Joomla 4 - the big disappointment

The great disappointment of 2021

Published: August 25th, 2021

If you know me or have been reading my blog, you’ll know what for many years I have been a big advocate of Joomla, but I posed the question in a recent article – “are we at a fork in the road?” Now that Joomla 4 is out, the answer is yes!

Back in 2017 it was announced that Joomla 3 would be retired and Joomla 4 its new successor. This was welcomed with excitement and anticipation, but as time went on, that excitement and anticipation diminished.

In 2019 at the Australian Joomla Day there was a lot of focus on Joomla 4, including a presentation from one of the project leads, and there was talk of a release the end of 2019. Well 2019 came and went.

Fast forward to August 17, 2021 and Joomla 4 is finally released! That’s 4 years after its announcement and 7 years after it was first talked about. That’s a looong time in the web world.

So was the wait worth it? In my opinion definitely not.

What did Joomla 4 bring to the table? Not much. 

Sure we got a new code base which is meant to be faster, but there is still a heap of “legacy” bits in there.

We also got a new admin template that is terrible to say the least. One of the comments I got often from WordPress users when they saw the Joomla 3 admin template is how clean it looks. Joomla 4 is too busy, cluttered and overwhelming.

Then there is the main cause for all the delays. Content workflow. This was meant to be the big draw card for Joomla, something to set it apart, but all it has done is delay the project for several years.

Content workflow is a great tool for larger companies who have different departments working on content and need different levels of approval, but for the vast majority of sites, it is not required and not something that they will use.

Now I have built Joomla sites for large companies over the years and not once has there been the need for content workflows. Perhaps if the Joomla developers wanted to have this it should have been written as an add-on component rather than baked into the core – and hold up the project. Although if you took that feature out what did Joomla 4 bring us in terms of new functionality? Nothing!

In 2021 there are many CMS options out there, and yes, they all have their pros and cons, but the fact is that there is choice, and it is time to move to a CMS that is fast, agile, flexible, and giving us what we need. Have you met Statamic? I have and it’s bringing back the joy.

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I am the Head of Arts & Crafts (and co-owner) at Mity Digital, a Melbourne-based digital agency specialising in functional web designJoomla, Statamic and Shopify CMS platforms and beautiful graphic design.

Mity Digital