Good news! Check out our first themes designed for Joomla 3.3 – visit the Joomla 3.3 templates page.
Joomla! 3.3 is being introduced as the most stable Joomla! release in CMS history. That’s CMS history; not just Joomla history! The beta version is very nearly ready to be released into the wild where it will no doubt be poked, prodded and tested to kingdom come; the release schedule is now as follows:
- 1 April – Beta 1
- 8 April – Beta 2
- 15 April – Release Candidate (RC)
- 22 April – Joomla 3.3 Release
The Production Leadership Team (PLT) have reserved four weeks between the first beta release and the official Joomla! 3.3.0 release to allow enough time for getting complete tests on as many different hosting environments as possible. This release will be considered the go-to version for most new installs and, thankfully, the upgrade process should be simplified to a one-click update from Joomla! 3.2. This year we should also see the next Joomla! LTS (Long Term Support) release, namely 3.5, which is (tentatively) planned for October 2014 (and I really, really must stress the ‘tentatively’ part!). Joomla! 3.3 is, just like the prior versions 3.0, 3.1 and 3.2, a STS (Short Term Support) release. The next milestone in Joomla! history will be Joomla! 4, but you’re going to have to wait a while for that, as it is not scheduled for release until Q2 2015. Many things have changed over the years with regards to Joomla! release names, which have often been quite schizophrenic and hard to follow, so hopefully they will now keep things simple and predictable with a clearer process, much like, for example, WordPress’ releases.
I’m using Joomla 3.2; should I upgrade to Joomla 3.3?
Joomla PLT is planning to release a Joomla 3.2 maintenance update the same day that Joomla 3.3 is published. It will probably be v.3.2.4 since the latest one is 3.2.3 and there don’t appear to be any other releases on the horizon. First of all, this maintenance update will include bug fixes for issues noticed after 3.2.3’s release, and current Joomla! 3.2 users will receive extended security support till October 2014 (so this is likely to be until the Joomla! 3.5 release). As per the Joomla! CMS’ version naming conventions, the jump from 3.2 and 3.3 are minor updates, so 3.2 users should update to 3.3, though it’s important to note that Joomla! 3.3 comes with new server requirements, which is why extended support is being provided – essentially, it’s for users who are being held back from a CMS upgrade because of their server configuration.
There aren’t any really big changes in the server specification requirements – the only real change is that the required PHP version is being raised to PHP 5.3.10 or later, but that’s not really a cause for concern as most hosting companies already have at least PHP 5.3.10 because it contains a critical security fix. Still, now’s the time to check your server specifications; if you’re using Joomla! 3.2 and your PHP version is lower than 5.3.10 you should see a Joomla! post-installation message warning you of the issue. If you don’t get this message, then all’s well and your server is ready for Joomla! 3.3.
Joomla 3.3 – What’s new?
Updated server requirements and better security
The next Joomla release is mainly focused on raising the bar on security; this is why the minimum requirement regarding the PHP version is being raised to 5.3.10. First up, this release includes a really important security fix, and then goes on to enhance the cryptography that keeps your users’ passwords safe and sound. Bear in mind that the latest PHP release is 5.5.8 and PHP 5.2 reached End of Life in January, 2011 so that was three years ago – if you hosting is still using this version it is great time to ask for an upgrade, or, failing that, to change company; hosting companies have a responsibility to provide (at least the option of) functional, updated software under the hood so if your provider isn’t up to the task you would be much safer in the long run if you got out now!
Some of the already-confirmed Joomla! 3.3 features related to security are BCrypt password hashing, Two-Factor Authentication and an improved Remember Me area, if you’re the nostalgic type.
Cloud Storage API
Cloud Storage APIs will allow Joomla! to interact with Amazon S3 and other cloud storage offerings like Dropbox, Google or Rackspace.
JMicrodata is a new Joomla! 3.2 library which allows developers to implement schema.org microdata semantics. Basically, this new microdata feature is a way of adding contextual information to your website and its contents, which should be rather nice for SEO; Search engines can index this additional data and then provide better results for your visitors and better understand the information you provide them with.
GavickPro templates and Joomla 3.3
Most our extensions like News Show Pro GK5, Tabs GK5, Social GK5 and Grid GK5 use jQuery library in the back-end and have an option to switch between jQuery or MooTools in the front-end, which means that they are already almost compatible with Joomla! 3.3. By design, the Joomla! 3.x Series is supposed to be backwards compatible from the first release of 3.0 to the Long Term Stable release of 3.5; this means that we don’t need to rewrite our modules’ code again and again with each release. We expect that there’ll probably be a few small layout fixes needed, but that’s all. The only extension that isn’t ready for jQuery right now is Image Show GK4, but we plan to update our scripts as soon as possible, in advance of Joomla 3.3’s release date so that we’ll have enough time to run some necessary tests.
Meet Gavern as our Joomla! 3.x-exclusive template will of course be updated to Joomla 3.3 with its next major release, namely v1.4. We are collecting a list of features and bug fixes that have been brought to our attention via our GitHub repository and all of them will be included in this next release. Since this is our free product we’ll need to support our commercial products first and foremost for the benefit of our current customers, but we will still endeavor to get the update for Meet Gavern out as soon as possible to get it playing nice with Joomla 3.3.
GavickPro and 3rd party extensions
Our Joomla 3.x templates contains three leading components: K2, JomSocial and EasyBlog. Due to fact that VirtueMart is still not ready for Joomla 3.3 we currently provide support for K2Store in our e-commerce products prior to the Joomla 3.3 release. All supported extensions will be updated when their respective developers release their Joomla 3.3 compatible versions, but since Joomla! 3.3 is backwards-compatible with Joomla! 3.2 it shouldn’t take too long before everything is up and running. On our blog you’ll find information regarding the new K2 release which we suspect will be compatible with J! 3.3 (or higher). Implementation of this extension can take a little bit longer due to fact that K2 in our templates is highly customized, with overridden layouts and additional CSS styling beyond the basics, but until we see the final product we can’t give any educated guess as to how long it will take.
Want to know more about Joomla! 3.3?
Below you will find a pretty full list of available resources related with the next Joomla! release – including a list of proposed and approved features, a detailed description of requirements changes and the release history explained: