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July 2008

2008-07 Joomla! Community Magazine

Joomla! Community Magazine - Learning

Site Integrator: Migrating to Joomla! 1.5

Should I stay or should I go?

Written by Robin Muilwijk

Joomla! has recently released a new version, 1.5. With this new version a new task arises for website administrators maintaining Joomla! 1.0.x websites: migrating to the new 1.5 version. But, do they really need to migrate?

Before they start, they should get some questions answered such as what the effort and costs are for such a migration, and are all extensions used also compatible for the new Joomla! version? And does the infrastructure meet the new requirements? So, before any website administrator starts this migration, they really need to make clear if there is a need to migrate, for example for new features in the 1.5 version which they have been waiting for. Another reason could of course be the end of life of the 1.0.x version which is set to basically one year after the stable release of Joomla! 1.5

How to start

You can start your migration with the basic steps described on the Joomla! documentation site. The migration how-to describes in detail on how to migrate to Joomla! 1.5. The article on the documentation site also links to a migration project which supplies you with the tools to perform the migration.

The migration from Joomla! 1.0 to 1.5 is handled for the most part automatically in two stages. The first stage is the export migration component for Joomla! 1.0 and the second stage is the import or migration phase of the Joomla! 1.5 installer.

Once you have performed all the steps described in that migration article you are not done yet. You will have to start checking the migrated site and perform some manual tasks.

Finishing steps to your migration

The migration method described above only migrates the core data. This includes for example all content, menus, modules and core component data. Once you have that running, you can start with an easy manual task, copying the /images/ folder from the 1.0.x to the 1.5 install. That will give you all the images back into the migrated content.

The next best step is to check the Menu Manager in the migrated site. All menu items should have been migrated but from my own experience you will need to check if you need to perform some reconfiguring or publishing of menu items. While you are in the back end, you should also check the Module Manager, see if all modules were migrated and make sure to publish them if they are not.

Another check to perform is all the settings in the new configuration file. You will need to check settings such as meta keywords and description, SEO/SEF settings, timezone and similar settings specific to your current site. Once you have performed all of the above steps, there is basically just one thing left, your extensions.

Migrating extensions

Migrating your extensions is probably the hardest part of the entire migration. Before you started the migration, you have hopefully checked if all extensions are compatible with Joomla! 1.5, either with or without legacy mode. Legacy mode? Yes, they added backwards compatibility to run 1.0.x extensions (templates, languages, components, modules, mambots) on your new 1.5 site. The next thing to do is check the extension sites for any help on migrating. They might have how-tos available which can save you a lot of time and effort.

Migrating an extension basically means you install the extension on your new 1.5 site, and during the first migration steps described on the Joomla! documentation site, you are also able to migrate the extensions data. How? With a migrator ETL plugin. The Joomla! experts at Joomlatools have a blog posted on how to write such plugins, very usefull! Once you have migrated your extensions, you should have a similar site running in Joomla! 1.5.

Advice - Tips

For those who would like to know what they are up against are advised to check the Migrating and Upgrading forum. A lot of experience and known issues are shared there that might help you with your own migration problems.

And, needless to say, before you start anything you make backups of your current site. And if you are smart, you setup a localhost and you first test the entire migration, this will help you locate any problems, and have the time to find solutions to each of those problems. If you do take the effort of testing the migration, document all your steps so you can easily replay them for the actual migration.

Note: this case study is not the only method or truth to migrating a Joomla! site. Most of the article is based on my own experience and is meant as a guideline for others.

Republished with permission from Robin Muilwijk from Spilling the Beans on Open Source.