Joomla! 2.5 will be released in January 2012 and it is the successor of Joomla! 1.5. It will be a so called long term release and it will be the Joomla! state of the art until July 2013. The versions 1.6 and 1.7 were short term releases and they paved the way to Joomla! 2.5.
When you already upgraded your site from Joomla! 1.5 to Joomla! 1.7 in 2011 you probably use all the new features introduced with Joomla! 1.6 and 1.7. When you scroll down and read the list of new features compared to Joomla! 1.5 then you realize that 2011 was a very interesting year for Joomla!.
But let's have a closer look at the new features for Joomla! 2.5.
New Features in Joomla! 2.5
The shiny new Joomla! Platform
The Joomla Platform Version 11.4 is now the base of the CMS.
Find more content with Smart Search
Search is "reinvented" in Joomla! 2.5 with Finder. The new finder component works with a search index (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Creating the search index
Finder pre-searches your content. Search results are scored dynamically based on the context and frequency of search terms. The most relevant content will always be listed at the top of the results. It suggests alternative phrases (Figure 2) and its pluggable adapter system allows to install new search adapters which provide support for standard Joomla! content and many other types of documents. Custom search filters allows you to provide contextual searching when your visitor is looking at particular sections of your Web site.
Figure 2: Suggestions
Spread Joomla! to more Platforms by using more Databases
With Joomla! 2.5 it will be possible to run Joomla! on MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Azure. Drivers for PostgreSQL and Oracle seems to be very near (Getting Ready for Multi-Database Support).
Better Choices for Offline Mode
You can use the default offline message, disable it or create a customized message. Additionally you can select an image for the offline mode page (Figure 3). You even have a possibility to set the site to offline mode during installation so no unauthorized people can see it before you want them to.
Figure 3: Offline mode options
User registrations with CAPTCHA
A CAPTCHA plugin using the reCAPTCHA service can be enabled (Figure 4). Once you sign up for free with reCAPTCHA and enter your keys, you can enable CAPTCHA on new user registrations. It could also be used by other extensions needing CAPTCHA.
Figure 4: CAPTCHA
Easier handling for simple Layouts
You can now attach an image for the intro text to use in blog and featured layouts, an image for the full article text and up to three links for the full article layout. This means that your content creators won’t have to fuss about an image in the text and your article format will be cleaner and more consistent.
You can override the default language strings in a new manager in the backend (Figure 5).
Figure 5: Language overrides manager
A new feature “User Notes“ allows to create notes attached to specific user accounts. Creating a user note you can also set a date which can be used later, for example, for user-related tasks organizing. You can have multiple notes per user and the notes can be in different categories (Figure 6).
Figure 6: User notes manager
Filtering for Categories in Article Manager
That is simply useful. Since Joomla! 1.6 it was possible to filter categories in the article manager, but you did not see the articles of the subcategories. Now the filter logic include the articles of the subcategories too.
Linking New Menus with a Module
In Joomla! 2.5 modules are NOT automatically created for each new menu type. This is not a bug, it's a feature :)
Not everyone used the core menu module, but used instead ones from a custom template or third party module. For that reason, menus did not automatically create a module in 1.6/1.7. This change confused people and created extra work. In Joomla 2.5, if there is no module associated with the menu, there is a link showing in the Menu Manager that you can click that will take you directly into a new module that you can create. You then have the choice of saving this standard menu module or cancelling out and using a different menu module.
Custom Text Filters are moved to the global configuration. They are filtering content for black and white listed tags based on your configuration and on role permission.
You can now choose to have the administrator get a new message when a user creates an account. This is useful when the New User Account Notification is set to Self. In that case the user receives an email after the registration with an activation link (Figure 7). After clicking that link the account is activated.
Figure 7: Administrator Notification
The extensive options in “Select a Menu Item Type” are not loaded unless you need them.
You will find a good summary in form of a presentation created by Mike Carson, (JoomlaShowroom9).
New Features compared to Joomla! 1.5
In comparison to Joomla! 1.5 the differences are huge and there is a long list of features and improvements.
Here is a list of the most important changes in Joomla 1.6 and 1.7
- There will no longer be any sections. Categories can be nested as deeply as you would like
- The access concept is totally rebuilt.
The existing user groups used in Joomla! 1.5 are still the same in Joomla! 2.5 but they can be enhanced and renamed. Unlimited access levels can also be defined there. Users can be assigned to user groups and user groups can then be assigned to access levels.
Copy and move operations, and the allocation of access levels can now be done in a batch process
- Updates per mouse click
A simple feature. The system detects available updates and initiates them after a click on the corresponding button.
There have been many changes in the area of templates. There are now two administrator templates and three website templates.
- Template styles
Sometimes you may want to display a template with different options. You may want to create a page with a red background and another page with a blue one. Therefore, you will need template styles. Create as many versions (styles) of a template with different settings as you like and assign them to a menu link.
- Template layouts
Sometimes you may want to display only the output of a component or a module in a different layout without hacking the template. That's possible with template layouts.
- Consistent user interface
A successful example is the general save dialogue.
Save: content will be saved, you remain in editing mode
Save & Close: content will be saved, you leave the editing mode
Save & New: content will be saved; a new, empty editing mask appears
Save as copy: content will be saved as a copy, you remain in the editing mask
- Minimum requirements
The minimum requirements regarding your server environment and concerning your visitors' web browsers have increased.
Browser: Internet Explorer, version 7 or higher, Firefox, version 3 or higher, Safari, version 4 or higher
Server: PHP: minimum version PHP 5.2.4, MySQL: minimum version 5.04
- Legacy Mode
The legacy mode from Joomla! 1.5 is no longer necessary. Legacy mode allowed the execution of components originally developed for Joomla 1.0, which have 'only' been adapted to Joomla! 1.5. The procedure of adapting old components is offset by the development of 'native' Joomla! 1.5 and 2.5 components, which use the Joomla! Framework.
- Search engine optimization
- You can now use unicode in URLs, which means you may now use special characters like 'ö' and 'ä' or Arabic or Hebrew characters in the URL.
- You can allocate meta text and keywords to categories.
- You can combine the title of a site with the titles of its pages and decide on the order they will appear.
- Modules can be published time-controlled. The assignment options to menu items have been extended.
Joomla! core now offers the possibility to create articles, categories and modules in several languages. With the new language switching plug-in and module you can filter the entire site for the selected language.
CodeMirror is the new editor, which is supplied in addition to TinyMCE. It is not a WYSIWYG editor but offers a convenient way to work with 'code-like' content, which will be displayed in a structured way with syntax highlighting.
- The new redirect component enables redirections to URLs in order to avoid '404 not found' errors.
- A new scalable search component has been introduced. It pre-searches the content, sorts results by relevance, suggests alternative search phrases, processes wide range of document types, etc.
- The survey component has been eliminated.
- New Release Cycle
Every 18 months, a long term release of Joomla! will appear.
- Introduction of the Joomla! platform
Joomla! consists of two parts
- the Joomla! platform
- the Joomla! content management system
There are many more very nice little features like the possibility to place a background image into a module or to display articles with page breaks in a tab or slider layout.