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Joomla 1.7 – To learn, to join and to get inspiration

Here comes Joomla 1.6 then 1.7

preview

After three years in development, the next generation of Joomla – Joomla 1.7 has been released. As it has a short lifespan (6 months) before the release of version 1.8, there are many arguments for and against it Whatever group you are in, it is undeniable that Joomla 1.7 has some big improvements - wihich come from community inspiration.

Overview

With a sharp look & appearance very similar to 1.5, Joomla 1.7 also comes with anticipated features. Let´s see some of the interesting things we can do with the new version:

Cool new features

Flexible ACL (Access Control Level) capability

acl

This concept might be the biggest and the most complex enhancement of Joomla 1.7. Joomla 1.5´s ACL is rudimentary and hierarchical with fixed groups, access levels and relationship between them. This structure is adequate for most small sites but limited for complicated cases. And yes, this limited sutructure has been superceded in Joomla 1.7: ACL now is flexible and not hierarchical. You are given supreme rights to create new users and define groups with whatever permissions and unlimited access level you wish.

Example:

You are able to give permissions to groups to see different content on a business website as below:
  • General public: Can see almost all content (product lists, business information, forum …), except confidential content for business staff and managers.
  • Staff: Can see content for general public and the specific content for them (Internal information, internal blog…)
  • Managers: Can see content for general public, for staff and specific content for themselves (Strategy, Revenue…).
What to remember?
  • You should be very careful with Joomla 1.7´s ACL as it can reveal your hidden content or lock you out of your website.
  • You can put a user in various groups.

Nested categories only

This flexible organization is similar to the K2 content construction works in Joomla 1.5. Now in Joomla 1.7, the limited Section-Category-Article paradigm is no longer an option. The only option is (Category) x n times - Article.

Example:

If your website is about Open Source products (templates, extensions) showcasing: In Joomla 1.5, the organization is: In Joomla 1.7, you can divide them in more details:
  • Category: Joomla
    • Category: Joomla templates
      • Category: Free
        • Articles
      • Category: Premium
        • Articles
    • Category: Joomla extensions
      • Category: Free
        • Articles
      • Category: Premium
        • Articles
What to remember?
  • You can create as many categories as you wish.
  • Each parent might have a lot of child categories, but each child category just has one parent, neither an article.

Built-in SEO features

seo

In Joomla 1.6/1.7, there are some new handy SEO options that reduce the working load of SEOers when compared to Joomla 1.5. No more 3rd-party extension or digging into code to make your site SEF, now you just enjoy the convenience it brings you.
  1. Metadata options: Meta-tags are now available in multiple components (banner, contact, contact category, weblinks, articles, menu manager) & its categories. They are easily set up, edited and correct displayed on SEM.
  2. 301 redirection system: This feature allows you to create page redirects – 301 when there are 404 errors on your website and you need to redirect the traffic to the correct addresses. Especially, you can redirect to a shortening system such as http://bit.ly/ or http://tinyurl.com / which have become one of the popular options in the social media explosion.
What to remember?
  • Meta-tags are not set by default.
  • Some more SEO features are included.
Besides three improvements above, there are additional small changes that help you save time. Here is the changes list.

Should I upgrade to Joomla 1.7 now?

Since:
  • Upgrading requires you to convert your database to the new structure.
  • Joomla 1.5 is powerful and is supported for at least more than 1 year.
  • Many 3rd-party developers haven´t upgraded their extensions to 1.6/1.7 yet, or decided to go on with 1.5.
You might not need to jump on the Joomla 1.7 bandwagon if:
  • Your existing site is running well.
  • Your site is big with lots of 3rd party extensions installed and some of them haven´t had the 1.7 version yet.
Vice versa, welcome to Joomla 1.7 world when:
  • You definitely need ACL or nested categories.
  • You have a small site or your site doesn´t use extensions, only core Joomla.
  • You really want to try out its new features and don´t want to spend hours to fix the mess jUpgrade (The upgrading component) makes as it is not 100% automatic yet.

If you say yes to at least one of the points above let’s take a look at upgrade process. If you currently own Joomla 1.5, so you have to upgrade to Joomla 1.6 then use “One click upgrade” to Joomla 1.7. Here are the details. For upgrading from Joomla 1.6.x to 1.7.x you have to read this well explained tutorial.

Example:

I used jUpgrade v1.0.0 to upgrade my website from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 1.6 and I got about 80% the same as the old one (content, categories, menu, modules…). The upgrading process is simple and quite quick.

What to remember?

  • Turn off the firewall on your computer.
  • Enable the plugin "System – Mootools Upgrade" after installing jUpgrade.
  • Do not exit the screen until the upgrading process is finished.

Resources

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