Joomla was first released, unsurprisingly as v1.0 in August 2005. Since then there have been a series of releases made. For most business users, the important releases are those that are granted Long Term Support (LTS). An LTS release places the software into a future freeze, meaning no additional functionality will be introduced. The only additional releases will be in the form of maintenance releases. At the conclusion of the support period, the product reaches end-of-life (EOL).
When one Joomla product reaces EOL, the following major version is granted LTS status. For example, when Joomla 2.5 reaches its end in March, 2014 the Joomla 3 product will have reached version 3.5 and will be granted long term support. This is the point where business users should update their Joomla software to ensure their system is safe and secure. At this point, no security nor maintenance releases will be made for the EOL product.
Minor releases occur when a maintenance and/or security patch is published, the difference between 3.1.1 and 3.1.2 for example. These are classed as upgrades. To apply a minor release to Joomla, the upgrade may be applied via a file overwrite or on later versions via the built-in upgrade tool.
Major releases occur when a new Joomla product is created on a new code base. They typically happen when technology moves on so far that the previous code structures are no longer appropriate to the demands of the project. To apply a major release to a Joomla system, such as moving from 1.5 to 2.5, a migration must be performed. This is much more involved than an upgrade. Aside from the core content, users, and media; each and any extensions must also be ported to the new code base.
One-click updates were first introduced in Joomla 1.6 and it is possible to use the one-click update feature to move a Joomla 1.6 system to 2.5, and remains available in the Joomla 3.0 family. These advances make the migration task a little easier, though the one-click update only applies to the core system and does not update extensions such as components, plugins and modules.
What version should I be using?
Most business users should be operating Joomla on the latest stable version of Joomla 2.5, currently 2.5.14. Some business users who do not require the stability of Joomla 2.5's extensions or are creating a new Joomla platform may opt for version 3.1 (currently 3.1.5). Both systems should be maintained with any future minor releases. See our managed website service package.
Joomla systems using Joomla 1.5, 1.6 or 1.7 should migrate their systems to Joomla 2.5 as a matter of urgency. See our Joomla services for more information on our Joomla migration assistance service and for a free assessment of your Joomla core, template and extensions.
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