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29Jan2019

A wake-up call for people using old versions of Joomla

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8607 hits Updated: 30 January 2019

Doing nothing about it

It’s unsurprising, really, that technical self-help forums receive a lot of urgent cries for help from people who have old websites built with outdated, unsupported and obsolete software.  It’s just human nature to build something and then “hope for the best” that the structure will last, more or less indefinitely, without having to maintain it.

The world of technology isn’t like that.

The technological landscape we knew ten years ago is vastly changed.  The iPhone hadn’t been invented.  People were still using Internet Explorer 4 or Netscape Navigator 2 (remember them?) and they went to bookshops to buy reference manuals!  So, is it really surprising that websites that were built a few years ago are, today, showing their age?

Why is it, then, that the majority of websites are still running on outdated, obsolete and unsupported platforms?

Doing nothing about it

  1. People are lazy.  Not everyone is lazy, of course, but, unless something is really urgent, we usually put off until tomorrow what we probably should be doing today; things like eating a healthy diet; doing some exercise; doing the housework … and so on.  If they’re not lazy then some people expect someone else to do their chores for them when they get into a fix.

  2. Some people think that nothing ever changes—“if it ain’t broke don't fix it”—but how do they know that nothing ever changes?  That’s not to say that they’re ignorant but some people cannot come to terms with reality.  Everything changes!  There are three kinds of people in this world: those who make things happen; those who watch things happen; and, those who wonder what happened.

  3. People are miserly.  They don’t want to spend time or money fixing something.  Yet these same people will willingly spend a few dollars dining out, going to the movies or driving to the supermarket every day to buy one or two items, or they’ll spend their time idly sitting in an armchair and not lift a finger or spend a dollar to help themselves productively.

  4. People think that Joomla is “three-mouse-clicks-and-hey-presto-instant-website”.  It isn’t.  Joomla is serious webcraft.  Unfortunately, many webhosting providers and some template developers often dumb things down by offering “quick installation” packages that achieve a kind of instant website “solution” and that’s one of the reasons there are as many websites using outdated software as there are.

  5. The misguided “loyalty” factor:  one of the symptoms of this is “I can’t update my website because my webhosting provider doesn’t support the such-and-such version of something-or-other.”  That’s not a reason; that’s just one of many excuses!

There are other reasons, too numerous to mention, but I think the ones I’ve listed above cover most of it.

Let’s look at who’s using what versions of JoomlaSource: https://developer.joomla.org/about/stats.html:j3 usageStats0119

Other, older versions of J! are not included in the data set; the data is available only where the Joomla site owners have allowed the statistics to be collectedsee also Share your Joomla usage information with the community.

A bigger problem begins to emerge when we look at PHP usage and the reliance that people place on using end-of-life, dead and buried, versions.  The vast majority of J! website owners (that is over 90% of all Joomla users, if we are to believe the usage stats) are using end-of-life, unsupported versions of PHP (see table below):Joomla 3:  PHP usage

With many webhosting companies cutting off the oxygen in regards to PHP 5 (or simply changing their hosting platforms to use PHP 7) there are going to be a lot of people waking up one day to find that their Joomla website(s) don't work.  Inevitably, technical forums will receive the usual flood of cries for help that will start with “I haven’t updated my website in a while but, today, I could update from J! something-ancient to J! the-current-version.  Please help!"  These problems are further compounded when webhosting providers withdraw PHP 5 support—needed for J! 1.x/2.5—and site owners find themselves unable to migrate to J! 3.x.

As sympathetic as we will try to be, what would you like other people to do about your situation?

In all probability, if people are currently using J! 1.x or J! 2.5 to operate their websites, the task of migrating to J! 3.x is too difficult for most people and their only choices will be to (a) rebuild their websites from scratch or (b) pay someone to undertake the migration process.  If the task was simple then why haven't people already done it?

For the one-in-ten people reading this who have kept pace with technology and they're using the latest version of J! and using an actively supported version of PHP, congratulations!  You’re in that first category of people who make things happen.  For everyone else—that’s the 90% of people running Joomla—it’s time to wake up, smell the roses and get active … or go back to sleep in the comfort of your nothing-has-changed world (… but how do you know?)

About the author:

is a Joomla professional and former member of the Kunena project for more than 8 years—a substantial contributor to the original Kunena documentation project with over twenty thousand messages posted at the Kunena forum. The opinions expressed in this article are entirely those of the author. View his profile here.


Comments
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# sozzled 05-Apr-2019 05:22
Thanks for your comment. As people can see, we get a few comments that are repeats of previously made ones with no attempt to disguise the fact that they originate from the same source (even if they're from different IP addresses) and they're obviously spam.

I don't answer questions about what other social platforms I use. It isn't difficult to find that information, anyway.

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