Choosing Between Joomla 1.6 and Joomla 1.5

We’ve had a number of people contact us asking which version we’d recommend using. Here I’ll discuss some of the differences between the two with opinions on why you might pick one over the other. We’ll look at this from the perspective of starting a new site, as well as migrating from 1.5 (should you do it now, or is it OK to wait?)

Joomla 1.6

 

Pros

  • Newer coding
  • Won’t need to migrate to a new version as soon
  • Vastly improved user ACL system
  • Multilingual support for content
  • Nestable categories
  • Start and end publishing times for modules
  • Easier installation and upgrading for extensions
  • Slightly easier to use

Cons

  • Supported by fewer extensions
  • Not an easy update from 1.5

 

Joomla 1.5

 

Pros

  • Proven stability
  • Huge support from 3rd party extensions

Cons

  • You will need to migrate to 1.6 eventually
  • Very basic ACL
  • No built in multi-lingual support


Scenarios where you will want to use Joomla 1.5:

If you already have a site running Joomla 1.5 and you don’t need the new features in Joomla 1.6, I would wait until the migration process has been refined and made much easier. As it stands the migration process is spotty at best. Before migrating you also need to make sure that any added features you have on your site with extensions will work with Joomla 1.6.

Similar to above, if you are starting a new site and you do not need the new features and you need an extension that is only available for Joomla 1.5, you will want to choose 1.5.

It’s important to keep in mind, that of the two new main features, one can be replicated in 1.5 with an extension and one really cannot. JoomFish is a great extension to make your Joomla 1.5 site multi-lingual. There are a few extensions that try to give you additional control over user access, but they all require a lot of core customization, and none do as good of a job as the new ACL system.  When evaluating if you need features in Joomla 1.6 keep that in mind.

 

Scenarios where you will want to use Joomla 1.6:

If you don’t need any extensions, or the extensions you need support 1.6 that will be your best bet. The number of extensions that work with Joomla 1.6 grow daily, so this will become more of a moot point soon.

If you have a Joomla 1.5 site already and you don’t have any extensions installed, the migration process to 1.6 is stable enough that you might as well do it now.

 

Conclusion

Joomla 1.5 will be maintained for over a year still. This means that any security issues will continue to be fixed, so you don’t need to worry about that. It’s highly unlikely that any new features will be added though. Because of the Joomla 1.5 end-of-life, all sites will need to run Joomla 1.6 eventually.

If you’re already running a Joomla 1.5 site, deciding to migrate now or wait is pretty easy, based on the above criteria.

If you are starting a new site, this decision highlights the need to plan your site features before you start building a site. This is always a very good idea, even if you don’t need to make this decision.

 

Have you come across any other pros or cons to using either version? Have you done the migration already? Share your experience with us below in the comments.

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