joomla 2.5 end of liveOn 10th December 2014, the Joomla core product team released Joomla 2.5.28, the last planned release in the v2.5 series. As a result, all further Joomla core development efforts will go towards Joomla 3.x and beyond, and v2.5 will be officially declared End Of Life (EOL) as of 1st January 2015. Here is why this should be news of some import to you.

Firstly, EOL does not mean that your Joomla site will simply stop working come New Year’s Day. Oh, no, that would be too easy. Instead, what it will mean is that the Joomla core team will no longer officially care about v2.5 – if a security vulnerability was discovered the next day, it is highly likely that the only patch available (if at all) would be a community-contributed one. It also means that Joomla extension developers (including Digital Peak) will gradually consider dropping support for the Joomla 2.5 series.

You do not have to upgrade your Joomla installation to 3.x if you don’t want to, as long as you remain up-to-date about any security vulnerabilities that might crop up afterwards, and you can use unofficial patches to keep your system secure. However, if you rely on Joomla extensions to any significant degree (and let’s be honest, most of us do), then be aware that more and more, extensions will be written to require v3.x or higher, and the extension developers will themselves also stop supporting issues or queries related to v2.5 at some point. If you have a reasonably good backup of all your databases (or at least your data), now would be a good time to start deploying and testing Joomla 3.x so that you can ensure a worry-free migration.

The strategy of Digital Peak

In the interests of full and public disclosure, here is how Digital Peak will be handling Joomla 2.5’s EOL. We will continue to support v2.5 on DPCalendar 4.2.x and GAnalytics 3.2.x (the last branch that can be installed on v2.5) through March 2015, giving you that time to migrate to Joomla 3.x with all the support resources available to help you out. So what does support mean on that versions? We will provide bug fix releases till March 2015 when the next major major version 5 of DPCalendar is planed. Till then the branch 4.2 should be pretty stable on Joomla 2.5. For sure we will accept also support cases on our case management system. After June 2015 (which is a half year after the end of life) we will REFUSE support on Joomla 2.5 installations. Means cases on our support platform which belong to a Joomla 2.5 web site will be closed immediately.

There is always an exception

If a vulnerability is discovered in the Joomla 2.5 branches of our products then we will create releases with a fix and you will be informed through our newsletter. So be sure that your E-Mail address on your joomla.digital-peak.com account is valid!!

How to migrate to Joomla 3

For more information on how and why to migrate your site to the latest version of Joomla, visit their Why Migrate page. If you migrate your web site to Joomla 3 then there is no special actions required to update our extensions. They should work as before. If you did some template overrides then you need to adapt them as well. But you have to create a new template anyway. The best thing would be completely remove all template overrides during the upgrade and them move them back piece by piece.

joomla-bcIn this post, I’m continuing along the theme of backward compatibility, and this time, applying it directly to Joomla – specifically, its release policies – and what this means for extension developers like Digital Peak. Bear in mind that Joomla is open-source, which means that in theory, if you really need backward compatibility, you can always hack the source code yourself to implement whichever functions and behaviours that have changed in successive versions.

Joomla is in the rather curious (but hardly unique) position of being both a software package running on top of a platform (in most cases, the LAMP software stack, but it could equally be the WAMP, WIMP or MAMP stacks), as well as being a software platform of its own. Hence, backward compatibility is required both in respect to the platform it runs on, as well as the extensions that it runs.

Joomla’s Software Platform

While Joomla requires a software stack consisting of an OS, a Web server, a database engine and PHP to run, in practice the OS can be just about any version that will successfully install and run the other 3 components of the stack. Judging from previous data, Joomla is not very concerned with backward compatibility between major releases. For example, sometime between v1.5 and v2.5, Joomla dropped support for IIS6, Apache 1.3, PHP4.x and MySQL 4.x – but it also added support for nginx and SQL Server.

It’s hardly surprising – as a FOSS project, the Joomla project does not itself derive any income from licencing the CMS for commercial (or indeed any other) use, and cannot devote resources to supporting the edge cases. Between 2008 (when 1.5 was released) and 2012 (when 2.5 was released), both IIS6 and Apache 1.3 reached end-of-life (EOL) status (which meant neither would be supported by their respective manufacturers beyond the EOL date), while PHP4.x and MySQL 4.x were EOL even before that. Popular CMSes (and fellow FOSS projects) like WordPress and Drupal also dropped support for PHP4.x and MySQL 4.x around the same timeframe, so Joomla was in good company. From this, it can be inferred that Joomla will likely drop support for a particular component of the stack it runs on shortly after the component’s vendor itself drops support for it.

Joomla As Software Platform

What about the people who develop on or for Joomla, then, like Digital Peak? How does Joomla treat us whenever it updates itself? The current Joomla SDLC is a bit more clear-cut about how it treats backward compatibility. Within any individual major release, Joomla is guaranteed to be backward-compatible. That is to say, it will make no changes to its currently-supported APIs or other public surfaces (config and settings files, for instance). Every major release from 3.x onwards will be supported for a minimum of 4 years, presumably with a period of around 2 years between each major release.

Between major releases, however, Joomla makes no such guarantee. New APIs may be introduced, existing APIs may be deprecated, deprecated APIs may disappear completely, settings may be completely jettisoned. Joomla’s core developers see major releases as opportunities to refactor Joomla’s code, introduce new ground-breaking features and generally get rid of any cruft that may have accumulated.

Implications For Developers And Users

As a Joomla developer, Digital Peak has to be open to the possibility that each extension may need a separate version for each major release of Joomla (and perhaps drop support for older, unsupported releases of Joomla). For users, it is a clear signal that in order to stay supported by Joomla’s core developers, a proper upgrade roadmap needs to be in place. Or pay for 3rd-party support.

for-bcIn a previous post of mine, I mentioned that we would look at some of the pros and cons of maintaining backward compatibility. In this post, I take a look at some of the reasons software companies choose, like Microsoft, to make their new products as backward compatible as possible.

Most software companies are for-profit organisations; that is to say, either they make money from licencing their software (rarely is software outright sold), renting their software (the SaaS model) or from selling support services (especially if the software in question is FOSS). In all of these cases, the commercial sector is where the real money is, which the home consumer market can have a massive influence on.

The business market

One of the core reasons why software (and indeed, other) companies decide to allocate resources on backward compatibility is because customers – especially business customers – are generally resistant to change. The less change there is, the better it is – especially if the change has a quantifiable dollar cost attached to it (which would be the case if upgrading one piece of software also required you to upgrade other pieces of software which used to work well with the earlier version but not with the new one). Furthermore, many corporate users of software platforms would also have made their own customisations and installed business-critical add-ins and extensions, so they would be much less willing to buy and install a new version if they could not keep their customisations intact.

In addition, many large organisations have internal IT procurement processes that require regression testing of software upgrades against their standard set of software installed on user machines. A software upgrade that did not break the other software in use has a much greater chance of being approved for purchase (in the case of proprietary software) in a quicker timeframe and deployed in production environments.

Another reason why software vendors – especially enterprise software vendors – maintain backward compatibility is to support customers who rely on custom-made line-of-business applications or modules that relied on the particular set of quirks and behaviours (both explicitly defined and internally) of a specific software version. Many times, the developers of such applications are no longer around to maintain or update their creations, and the source code may have been lost or otherwise unavailable. Breaking backward compatibility is not an option for these customers, who might represent a large chunk of a vendor’s market.

The Catch-22

An interesting scenario occurs once a software platform becomes sufficiently popular and entrenched in a global market, and a healthy ecosystem of independent software vendors (ISVs) develop applications that run on that platform. When that happens, backward compatibility becomes a high priority for both the platform manufacturer as well as its ISVs. For the software platform’s developers, they have to ensure that their next version continues to allow all (or virtually all) of the existing ISV software products to keep running with no changes. The ISVs in turn have to ensure that their next-generation software continues to run on the existing versions of the software platform with next to no changes. In this case, both platform and ISV vendors have a vested interest in maintaining backward compatibility with each other’s current- and previous-generation products.

So what about Joomla, which is itself a software platform? How does it handle backward compatibility? That is a matter for a future post.

gcalendar-api-shutdown

I published at the beginning of 2007 the first GCalendar version on the JED, since that time GCalendar has used the Google calendar API v1. It was working well in all this years, but it didn't meet the requirements of modern architecture nowadays and that's why Google decided to build a new API from ground up (v3). It is more secure (OAuth authentication) faster (JSON protocol) and more feature rich (event colors, enc more....). Since the beginning of DPCalendar we us the Google calendar API v3 in our Professional Google Plugin.

As we announced in April this year (2014), Google will shut down their calendar API which GCalendar used since years on the 17. November 2014. We do offer a migration path for GCalendar users to use their existing GCalendar installation with the FREE package of DPCalendar on their Joomla 2.5 or 3.x web site. Yesterday was the day, Google shut down their Google calendar API v1 and v2. Since Sunday we are seeing an increase in traffic and downloads of DPCalendar. Looks like people started to do the migration. Additionally we got GREAT feedback about the evolvement of GCalendar into DPCalendar.

We have big plans for 2015 with DPCalendar and brand new responsive Joomla extensions. More information will be published at the beginning of 2015. We hope that you will have a great time with DPCalendar as you had with GCalendar! Let's move on to new spheres....

against-bc

In my previous post, I’ve discussed what it means for software to be backward-compatible. Software manufacturers usually come down firmly on this issue one way or the other. An example of a software company that traditionally strives to maintain backward compatibility almost to the point of insanity is Microsoft. Apple (arguably a hardware company), on the other hand, strives to break backward compatibility where it deems it necessary. Of course, most software companies eventually do decide to break backward compatibility; it’s just a question of when. And no software company deliberately makes its every major release incompatible with its previous version (for instance, while Joomla! doesn’t guarantee backward compatibility between major releases, it doesn’t guarantee incompatibility either).

So what would make even a company like Microsoft, much less the Joomla core developers (who, let’s be honest, have less to lose) decide to throw away backward compatibility? What reasons could there be? Here are a few issues that may be factored in when deciding whether to maintain or break compatibility with previous versions of the software in question.

Increased complexity and costs

Backward compatibility can be very hard to maintain. In the case of Microsoft Windows, for instance, many of the smaller developers (and some of the larger ones!) have grown used to poking around its undocumented (internal) functions and data structures in ways that worked for one particular version – but then subsequently had to be maintained or emulated in all subsequent versions of Windows to come. The Sega MegaDrive (Genesis in the USA) could run Sega Master System (its predecessor) games… by including the main Master System processor as a co-processor.

At some point, the overhead associated with backward compatibility outweighs the benefits of maintaining it, and that is when the decision to break it should be taken. For an entrenched OS like Windows with millions if not billons of installs, that may take years or even decades. For something agile like Joomla, that point comes around much quicker.

Security concerns

In the earlier years of PC development, every application could (and often did) consider the entire PC (and by extension, all of DOS, and later, Windows) as its sandbox, and freely manipulated it as it saw fit. Even when Windows NT became the mainstream OS, developers remained quite happy to write applications in such a way as to require Administrator privileges (the Windows equivalent of UNIX-like systems’ root access). Today, such untrammelled freedom is unthinkable, given the massive security breach it would represent. Or at least, that’s how it should be. In practice, given the need to maintain backward compatibility with such applications, workarounds have to be put in place in order to fool them into thinking they could still do things in the same bad old ways. As it turns out, security is now a more important issue in everyone’s eyes, so sacrificing backward compatibility is easier when explained in those terms.

Stifled Innovation

When creating a new version of its software, Microsoft’s primary goal is not to create something innovative and groundbreaking; instead, it is to firstly ensure that it will do no harm to existing systems running the old version(s), and then add new features. For Apple, innovation and usability and delighting the customer comes first; if the price is breaking backward compatibility, it’s not even an agenda item for them to discuss – they just go ahead and do it. However, if the choice was to innovate or die, even Microsoft will throw backward compatibility to the back burner.

Cookies make it easier for us to provide you with our services. With the usage of our services you permit us to use cookies.
More information Ok Decline