Joomla 1.5 Huge Improvement

I volunteer for an Irish dance group and maintain their competition (feis) Web site. We started on Joomla 1.0 a few years ago and it has been a tireless workhorse. I chose Joomla because it blends light content management with an easy to use and administer interface. Like many of the other (free) open source content management systems – Drupal, Plone, Mambo – it was extendable through small components, themes, and modules. This year we moved to Joomla 1.5 and the development community has done a great job in improving what was already a very solid product.

I use the word move rather than migrate because we did not actually migrate.  If you are migrating from a version 1 Joomla to a version 1.5 Joomla, there are tools to export your content and bring them into 1.5.  We had little content to move forward so I brought up the 1.5 site parallel to the 1.0 site and just copied it over.


They recommend installing Joomla 1.5 separately, not over, 1.0, which worked fine for me.  During the installation, I just created a new database and everything fell into place.  Well, not quite.  The first installation did not take, for some unknown reason.  I think it had to do with not installing the sample data, but when I got to the end, the database had been created but the user account hadn’t.  Rather than trying to identify what else hadn’t been properly created, I deleted the database and reinstalled.  This time it went straight through.  Once you have unzipped (untarred) the installation file, the actual installation process is amazingly fast.

Missing Site

In version 1.0, there was an issue that caused the site to not work if the domain name wasn’t identical to the one from which you were working.  For example, if you configured the site as but were trying to access it from (or, as often, the opposite), it would look okay but certain features wouldn’t work.

I had a similar problem on installing 1.5.  The configuration.php file had a line for $live_site that was empty/blank.  When I looged in as the administrator, I could navigate and change content, but I could not add new menus or new content.  Once I added my full site domain – – I was able to use the administrative interface positive.


The administrator interface is much cleaner than in 1.0.  Fewer menus, components and modules have been cleaned up, themes manager moved to the same location as other managers.  I found it easier to navigate and manage content, and to update the theme CSS and HTML files.  There also appear to be a number of modules that are embedded in the installation that were not default before, like polls, but that may be my own poor recollection.