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“Uh, Joomla! … I think we have a problem …”

1775 hits Updated: 11 August 2021 Blog

The two most important questions people ask about Joomla! 4

A concise history of the Joomla! 4 project

When should people be preparing themselves for J! 4

Ever since the Joomla! project announced that J! 3.x would be retired as J! 4 “comes to life”https://developer.joomla.org/news/676-joomla-3-retiring-as-joomla-4-comes-to-life.html in March 2017, the Joomla community has been waiting for news about this historic milestone.  To better prepare people for what has been promised, a number of commentators have written articles—most of them written in ways that people would probably interpret as marketing hype—over the past few years but still leaving a couple of very important questions unanswered.

The two most important—unanswered—questions are

  1. When will the first version of J! 4 be released that will be reliable enough for website owners to implement it?
  2. When will J! 4 overtake J! 3.x as the focus of the J! community for people who seeking a secure, robust, well-maintained and supported, open source solution with which to build their websites?

These questions are important because of the expectations promised nearly four years ago that J! 3.x was on its way out and therefore people have put their website redevelopment plans on hold waiting for when J! 4 is born.  After all, if a completely new, major software release is only a short time away, why spend your time using a technology that's at the end of its useful life?

This article will discuss these questions and provide you with background information—as best as I have been able to find it—to help you make your strategic plans regarding as to whether to (a) wait until J! 4 has been released, (b) continue to use J! 3.x for the foreseeable future (and possibly migrate to J! 4 later), or (c) abandon J! 4 altogether and go with something else.

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(Reading time: 10 - 20 minutes)

The most frequently asked questions about Joomla 4

4559 hits Updated: 12 July 2020 Blog

What we know (and a lot about what we don’t know)?

Should you wait or should you “go”?

Is there too much hype about Joomla 4?

The JED and Joomla! 4

If you would like to skip the introduction and go straight to the FAQs,  click here

A brief history of Joomla! 4

We don’t know for certain when the Joomla! 4 project startedI have been unable to locate any primary sources that indicate how proposals for a new upgrade to J! 3.x came into being and I have to rely on secondary sources that suggest J! 4 originated in 2016..  It’s not vital that we know exactly when J! 4 started; we know it’s been around for a few years.  When new projects kick off there’s usually lots of initial enthusiasm:  people eagerly set about their preparations in anticipation of a new product that’ll be “just around the corner”.  Before long, though, the distance to “the corner” seems to grow larger:  people agitate for “situation reports”—a sure sign of that sinking feeling—when they realise the end of the journey seems to be nowehere in sight and it appears that no one seems to be in the driver’s seat.  In fact, because people have been waiting with bated breath for the imminent arrival of J! 4 for such a long time—“keeping their eye on” J! 4— a lot of people are living with broken websites, unmaintained websites, hoping that J! 4 will miraculously appear and cure their problems.  Hope is not a strategy to run a business—let alone a website; it’s just another excuse, in a long list of excuses, that people make for not doing what they should be doing.

The Joomla! Project Roadmap is an “interesting document”.  If people are basing their businesses—to use Joomla! 4—on that document they could be in for a long wait:  the latest update of that documentdated 28 January 2020 gives no timeframe when J! 4.0.0 stable might be available (unlike previous versionssee https://web.archive.org/web/20180623151651/https://developer.joomla.org/roadmap.html dated 7 June 2018 that forecast J! 4.0.0 stable by end of the 2018 calendar year).  In short, no-one knows when the first stable version of Joomla! 4 will be released.

In the meantime—half-way through 2020, after four years, 12 alpha and three beta releases of J! 4—people are becoming agitated about what to expect and as well as questions about Joomla’s future both as a product and as an organisation.  This article addresses some of the important questions that the community has been asking over the past six months.  We do not have all of the answers; this article draws on snippets of information, “reading the room”, conjecture and guesswork.

User Rating: 4 / 5

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(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

Firefox: tabs on bottom (third time around)

4506 hits Updated: 31 May 2020 Blog

Firefox Quantum (Firefox 69) uses tabs on top

How to place tabs on bottom

Taming the dragon:  enabling the CSS

This article shows you how to change Firefox’s appearance from tabs on top (where the tabs appear above the URL address bar) to display the tabs below the URL address bar.

Before the release of Firefox v57, it was possible to change the location of the tabs by changing a browser parameter setting.  The setting was

browser.tabs.onTop = false

FF still retains that setting but its functionality has been disabled; browser tabs remain on top (above the URL address bar) regardless of this parameter’s value.  We will see how it’s possible to change the location of the tabs.My earlier articles—Firefox: tabs on bottom and Firefox: tabs on bottom (again)—discuss Firefox before v69.  This article updates that advice following the release of FF69.

User Rating: 5 / 5

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(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

Preparing for the social media maelstrom

1322 hits Updated: 02 October 2019 Blog

How to prepare yourself for the social media storm that is Twitter

If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him.  If he is in superior strength, evade him.  If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him.  Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.  If he is taking his ease, give him no rest.  If his forces are united, separate them.  If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them.  Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”, 5th century BC

Do not be deceived—social media is a battlefieldWhen I created my first website on the internet, some twenty-plus years ago, it was a fairly nerve-racking experience.  I had dabbled with HTML and Javascript for a couple of years before that but I knew nothing about cross-browser capable websites or CSS or all the other features we take for granted these days, and this internet thing was a whole new experience.  Suddenly my work would be on show for thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people to seeI still have a copy of my first website stored on a CD somewhere..

Over time, as I practised my webcraft, I became more confident and adventurous—exploring the opportunities of DHTML, client-server applications, etc.—and, by the time I left the workforce, I was in a good position to use my experience … perhaps to make some spare change.  Who knows?

My first experiments with Joomla! were a shambles.  I must have created forty or more test websites before I came to terms with it.  I spent entire days just reading:  books, online tutorials, forum discussions, anything I could lay my hands on.  Fortunately, I stumbled onto a group of people who were willing to offer me their help and things just snowballed from that.

It’s probably no surprise that, for the first few years of my involvement with Joomla!, I really had no sense of purpose about what I could do with it in my retirement years.

As nerve-racking as it is to put yourself “out there”—spending whole weeks or months preparing for the journey into the unknown—Twitter comes along and it's life-or-death in 280 characters

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