Wednesday, 30 March 2016Written by Alan Foster

The latest version of Joomla 3.5 was released on 21st March 2016. This blog post will outline some of the key features the developers have built into the latest version of the content management system. You can also find out more information by  watching the 3.5 features video.

Support For PHP 7

One of the big selling points Joomla 3.5 has to offer is that it allows you to take advantage of the latest version of PHP 7.  Don't worry you can still run your website on the current version of PHP 5.6 after you upgrade to version 3.5.  However if the hosting company supports PHP 7 and you choose to enable it you will see some big improvements in the overall speed of your site.

One of the big benefits of running a website using PHP 7 is the performance improvements it has to offer. PHP 7 takes advantage of the new PHPNG engine which is basically a refactored version of the Zend Engine called Zend Engine II that’s uses the extensible object model and allows you to execute code much faster using less resources on the server.

PHP 7 also offers lots of other advantages, you can find out more by visiting https://github.com/tpunt/PHP7-Reference and https://www.zend.com/en/resources/php7_infographic

TinyMCE Drag & Drop Images

This is a cool new feature the developers have incorporated into the latest version of Joomla 3.5. With previous versions you needed to use the media manager to insert an image into an article. This was not a problem and was easy to do but now you can just drag and drop the image from your computer right into the Joomla WYSIWYG editor , very cool.

This new feature stream lines the article creation and editing process to make your life easier. By default the images you drag and drop into articles are stored in the root of the /images/ directory.

If you want to store the images in a different location then you can change the image location by selecting the Extensions menu and Plug-in menu. In the search field enter the word "tiny". Open the Editor - TinyMCE plug-in. In the Images directory field enter the location where the images will be stored. Example /images/photos/ All images you drag and drop into the editor will be now be stored in the new directory.

joomla tiny mce

Joomla update notification

This is really useful addition to Joomla 3.5.  It’s not too heavy handed like WordPress which updates your site to the latest version automatically but it makes you aware that a new version is available via email.

By default all Super administrators will received the update notification email, unless you change the setting via the plug-in.

joomla system update

In past when the Joomla project released an update the only way to find out about the update was to log into the Joomla administrator area of the website or find out about the update via the Joomla.org website or via twitter, Facebook.

This is ok for people who follow Joomla or administrate the website on a weekly basis but not great if you don’t. If an urgent security update is released which puts your website at risk how will this be communicated to the majority of users, it won’t until it's too late and your website is hacked. This is why the update notification feature is a really useful addition for 3.5.

Anonymous site data collection

After you install Joomla 3.5 a message will be displayed asking for your permission to collect the data along with reassurances that it’s an anonymous process. You get the option to agree to allow for data to be always collected in every run of the process, only once, or to opt-out entirely and never send any data at all.

joomla data collection

You can also change your settings for how data is collected at any time directly via a plugin called System – Joomla! Statistics. The purpose of the plugin is to collect information about the Joomla version number, PHP version and the database type and version number to help the developers and community members of Joomla make improvements to the content management system.

joomla statistics plugin

Item counter for categories

The category page view via the Joomla administrator area will now show the number of published, unpublished and trashed articles, banners, contacts and newsfeed

joomla category counter