What Are the Differences Between Joomla 1.5.X and Joomla 1.6?

Joomla is a content management system (CMS) for web sites. Current estimates (as of January 14, 2011) are that Joomla powers 2.6% of all web sites. Joomla version 1.x was replaced with Joomla 1.5x several years ago, and the changes were significant. Late on January 10, 2011, version 1.6 was released. This version has some wonderful changes, and many parts of Joomla were re-written from scratch to accomplish these feats. Here are some of the changes.

Joomla 1.6 has finer access controls.

Access control lists enable the web master to have fine, granular control over who can see which articles, who can edit which articles, and who can create new articles. These controls are not just for articles, but most aspects of the web site. Additionally, you can create more user groups besides the traditional public and registered. The access controls also allow for configurable user groups.

The category structure is more flexible.

Instead of two levels of hierarchy for articles (sections and categories), complex multiple levels are allowed. Categories can have parent categories and grandparent categories and great-grand parent categories. In Joomla 1.5.x, to get similar functionality, the extension K2 was needed, but the new categories were separate, and in addition, to the existing sections and categories. Joomla’s 1.6 category structure takes the place of the old section and category structure. Sites that have a lot of content, and nested content, will enjoy this feature. For instance, instead of having a Section called News and high level categories like Animals, Education, and Kids, you can set up a category called News with a subcategory called Animals. The Animals category could have subcategories called Mammals, Reptiles, Fish, and Birds. Mammals can have subcategories of land mammals and water mammals.

Multiple installation packages can be combined into one package.

Extensions like community builder will be able to be installed by installing one extension instead of five or six installs. You won’t have to worry about the order of installation anymore.

Joomla 1.6 has more support for multi-lingual sites.

There are start and ending publishing times for modules.

Before, you could have start and ending times for articles, but not modules. Now, this feature is available for modules too. Here’s an example of when you would want this. One site I maintain offers a scholarship each year. I can publish the module advertising the scholarship the two months before the deadline and not year round.

The media manager is better.

You can now upload multiple images at once, instead of one at a time.

Code Mirror

Code Mirror, an editor that allows you to see the HTML code with color coding and formatting, is part of Joomla 1.6.

You can control the templates more.

Instead of having multiple templates on your site for different pages, you can make little alterations to a template that appear on different pages.

Module assignments are better.

Before, if you wanted a module to appear on all pages except for one page, you could assign it that way in the module manager. But, every time you added a new menu item, you’d need to go back into the module and assign it to the new menu item. Joomla 1.6 has a feature called “All Pages Except Selected.” So, you won’t need to edit the module assignment after adding a new menu item.

Gwen Nicodemus owns and operates Shiny Newts, LLC. Shiny Newts solves technical and documentation problems for its customers in a timely, professional manner – often going “above and beyond” – by providing custom services and pre-packaged services. Visit http://www.ShinyNewts.com to watch videos on how to use Joomla, Photoshop, and Word or to read Gwen’s ebook, “Write a Marketing Plan by Filling in the Blanks.”

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