The most noticeable difference is the totally revamped administrator, which is updated to a modern design with many simpler and more friendly user-interfaces. Also, starting with Joomla! 3.0, Joomla! is now device responsive. Simply, Joomla! is mobile friendly and can be used with any modern device.
In addition, there are dozens of improvements to the details of all of the Joomla core. Some highlights are:
This page provides a summary of the current development strategy published on 25 April 2014. All Joomla versions released before 25 April 2014 still follow the previous release and support cycle. You should read the full text of the Joomla development strategy for a more detailed explanation.
Joomla! is developed following Semantic Versioning (2.0.0). The use of LTS (Long Term Support) and STS (Short Term Support) is no longer relevant or observed. The terms found directly below will be used for clarity. You should understand these terms and their meanings.
Each major version of Joomla! is supported by The Joomla! ProjectTM for a limited amount of time from the initial date a major version is released. Joomla will actively develop each major version for a minimum of 2 years. This may be followed by continued development of a major version as per scheduled on a major version's roadmap. A short summary would be:
The version identifiers for Joomla follow a three level numerical convention where the levels are defined by the software change significance.
These 3 levels are defined as:
You are using Joomla version 3.3.6. This means your version is major version 3, minor version 3, patch version 6. If a patch is released for 3.3.6, it would increase your Joomla version to, 3.3.7. If a new minor version for major version 3 is released, your new Joomla version would become 3.4.0. This page will always show the current stable supported version of Joomla, including the minor and patch, in the top right corner.
Joomla! 2.5 reached EOS (end of support) the 31 Dec 2014. That means that since that day it will recieve no further attention or support from the Joomla! Project. No more maintenance or security releases. So you should not start a new site with Joomla! 2.5, but always Joomla! 3.3 or greater.
Sites that are currently on Joomla! 2.5 are encouraged to start planning now for a migration to 3.3 or greater now. We’ve provided a one-click upgrade from Joomla! 2.5 to any Joomla! 3 version and you just have to make sure that all your extensions and template are compatible before upgrading. See Planning for Mini-Migration - Joomla 2.5 to 3.x (See the “How do I find Joomla 3.x compatible extensions?” FAQ below for more information)
See also: Why Migrate and all the related pages.
Yes, you will be able to install extensions compatible with Joomla! 3.x. The Joomla! Extensions Directory™ (JED) will have a compatible icon to know which extensions are Joomla 3.x compatible; however, the best place to check is the developer’s site.
Template companies are offering Joomla! 3 templates at present, taking advantage of Joomla! 3's responsive design. Also, please note that some Joomla! 2.5 templates will work in Joomla! 3 without any issues or any changes needed, but some will not. It's best to consult with the template's developer on this.
Visit Joomla! Extensions Directory™ (JED), which will have compatible icons to let you know which extensions are Joomla 3.x compatible; however, the best place to check is your extension developer’s site.
Extensions that are native to Joomla! 2.5 should work on Joomla! 3.0 with very little change, if any. Components and templates will need the most work, while modules and plugins should work without issue (assuming they do not use deprecated methods). Extensions that support Joomla! 2.5 and 1.5 in the same package will likely not work right away, until the developers update them for Joomla! 3 compatibility.
In short, it depends on the extension. The Joomla! Project has made the process relatively easy for most extensions, however for some extensions it’s going to take some work. To be certain, let the developers of the extensions know that you want to use their extension on Joomla 3 and consult with their documentation.
You need to speak with the extension developer to see if they have plans to release that extension for Joomla! 3 in the immediate future. Developers do have to make some changes but how extensive they are depends on the extension.
In most cases, you will need to start planning on an upgrade to Joomla! 3.x ASAP. Joomla! 2.5 has reached EOS (end of support) as of December 31st of 2014. Joomla 3 is stable and should be the choice for production sites.
You will need to verify your template and components will work with Joomla! 3.x before upgrading. All core components are upgrade ready right now.
Please see Why Migrate for more details on migration from 2.5 to 3.x.
Not unless you’re 1000% sure. By default, Joomla will not let you update to 3.x unless you activate the option within the Joomla! Update component (administrator >> Component >> Joomla! Update >> Options >> Update server >> Short Term Support). If for some reason you’ve changed this, and you’d like the updater to stop letting you upgrade, change the setting to Long Term Support. After making this change, you’ll only receive updates for Joomla! 2.5.
Notice: You should not upgrade from Joomla! 2.5 to Joomla! 3.x unless you are certain that all of your additionally installed extensions (from third party developers), especially templates, are Joomla! 3.x ready or have a Joomla! 3.x version that you can upgrade to. You should only upgrade from 2.5 to 3.x on a development site not on your live site. See Why Migrate and follow the pages for more information on upgrading from 2.5 to 3.x.
A quick summary, if you are using any version of Joomla! except Joomla 3.4.0, you should consider updating or migrating ASAP! There will no longer be a Long Term Support Version with a .5 designation. The latest version of Joomla is the Long Term Support Version. See Joomla! CMS versions for a listing of current and future releases.
Joomla! 1.5 has not been supported for since the end of 2012 and Joomla! 2.5 is EOS (end of support) since 31 Dec 2014. Simply, you should be using Joomla! 3.4.0.
Once ready, go to the Joomla! Update component. Click on options and change the setting to Short Term Support. Save. You should be notified of the availability of Joomla! 3.x. Click the button to install. Clear your browser’s cache to make sure you see the latest changes. That’s it!
Finally, double check and make sure that everything is working properly.
Note: On some hosts you may need to use alternative update methods such as using the extensions installer.
You can get more information at http://www.joomla.org/3.
We hope you enjoy Joomla 3 as much as we do! Thanks for reading this FAQ.
Gary Jay Brooks, Nick Savov, Elin Waring, Jon Neubauer, Guillermo Bravo
Sully Sullivan, Michael Babker, Andrea Tarr, Mark Dexter, Brian Teeman