I am a huge fan of Joomla! and that for many years. I use it for my sportclub since 2008. At that time, Joomla! 1.5 came out. The advantage was that there were a lot of security updates, but they were easily to do via FTP. But like all your software: it gets old, there are core features missing and a complete revision is needed.
First there was an update to 1.7, but I skipped that because there’s no long-term support for it as with 1.5. Last week, the first stable version of 2.5 came out (and immediately a security upgrade to 2.5.1). The most important improvement is the built-in ACL: There is a lot more freedom to give rights at users (instead of the sluggy user groups at 1.5). There are also a lot more admin-friendly updates: Updates for components can be done via the backend (and you’ll get notifications), more template modification options for non-experienced (or lazy) admins,…
But how do you do that, an upgrade from 1.5 to 2.5?
First things first: grab the latest security update for your 1.5 site. It’s important for the component that we will use, because it requires 1.5.19 or higher. We will do it first in a test environment, so we don’t mess up our live site.
To take a backup, there is a great component @JED: Akeeba Backup. Just install it, and take your backup via the backend. Download the .jpa file and there it is! You can set up a test environment on your pc (with a program like XAMPP). Or you can create a subdomain folder, and put the .jpa file there.
The next you need is Akeeba Kickstart. It’s just a php file, to extract and set up your site. Go then to www.yourdomain.com/kickstart.php and follow the steps. Don’t forget to create a database!
Once Kickstart is done, you can install jUpgrade (it requires registration to download, but it’s free!). From 1.5 to 2.5 is not a simple upgrade: it’s a real migration. What jUpgrade does, is quite simple and still genious: It installs 2.5 in de /jupgrade/ subfolder, and copies the entries from your db with a new prefix. There are some 3th-party extensions supported, but not much. When it’s done, you have your site at www.yourdomain.com, and a Joomla! 2.5 site at www.yourdomain.com/jupgrade/. So you can easily tweak and refine before you’ll go live with your 2.5 site.
Despite the many advantages, you should wait at this moment. Most popular commercial extensions have a 2.5 version, but it’s too early for some non-commercial extensions. There is also a big chance that your template won’t work anymore, so tweaking or a brand new template is needed.
And some components, like the well-known and loved Jumi, doesn’t get an update to 2.5. It’s really a pity that such great components are no longer developed.
My favorite components and their status:
- jEvents (Calendar): Club members have already an updated version. Free users have to wait till mid-February
- Acajoom (Mailing): Free version is already available under the name jNews
- Morfeoshow (Photos): Not longer maintained and no longer in JED. Great component, I really regret the disappearing of it…
- jComments: One of the best components for comments. And free! It’s only 1.5 native at the moment, and the developer seemed to be inactive. But, great news: there is a beta release for testers (see this topic)!
- Docman (File management): Updated to 2.5 , but only a commercial version. There was a free version for 1.5… There are good alternatives though, such as ‘Simple File Uploader’.
You can already test the new Joomla! version, but it’s too early to migrate a live website. Just wait and see till all components are updated 🙂