Joomla 3.5 – The End of Joomla as We Know It?

Joomla 3.5 is supposed to be released on November 15th, in exactly ten days from now, but we all know that this won’t happen, because Joomla 3.4 was supposed to be released on September 15th, and, even almost 2 months later, it’s still in the Joomla oven. But that’s not the real problem, the real problem is Joomla 3.5, and here’s why…

Joomla 3.5 gets rid of 7 core extensions:

  1. Banners (com_banners)
  2. Contacts (com_contacts)
  3. Messages (com_messages)
  4. Newsfeeds (com_newsfeeds)
  5. Redirect (com_redirect)
  6. Search (com_search)
  7. Smart Search (com_finder)

Now we have stated, in an earlier post, that 4 of the above extensions are useless and must be removed from Joomla’s core. These extensions are: Banners, Messages, Newsfeeds, and Redirect (note that the aforementioned post also asks for the removal of the Weblinks extension, which will be removed in Joomla 3.4 according to the roadmap).

But what about the other 3 extensions that Joomla wants removed, but were not mentioned in our previous post? Let’s examine them one by one:

  1. Contacts: At a personal level, we don’t love this extension (probably because it’s from the Mambo era). But, the problem is that there are so many websites out there currently using it for their Contact Us page, and taking that extension away will mean that these websites will have to look for alternatives in the JED.
  2. Search: OK – let us ask you a question. When was the last time you used a CMS with no search functionality? What’s that you say? “Never”? We agree, but, for some reason, the majority of Joomla developers think that the search functionality should be removed (both the component and the module), and that all new Joomla sites should not have the search functionality by default, and, if they really need it, then they should use a 3rd party extension (which may or may not be commercial, and may or may not be vulnerable, and may or may not exist in a few months). We just don’t understand the reasoning behind the decision to remove this extension. Oh, and by the way, there is nothing wrong with the extension – it works – in fact, we think it works so well that we made a few modifications to make it even better, such as handling spelling mistakes.

  3. Smart Search: The Smart Search is a tool in Joomla that is designed to speed up the search, especially on large websites. The extension works seamlessly but suffers from 3 major drawbacks: 1) it creates an array of (potentially very large) tables in the database, 2) it can slow down the whole website, and 3) it’s not that smart! Having said that, we don’t think that the extension should be removed, in fact, we think it has more merits than disadvantages and that’s why we have it enabled on some very large websites (we did make some modifications to it though). We believe that this extension, after some not-so-major alterations, can be the best thing since sliced bread. Obviously, most Joomla developers don’t think this is the case and that’s why it’s being dumped.

Granted, Joomla officially states that all the old websites will not be affected once they upgrade to Joomla 3.5 (in other words, they will still have the above extensions if they’re using them). But what about newcomers to Joomla? What will the developers respond when these newcomers start asking questions about the missing search functionality?

Yes, WordPress doesn’t have, by default, a Contacts extension (note: an extension is called a plugin in WordPress), but it does have a search functionality that works! Either way, we don’t think that the ultimate goal is to make Joomla a WordPress clone. Joomla is something different, something better, and to strip the CMS from its basic functionality, doesn’t mean we have a better, more robust product, it means that we have an incomplete product. We wonder how many people out there are willing to use and invest in an incomplete product.

If you have an opinion on the matter, then we, at itoctopus, are eager to listen. Just drop us a comment below and let the discussion begin!

One Response to “Joomla 3.5 – The End of Joomla as We Know It?”
  1. Comment by Ilija Milovic — March 22, 2015 @ 7:42 pm

    IMHO the contacts component is very important, I myself use it for every single Joomla site I make, with some minor modifications. It is a great tool and it saves a lot of time when creating fast and yet functional contact forms with all other things such as user/company info, mail, fax, telephone etc..

    I would never remove that component If I were in a Joomla development team…

    For Search/Smart Search I’m OK, if we need it we can just install it as an extension, but why won’t the Joomla team add these extensions in the JED?

    That way everyone would be happy and we would have 100% tested and secure extensions without expiry date or issues , and those who don’t need them won’t get them in Joomla’s default installation.

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