The Production Leadership Team (PLT) is pleased to announce that there will be a 3.4 release of the Joomla! CMS, which is planned to be released on July 15, 2014.
Refined Release Strategy
This release of the CMS is part of a refined development and release strategy that the PLT has been finalizing since the 2013 Joomla! World Conference and will be the first under these strategies, to be formally announced soon. The refined strategies aim to enable continuous development of our software projects, and for the CMS specifically, enables a flexible release schedule with a potentially longer support period for a major release series.
We know that there will be immediate questions regarding our previously announced Long Term Support (LTS) strategy and the planned 3.5 release, so we hope to quickly cover these hot topics here.
Q: Will 3.5 be the LTS release for the 3.x series?
A: No. The strategies have been modified to not lock in a specific release as the LTS release of a series. Under the revised strategy, unless superseded with a newer minor release, there will be at least two years of support for the last minor release of a series. For example, if 3.4 were to be the LTS release of the 3.x series, it would be supported for at least two years after its release.
Q: Why discontinue the X.5 LTS strategy?
A: The X.5 LTS strategy prevents the PLT from issuing additional releases on a major release series. If 3.5 were to be the LTS for the 3.x series as previously planned, then any feature proposals or enhancements to the 3.x series would not be able to be merged until development started on 4.0. Now, it is possible to continue development on the 3.x series without locking into a specific release as the LTS release, which enables a longer support period for the 3.x series overall.
Q: What happens to the planned 3.5 release?
A: It will be another Short Term Support (STS) release in the 3.x series. At this time, a finalized date has not been forecasted.
The PLT aims to define a vision and goals for each release, as was done for 3.3. This vision does not prevent other proposals from being accepted nor does it guarantee the full extent of the release. By announcing a vision, it is the aim of the PLT to guide contributors on areas of the CMS to focus on that are in line with the short and long-term goals of the project.
The PLT’s vision for the 3.4 release is as follows.
Continued Microdata Implementation
The 3.2 release introduced the JMicrodata library, part of one of the many successful projects submitted during GSoC 2013 and the 3.3 release introduced microdata elements into two of the core component’s layouts. For 3.4, we aim to continue refining the JMicrodata library to ensure it is flexible and easy to use for users of all skill levels and continue implementing microdata elements into core layouts.
Front-end Module Editing
During GSoC 2013, one of our projects focused on enabling the CMS to be administered through its front-end interface, and in the 3.2 release, it was made possible to modify the global configuration and template without requiring administrator access. Continuing on this effort, it has been proposed to allow front-end editing of a site’s modules, and we aim to finalize this proposal and include it into the 3.4 release.
In the 3.3 release, we introduced code from the Joomla! Framework into the CMS, however, the method in which it is installed into the filesystem does not align with how Composer installs code. For the 3.4 release, we aim to integrate Composer into the CMS for managing external dependencies such as the Joomla! Framework and PHPMailer.
At present, the Joomla! CMS is a single monolithic package in which everything must be installed and retained. Removing optional core extensions, such as unused templates or components, unfortunately causes updates to fail. In the 3.4 release, the PLT aims to begin working on creating a lighter core distribution and establish a workflow for providing optional extensions outside the main distribution by removing com_weblinks from the core distribution. These extensions would be maintained on GitHub, as all Joomla! code is today, and listed in a JED category specific to core extensions, and making them installable via the Install from Web plugin.
The following timeline is established for the 3.4 release:
- May 28, 2014 - All feature proposals must be submitted by this date
- June 11, 2014 - Final date for merging features
- June 16, 2014 - 3.4 Beta Period begins
- July 7, 2014 - 3.4 Release Candidate
- July 15, 2014 - 3.4 Stable Release
In lieu of an alpha release, nightly builds of the 3.4-dev branch from GitHub will be made available alongside the nightly builds of our production 2.5.x and staging branches shortly after the 3.3 release. Those packages are available at http://developer.joomla.org/cms-packages.
Please note that dates may be subject to change depending on availability of volunteers and circumstances beyond our control.
For discussion about the 3.4 release, please utilize the CMS Google Group mailing list.