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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- TYPO3 has undergone major technical cleanups to modernise - do we stick with this?
- 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.
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.