Joomla! 4 support is back to experimental status

Joomla! 4 is likely to move from Bootstrap 4 to 5 – right when it’s about to emit its first Release Candidate. Bootstrap 5 is itself in beta. Considering the uncertainty this brings we downgrade our J4 support to experimental effective immediately and until further notice. (UPDATED)

We would like to elaborate on the reasoning behind this decision, especially given that it comes a mere two weeks after we elevated Joomla 4 support from beta to production.

We don’t know if Bootstrap 5 will be used in Joomla 4 or not. The Joomla Production Leadership's decision at the time of this writing is that if it can be done it will be done and included in Joomla 4.0 Release Candidate 1. In an effort to not waste development time we have to stop all work regarding refinement of our Joomla 4 support until this decision is crystallised. Simply put, we can't spend our development time polishing the last few rough edges when there's the very real possibility that a new CSS and JavaScript framework will be included in Joomla in approximately two weeks.

Bootstrap 5 is currently in beta. In the past, there have been breaking changes after the last betas and release candidates of new Bootstrap major versions. Spending time to redo and refine our integration with Joomla 4 when Bootstrap 5 itself may cause a breaking change at any time sounds like an exercise in futility.

Further to that, given that neither the Joomla nor the Bootstrap project have a definitive release timeline we are not sure at which point in the Joomla 4 pre-release cycle Bootstrap 5 stable would be released. As a result, we don’t know exactly when we can reasonably resume our effort to revalidate Joomla 4 support in our software or whether this will leave us with enough time to fully support Joomla 4 before it releases its first nominally stable version, presumably later this year.

Given these uncertainties which are beyond our control the only responsible thing we can do is downgrade Joomla 4 support status back to experimental, meaning that we will be declining bug reports and support requests for Joomla 4. When the Joomla project clearly communicates its goals and release timelines; or (far more likely) Bootstrap 5 stable is released and included in a published Joomla 4 Release Candidate then and only then will we commit to a timeline for Joomla 4 support in our software.

You can still use Akeeba Backup to backup and restore your Joomla 4 sites and Admin Tools Professional to protect them. The CSS and JavaScript framework change has no impact on that. However, we cannot guarantee that you will not experience any visual artefacts and/or lose secondary functionality such the Backup on Update notification. Moreover, we are pretty confident that primary functionality in Akeeba Ticket System (selecting a user) and possibly elsewhere will be adversely affected by the change of a CSS and JavaScript framework in Joomla 4.

Thank you for your understanding.

Update, Saturday 23rd January, 2021

A few hours after our public announcement for demoting the Joomla 4 support to experimental status pending the Joomla project's decision for Bootstrap 5 integration, the Joomla project publicly announced that they would indeed go through with this change.

Their announcement contains several inaccuracies regarding the complexity of the task at hand and the imaginary benefits of switching to Bootstrap 5 so late in the Joomla 4 pre-release cycle. But that's not important; it's just Joomla trying to spin an unjustifiable decision. The most important part of this announcement is the brazen admission of the Joomla Production Leadership that any breaking change can be introduced at any point in time, even when they have committed to do the exact opposite.

We will continue working on our Joomla 4 integration. However, committing to a timeline is unrealistic under the circumstances. We aim for (but cannot promise) a full Joomla 4 support within 2 weeks of Joomla 4 becoming stable for Akeeba Backup, Admin Tools and Akeeba Ticket System. Everything else will follow.