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At recent Joomla! User Group (JUG) Brisbane on July 7th, Joomla! Core Team member Andrew Eddie lifted the lid off Joomla! 1.6 and allowed Joomla! community to have a peek into this upcoming new version of Joomla! The presentation was broadcast as a live stream on the Web. If you missed the meeting and live broadcast, you can view the video or read the PDF file of Andrew's presentation notes. Here we summarize some important points that might interest you.

 

Just like everything else went through major changes, the result usually brings both good and bad news to current users. While we are glad to see some great new features implemented, there are things you should be aware of.

Will Your Host Support It?

The first on the bad news list is a significant one. Joomla! 1.6 will require PHP 5.2+ and MySQL 5.0.4+ to operate or even to install. There are tons of servers at hosting sites out there are still running older versions of PHP and/or MySQL. If your servers are one of them, maybe it's time to switch or demand your host to start upgrading.

No More Legacy Extensions

The legacy mode in Joomla! 1.5.x series to ensure backward compatibility with 1.0.x extensions will not exist in Joomla! 1.6. All extensions must be modified to get in sync with the new version. The new ACL isn't fully backward compatible. If you are an extension developer, you will have to make some changes to use the new ACL.

Will They Be Missed?

Besides the legacy mode, there are other noticeable removed from Joomla! 1.6. The Poll component will be no more because there exists better alternatives. The PDF support never works very well, so it will be dropped as well. I don't know if anyone is using XStandard Editor, but it will be gone. And, a few API's, such as DOMIT, PEAR and phputf8 among others, will also disappear.

Some Major Changes

One of the most significant changes introduced in Joomla! 1.6 is the multilevel category tree. We will say goodbye to the section in the old two-level section-category structure. Because of this, many URL will differ to the ones Joomla! 1.5.x produces. More details about this will be discussed later.

At the front end, Frontpage will be called Featured which makes more sense considering its purpose. The front end layout will be moving toward a more semantic design. No more meaningless table layouts and class designations. Mootools will be upgraded to 1.2, and the development team promised to make jQuery and other JavaScript frameworks friendly. 

One thing concerns multilingual site developers is the changes in language files. The language files will have to conform INI standard. That includes no spaces and punctuations in the key strings as well as namespaces for better organization.

Upgrade from 1.5

So far what the impact will be of upgrading from Joomla! 1.5 to 1.6 is a total unknown. The development team is hoping to work out an upgrade path for current Joomla! 1.5.x users.

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