January 10, 2011, 11:45 AM — The volunteers behind the Joomla content management system will release version 1.6 of the open-source software today, which features considerable improvements in access control and page layout, among other enhancements.
This new version of Joomla, version 1.6, has been in development for about three years, said Ryan Ozimek, president of Open Source Matters, a not-for-profit organization providing legal and financial support to the Joomla project. The project has about 80 volunteer programmers, including 10 who manage the code-base.
Alongside Drupal and WordPress, Joomla is one of a number of open-source Web content management systems (CMS) that are increasingly being used to manage websites and other online repositories of content. It is used in approximately 10.9% of all the websites that use CMSes, according to a survey conducted by the Austrian Q-Success IT consultancy.
Joomla has been downloaded over 22 million times, according to OSM. Online trading firm, eBay, for instance, uses Joomla to host a set of internal usage analysis tools for employees. Citibank, General Electric, Harvard University, Ikea and McDonald's also use the software.
In addition to the usual round of bug fixes and feature improvements, this new edition of Joomla also features some substantial improvements, Ozimek said.
Most notably, a new access control system has been implemented. The new version gives administrators a lot more nuanced control over how users can view and manage content. The old system offered only a predefined set of groups, which couldn't be augmented unless the administrator was willing to do a lot of low-level coding. The new software offers a console that will allow administrators to specify what actions each user can take in regard to a particular page. It also offers inheritance, in which permissions levels can be nested within multiple groups.