Last week, PC World named Windows Vista as the Biggest Tech Disappointment of 2007. On Wednesday, December 19th, 2007, Joomla 1.5 RC4 which is supposed to be the latest RC before the first stable released was announced to public. These two events may not be related but I’d like to write some concern regarding how Joomla 1.5, just like Windows Vista, might become the anticlimax despite its nice features.
It’s done when it’s done
It’s been quite some time since Joomla 1.5 Beta was released to public. The table below shows how the Joomla 1.5 releases progress with time.
Rel. Date Diff is the legend for Relative Date Difference, that is time difference of current release compared with the previous release. Abs. Date Diff, respectively, is the legend for Absolute Date Difference, time difference of current release compared with the first release. As reference, we take Beta 1 as first release.
It’s more than a year since Beta 1 when Joomla 1.5 RC4 was announced. For the first stable release itself, no exact date has been set yet. All is done when it’s done, which simply means Joomla 1.5 stable will be released when it’s considered stable enough to be released. For small application this shouldn’t be a trouble. However, for a popular application like Joomla, this may bring glitches for the newest release adoption and implementation. As Joomla becomes popular because of its vast supporters, namely 3rd party developer, the new release should encourage them to migrate in order to agitate end users to do the same.
Helping Hands May Deprive
I gathered some data from the extension site as the ultimate resource for 3rd party work for Joomla. I filter the contributions (module, extensions, plugin, translations, etc) based on their compatibility with both Joomla versions available on the market: Joomla 1.0 and Joomla 1.5. Data from search result is summarized in the table below:
Assuming that there is no intersection between search result (each contribution only supports single version), it’s surprising to notice that to date, Joomla 1.5 adoption by 3rd party developers is less than 20%. One may argue that first assumption is wrong, hence the conclusion will also be invalid. We’ll now recount the stats by assuming some degree of intersection. With some simple maths, we can recreate above table as the following:
The table provides two level of intersections: modest level at 50% and very optimistic level at 100% (which means all 1.5 contributions has their equivalents in 1.0). Still, the best percentage we can get is about 23%, which is still not a good number.
Other one may also argue that quality should win over quantity thus less contributions shouldn’t be a big problem as long as quality is preserved. This argument, however, is debatable. With acception rate less than a half (even less than a third), Joomla 1.5 has failed to attract developers to migrate, or at least to give support for the 1.5 release. In conjunction with this situation, end users may discourage from upgrading because less versatility offered by the newest release up until now. We’ll see some more statistics in the next section.
Penetrating The Saturated Market
Most Joomla users are non developers who want simple solution implemented without technical hassle. This conclusion can be drawn from how joomla forum is flooded with technical problems -which sometimes are repeating- everyday eventhough they are somewhat easy for developers. Due to this nature, users most of the time want something stable that they can rely on so that they don’t need to mess up with the technical stuff.
Joomla 1.0 is so far the most accepted Joomla version available and used by users. Let’s take some statistics from the download page (only for full package download) and arrange our comparison table as below (as of December 23rd, 2007):
Although Joomla 1.5RC4 is still new (4 days until now), it’s interesting to see the download pattern. Zip file download outperfoms other filetype download. This may imply that most Joomla users use Windows for their Joomla deployment. As Windows is identical with user friendliness and minimal technical experience, we can support previous assumption that Joomla end users are not technical savvy.
From the total download, Joomla 1.5 RC4 only contributes about 2.5%, which is very small percentage. This percentage will change to a bigger number -for sure- but at current time, conclusion can be made that Joomla 1.0 is steady and still dominates most of Joomla share.
With Joomla 1.5 approaching its official release, it will be interesting to see how Joomla 1.5 tries to penetrate the saturated market, get more share in Joomla downloads and create new balance. I, however, am a bit uneasy at 3rd party level support for Joomla. Without boosts in 3rd party contribution development, Joomla 1.5 may fail to reminisce its predecessor success.
Let’s wait and see.
This all is not very surprising. J1.5 introduces a lot of under the hood technical changes to the API, by only maintaining limited backward compatibility. It is not that there was no need to rework the API and create a better framework as base – but the real big mistake was to not keep maximum backward compatibility. This is something even Microsoft has allways taken care off, because breaking backward compatibility would make a lot of people (developers and users) wich otherwise would stick, to go out and look around for alternatives. You still might run more that 90% of your ancient DOS programs on Vista – but on J1.5 you have to get upgrades for 90% of your add-ons or re-hire developers to make custom extensions compatible.
On the other hand, the real issues such as the miserable acl, the missing versioning, lack of multisite support, limited accessibility, missing live update and so on were not addressed. A poor communication of a changed licensing interpretation by the current core people did the rest to make sure commercial developers would no longer stick with J1.5 but move to new or alternate CMS such as MODx, TYPOlight, Mambo etc. Many of those professional developers did also contribute GPL add-ons to Joomla btw.
Wow! I did not realize that even before Joomla! v 1.5 final has been released there are already nearly 1,000 extensions available! Zowie!
The Joomla! v 1.5’s model view controller application architecture, developed using object oriented programming, is so easy to develop in that even pre-university students are building amazing extensions in record time. Check out Joomla!’s entries in the Google’s Highly Open Participation Contest. http://forum.joomla.org/index.php/board,487.0.html
Rock on, Joomla! community, rock on!
Thanks for your thought. You did address some concern with the newer release. It will be interesting to see how this goes in the near future, indeed.
Yes, the are more than 1000 components in total. But the total component for Joomla 1.5 is less then a fifth of Joomla 1.0. It’s nice to see that current participation from the students is hight. However, what to observe later is how the component will be supported and maintained.
You forgot in your timeline that before 1.5 was announced, work was going on it under the release number of 1.1, which was then changed to 1.2, and finally renumbered 1.5. So in fact, work had been going on 1.5 for months before the timeline you use in this entry.
Although your opinion makes sense, it is not fully related with the concern i want to inform. My point is to analyze how Joomla 1.5 is supported by 3rd party AFTER its first release. It doesn’t really make sense in software cycle to create side products before the main product itself is released.
Comparing Joomla! to Vista is a bit harsh. RC4 is pretty stable and many of the fixes that are being done, address issues that most users would never even encounter.
I also don’t understand where the bad reputation of Legacy mode comes from. I’ve been working with it for a couple of months now and I can honestly say it is functioning very well, with minimal overhead. http://blog.joomlatools.org/2007/12/joomla-15rc4-memory-usage-and-legacy.html
The reason few extensions have been rebuild specifically for 1.5, is that legacy mode is perfectly fine for most extensions.
After the switch from Mambo, it took some time before developers started dropping compatibility in favor of Joomla!. The same thing is happening now. For more realistic results, you should limit your table to 1.0 and 1.5 extensions released _during the last two months_, and repeat the test every once in a while. I’m betting you’ll see some interesting results!
I did a bit of research myself and came to a very different conclusion than yours. Instead of the 2.5% you talk about my figures are showing between 30-40% of total downloads are taken up by Joomla! 1.5 at the moment and this figure is increasing with about 5% monthly. Based on that data I’m predicting that Joomla! 1.5 will superseed 1.0 in March 2008.
More info : http://blog.joomlatools.org/2008/01/joomla-will-reach-turning-point-in.html
Thanks for dropping by and posting links for the counter arguments. As the first stable release of Joomla 1.5 is announced to public, we’ll see how all the forecasts will transform into the factual condition or instead only be the part of the history.
65,000 downloads in only a few days. That’s *super* freaky! Don’t you think? Man. That’s interest. 🙂
i tested joomla 1.5 it’s not stable 100% 🙁
it’s great to hear the news. hope it will be also followed by tremendous enthusiasm from 3rd party developers
it’s stable to its standard. there are milestones in software development and i think, for core Joomla 1.5 dev team, the released version is stable enough. you can report the problem about your joomla 1.5 installation in joomla forum.
A good article with good points, indeed!
But alil unfair with respect to the comparison you did.. I mean comparing two versions with completely two different sample data was not equitable (do correct me if Im wrong).. 1.0 was out since 15th Sep’2005 & 1.5 was out (as you have correctly mentioned) 12th Oct’06.. As of 23 Dec’07 (your post date), if we look at the download stats you have provided, the total # of downloads for 1.0.13 are 762318 & 19863 for 1.5 RC4.. You already know that 1.0.13 was released on 21 Jul’07.. so in other words 1.0.13 was 148 days old, and 1.5 was 4 days old.. now the comparison, total # of downloads per day for each becomes approx. 5151 and 4966 respectively.. Which shows there was not much of a difference in that.. Anyways, there is no doubt that 1.0 is still far stable than 1.5 but 1.5 will overtake 1.0 as everyday highrise in oil prices are overtaking our bank account (lolz) and thus compelling all the joomla lovers to support it even more..
But I like the way you merged into Joomla from Vista.. that was something else.. lolz !!
Thank you for your comment and the statistical approach. Surely 1.5 will overtake 1.0 someday when it turns out to be the only version supported. In software cycle, there is “burst time” where the distribution reaches its peak. However, the future distribution is stochastic process (unless somehow it’s maintained to be more predictable).
I’ve just visited joomla website and noticed 1.5.2 is already shipped. It’s nice to know this information, because fast updates may imply the software is widely used (or widely accepted by users) and the team are dedicating their effort to the release.
Anyway, thanks for dropping by.