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I promised to share a more in-depth review of Joomla! 3.x and the migration process... so, here it is. Or, at least part one.

The initial migration from Joomla! 2.5 to 3.0 was... well, interesting. However, those issues seem to have been ironed out for the most part, so we won't dwell on it. We've actually just recently completed a migration (from Joomla! 1.5 to Joomla! 3.1) on a live client production site and it wasn't nearly as bad as expected. 

By the end of this year, eveyone will (or should) be migrating to Joomla 3.5 and I'm fairly confident at this point, that most of you can manage doing it yourself. The only issues I foresee are for sites with either an ungodly amount of, or very unusual extensions and where such extensions are no longer supported. And it won't be that such sites can't migrate... but whatever content was in the obsolete extensions will have to be redone.

In fact, I ran into this myself with our Portfolio. I had just (as in a few days prior to starting the migration) renewed the license for the component and made sure, that it was updated to work with Joomla 3.0. Well, there was a hick-up during the data base migration and when I contacted the developer for support, I learned that the company had closed. So much for that. As a side note... there is a definite advantage to paying with PayPal: After I received no response from the developer, I opened a dispute with Paypal and in less than 2 weeks, Paypal agreed with my assessment of the situation and refunded my purchase. Thank you, Paypal.


The other issue, of course, is going to be your template. If you have a Joomla 2.5 commercial template installed, the chances are good that the template will be updated and made compatible with Joomla 3.5. You may have to pay the license fee again. If you're not able to reuse your template, you'll unfortunately have to get a different one. Mind you, Joomla 3.x comes with a fabulous default template ("ProtoStar"). Props to Kyle Ledbetter - he did a great job with it.


Ok, let's get reviewing. I think we'll do this in stages or parts. Otherwise, you really will end up dehydrated and/or comatose.


1. Administrator Control Panel

The biggest change in Joomla 3.x is to the Admin Cpanel layout. As I had previously mentioned, I'm not all that crazy about the whole Dashboard thing but I'm getting used to it. There are actually a few advantages to this layout... e.g. links at the left side pertaining to where you are. So, if you're in Article Manager, you'll also see Categories and Featured Articles - no need to hover back over the top menu. Mind you, my saving grace is probably, that I've always favoured the top tool bar over the large icons... and that top menu/toolbar is still there.

Speaking of Admin Panel and tool bars... the bottom 'sticky' tool bar in the default admin template is highly annoying and often interferes with drop down options. Why it is positioned there by default, is beyond me. Thankfully, you can change the positioning and I've covered this in our first YouTube video tutorial Joomla! 3.x Admin Setup » Similarly, the reasoning behind not having "Template Preview" enabled by default also eludes me. But again, it's just a couple of clicks if you know where to look. The same video covers that, as well. So, once you've made a few adjustments and can cope with the new look, you should be good to go.


The Joomla! and Extensions update notification is worth mentioning: It's not quite as obvious as it was... look at the bottom left corner of your Admin screen (first screen, Control Panel). Remember to keep your installation and all third party extensions up to date. The update process itself has not changed from Joomla! 2.5.. click, select, and click 'update'. Easy peasy. Oh... while on the subject of updating and installing extensions... We now have an "Install from Web" plugin. You'll be able to activate it the first time you open Extension Manager on your Joomla! 3.x installation, or it can be enabled/disabled via Plugin Manager. This is in addition to the existing (and remaining) Install options.


Also new in Joomla! 3.2 is "Two Factor Authentication". It's an added password (created on the fly and sent to your mobile device) - read more about it (if you dare! - it's rather technical) at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Authenticator. I'm studiously ignoring it, since I don't have a cell phone and don't want one.


Let's take a break here and pick it up again another day. I'll do a pro/con table or something like that at the end of the reviews, so that we'll have something nice and compact to look at.