Why Typo3 V6 is really bugging me

Written by Finn Taylor on 9th January 2014

(Last updated 11th March 2016)

6 comments

Every software update should be met with excitement by its users, even more so for a major upgrade. Look at major upgrades of Photoshop, Illustrator or even MS Office - the users are clamouring for new features, enhancements and improvements - it is like christmas...new toys to play with.

TYPO3 CMS which is our favourite CMS platform due to its unrivalled functionality and extensibility, went through a major upgrade almost a year ago. And there’s a lot to like - so why after all this time is v6 still bugging me?

  1. The first reason is that I still have to keep explaining to clients, why we went from v4.7 to v6 - what happened to TYPO3 v5?
    The explanation that v5 (the super re-architected version) that was originally planned was running late, so v6 was launched as an intermediate step, however v5 is now called NEOS and this still causes clients to scratch their heads...somehow this all sounds a little amateurish.
  2. Lack of real world discernible improvements
    TYPO3 v6 ushered in many many technical improvements, however from a client perspective little new functionality was provided. Unfortunately v6 was a technical cleanup, designed for geeks by geeks - the laymen (or user) however did not see many new features or improvements.
  3. One step forward, two steps backwards
    Whilst TYPO3 v6 has theoretically ushered in many technical improvements it has also broken many things. Historically TYPO3 has been overly devoted to retaining compatibility with legacy extensions, however v6 made many changes, breaking compatibility with many legacy extensions. In effect many websites require substantial work to be upgraded without any discernible benefits to the end customer.
  4. What's up with the FAL?
    TYPO3's DAM (Digital Asset Management System) was to be replaced with the FAL (File Abstraction Layer), however this has not been a smooth transition and the FAL has lagged behind in development.
    Unfortunately the FAL is still immature and multilingual functionality is still missing the point, requiring hacks and custom extensions to provide the necessary functionality.

 

Whilst TYOPO3 v6 is edging towards a v6.2 LTS (Long Term Support) version, there is a major question in the community regarding TYPO3 vs NEOS

  1. TYPO3 has undergone major technical cleanups to modernise - do we stick with this?
    however
  2. NEOS is technically very modern (albeit over engineered), and is quickly maturing. Should we switch?

 

So what do we do? Do we continue with TYPO3 v6 or do we start the journey to an entirely new platform (NEOS)?

As an agency we want to provide our clients with the best advice and CMS platform,  however the TYPO3 development community is running with a dual strategy - modernise what you have and build something completely new.

Considering where things are at with NEOS, we believe that TYPO3 is still the best choice. Whilst alternatives such as Drupal and Joomla have all undergone substantial upgrades, they are still playing catch up with TYPO3, which still outclasses them as a CMS platform (although I appreciate this is a matter of opinion).

TYPO3 v6 frustrates the hell out of me as I would love to offer clients some sexy new out of the box tools and widgets, however, the technical cleanup forces us to drop legacy extensions, moving TYPO3 to a more modern framework, which ultimately is a good thing.

For the foreseeable future, TYPO3 WILL still be the best choice for most clients - NEOS will start to become relevant, but this will begin with simple projects and as it gains momentum take over from TYPO3 - for the medium term TYPO3 will still be the best CMS platform around.

This article was posted in Musings by Finn Taylor

  • Finn Taylor

    Finn Taylor

    Finn is a founding director of Liquid Light, and he still (after 22 years of web design) likes to get involved in projects. When he is not worrying about the clients, he is studying Chinese medicine, working with young criminals and doing spartan challenges.

Comments

It can be so frustrating to decide on the best CMS for clients and I have to say TYPO3 is one of my favourites.
I think sticking with TYPO3 is a wise decision, I went through similar turmoil and made the same choice!

Piperis Filippaios14/01/2014 09:56

Hey,

thanks for your perspective on this. I understand your frustation. But I noticed during the last year that the "cleanups" from 6.0 to 6.2 are predecessors to use TYPO3 CMS even better and faster in the future.

With most 4.x versions, TYPO3 was like a "we add this and that feature", with 6.x we move towards a really up-to-date and coding base with unified components like FAL. However this feature in particular needs to mature - and it matures when we use it, and it has grown to a stable component for 6.2. The DAM migration is more robust now and works for one of our biggest installations.

Also, with all the new stuff of the latest mysql and PHP versions, there is lots of room for expanding into even better not bigger. I really like this movement, and look forward to seeing how TYPO3 CMS evolves in the next 2 years (yeah, and nobody will talk about the v4 to v6 jump anymore :)).

Hope to see you keep involved in TYPO3 in the next years - IMHO there is no better open-source alternative out there. Feel free to contact me with any assistance you need for your sites.

All the best,
Benni.

Benni16/01/2014 09:58

Hello,
I am brand new to Typo3, I have a client who wants us to build a large site that needs to support multi-lingual and many editors. It also needs to be fully responsive.
This will be our first Typo3 project, while we have used WordPress and Joomla in the past, we feel that neither CMS will be sufficient for this project.

As we are new to this, is there an advantage or version that you think may better over the other? Considering that we would not have any legacy issues with prior installs?

Thanks!
~E

Edavis06/03/2014 20:03

Hi Mr E Davis

TYPO3 is a great solution for more complex multi-lingual websites.
The responsive bit is very much based what you do with your HTML/CSS.
A point to note is that TYPO3 is not for the faint hearted - this is quite a bit harder to use then Joomla and Wordpress due tot he flexibility and complexity.

Regarding versions - v6.2 is about to be released (apron the 25th of March) so if you can hold out of this then it would seem to be the best option. If you really can not wait, then go with v6.1.x.

As you are new, I would suggest using one of the prebuilt starting points such as the 'Introduction distribution' or the 'Bootstrap distribution' as this will get you started with appropriate extensions etc - have a play with the demo's (http://demo.typo3.org) and see which one suites your needs best.

Good Luck

Finn

Finn Taylor07/03/2014 09:38

Hi Finn,
Thank so much for your reply, it is most helpful.
I have read that Typo3 has a steep learning curve, we are setting up a sandbox for ourselves to gauge this.
What would you say is the tougher tasks in setting up a Typo3 site? For example, the installation or the template creation? Formatting or database setup?

Best,
~E

Edavis07/03/2014 22:06

There is not one specific part which is complex, but rather the entire environment. Templating is relatively simple as you can either use the built in TYPO Script approach or you can use TemplaVoila (which is what we use). Likewise developing custom databases/extension can start relatively easily using the Extension kickstarter.

TYPO3 does have a steep learning curve - this is very much due to its complex architecture...there are many ways different things can be achieved, which provides amazing flexibility but can also baffle people as there are many different places to look for something. You will find this when using third party extensions!!

My suggestion is to start simple, using the generic out of the box functionality which should allow for most requirements....don't try to do a very custom job bending and extending the core functionality as your first project.

Finn Taylor10/03/2014 09:16

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