I/ Joomla! 2.5
Joomla! have just released version 2.5.3. The functionality of Joomla! 2.5 made me feel very interested, and today I'm writing a blog post about the new features. My blog might not mention all of the new features, but I'll try to write this blog within my knowledge.
II/ New features in Joomla! 2.5
There are many articles written about the new features in Joomla! 2.5. I will go straight to the important functions which I think are very useful for users in Joomla! 2.5. This blog post includes two parts: one for Beginners and one for Advanced Joomla! Users.
A. For beginners
1. Smart Search
Besides the regular Search module, Joomla! 2.5 now supports Smart Search functionality. For content to be displayed in search results it must first be indexed by one of the Smart Search plug-ins. After the indexing of the content is completed, you can set configuration to display Smart Search via Module Manager with a module named "Smart Search Module".
Figure 1: Smart Search component
Figure 2: Index content
Figure 3: Process running
Figure 4: Process completed
Figure 5: List of indexed content
Figure 6: Smart Search Statistics
Figure 7: Smart Search configuration
Figure 8: Edit Smart Search Filter
Figure 9: Preview the Smart Search module
Figure 10: Preview Smart Search
Figure 11: Search result with normal search
Figure 12: Search result with Smart Search
As you can see, I've compared a normal search with Smart Search in Joomla! 2.5 core. You can easily see a big difference when I search for the keyword "content". The normal search module didn't show the "Auto completed" function as the Smart Search did.
2. Auto update with up-to-date feature
Actually, Joomla! supports some tools to check and upgrade Joomla! versions, but it's not really very useful. Sometimes, you might get errors when you do this task. Joomla! 2.5 has a new module to automatically notify users when an update is available, so we can hope that it helps remove your fear of upgrading Joomla!.
Figure 13: Auto Update
3. Support reCaptcha in core
reCaptcha is supported in the Joomla! core. It helps you can create a simple Security Image easily. reCaptcha can be embedded in any form. You can configure to display reCaptcha, then register your site with a reCaptcha Provider and input your keys for display Captcha in your site.
Figure 14: Selecting Captcha
Figure 15: Register your site to embed reCaptcha
Figure 16: Inputting your site address
Figure 17: Public and Private Key
Figure 18: Inputting your keys
Figure 19: Preview of User Registration Form
4. User notes
User notes can help the administrator manage users better. It's a simple feature but very useful for administrators.
Figure 20: User notes
Figure 21: Details of note
5. Module "Who's Online" with the following group filterThere is now an additional option that allows an administrator to view a list of Who's online - Users who belong to your user groups or your user groups' child groups.
Figure 22: Filter group
Figure 23: A list of online members in admin's groups.
6. Better performance in selecting a menu type
The extensive options in "Select a Menu Item Type" are not loaded if you don't need them.
Figure 24: Edit menu type
7. Category filter by levels
In Joomla! 1.7, you can filter articles by categories. However, you are not allowed to select a category and get all its subcategories and articles. In Joomla! 2.5, selecting a category includes its subcategories. If you only want the main category, you can choose level 1. You can choose level 2 and higher if you want extend the filter.
Figure 25: Category filter
8. Support for defined Images and Links in the content
Joomla! 2.5 allows you to set Edit Screen in the front-end. It's a simple feature but very useful for Web masters.
Figure 26: Configuring Edit Screen in the front-end
Figure 27: Editing article preview
Joomla! 2.5 supports the display of images and links via article setting. This is a complementary tool in the configuration of an articles, it is useful for users who don't have a good knowledge of HTML / CSS.
Figure 28: Images and links configuration in an article
Figure 29: Viewing an image in introduction content
Figure 30: Viewing an image and links in the details of an article
9. Data fix
A newly-added function that allows you to check your database is up-to-date with any database schema changes added during upgrades. If they are out of date, you can press the Fix button to apply the necessary changes
Figure 31: Data fix
10. Feed order
There are three options to order the feed content.
Figure 32: Feed order
11. Linking new menu with a module
In Joomla! 1.5, while creating a menu, you can add a module for this menu. For some reason, this feature was removed from Joomla! 1.6 and Joomla! 1.7. In Joomla! 2.5, this functionality is back and now allows menu items to be placed in different module positions.
Figure 33: Add a module for a menu just created
Figure 34: Light box add module for menu
12. Module Syndicate Feed with option allow to display/hide text
In Joomla! 1.7, you can specify the text to display next to the syndicate icon. In Joomla! 2.5, you can choose not to display text or to use the default language pack text value.
Figure 35: Syndication Feeds back-end with enable display text
Figure 36: Syndication Feeds front-end with enabled display text
Figure 37: Syndication Feeds back-end with disabled display text
Figure 38: Syndication Feeds front-end with disabled display text
13. Email Notification to the administrators
This feature helps the administrators track new registered users.
Figure 39: Notification mail to administrator
14. Offline image submission in Global Configuration
In Joomla! 1.5 and Joomla! 1.7, you need to replace the default of Joomla! logo with your logo. In Joomla! 2.5, your logo can be uploaded via Site Settings.
Figure 40: Offline image
15. Native Zip Support checking in the installation process
In the installation process, Joomla! 2.5 supports Native Zip display. It helps you determine whether you have native ZIP enabled on your host or not. Native Zip is recommended because it is much faster than using PHP to unzip.
Figure 41: Native Zip support checking
16. Reducing back-end statistics display
There are fewer statistic items displayed in the back-end.
Figure 42: Back-end statistics
17. Option to set site Offline in last step of install process
In the previous Joomla versions, after installing a Joomla! CMS on a live site, your website will be published immediately with the default template in Joomla. However, in Joomla 2.5, after installing a Joomla! CMS, you can set your website to be offline to allow you to install templates and create content before being published.
Figure 43: Site offline
18. Message an error when search result is empty
This message appears in Joomla! 2.5 when you search for a module or something else and your system returns no results. In Joomla! 1.5 and Joomla! 1.6/1.7, when you search with an empty result, there is no message.
Figure 44: An error message when the search result is empty
B. For advanced users
1. Update debug tool
The Debug bar helps you to see which queries had a low performance. This tool is upgraded in Joomla! 2.5. Now, data is gathered into different slider groups and database queries are highlighted. This works in both the front-end and the back-end.
Figure 45: Debug bar in Joomla! 2.5
Figure 46: Debug bar in Joomla! 1.7
2. Language Overrides
With this feature, you can easily override the default language strings in the back-end. You don't need to go to the details of files via FTP and change it there.
Figure 47: Language Manager
Figure 48: Creating language overrides
Figure 49: A language override
3. Text Filter
This is a very good feature in Joomla! 2.5, it allows you to block tags in an article. So, we can avoid being attacked from risky tags. For example, in Joomla! 1.5 and Joomla! 1.7, when you copy text from Microsoft Word (MS Word) and paste it to your article, the content in your site might get display errors on some browsers (such as Internet Explorer), because some tags in MS Word can break your site when it's displayed.
Figure 50: Text filter
Joomla! 2.5 brings us some great features that the Joomla! community desires. This upgrade is a landmark that improves Joomla! a lot and make it more friendly to users.
What about you? Have you discovered the new features of Joomla! 2.5 yet? Share interesting things that you found in Joomla! 2.5 with us!