Joomla 3.7 - A serious update to an already great CMS
Now that Joomla 3.7 has finally dropped, you may be wondering what exactly is in there and are there any major issues with this upgrade.
Is it safe to upgrade my sites?
In most cases, yes it is. Remember you ALWAYS want to back your site up before attempting an update like this. It's also good practice to check with the developers of your extensions to make sure their stuff works with the update. In this case I know of two components that are known to have issues with 3.7. RedShop has been updated already to play nice with 3.7, but Akeeba is having issues with automated backups (logging in and manually clicking the backup button works fine).
Again, if you're worried, then hold off and check with your extension developers. Many times they post to their blog or support pages that they already support the update, so check there first.
In our experience so far in updating over a dozen sites, so far Akeeba is the only issue we've run into, and that was easily worked around by running manual backups.
So, why should I be interested in this update?
Besides the obligatory "it's always smart to stay current" mention, 3.7 brings a ton of very useful new features. Here are a few of the big ones:
- Custom Fields (which we'll cover in another blog post)
- Ability to create a new article directly from the menu edit screen
- A new Multilingual Associations component that makes it a lot easier to manage the same content across different languages
- A new function that displays the actual global setting when something is listed as "Use Global" so you can see just what that global setting actually is
- A new admin menu manager allowing you to create completely custom admin menus that can then be assigned via access control lists so certain admin users only see the menu ment for them (this is HUGE)
- A flattened version of the admin template (no more gradients!)
- A new drag and drop installer panel, saving you a step when installing
- Many, many more (see this page for more info)
What do I do if something goes wrong?
This is a tougher question to answer, but in most cases, the issue isn't catastrophic. In one of our tests, the update never actually happened, the installer would white screen and never run it (clicking back, took us back to the installer window). It turned out that for some reason that server needed more than 32 meg of memory allotted to PHP, so we raised it to 64 and the installer worked. We've heard of other cases where new features didn't appear (such as the custom fields not appearing in the Content menu). The user simply went into Extensions>Manage>Discover, found the Custom Fields component and installed it from there.
Again, it's always best to back up your site (we recommend Akeeba Backup), so that if something does go terribly wrong, you can always restore your site and then start researching what may have been the cause.
Get going, it's worth it!
Seriously. 3.7 is a joy to use, and the new features really make Joomla even more powerful. We'll be covering Custom Fields in a future blog post, including both using the stock fields, and using fields in an override to really customize the output. It's like having a mini CCK built right in, and that's not a bad thing.
So back that site up, click the update button and start enjoying Joomla 3.7!