatible icon to know which extensions are Joomla 3.x compatible; however, the best place to check is the developer’s site.
Some template companies will be offering Joomla 3 templates either right away or shortly after release, but you will need to ask each one. Some have already announced that their templates will be ready for Joomla 3 when it is released, but others have not. Also, please note that some Joomla 2.5 templates will work in Joomla 3 without any issues or any changes needed. It's best to consult with the developers on this.
Visit Joomla Extension Directory (JED), which will have compatible icons to let you know which extensions are Joomla 3.x compatible; however, the best place to check is your extension developer’s site.
Extensions that are native to Joomla 2.5 should work on Joomla 3.0 with very little change, if any. Components and templates will need the most work, while modules and plugins should work without issue (assuming they do not use deprecated methods). Extensions that support Joomla 2.5 and 1.5 in the same package will likely not work right away, until the developers update them for Joomla 3 compatibility.
In short, it depends on the extension. The Joomla Project has made the process relatively easy for most extensions, however for some extensions it’s going to take some work. To be certain, let the developers of the extensions know that you want to use their extension on Joomla 3 and consult with their documentation.
You need to speak with the extension developer to see if they have plans to release that extension for Joomla 3 in the immediate future. Developers do have to make some changes but how extensive they are depends on the extension.
In most cases, probably not. Joomla 2.5 will continue be supported until December 31st of 2014 and you can update directly to Joomla 3 once it’s tried-and-tested thoroughly by other users. You can even wait until Joomla 3.5 which will be released in a year from now and still get a direct upgrade. The only reason you should update is if you need Joomla 3’s features or want to be on the leading edge.
Not unless you’re 1000% sure. By default, Joomla will not let you update to 3.x unless you activate the option within the Joomla! Update component (administrator >> Component >> Joomla! Update >> Options >> Update server >> Short Term Support). If for some reason you’ve changed this, and you’d like the updater to stop letting you upgrade, change the setting to Long Term Support. After making this change, you’ll only receive updates for Joomla 2.5.
Notice: You should not upgrade from Joomla 2.5 to Joomla 3.x unless you are certain that all of your additionally installed extensions (from third party developers), especially templates, are Joomla 3.x ready or have a Joomla 3.x version that you can upgrade to.
Joomla 3.1 will be released around April 15th, 2013. Don't worry though, because it's a one-click upgrade and will be backward compatible. If you’re on Joomla 3.0, you will need to upgrade to 3.1 at that time using the one-click upgrader. If you’re still on Joomla 2.5, you can continue to wait until Joomla 3.5 and still get a direct upgrade.
- First, review the system requirements for Joomla 3.x and make sure that your server environment meets those requirements.
- Second, make sure that all your extensions (especially, your templates) are Joomla 3.x compatible.
- Third, create a test site and test the upgrade on the test site first.
- Fourth, consult a trusted developer if you’re not 100% certain about anything.
- Fifth, make a full backup of your site (files and database).
Once ready, go to the Joomla! Update component. Click on options and change the setting to Short Term Support. Save. You should be notified of the availability of Joomla 3.x. Click the button to install. Clear your browser’s cache to make sure you see the latest changes. That’s it!
Finally, double check and make sure that everything is working properly.
Note: On some hosts you may need to use alternative update methods such as using the extensions installer.
Support for Joomla 1.5 has officially ended. Does that mean your 1.5 site will stop working? No, your site will continue to work as it always has. However, Joomla’s developers will not be releasing new versions for Joomla 1.5, so you won’t be getting bug fixes or security fixes. For this reason, it’s recommended to migrate from 1.5.
Moving from 2.5 to any Joomla 3 version is relatively simple, since Joomla has made the process easy for newer versions. Unfortunately, moving from 1.5 is not a trivial task. Fortunately, there are two good extensions that make the process easier: jUpgrade and SP Upgrade.
You have a choice of going straight to Joomla 3.0 or going to 2.5 first. Both SP Upgrade and jUpgrade have versions ready for both versions. Please consult with their documentation on how to migrate from Joomla 1.5 to 3.0/2.5.
Migrate to Joomla 3.0 if all the extensions that you plan to use are Joomla 3.0 compatible. Only some template providers or the extension vendors will be ready for Joomla 3.0 at launch, however most will not be ready until days, weeks or months after. (See the “How do I find Joomla 3.0 compatible extensions?” FAQ for more information)
Migrate to Joomla 2.5 if you want the most stable that Joomla has to offer and/or if you plan on using many extensions.
You can get more information at http://www.joomla.org/3.
We hope you enjoy Joomla 3 as much as we do! Thanks for reading this FAQ.
Gary Jay Brooks, Nick Savov, Elin Waring, Jon Neubauer, Guillermo Bravo
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