Migrating from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 2.5

1. Transferring content
2. Transferring extensions:
  2.1. jDownloads and jComments
  2.2. Template, editor, and other extensions

As usual at the beginning - the appeals for reading introduction and for not forgeting about backup!


As we know, Joomla 1.5 uses templates based on table layout, which is now obsolete. Starting from 1.6 templates use the technology of div layout. Therefore, the installation of templates designed for 1.5 to newer versions is impossible by definition - they are just incompatible. Hence, there are several options:

If you use a third party template, and the developers rewrote it for the new Joomla - good luck, you can download or buy a new compatible version.

If the template has been ordered and made ​​for you - order the same, but for new Joomla.

If you are capable of crating templates by yourself - why are you reading this?

If you do not, but do not want to download or buy a ready-made one - there are tools to create templates. Artisteer is considered the best. It is a payware, but is not that expensive. With it you can make a pretty decent design even having minimal understanding of HTML, CSS, and other basics of site building.

And finally, if you're not a professional web designer, but know exactly what is where and how to deal with it - you can use one of the previous options, and then manually bring the template to the desired condition. Personally, I do so.


Basically, good enough and light TinyMCE is available in any version of Joomla out of the box (if you install it with the initial content). I, however, had never been using it, but installed more advanced editors. In Joomla 1.5 it was CKEditor - rather decent tool. I found its version compatible with 2.5, installed - it works, but regularly forwards a proposal to buy the paid version, and does it very obtrusively. And it just turned out that the component and plugin Highslide JS (which will be mentioned below) have some handy additions for the editor JCE. Tried it in operation, and appreciated even more than CKEditor; besides it's absolutely free. It requires a thorough setup though, otherwise it behaves like a smart aleck and provides results, interesting to itself, not to us. The issue of setting up JCE Editor is planned to be the subject of a separate article.

Meantime I want to note that if you have the desire and certain skills, transferring the editor when moving from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 2.5 should not cause much difficulty.

The essential set of third-party extensions

Under essential set I mean a kit of extensions used to provide more or less typical site functionality. Let me describe briefly, which ones were in my own set at 1.5, and how difficult or easy it was to get the same or similar ones at 2.5.

1. Plugin for viewing images in full-size format.

On the old site I used Joomslide, built on a wonderful library Highslide. Developers did not bother to release a version for 2.5, so I was puzzled over looking analogue, and found another thumbnail viewer - Highslide JS. As the name implies, it uses the same engine. Highslide JS has much more settings than Joomslide, there is also multilangual support at the JavaScript level. In general - even better, I can recommend.

2. Mediaplayer.

Everything was easy, the updated version of my favorite easy-to-use and light-weight JPlayer was available. All the same - audio, video, embedding Yuotube videos. It took two minutes to manually restore the settings. The only thing I didn't like in the new version - the guys stuffed the player window into container <div>, which ignores horizontal alignment of paragraph. To use alignment, you need to put the plugin into div in the article, but it was edged with the tag <p> on my old site. So I had to make a small change in the code. In new articles I've been getting used to insert the player into the tag <div>. In spite of this little issue, I'm stating: developers did good job, transfer of the extension was quick and almost smooth.

3. Sliding panel plugin to hide part of content.

Just the accordion. On the old site I employed FAQ Slider Plugin - not too bad, but poorly written here and there. After I customized it for my needs, it has become quite good. Fortunately, the authors abandoned it at the stage of Joomla 1.5. Why fortunately? Because it was found free of charge as well asinitially bug-free analogue - AccordionFAQ with the necessary minimum of adjustable parameters and a supplemented set of themes.

4. Social networking buttons.

Plugin that helped author and visitors of the 1.5 site to post links and likes on social networks, happily fell asleep in the Lord. On the new site I've just embedded buttons script into template. Description of the technology, as well as advantages and disadvantages of this method will be discussed in a separate article, or even in a couple. They are planned to be posted in the nearest future.

5. Etcetera.

I won't waste your time describing the migration of other extensions of my habitual set. Hope I managed to convey the basic idea: if there is a variant for new version of Joomla - find a way to transfer data and settings, if there is no such a variant - search for analogues, which are often even better. And in general, you can sometimes even wonder: if you need this beauty on the new site? In this way I got rid of some gimmicks that had been giving to in early stage of Joomla sites development.

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