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Joomla! announced the release of version 2.5 of its popular open source content management system. The new version includes several big enhancements, like support for databases other than MySQL and improved search and software update notification, that seem to be targeted at enticing enterprises to take a closer look at the platform.

What’s New in Joomla! 2.5

Joomla! 2.5 comes almost exactly six months after the release of Joomla! 1.7 in July 2011, thanks to a new six-month release cycle. The predictable schedule, which Joomla! adopted with version 1.7, and many of the features in 2.5’s long list of enhancements, seem to be an attempt to position Joomla! as a content management option for larger organizations.

Unlike many open source projects targeting the enterprise, Joomla! still operates using a collaborative, community-driven model. Version 2.5 was shaped by feedback gathered from more than 2.5 million Joomla! forum posts, 540,000 Joomla! forum members and data from more than 8,800 Joomla! extensions. The result of this effort is a major release containing over 24 new features and lots of break fixes.

One of the most notable enhancements to Joomla! 2.5 is support for databases beyond MySQL. Although MySQL is extremely popular in the open source community, it is not frequently considered as a viable option for enterprise class software. Before the latest release, users that wanted to use a database other than MySQL had to modify Joomla!, which was not only time consuming, it made software updates challenging. Joomla! 2.5 now includes a driver for Microsoft SQL server and promises support soon for PostgressSQL, Oracle, SQLite and PDO.

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Joomla! 2.5 also includes a number of features that makes updating the software easier. The administration panel now includes an indicator that informs administrators if the platform or extensions require updates. A “database fix” button has also been added that allows administrators to easily apply structural (schema) changes to upgrade their Joomla! database. Although the option is not needed by administrators who use the one-click upgrade option, it will be a welcome enhancement for those that manually deploy Joomla! upgrades.
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In addition to the database and software update enhancements, search has been improved in 2.5. Search now includes auto-completion and enhancements for better understanding natural language.
Other noteworthy enhancements in 2.5 include:

  • Inclusions of CAPTCHA in the core platform
  • Configurable administrator notifications of new user accounts
  • Support for notes on menu items
  • Custom text filters
  • Support for custom offline message, instead of displaying the Joomla! logo.

Additional details about the enhancement in Joomla! 2.5 are available on Joomla!’s community site.

Getting Joomla! 2.5

Joomla! 2.5 is available now for download. Users that are currently running Joomla! 1.7 can upgrade to the latest and greatest release using the one-click upgrade option within the software. Most extensions that work with 1.7 should work with 2.5. Notice that said should, not will. Therefore, you should test that all functionality works as expected once the upgrade is complete.