The new version of the popular Joomla Content Management System (CMS) was released early last week and has already reached over 115k in downloads. 1.6 has been in the making for some time and earlier beta versions have been tested over the last few month. The first release candidate (RC1) was made available for download on December 14th, 2010.
Among the many new features that have arrived in this new version come finer access controls, improvements in content categories and removal of the sometimes confusing section management. Now instead of setting up site sections and assigning categories to each, a new nested category approach will make content management easier to handle. Nested categories provide greater flexibility, removing the limitation of the traditional two levels of site management (sections & categories) to unlimited sub-categories / levels.
Improved installation features, expanded language support and better Search Engine Optimization (SEO) have also been at the forefront of this release. The new template and style system will enable designers and developers to produce fresh new templates with semantic markup “to please the eye as well as the search engines” according to the press release. Joomla 1.6 also brings major improvements on user management and access permissions bringing it more in line with other enterprise CMS solutions. Earlier releases provided limited access and user management; however the latest version takes this to a higher level making it a more tempting solution in the corporate world.
With all of these new features readily available many existing users are already beginning to upgrade their 1.5 sites. Limited documentation is currently available (which will increase in the weeks ahead) for those looking to upgrade at the main Joomla support site. One of the more pressing concerns for existing users is the change in template structure, which have been briefly outlined at the Joomla documentation wiki.
For more information on Joomla 1.6 and to download your own copy, please be sure to visit http://www.joomla.org/16. If you are already using Joomla 1.6, please be sure to share your own opinions on the new release in the comments section below.