Recently the Joomla Project released a major update - Joomla! 3.7 (followed almost inevitably by a quick couple of bug/security releases - we're now at 3.7.2). As I mentioned in another article, Joomla! 3.7 has been the software update that I've most looked forward to this year to-date. In the following, I'll look at some of my highlights of Joomla! 3.7.
The main news of Joomla! 3.7 is the introduction of custom fields. Custom Fields enable site administrators to extend the content data model that is at the heart of any content management system. Drupal and WordPress have had this functionality for sometime, and it has been availble for Joomla! by using various extensions such as K2 and other CCKs (Content Construction Kits). In short, what this means is that you can create and attach your own custom fields to a category and articles within that category. These fields can be text, date, image or other data types.
With this new feature Joomla! now matches and possibly improves on the functionality provided by Drupal and WordPress. Moreover, the range of websites that core Joomla! can be used to create has increased enormously. A recent presentation at Joomla & Beyond in Krakow by Geraint Edwards gives a great overview of this powerful new feature.
The next set of features can best be categorised as improvements to the Joomla! workflow. The first instance is managing multilingual content.
Joomla!'s multilingual capabilities has been one of its core selling points almost from the outset. Having built Drupal and Joomla! multilingual websites, I've always found Joomla! to be far easier when managing translations of content. This recent feature now makes this even easier, by enabling you to translate your content in the same UI.
As you can see in the image above, you can have the 'master' text and the 'child' translation side-by-side in the same UI. This makes it far easier to translate on the fly and also to keep track of the associations.
It is now possible to create menu items and articles at the same time. Previously it was necessary to first create the article and then the menu item. Now you can do both at the same time. Also, you can create a category while you're at it too! This makes the content creation process cleaner and more intuitive, and clearly improves on the previous Joomla! workflow.
These are my three highlights of the recent Joomla! 3.7 release. This is just a small subset of the many changes introduced in this release. To find out more, please visit the Joomla 3 website.