joomla_vert_logo_90x70.pngApparently, January is the season for open source CMS goodies. The first week of the new year brought a major release by one market leader, and the treats aren’t slowing down in week two --the team at Joomla! (news, site) has announced the availability of version 1.6 of their Web CMS platform.

The New Release

It’s not a secret that Joomla! is one of the leaders in the open source CMS market. It was only a few weeks ago the team closed 2010 by announcing their 6,000th extension for the platform and more than 22 million downloads. Joomla! is starting 2011 with another announcement, the release of version 1.6.

I spoke with Mark Dexter, Development Coordinator for the project, and Ryan Ozimek, president of Open Source Matters, a not-for-profit created to provide organization, legal and financial support to the Joomla! project, about the newest release.

Version 1.6 focuses heavily on improved site control, ease of use and user experience. The release features a completely revamped access control system. Joomla! modeled the new permission system on the behavior of operating systems. The new system allows site administrators fine-grained control over who can view and manage content via users, groups or viewing levels.

Other improvements include:

  • Unlimited Depth Category System -- Previous versions of the platform only supported a two level system of categorization. Now administrators can categorize content with as many or as few as needed.
  • One-Click Extension Updates -- Allows users to keep sites secure and controlled by simplifying the process of updating extensions.
  • CSS-based page layouts -- Interface designers will appreciate that the platform has turned away from table-based layouts in favor of CSS. This provides a better baseline for content presentation.
  • Internationalization -- Allows site builders to implement a multi-language site.

16JoomlaCategories.JPG
Joomla's new category system

The new release is available for download from the Joomla! website at http://www.joomla.org/16.

What’s Coming Next

Joomla! users won’t have to wait very long for the next collection of enhancements after the 1.6 release. According to Dexter, Joomla! has moved to a six-month major release calendar, departing from their previous feature-based strategy. This means the next major release of the platform will be around June; mark it on your calendars. Delivering releases at regularly scheduled times provides users and contributors more predictability to plan.

Like every software shop, the Joomla! team was able to get every requested fix and feature in the 1.6 release as well as meet the delivery time line.


(I am allowing a brief pause here for you to recompose yourself from violent laughter.)


Yeah right. According to Dexter, the team is placing a high priority on delivering:

  • A unified content model
  • Separation of the Joomla! platform from the content management system. This will allow use of features like search and security to implemented in applications without adopting the CMS.

These features were not ready for the 1.6 release, but we may be seeing them in 1.7.

The newest release, 1.6, is certain to draw attention from the open source CMS community. Have you had an opportunity to take it for a test drive? Let us know what you think.