It’s less than a month until Joomla!  CMS 1.7 is scheduled for release, and developers have been busy writing, testing and committing new features, working on the platform, and fixing bugs. So what are some of those new features? There’s something for everyone, webmasters, developers, and designers. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

As soon as you start an install you’ll see one really noticeable change, which is that the installer has been totally “ajaxified” by Rouven Weßling. No page reloads! It’s even got a lovely spinner to show it’s working. Rouven told me “I love the installation as a playground. Total disregard for BC is only there possible :D.” I hear there’s more ajax to come, too. Rouven also upgraded TinyMCE to version 3.4 along with doing a lot of other work all over the CMS.

Another noticeable improvement is Michael Babker’s work on implementing batch processing in components in the administrator. This has been frequently requested and was the product of long work by Michael and others back to before 1.6 was released. These kinds of features take a long time to implement in a coherent way. And the great news is that to do it he completed building out the JHtmlBatch class and added new batch functions to JControllerForm and JModelAdmin. You can see them in action in the Articles and Weblinks managers. This is great for developers and users alike, ready to incorporate into extensions and providing a consistent user experience.

Joe LeBlanc did really helpful work for developers on JToolbar buttons. Now getting Save and New and Save to Copy are as easy as:

JToolBarHelper::save2new('article.save2new', 'JTOOLBAR_SAVE_AND_NEW')

JToolBarHelper::save2copy('article.save2copy', 'JTOOLBAR_SAVE_AS_COPY')

He even implemented it all over the CMS user interfaces.

For site administrators there are a number of nice improvements.  One I’ve hoped for for a long time is Peter Kneisel’s contribution of a new parameter set that lets you limit article submission done via a menu link to a single fixed category. This is great if your users tend to forget to select the right category when submitting. So even if they are allowed to create articles in several categories, you can make a link that let’s them just “Post Blog” or “Create Homework Assignment.” In Joomla! 1.0 you could work around to do this, and it’s great to have it correctly implemented.

Another new parameter in a menu item lets you link to a saved search when making a search link. This is handy for a number of use cases, but especially if you have some common searches that users do or if you want a way to pull in topical information from a number of different components.

There are even more improvements/features just waiting for you to test them out.

With the new development strategy we’ll be seeing more of these smaller, incremental features and improvements every six months. At the same time people working on major features (like ACL, JForm and Categories in 1.6) that may take a year to complete can get them in when ready, including doing incremental work on the platform making the classes available to other developers and testers event if they are not yet implemented in the CMS.

Want to help 1.7 be as successful as possible? Do a checkout from subversion (you will need a subversion client) such as tortoise (for Windows) or subclipse for use with the Eclipse IDE or test the alpha (remembering that many fixes have been made). Report any problems you find to theCMS tracker.

Want to contribute a new feature  for 1.8? The feature tracker is always open and six months is not so far away. Get coding!

Want to suggest something for someone else to code? Go to