Joomla 4 alpha 1 was released on 17 November 2017 with huge updates and major developments to improve user experience (UI), code quality and giving Joomla! large functionality improvements with limited backward compatibility breaks. Let’s do feature comparison between Joomla 4 and Joomla 3.
15 new things that are worth taking note for Joomla 4
1. Bootstrap 2 vs. Bootstrap 4
Bootstrap is the most popular HTML, CSS, and JS framework for building responsive, mobile-first websites.
Joomla 3 integrated Bootstrap 2 that is outdated. Joomla 4 will keep up-to-date with Bootstrap, it integrates Bootstrap 4 that is a major rewrite of the entire project to help build responsive website faster and easier.
2. LESS vs. SASS
SASS and LESS are both very powerful CSS extensions. They are programming languages designed to make CSS more maintainable, themeable, and extendable.
By integrating Bootstrap 2, Joomla 3 was developed with LESS.
While Joomla 4 integrates Bootstrap 4, therefore it is developed with SASS.
3. Responsive vs. mobile-first
Joomla 3 comes with responsive for both front-end and back-end template based on Bootstrap 2 responsive grid system but frankly, it is not yet called mobile-first. In Joomla 4 integrates Bootstrap 4 - the most popular HTML, CSS, and JS framework in the world for building responsive, mobile-first projects on the web. Therefore, Joomla 4 will work better on responsive.
4. More simplified installation process
Joomla 3 installation process with 3 steps: configuration, database and overview, it is pretty simple for users.
Joomla 4 also has 3 steps installation process with more friendly UI, the multilingual and sample data installation is included in the “Customize installation” panel. Joomla 4 plans to add more options during the installation like:
- Ability to install extensions (at minimum core supported extensions)
- Rework sample data installation
5. Media manager: fully rebuilt Media Manager
Joomla 3 media manager has limitation in features in file management: 1 file upload, no editor
Joomla 4 comes with fully rebuilt Media Manager. The new media manager with more advanced features and improved working panel to manage media files with ease:
5.1 Multiple files upload with drag and drop
5.2 Image editor: crop, resize, rotate
5.3 Image properties
5.4 More options: image preview, delete, rename ...
6. Default Front-end template: 2 vs. 1
Joomla 3 has 2 front-end templates named: Beez 3 and Protostar. Beez 3 template was updated to compatible with Joomla 3 while Protostar template was newly built for Joomla 3 based on Bootstrap 2 and LESS.
Joomla 4 only supports 1 front-end template - cassiopeia that is newly developed, based on Bootstrap 4, SASS CSS and new web technologies.
Joomla 4 new front-end template comes with more flexible layout system.
7. Default Back-end template: 2 vs. 1
Same as front-end template, Joomla 3 supports 2 admin templates named: Hathor and Isis. They are both based on Bootstrap 2, LESS CSS.
The new developed admin template in Joomla 4 - atum is based on Bootstrap 4, SASS with outstanding improvements for user interface and workflow.
8. Mootools and NO Mootools
Joomla 3 library packaged with both Mootools and JQuery but Mootools will be removed from Joomla 4 library to make its core cleaner, faster and improve both readability and processing times and no conflict.
9. Minimum PHP version require: PHP 5.3 and PHP 7
Joomla 3.x requires minimum PHP version - PHP 5.3 + while Joomla 4 requires PHP 7 +. PHP 7 offers fast performance (suppose 2x faster), more secure and a lots more features, improvements for websites and online applications.
10. Back-end navigation: horizontal vs vertical collapse menu
Joomla 3 back-end navigation uses horizontal style with drop-down menu structure.
Joomla 4 back-end navigation will use vertical style, its fixed on left sidebar and the vertical menu can be collapsed to save space if user wants. When accessing a sub-menu, the main menu will be auto switched to toolbar menu with icon.
11. Responsive Back-end UI: compatible and mobile-first
Joomla 3 admin panel is responsive, it works quite fine on responsive layouts: mobile and tablet but limitations are there and performance is not so good. Those things need to be fixed in Joomla 4 so Joomla 4 comes with a totally new admin template that integrates Bootstrap 4. Not only back-end UI is improved a lots but the performance is also better.
12. Performance / loading time: Good vs. better
Joomla 3 had significant improvements on performance and this will be more focused on Joomla 4 with improving coding quality, using modern technologies, removing previously deprecated functionality, new rewritten plugin system, Dependency Injection Containers to replace JFactory, Joomla framework to be used in more components, Code Namespacing and Depreciation and more. All those things definitely will improve Joomla 4 performance.
13. Technologies: outdated vs. latest
Web technologies has been changed/upgraded a lots since Joomla 3 released. Joomla 4 core is built with new technologies only: Bootstrap 4, jQuery 3, PHPMailer 6.0.
14. Coding quality: clean and well optimized
In comparison with Joomla 3, Joomla 4 will focus more on the core codebase, it need to be clean, well optimized, only use latest technologies, new rewritten plugin system following new coding standard, all previously deprecated functionalities are removed.
MVC layer improvement: restrict the duties of a component so a component implements its own core functionality. Everything else is pulled out into the system.
Orthogonal Component Structure: allows any component to take advantage of new capabilities that are designed to be used across extensions.
UI components using modern technologies: a collection of components developed with the new W3C standard that uses plain and optimized java scripts for performance with clean and well-optimized HTML markup.
15. Security features: More features added
Joomla 3 introduced lots of features for security since released and it is continuously updated to fix security issues.
Joomla 4 will add more security features like: support for prepared SQL statements, paying off some of project's technical debt by retiring deprecated code and raising the minimum supported software stack.
Joomla 4 system requirements:
- PHP 7
- MySQL 5.5.3
- PostgreSQL 9.2
- SQL Server support has been dropped.