Quick Peek - Joomla 1.6 Pre Release, Released
The next major version of Joomla (news, site), Joomla 1.6, is available in pre-release. If you're an extension maintainer, a site builder or just someone who really can't wait to check out the next generation of tools, here's a look at what this initial release has to offer.

What To Expect

Joomla 1.6 requires PHP 5.2 or above, and MySQL 5.0.4 or above. According to Ric Shreves, a partner at Water and Stone, "The new version addresses some of the system's most serious limitations, in particular, limited user management and content hierarchies."

The changes that he considered particularly significant include:

  • An improved menu manager
  • Much more granular control for user management
  • Improved content hierarchies
  • Code clean-ups, dropping the package size by about 30%

Other major changes, according to the Joomla 1.6 roadmap, include:

  • A new JForm library package
  • A simple method of providing translation using JavaScript
  • New controller dispatchers for more robust request routing
  • Create and standardize several new event triggers
  • Create a JContent class that can be used by content plug-ins and views
  • Complete the new extension updater

The Access Control Changes: A Closer Look

The Access Control List (ACL) changes involved building a new access control system that allowed adding of new groups, access levels and setting new "view" fields for articles at minimum. In order to accomplish this, the new ACL admin area offers you three types of rules, the ability to create new user groups and to create new access levels.

The types of rules are:

  • Type 1 - Permissions related to actions, such as managing languages and the installer
  • Type 2 - Permissions related to content, such as adding and publishing articles
  • Type 3 - Permissions related to actions related to access levels, such as allowing the public to view all articles

When configuring the rules, you select from the existing user groups (say, Editor, and Administrator) and assign the permissions this set of groups should have (say, the ability to manage categories, articles and the front page).

What Extension Maintainers Need To Know

Extension maintainers probably want to test their existing versions against the pre-release. In particular, Joomla 1.5 extensions that are "truly native" will require the least work to convert them to Joomla 1.6. Those whose extensions require legacy mode in order to run will no longer be able to rely on doing so. These extensions must be updated for Joomla 1.6 or they won't work anymore.

Try It Out

There's a lot more to come for Joomla 1.6. Just downloading the alpha, trying it, giving your feedback and submitting bug reports is a great help to any development team. So if you're not a coder, there's still plenty you can do to participate.