Not worth the effort ...

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Not worth the effort ...

Post by sozzled » Thu May 21, 2020 1:22 am

Nearly one year after my first unusuccessful foray with J! 4, I ventured into it once again (keeping my fingers crossed). I downloaded the Alpha (11) installation package, attempted to install with PHP 7.4[.6] and it was a mess (several misleading warnings about the deprecated use curly braces for array offsets in the file ../libraries/vendor/joomla/database/src/DatabaseDriver.php but that's not too important).

It took a couple of attempts to create the J! 4 test site and I struggled to find where to install important extensions, viz. Akeeba Backup, but eventually I got there. Probed around for about an hour and tweaked a couple of Global Configuration settings. Reasonably happy, so far.

I couldn't find the Redirects component menu item in the backend. I had some warning messages about the DB collation type (utf8mb4_general_ci) that didn't want to go away no matter how I tried the Database Repair feature. I also updated the website from the Alpha (11) to the so-called Beta ("dev") from the nightly builds.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I'm not overly impressed with my efforts. Obviously—obviously, right?—it's all my fault; I've done something wrong. As someone who's created a hundred or more J! website over the past decade, and rarely run into strife, this one is pretty t-r-i-c-k-y to get my head around. I left my efforts to familiarise myself with J! 4 administration for the day. I don't want to sound doomsday-ish but I can't figure it out and I don't think another hour or more getting a handle on the "basics" is going to cut the mustard.

Which is a pity, really, because J! 4 is touted as the next big thing for J! and, having been in the making for four years, one would expect that we're somewhere near the end of the road. From my (extremely limited) exposure to J! 4, we're not at the stage where this is ready for general beta testing. So (and with regret), I have to conclude there's more to do in terms of getting things "ready" so that gumby users (like me) won't hit pot-holes along the way. :(

In summary ... disappointed.
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Re: Not worth the effort ...

Post by toivo » Thu May 21, 2020 1:43 am

Why alpha11? After alpha12 seven more months of development has gone into Beta1-dev, available from Nightly Builds.

The Joomla 4 back end may take half an hour to get used to before it is at your fingertips, but it works well, IMHO. It can be used with Joomla 4 Patch Tester RC2 to contribute to the testing effort before the first Beta is released.
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Re: Not worth the effort ...

Post by sozzled » Thu May 21, 2020 2:08 am

Why Alpha-11? OK ...

I asked "Dr Google": "Where can I download Joomla! 4?" and this was the result I got: https://developer.joomla.org/news/790-j ... ha-11.html

Does that answer your question?

As for how I went from J! 4 [Alpha-11] to J! 4 Beta, there aren't too many tutorials about how to do this at joomla.org, so I followed this guide: https://www.joomlashack.com/blog/tutori ... -test-site.

Also, we (not you and me, specifically, @toivo) keep having this discussion about whether J! 4 is at beta phase or not. Some people insist that "beta-dev" equals Beta but, in truth, we know it doesn't. In fact,
toivo wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 1:43 am
[Your J! 4 site] ... can be used ... to contribute to the testing effort before the first Beta is released.
So we're not there yet, are we?

Yes, it takes a while to familiarise oneself with the J! 4 backend (which is very different to J! 3). Some things (like installing extensions) are buried a few mouse-clicks away from the main control panel. I'm sure that things like these can be tailored so that it's not quite so clumsy for newbies (like me).

I couldn't install extensions with the Install from Web option (I had to use Install from URL), but I put that down to "teething problems".

I mainly participate in these J! 4-related discussions not because I know anything; I know very little. I mainly participate in these J! 4-related discussions to learn from the experiences of others. Overall, however, most other people's experiences with J! 4 are not particularly good incentives to climb into the test pilot's seat at this time. That's really all I can say at this time.

I appreciate your good intentions, @toivo. I'm just struggling to make sense of all of this.
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Re: Not worth the effort ...

Post by toivo » Thu May 21, 2020 2:27 am

sozzled wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 2:08 am
As for how I went from J! 4 [Alpha-11] to J! 4 Beta, there aren't too many tutorials about how to do this at joomla.org, so I followed this guide: https://www.joomlashack.com/blog/tutori ... -test-site.
That tutorial was originally published in 2018 and updated on May 1 this year, but it still talks about alpha5. More importantly, the selection Update Channel - Custom URL - Minimum Stability should be 'Development', because, as we all know, Beta does not exist yet. Hopefully Beta1 will be here soon.
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Re: Not worth the effort ...

Post by sozzled » Thu May 21, 2020 2:48 am

toivo wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 2:27 am
... as we all know, [J! 4] Beta does not exist yet.
Yes. You know that and I know that and @brian knows that (and this is what we've been punishing ourselves to get others to understand, too). ;) There are several discussions on this forum that talk about how people are already using "J! 4 Beta1"; the current version is really J! 4 [Alpha 12] but there's no direct link to it when you ask "Dr Google" and you have to fish around. :(

Anyway, that's just a matter of interpretation. I used what I found (regardless of how it was labelled). And, while the tutorial I referred to was, indeed, written in 2018 (but updated a few weeks ago), the tutorial was the first thing I found that seemed to do the trick.

We've got to remember that the download page does not even mention Joomla! 4. If people are interested in what's the story, they have to deliberately search for it. It's not like being in your face: "Hey, everyone, have you heard about Joomla! 4? Would you like to download it?" :pop

Also, people have been hoping (or maybe they've been were hopeful) for J! 4 Beta for over two years ago, haven't they? The latest revised estimate is for the first beta to be released by the end of this month. Hopes, however, don't translate into affirmative action. I wish I were 40 years younger when my interest in cranking out programming code was foremost in my mind. I'm old now (although I still speak PHP f-a-i-r-l-y well, I always have a PHP programming manual within arm's reach) and I just don't have the passion for it.
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Re: Not worth the effort ...

Post by ceford » Thu May 21, 2020 5:42 am

I have done several J4 installations recently and found it really easy and without errors or warnings. I get the latest update from https://developer.joomla.org/nightly-builds.html AND the live update works well - I just did it in a few seconds. The Patch Tester works well (mostly). I have a big component ready to go in J4 and it all works fine. So I think it is worth it and was tempted to suggest to the guy struggling with a live version of J4-Alpha-5 that upgrading to the latest nightly build and hanging on might be an alternative to downgrading to J3.

I prefer the J3 Admin menu layout using a top bar rather than a sidebar - that will soon be a third party option. The Menu missing the Redirect component is true. Is that a bug to be reported in the Issue Tracker?

Overall, definitely worth it! I think the title of this post should have been a question rather than an assertion!

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Re: Not worth the effort ...

Post by sozzled » Thu May 21, 2020 7:55 am

The title of this discussion was not meant to be a question. It's simply my observation.

I don't know where you got the idea of my struggling with J! 4 Alpha-5.

Let me say again what I found:

1) It wasn't easy to find the installation package for the latest version of J! 4. I had to search Google for it.

2) The download package, from joomla.org, is contained in a link—a blog article entitled Joomla 4 is on the horizon … Alpha 11. That's what I found. That's what I used.

3) It took me two attempts to install J! 4 [Alpha 11]. It was straightforward enough to install it. That's not in dispute. The point is that it took me half an hour to get to that stage. Typically, for me, I can create a J! 3 website in about 10 minutes (as long as I don't have to search the internet to find the installation package). I've even produced a video that demonstrates how to install J! 3.x on a server, including the creation of the database and DB user, downloading the installation kit, installing the package, running through the initial setup, logging into the backend, installing Akeeba Backup, logging out of the backend, logging into the front end and logging out again. I've done this more than a hundred times. I think I'm reasonably OK with the installation process.

4) After installing J! 4, the first thing I wanted to do was install Akeeba Backup. I tried the "install from the web" option, clicked the Install button and nothing happened. I then tried the "install from URL option" and I was able to install my first extension on the website. However, it took me several minutes to find where Extensions » Install exists (as it does on a J! 3.x menu). If you want to install something in J! 4 you need to click System first ... then you have to find Extensions » Install; that's two mouse clicks (as long as you know that the extension installer is buried under the System menu). I figured it out but I was lost for a while.

5) After doing these things, I then searched for information about how to update the website to J! 4 "beta"; well, it's not actually a real beta ... it's really only an alpha beta. Again, that's not the point. The point is that I had to search for how to update a J! 4 website and I found an article on the Joomlashack website that explained the procedure quite simply.

6) I had no problems updating from J! 4 alpha-11 to J! 4 beta-dev/alpha-12 (however one might wish to label it). Not a problem; I know something about the funny business with the labelling of the beta-in-development-that's-not-really-a-beta-but-let's-call-it-that-anyway version.

7) After updating, I then went to look for the Redirects component. Now, I can't find it. So I went to the documentation and, eventually I found what I was looking for (took me more than 10 minutes to find it!):
How to access
  • Select Components → Redirect from the drop-down menu of the Joomla! Administrator Panel.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know all that. The point is that I can't find Redirect (or Redirects) under Components on the menu. So I looked at the Extension Manager and found that the Redirects component was installed (along with the System - Redirects plugin) but, no; good advice but no cigar this time. I can't get to the actual component.

So ... by this time, I've spent over an hour to get not very far.

I'm not here to ask for help. I'm reporting my experience. My experience has been a disappointing one.

First impressions count. I first tried J! 4 nearly a year ago and that was a disaster. I tried to create a J! 4 website from scratch today and it's been fiddle after fiddle. I'm sure it's all my fault. I mean, after all, I have no real experience using J! 4 and, from everything I've read, other people have no problems with it. Heck, some people have even gone so far as to create production websites with it!

I'm just saying that my second impressions haven't been a lot better than my first impressions. We also have to remember that the Joomla! 4 project has been going for at least four years. I know that it was painful enough for people to make the transition from J! 1.5 to J! 2.5, or from J! 2.5 to J! 3.1 ... but the whole timespan between J! 1.5 to J! 3.1 was less than 4 years. Have we learnt anything?

That's not for me to say. I may dig into the guts of J! 4 again tomorrow or over the next week or two and I will probably fail again ... who knows? It shouldn't be difficult. I wonder how complete gumby newbies would cope? Is it worth the effort (I don't know)? Do I enjoy punishing myself? Is my middle name "masochist"? You be the judge.
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Re: Not worth the effort ...

Post by erick-b » Thu May 21, 2020 5:53 pm

J4 beta 1 works very well

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Re: Not worth the effort ...

Post by sozzled » Thu May 21, 2020 8:22 pm

There is no "J! 4 Beta 1". Please stop using the label "beta" when J! 4 is not actually at that stage yet. According to the J! 4 roadmap, the first beta is expected by the end of this month; that's possible, I suppose, but the roadmap has been saying the first beta is expected "soon" for the past two years ... and we aren't there yet.

We have had this discussion before. There is a "thing" called Joomla! 4.0.0-beta1-dev but it's not officially a Beta test version. There is no [published] news article about J! 4 at Beta phase. Joomla! 4.0.0-beta1-dev is just the next release [from one of many overnight builds] in the Alpha phase of J! 4.

toivo wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 2:27 am
... as we all know, [J! 4] Beta does not exist yet. Hopefully Beta1 will be here soon.
To write "J! 4 Beta 1" confuses people. It confused me for a while, too. And, if J! 4 Beta has been released, show me—point to an article at joomla.org—where people can download it. Are any releases of Joomla! 4 on the official download pages? No.

And even if the latest nightly release of J! 4 does work very well for you, then say "the latest nightly release of J! 4 works very well for me." I'm only saying that the exising release(s) of J! 4 don't work as well for me as I would like them to work. That's all that I'm saying.

@erick-b: What was your experience like in finding the installation package for J! 4? What has been your experience finding the documentation for J! 4? What was your experience like the first time you tried to install extensions? What is your experience finding and using the Redirects component? I looked at GitHub and I do not see any "erick-b" who is active with the J! 4 project. (I am not active there, either, but that's only because I've just started using J! 4.)

What's your point in writing J! 4 [whatever-it's-called] "works very well"? It's not that I don't believe you but are you suggesting that I'm making all of this up? ;)

I'm saying that, from my own experience, the currently available release(s) of J! are not sufficiently robust enough for me to continue to test and, if ordinary folk are not as knowledgeable about certain techniques or tricks to install J! 4 as the cohort of expert users are, then I'm not in a mad rush suspend my other activities and persevere with it until it reaches some reliability that permits gumbies (like me) to use it. As far as I'm concerned, at this stage I'm doubtful that it's worth the effort of me spending hours of my time to use the current release of J! 4—however confusing it may be labelled—until we have more certainty that we're not wasting our time.
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Digging around for an hour and eventually ... success

Post by sozzled » Fri May 22, 2020 5:25 am

As I've written earlier in this discussion, I always suspected that I'd done something wrong.

Equipped only with "Dr Google" (and little else), I persevered and checked that I had everything in place to create a J! 4 website. Sure enough, I'd overlooked a few key pointers. I'll explain here what I was missing for the benefit of other gumbies who follow me.

First things first,
getHelp.png
The "help" I received was non-existent. Everyone else was enjoying themselves at my expense by telling me that J! 4 [alpha/alpha-beta/beta/whatever] "works". Anyway, that's ancient history.

Secondly, if you want to know where to download the latest version of J! 4, there's no information prominently displayed on this website. I mean, wouldn't it be nice if we had a link on the download page that had something like this:
dwnlJ4_mock-up.png
Because there is no direct link like this anywhere, I asked "Dr Google" who refers us to a page—a "news" article about Joomla 4 is on the horizon … Alpha 11 (from where you can download J! 4.0.0 Alpha 11) but wait, there's more ...

A more-recent "news" article exists: Joomla 4 is on the horizon … Alpha 12 :eek: (So much for trusting "Dr Google" to find what we're looking for.)

Read the technical requirements! There it is, in black and white, that the minimum supported version of MySQL is v 5.6. "So, what's wrong with that?" I asked myself. I'm using Wampserver 3.2.2 with PHP 7.3 (and the choice of PHP 7.4 if I wanted it) with MySQL 5.6, aren't I? After all, I downloaded and installed the latest Wampserver installation package. But wait ... the latest version includes MySQL 5.5 (not 5.6) and you need to download an add-on kit for Wampserver to upgrade it. unnghh!

An hour (and several reboots later) I've updated Wampserver to use MySQL 5.6; this won't trouble me because if/when I use J! 4 on my real webhost, I will have the same version of MySQL there as I have on my test-bed.

OK, so now I'm ready to install J! 4 Alpha 12. I made sure that I had a clean filesystem, empty database, and a few minutes later there it was. A brand-spanking-new J! 4 Alpha 12 website. Good. Maybe it's worth it after all?

Tried to install Akeeba Backup with the Install from Web option; no go! Try the Install from URL option and in she goes. Ran the backup and everything looks good. Modified the Joomla! Update options to automatically search for new nightly builds and, 5 minutes later, I'm running 4.0.0-beta1-dev. Excellent! (Well, it was excellent after I performed a Database Repair.)

Next item on the list: find the Redirect (or is it the Redirects ??? ) menu item. In J! 3.x you move your mouse over the Components menu item (on the top navigation bar) and you'll see Redirects; let's try the same thing with J! 4 ...
findingRedirects1.gif
OK? Where is it? It's not there! :eek: Hang on a sec' ... how about I look on the System menu item?
findingRedirects2.gif
So that's where you've been hiding?! :laugh: (... and it's still called Redirects in spite of what you read in the documentation ... *sigh*)

Cheers. I hope this story has been useful to some people. Perseverance pays dividends (but I've spent several hours building my very first [v-e-r-y basic] J! 4 website ... and I haven't even written any articles yet!) :D

I'm not marking this as "solved" ... I'm going to put my feet up, have a cup of coffee and watch some TV. I reckon I've earned a break. ;)
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Re: Not worth the effort ...

Post by darb » Sat May 30, 2020 8:43 pm

And now is the Joomla 4 beta released!


https://www.joomla.org/announcements/re ... beta1.html
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Re: Not worth the effort ...

Post by sozzled » Sat May 30, 2020 9:21 pm

I read that. It made no difference to my test site: according to my test site, I have the latest release of J! 4
j4Update.png
No change there.

Furthermore, the Install from Web facility is still broken. As I wrote earlier, after installing J! 4, the first thing I wanted to do was install Akeeba Backup. I tried the "install from the web" option, clicked the Install button and nothing happened. I then tried the "install from URL option" and I was able to install my first extension on the website. However, it took me several minutes to find where Extensions » Install exists (as it does on a J! 3.x menu). If you want to install something in J! 4 you need to click System first ... then you have to find Extensions » Install; that's two mouse clicks (as long as you know that the extension installer is buried under the System menu). I figured it out but I was lost for a while.

You would think that something as basic as installing an extension would be relatively straightforward, wouldn't you. You would think that someone as basic—as fundamental—as installing an extension using the "usual" method used by J! users everywhere would have been tested. You would think that, in four years leading to the announcement that there was a version of J! 4 for testing by ordinary folk, installing an extension would have been ticked off as a working feature?

I don't want this discussion to be a list of my criticisms based on my limited experiences. I am, however, not surprised that less than half a percent of all J! websites today use J! 4 (in whatever form it comes in) and there's not a lot of information available for ordinary people to find out more about J! 4. To put it another way: if you want to learn more about J! 4 then you have to do your own detective work. :pop
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Re: Not worth the effort ...

Post by AMurray » Sun May 31, 2020 12:35 am

I agree, Install from web is a bit hit and go for some extensions Akeeba failed for me through INstall from Web, but installed correctly by uploading the ZIP package.

Conversely, JCE Editor installed correctly through Install from Web.

Regular Labs extensions for instance don't work at all in J4 - either by install from web or installing the ZIP package and given they are not 'tagged' as Alpha or Beta J4.0 in the JED I'm not surprised.

Therefore I think our testing of extension installation should be focused on extensions the JED says are at least "J4 Alpha" ready.
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Re: Not worth the effort ...

Post by sozzled » Sun May 31, 2020 1:04 am

AMurray wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 12:35 am
Therefore I think our testing of extension installation should be focused on extensions the JED says are at least "J4 Alpha" ready.
:laugh: *hee-hee-hee* but which version of J! 4 Alpha ... there are (at least) twelve of them! :eek:
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Re: Not worth the effort ...

Post by toivo » Sun May 31, 2020 2:14 am

Even if at some early stage an extension worked with a Joomla 4 alpha version and was therefore flagged '4 Alpha', it may not work in later alpha versions and probably even less in Beta. It is up to the extension developers to decide what is the best time to modify their extensions for full compatibility with Joomla 4. Probably close to the final Beta or after the general release.

Right now the bigger picture, the actual Joomla 4 Beta 1, is more important. Extension developers will join the party when it is convenient to them.
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Re: Not worth the effort ...

Post by sozzled » Sun May 31, 2020 2:29 am

Thank you, @toivo. Everything you've written is quite reasonable and I agree with it. :)

*** a little off-topic ***
I was never enthusiastic about "tagging" extensions in the JED as J! 4 alpha-ready because, let's face it, it's meaningless. Alpha means one thing one day and can mean something completely different the next. But, if some extension developers wanted to share the information with the community that at some time over the past three or four years they had tested their extensions with whatever version of J! 4 was available at the time, that's a bonus, I guess. ;)

But, heck, anyone can claim their extensions are J! 4 alpha-ready whether they've tested them or not, right? :p Just like all those bogus claims about extensions that cost $50 and receive 5-star ratings from 50 or more "users", hmmm? ;)

In fact, the whole "J! 4 alpha-ready" tagging scheme was, in my opinion, not worth the effort. By and large, most J! 3.x extensions should be able to install and operate with J! 4. Some, more complex, components and libraries will need to be tailored but simpler extensions, like plugins and modules, should work. The most likely explanation for extensions not working with J! 4 is that they aren't compatible with PHP 7.3+.
*** end off-topic ***


Even though there are difficulties installing some extensions with J! 4 as @AMurray and I have observed (and you just have to put up with those difficulties for the time being), I was able to install Akeeba Backup and run it and it works. I'm think that @AMurray would also agree with that, too. 8)
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