Can I Use Joomla 1.5 Templates in Joomla 1.6?

We are regularly asked by our Joomla clients whether they can use a Joomla 1.5 template in Joomla 1.6 (or Joomla 1.7, for that matter). Our immediate answer is No, but…

The reason we give this answer is because a Joomla 1.5 template work in Joomla 1.6 (or again, 1.7) is not impossible, but is not straightforward, you just can’t take a Joomla 1.5 template and try to install on a Joomla 1.6 website and expect the process to work. Some curious clients usually ask why isn’t the process straightforward, isn’t it a template after all? Well, yes it’s a template, but a template made for a different system (it’s like trying to play a VHS movie in a DVD player)…

There are some differences between templates made for Joomla 1.5 and templates made for Joomla 1.6, including (but not limited to) the following:

– Major changes in the file templateDetails.xml which includes across the board changes of the number “1.5” to “1.6”, as well as the introduction of the concept of fieldsets and the deprecation of the params tags.
– Several changes to language files.
– Changes to how the $mainframe variable is accessed. In Joomla 1.5, it was accessed from the global pool (global $mainframe;), in Joomla 1.6, it is accessed through the JFactory class ($mainframe = JFactory::getApplication();).

So, as you can see from the above, there are many changes, but still it is possible to adapt (upgrade) a Joomla 1.5 template to make it work smoothly in Joomla 1.6 or 1.7 (although again, it is not straightforward), all you need is some programming experience. Now if you don’t have any programming experience, and if you want to upgrade to the latest version of Joomla and you need to ensure that your template still works, then don’t hesitate to contact us, we have helped many Joomla website owners so far migrate their templates from 1.5 to 1.6 (and recently to 1.7), and we’re confident we will be able to help you!

3 Responses to “Can I Use Joomla 1.5 Templates in Joomla 1.6?”
  1. Comment by gexplorer — October 31, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

    What about the opposite? Migrate a 1.7 template into 1.5? I have plenty of experience programming, and I’d appreciate if you could tell me all the differences (if there are more than what you just said in the article)

  2. Comment by Fadi — November 1, 2011 @ 2:05 am


    Yes, it can be done. You can migrate a Joomla 1.7 template into 1.5. You only have to do the reverse of the above. Joomla 1.7 templates do not features that cannot be replicated in 1.5, and thus the reverse migration is possible.

  3. Pingback by Joomla Template Is Not Working! | itoctopus — January 24, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

    […] If the Joomla template is written for another Joomla version than the one you have, then either fix it so that it can work on the Joomla version of your choice or just search for a different template […]

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