With Joomla 4 coming closer, we know that extension developers are working hard to get their extensions compatible with Joomla 4, so you will have a seamless migration once the stable version of Joomla 4 is out. Over the last few months, several extension developers told us where they are in this process and what to expect from them. This month we had the pleasure to interview Rüdiger Schultz, who became an extension developer by coincidence but is now the man behind several interesting extensions.
Thanks for joining us in this series, Rüdiger! Could you tell us a little about your extensions?
I have been a software developer for more than 40 years and became a Joomla! extension developer by sheer coincidence: I was using a very fine extension called SQL2Excel, when the developer of that extension suddenly disappeared. As Joomla 2.5 was around the corner, somebody had to jump in and migrate that extension for the new Joomla! – so jDBexport was born. Since then, I developed several other Joomla! extensions, mainly because we needed them ourselves, like payment plugins for various webshop systems. We don’t develop just for Joomla; we also create solutions for lots of different environments.
What will happen with your extensions when Joomla 4 is released? Will they be compatible, or will you have to provide complete new versions?
It was a challenge to make our flagship Joomla! Extension, JDBExport, ready for Joomla 4 – mainly because we do not use some kind of migration tool but rather go through all the issues one by one. That might be old-fashioned, but then again, at my age, I am allowed to be old-fashioned 😉
All our extensions, including tons of custom developments we made over the years for various customers, will of course be Joomla 4 ready – before Joomla 4 is in its “stable” release.
What should users do with the extensions when they migrate to Joomla 4? What should they expect from their extension providers in general? And what can they expect from you?
Generally speaking, serious developers will most probably make sure the users do not have to worry about the extensions when migrating to Joomla 4. However, it would be very wise to make a full backup of the site before migrating. Then update all extensions to their latest version before actually updating the Joomla! core itself.
As for us here at Schultz IT Solutions, we are fully committed to providing first-class service to our customers. So should there be an issue connected with our extensions, we are ready and capable of finding a solution.
As a developer, would you say it is essential to start working on the update as soon as possible? Why or why not?
From my experience with the update for jDBexport, I would suggest starting looking into these migrations as soon as possible. It might be more work than anticipated – and some users will start using Joomla 4 right away when available. So you better be ready in time.
What impact do the different versions (alpha, beta, RC) have on the update of extensions?
We looked at Joomla 4 alpha regarding our extensions, but that was not very fruitful, as there were still lots of issues with the core. When a problem occurs in the alpha stage, you are never really sure if the problem is with your extension or not. But from the first beta release, extension developers should begin thinking about it.
What do you consider the biggest challenge in getting extensions ready?
There are many backward compatibility breaks in Joomla 4, so developers must assess their extensions and the problems they face carefully.
How is your business going at the moment, and what impact do you expect Joomla 4 to have on that?
Joomla as a whole ecosystem is only one part of our operation, so I do not expect a new version of the CMS to really affect our overall business.
Is there anything else you would like to advise our readers regarding extensions and Joomla 4?
I personally am looking forward to the new version; it holds a lot of very interesting features. If users doubt the compatibility of a certain extension with Joomla 4, do not hesitate to contact the developer.