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Which version should you use?
Whether you are starting a new project with Joomla / Fabrik or maintaining an existing Joomla / Fabrik web site it is important - essential really - that you keep your web-site software versions up to date.
Why should you keep up to date (top)
1. Support - PHP, MySQL, Joomla and Fabrik all have a limited set of versions which are currently supported by both individually by the product authors, and as a collection by higher-level software layers.
So Joomla will have a set of major and minor versions currently supported, and these versions will, in turn, only support certain other versions of PHP and MySQL.
And similarly, Fabrik will support only certain versions of PHP, MySQL and Joomla.
Additionally, your web hosting supplier may have its own limitations on versions of PHP and MySQL that they support, and sometimes they change versions without letting you know first - if your software is not ready for the new version you may find yourself scrabbling to get your web site working again on other software versions which you cannot get help for. Surely it is better to stay ahead of these problems by keeping up to date.
And to complicate things still further, a lot of Joomla and Fabrik functionality is based on other Open Source components that have their own supported versions and support timescales.
2. Security - Regardless of supported versions, there may be other pressing reasons to keep your software up to date, most notably security. Joomla and Fabrik have both had security issues in the past that have resulted in web-sites being hijacked, and staying up to date is the best way to avoid security issues impacting your own site.
Joomla security issues are actually fairly common, even though most of them are minor - see http://feeds.joomla.org/JoomlaSecurityNews .
3. Functionality, reliability and performance - Regardless of the above, you may well want to keep your site software up to date to take advantage of functional, reliability or performance improvements from the most recent versions of software.
- PHP7 can deliver noticeably faster web sites when you enable the opcache.
- Joomla 3.5 allowed you to include modules in content, 3.7 better multi-lingual support, 3.8 support for PHP7.2's Sodium encryption etc.
- The most recent version of Fabrik will have tens or hundreds of small bug fixes that you can avoid hitting by staying up to date.
Currently supported versions (as of February 2018) (top)At the time of writing (February 2018), the currently supported versions are:
- PHP - 5.6 & 7.0 (limited support for security issues only), 7.1 & 7.2 fully supported.
- MySQL - 5.5 / 5.6 / 5.7 (though this is also dependent on the O/S you are running it on.
- Joomla - 3.8 only
- Fabrik - 3.x+ on Joomla 3.x+ only (still researching).
Major version changes (top)When Joomla moved from v2 to v3, this represented a significant change of underlying code. Fabrik needed to change to work with Joomla v3, as did all of the other Joomla extensions. This needed an extended period of co-existence.
At the time of writing, the next major version change for Joomla is imminent, from Joomla v3 to Joomla v4. Once again, the version change reflects a major change in approach under the covers, and Fabrik v4 will need to reflect the same changes.
Recommended versions (as of February 2018) (top)
- Fabrik 3.8.1
- Joomla 3.8.5
- PHP 7.1
- MySQL 5.6 / 5.7