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Since I was not getting enough new templates & modules for my older but stable version of Joomla v1.0 CMS, I decided to go for an upgrade. For the beginners, Joomla is the most powerful CMS (COntent Management System) that is used to run various large & small websites and the best part is that it is a freeware. People like me who blog regularly can't use simple HTML to create websites considering the level of updating needed for every new post being added. That's where these Content Management System comes in. Prior to Joomla I was using PHPX, which was very simple and effective, but that developer team is no longer active. It had been more than 2 years Joomla v1.5.X had released and now many free webhosting companies are offering pre-installed Joomla websites. So considering the new modules / functionalities and the fear of getting behind / obselete, I went for the upgradation to latest version v1.5.15.

The foremost problem that I thought that would be a big problem was the migration of articles from v1.0 to v1.5. The Joomla v1.0 uses various tags like {'moshits'}, {'mospagebreak'} which I found easy because while composing the article all I had to do was type the {'mosimage'} or {'sidebar'} and continue just like an email. And in the image parameters I define the images & its captions to be used in the desired order so that the software replaces the {mosimage} with the images I had specified. Whereas in Joomla it is like giving the image path in each image holders. I won't say that it is cumbersome but definitely it will take a while to get accustomed.

Also Joomla v1.0 had seperate text boxes for the introduction text and the read more text. So the database table also contained seperate fields for intro text and the body. But the Joomla v1.5.X has a single text area for both the sections of a blog, while editing the posted article, the Read More component fails displaying the whole article in the front page. These two aspects were irritating while composing the blog.

{mosimage}Due to the above changes in the parameters, the table structure in the new database is also changed, which hindered the manual dumping of articles in the database of v1.0 to v1.5. To be really frank I was scared that I might have to 'manually' create all the articles again in the v1.5 database because the number of articles were 496 (including the 60+ articles contributed by the readers through mamblog). Thanks to a component called 'MTWMigrator', which stripped off the {'mosimage'} tag and replaced the images which even though was not perfect but manageable, I was able to migrate the sections, categories, articles and weblinks to Joomla v1.5 because these are the standard core components and the rest all are optionally chosen and installed which MTWMigrator didn't support. Since the Junior Vikatan Series / Kumudam series were posted in Mamblogs, which was an additional component, those articles were not properly copied.

However I faced the major problem with the article migration in the form of "Tamil Article Titles". The body of the blogs / tamil articles were fine, but the titles were still displayed in the numeric format of the unicode. Close to 100 articles were in Tamil and I had to manually change all these articles. That took considerable amout of effort in making the blogs 'readable'.

Now the articles had been set right, now I had to look for the updates of other components like Gallery, Videos, Guest Book, Downloads and Mamblogs. Thankfully I had the updates from the same vendor for components like Gallery, videos and Guestbook, who didn't change their database structure for the new version of Joomla, so I took a dump of the data from the Database for these components and filled in the new database, thus I managed to restore the Gallery / Video and Guestbook data.

As told earlier, I had problems with Mamblogs, so I have no other option than to manually copy and paste from the old version of the website for which I don't have time / inclination right now. So the rest is the Downloads / Remository component. I wanted to use this MOSTree component for a long time because I wanted to add my own views / reviews about the dramas I have indexed. MOSTree component is very nice for the same so I'll add my views at my own pace later. Since this also had to be manually done, the download section will take sometime to get into that form.

The upgrade went fine for the reader / user level but as an administrator the results are not as good as I expected. There are certain new features in Joomla v1.5.X that has serious issues.

1. Caching - This feature is good that it creates the webpage in the cache so that it need not create the page every time somebody calls that page, so it reduces the server load. But the downfall is that it doesn't log the number of times the page had been displayes or any changes are not immediately reflected because the browser displays the pages from cache. This caching affects the logging of actual visitors who had visited the site.

I opened an article for 5-6 times but all the time the number of reads / hits counter was not updated. Also the site constantly displays "1 guest online" but the count from the visit counter shows an another figure. For somebody like me who gets a high on seeing the response, which makes me write more, this caching is extremely discouraging. I had dispabled that still I have problem in the visit logs.

2. Absence of certain tags like {'mosimage'}, {'moshits'} that were extremely useful for me in composing the article as well as tracking the response puts me off.

While looking for the solutions in the Joomla forums, I have noticed that many people are facing issues like me. I think I should have stopped with the stable version of v1.10 rather than greedily going for the latest 'beta' version of Jooma v1.5.15, but I don't know how to downgrade or its possibility. So I have to live with this for a sometime until the next version stabilises. Again.. it may be too early for me to jump into this conclusion as it might take a while to get accustomed to the new version of Joomla but these are the factors that put me off with this upgrade.

{oshits} readers have shared my Joomla upgrading woes