Written on PHP, ‘Joomla!’ is one of the leading names in content management system (CMS). Packed with 34 new features, Joomla! 3.5 is an enhanced and stronger version than the previous ones. This new version has marked the beginning of consistent development and upgradation. The enhanced features of Joomla! 3.5 can be largely classed under six major heads: PHP7 support, TinyMCE Drag-and-Drop images, email update, anonymized data, system information export and insertion of modules into articles.
PHP 7 Support
The impact of PHP 7 on Joomla! 3.5 has been predicted to be phenomenal. The graphs on their release site states that previously, a single request from WordPress took up over 100 million CPU instructions (on PHP 5.6). With PHP 7, this can be done with just 25 million instructions. Though this might not imply a radical increase in the site speed since many other factors are involved in the process, there will definitely be optimization benefits as rewriting the codes can be omitted.
TinyMCE Drag-and-Drop (D&D) Images
Previously, the standard media manager (simple upload) and insert function (accessible in the editor) were used to add images. With the D&D feature, you can pitch in the image while you are editing the site through the TinyMCE content region. The image will be instantly uploaded to the server and inserted within the content. This user-friendly method to add images to the content is probably the most important addition and makes Joomla! 3.5 quite appealing to newcomers.
When you drag and drop an image into the TinyMCE space, they are directly uploaded to the root folder of Joomla installation. There is an option to specify a particular sub-folder in the TinyMCE (check the main menu of admin region: move to Extensions → Plugins and then to Editor → TinyMCE). When the image cannot be found at the server or an issue with uploading ensues, the green bar that pops up at the top of editor (to show the progress of upload) will turn red. In case the filename of uploaded image contains any blank spaces, they are automatically replaced with underscores. This ensures that the image URL is secure.
Insertion of Modules into Articles
This function was available in the earlier version but new users who did not have experience with the syntax found it difficult to navigate. The process is made much simpler with the addition of new button on the TinyMCE editor tool-bar: Module. Clicking on this button lists out all available modules and on clicking each one of them, the correct syntax is automatically added to the article.
Before you assign a module, you need to create and list it on the Module Manager. There is no requirement to assign a position to the module before it can be displayed. However, it needs to be published to a particular page or to all the pages. In case no position is assigned, the module is published to all pages and will only be displayed in the article. When a module is selected for display in the article, it can either be assigned a position or a specific module from the list can be chosen. The insert module is applicable only to the standard TinyMCE editor currently.
Previously, it was seen that many users did not know that the module insertion option existed. With this functionality turned into a series of clicks in the editor, it becomes more approachable to the users.
Email Update Plugin
In the earlier versions, an update could be discovered either on Joomla! Website, reports published or through a message in the admin area when logged-in. However, these options are not regularly accessed by all users. The email update plugin allows Joomla! to send an email notification on every new update (to the Super Users).
Anonymized Data Collection
With the news of data collection by social media giants like Facebook and Google pooling in, there are doubts about the safety of data collection which has been introduced in Joomla! 3.5. The most important factor here is the nature of work we do on Joomla. While working on a complex program like Joomla, it is important to: (I) Have information on the environment; (II) Track events of PHP and database. This allows to predict which changes are most required within the CMS system.
Joomla! has clearly stated that it only collected the most critical data required with no data that could lead to identification of user. This is also an optional feature that can be enabled or disabled through the top area of screen on Joomla.
System Information Export
The installation procedure of Joomla was generally available on the System Information link of System option on the main menu. This covers the details of webserver, PHP and Joomla! Version.
With the feature of downloading system and environment information enhanced, you have access to two more buttons at the top region of page. Here, the system information can be downloaded as json or text file. This makes it easier to access and distribute the information, in case of troubleshooting or contacting support.
Check out Joomla! 3.5 at the Github Page. Joomla! Download Page can also be used to check out the stable release and upgrade packages.