The development of Joomla! 4.0 is the main target, but until this will be finished there are other versions being released: Joomla! 3.8, the latest in the Joomla! 3 series, has been released yesterday and it features over 300 improvements, with two primary major features aimed at developers: the new routing system and the beginning of a forward compatibility layer with Joomla! 4.0. Additionally, two security issues have been resolved.

Some of the new features:

  • The new routing system gives users more control over their URL structure, including the often requested ability to remove IDs from URLs
  • Joomla! 4 Compatibility Layer - The development of Joomla! 4 has made some changes in how the core code is structured by migrating classes to use PHP namespaces. Joomla! 3.8 includes a mapping layer to allow developers to use the older class names while being able to take advantage of the new class name structure.
  • Improved Sample Data Installation - It is now possible to install sample data within your site backend after finishing the installation process, allows users to create their own generic data sets or extension developers to provide easy-to-install sample data for their extensions
  • Sodium Encryption Support - PHP 7.2 introduces the new sodium extension for processing encrypted data, through a polyfill of this library Joomla! 3.8 makes this new API available for all of our users even before they upgrade to PHP 7.2

Visit the Joomla! 3.8 site to learn more about this release.

After a few years of work the new routing system is finally available. The router defines a new and more flexible interface for developers to handle creating and processing URLs and gives end users more options as it relates to how URLs are displayed (including the often requested ability to remove content item IDs from the URL). Since Joomla! 3.8 release for the components which support the new router (Content, Contact, Users, and Newsfeeds) it's possible to set up the router to run in one of three different configurations:

If you want to start using the new routing system as soon as possible follow the steps in the images below. But, for users eager to upgrade to the new routing system, there are some things to take into consideration: for the moment the new system is not 100% backward compatible with the existing router, there are some well known quirks with how URLs are generated and processed and those quirks will not exist in the new system. There are cases where changing the routing system can change a page’s URL and cause an existing page to give a 404 response.

At GitHub, issue #14848 is open to discuss ideas for a migration plan to keep old URLs working to some extent. Additional discussion on this is welcome and encouraged.

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