I'm looking for a Software Release Cycle Map (similar to the one at Wikipedia), but for Joomla!

I am specifically not looking for projected release dates or length of support as part of this answer

I'd like to confirm (or if I'm incorrect, get the following information down accurately, including the terminology used by the Project Leadership Team).

  1. Alpha
  2. Beta
  3. Release Candidate (RC)
  4. Release to Marketing (RTM)
  5. General Availability (GA)
  6. Production

The reason is that I would like to test my clients' sites (which are packed with extensions from various providers)against the Beta.

I can set up another development server, clone the live site (password protect the directories) and upgrade the Joomla! core to the Beta.

I need some instructions as to the correct way to configure the cloned test site to update to a specific Beta release.

There are drop-downs in the Joomla! Update Configuration (J!2.3.2) which don't seem to align, or do not provide the level description so that I know which version I'm updating to (i.e. what is 'testing'?) in the context of the above.

There is an option to enter a 'Custom URL' - but I'm not sure this lets users upgrade to test Beta.

I am a little lost with how to assist with testing at the Beta stage, but I believe this would be of value to both the Joomla! CMS, the extension providers and of course site owners because it would provide an opportunity to test a cloned live site early in the release stage and to report and work out any bugs early on.

Of course, the test would continue through the various Betas, to RC etc., so I would need to know how to set the Joomla! Update Configuration to update to the specific version of Joomla being tested.

Also, because I am little inexperienced, so if I am heading down the wrong the road, please feel free to clarify and suggest a better approach.

The end-goal should be to be able to test early and continuously through the Beta and RC phases, provide feedback on any bugs to the Joomla! Project Leadership and Extension Developers, and then have a smooth transition to go live with the update CMS's for clients (in other words, I'm trying to figure out how to catch and communicate potential bugs early in the game).

  • Niv, I get what you are trying to achieve asking this question, but I think you need to be a little more succinct and not "lead the witness" so much. Aka, too much fluff in the question. You could have reduced it to what settings do I need to change to allow my clients to test a new Joomla beta and how can they do that without breaking the production site. Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 23:21
  • Andrew - feel free to suggest edits - the system permits that.
    – NivF007
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 23:26

2 Answers 2


Note the definitions below are for semantic versioning (http://semver.org/) which is what Joomla will be using as of Joomla 3.3

So for just a patch release we will normally just have a straight release candidate

For a minor release we will release a number of beta's (there isn't normally a specified number that we follow but is greater than 2/3), followed by one (or occasionally more if severe bugs are found) release candidates

For a major release we will release a set of alphas, betas and release candidates.

If you wish to test any beta you are perfectly allowed to at any point. Note that you should of course not do this on your main site as beta's have NO upgrade path to the release candidate (you may well encounter errors on upgrading from one beta to another etc.)

To test a alpha, beta or rc you can either download a given package from JoomlaCode (for example here is the link to Beta 3 of Joomla 3.3 (http://joomlacode.org/gf/project/joomla/frs/?action=FrsReleaseBrowse&frs_package_id=6880) and install via extension manager, or set the Joomla Update Component to testing (note by this method you will ONLY get the latest testing version - this will be the latest beta or RC etc. - you CANNOT specify a version)

The custom URL for the Joomla update component just allows you to point to another XML file i.e. it doesn't allow you to pick a version you wish to test. That's just not possible with the way the Joomla Update component is built - it is designed to pick the latest version of a component.

  • Thanks George. This is very helpful. Let me know if I understand this correctly with respect to 'NO upgrade path.' Does this means that if we are testing Betas we should not upgrade Betas sequentially (i.e. don't go from Beta 1 to Beta 2 to Beta 3) - but instead go from the last Production Release to the latest Beta?
    – NivF007
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 1:27
  • It means that once you installed a beta, there is no guarantee that you will be able to update it to a stable afterwards.
    – Bakual
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 6:26
  • @NivF007 correct. You might be able to upgrade from beta 1 to beta 2. But there is no guarentee you can do that. You should always take a new copy of your website and then upgrade it to the beta Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 9:08

See http://developer.joomla.org/cms/development-strategy.html for current development strategy.

Terms used: Alpha, Beta, RC and Stable

No special instructions for updating a clone to the Beta version, just update. You can use Joomla! Update for applying current or Extension manager->Install for updating to specific versions.

To properly test you should clone original and update to currently available. Keep all environments and don't update b1 with b2, rc or stable. In addition to updating your clone, install clean with and without demodata. This will allow you to specify under which conditions an issue occurs.

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