Well, the thing they broke was on accident and it was fixed immediately once the impact was apparent. An attempt to fix a very low level, extremely rare security vulnerability ended up having a far higher impact on many more sites than what it'd solve. Crap happens with security fixes, it's not a Joomla thing, it happens in WordPress too. The difference is that they are never addressed in WordPress; you are just told “these are your new marching orders, sod off” (in corporate marketing terms but that's the gist of it).
Regarding Joomla 4, NOT ALL THAT MUCH has changed. Take that from the guy who was tracking the Joomla 4 development since alpha 2 released in November 2017 and had all of his software working with Joomla 4.0 stable the day of its release, August 17th, 2022. Also the same guy who rewrote all of his 12 extensions from scratch using the new, optional MVC API introduced in Joomla 4 in under a year, while still maintaining the old versions. Developers who say that “too much” has changed didn't pay attention the last 7 years where small, optional changes were introduced into Joomla 3 to ease the migration of their extensions to Joomla 4. Had they followed the advice to replace some API class names in their code — a simple search & replace that took 30' per extension once every 12 months — they'd have very little work to do today. Or they could have just used my automatically generated Rector scripts which would allow them to use Rector and automate most of the search and replace, turning it into 30 seconds every 12 months.
The reason you do not find some plugins ported is that these developers stopped making extensions years ago but they were still selling their never updated software. They were making a money grab, not an investment to the future. Most of these plugins were rendered obsolete by core features years ago. Especially with the introduction of Fields in 3.8 a lot of CCK-related extensions had no reason of existence. You could replace them with minimal template overrides which don't break every so often.
Remember that I also work with WordPress and I've seen hundreds of sites developed with both CMS. There's a common pattern. Joomla sites tend to use about 80% less extensions than WordPress sites and are 5 to 20(!) times faster. WordPress has the marketing but it's really a bad CMS. It's not even a good blogging platform anymore; I had to convert my own blog from WordPress into Joomla after WordPress shoved the block editor down our throat (yes, I am aware there's a plugin to restore the old editor but there's an explicit warning that it will go away). The block editor is okay for marketdroids and noobsters trying to hack together a site that doesn't suck terribly but it's antithetical to making a decent site that performs well and has any level of complexity above “trivial”. The worst part that nobody understands is that the block editor has the same downsides as a page builder: god forbid you ever want to update the design. It also brings another problem of its own: god forbid you want to update the plugins which render custom blocks. Since the data is stored in the same unstructured text field as regular HTML developers cannot update data generated by old versions of their plugins which means that every month or two you need to redo all of the existing content. Somehow WordPress manages to offer the worst of all worlds.
If you are building a bespoke application maybe using a CMS in general is a bad idea. You need a bespoke app developed in something like Laravel or Symfony. Of course this won't absolve you of the need to spend dozens to hundreds of thousands of dollars every 3 to 5 years to rewrite everything when the framework version you are using becomes end of life and breaks far harder than any Joomla major version upgrade.
In the end of the day, what you're talking about is software lifecycle. The only way to make sure that something will remain unchanged is if you are developing every single part of it — but that's a far, far more expensive proposition than using ready made building blocks and factoring in the cost of upgrades every 3 to 5 years in your TCO.
Something to think about before you go ahead with the knee-jerk reaction of let's trash everything we've made and start over with an entirely new system. In 3–5 years you'll be back at the same crossroads. Take that from someone who's seen the mass exodus from Joomla to WordPress in 2013–2014 and the mass migration back to Joomla between 2019 and today (the migration back took longer in part because of the pandemic). Always think about your TCO using any of the alternative technologies, don't fall in the traps of either sunken cost fallacy or the grass is greener on the other side. Neither of these mind traps will help you figure out what you should really do.
Nicholas K. Dionysopoulos
Lead Developer and Director
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