Joomla, one of the leading Open Source CMS, today launched Joomla! 2.5. Keep in mind that this is a new release of the Joomla! CMS layer and is based on Joomla! Platform 11.4. Just to refresh your memory, with Joomla! 1.7 Joomla! Platform (formerly known as “framework”) was separated from the higher-level CMS layer.
Joomla! 2.5 is the next long term release after Joomla! 1.5.The New release is in line with the time based release plan wherein a new version is released every six months (supported for six months) and every third release is a long term release (supported for 18 months). The Joomla! Platform follows it separate 3 month cycle that’s independent of the Joomla CMS release cycle.
Of the several new features that have been introduced in this release, the most talked about feature will be Joomla!’s multi-database support. With the multi-database support, it will now be possible to run Joomla with any databases and not get restricted to just MySQL. This is possible thanks to the new database interface layer introduced in the new release. Instead of making SQL queries to the MySQL server, the Joomla CMS will be now use the new interface layer for any database request making it database agnostic. This will allow you to support any database server by writing custom adaptors for the same. The release 2.5 includes adaptors for Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft SQL Azure. As per Ryan Ozimek (president of Open Source Matters) and Mark Dexter (of the Joomla Production Leadership Team) – adaptors for other databases like PostgresSQL and Oracle are not far behind – you might seem them in the coming dot releases.
Joomla! claims that over 2.8% of web run on Joomla. The multi-database support will further boost this adoption, especially with enterprises that have been averse to it cause of the tight integration with MySQL server. Furthermore, the multi-database support will enhance Joomla’s scalability.
Another interesting highlight of Joomla 2.5 release is its brand new smart Search. Although the search features adopts from an existing extension that’s been now donated to the Joomla Community, the new search has been rewritten natively in Joomla – without the use of any external search engine or libraries. The highly configurable search support advance search features like stemming.
Similar to WordPress, the new release also introduces easy update feature of the Joomla system as well as Joomla Extensions. The administrators also get a single click feature to fix database schema issues that may have resulted from Joomla or an extension update. This will be especially useful if you’re moving to Joomla 2.5 from 1.5 or earlier releases.
Those who have been following Joomla closely would have been a bit surprised by the release numbering used – the new release has been numbered 2.5 instead of 1.8 as previously suggested by the Joomla Community. Well, it’s just that the community felt that given the last long term release (which also happens to be the longest standing release) was 1.5, so it was most appropriate that next long term release be numbered 2.5. Following this pattern, the next Joomla! CMS release will be 3.0 and then 3.1 (both short term releases); followed by 3.5 – the next long term release. Followed by 4.0, 4.1 & 4.5; 5.0, 5.1 & 5.5 and so on…
While there is has been much fan fair around the new Release of the Joomla CMS, the Joomla Platform releases have been pretty low key. That’s probably because it’s still making room for itself within the developer community. While there are communities who have started to leverage the platform, it will have to await fame and visibility till the community sees the applications leveraging it. Never the less, do keep in mind that the Joomla! Platform has a significant contribution to the Multi- database support and Search feature introduced in the Joomla! CMS 2.5.