Joomla 4 is there, what's up for sh404SEF and wbAMP?
As you probably know by now, Joomla 4 was released officially last week. A great event for the Joomla community and we are all thrilled to start using it over the next months.
However, Joomla 4 is not compatible with Joomla 3. Many, if not all extensions and templates must be modified or sometimes rewritten from scratch to work on Joomla 4. This is an important factor to take into account before upgrading any Joomla 3 site to Joomla 4.
What about Weeblr's extensions, sh404SEF, wbAMP and 4SEO?
sh404SEF, wbAMP and 4SEO, the short story
- 4SEO is easy, it already runs on Joomla 3 and 4 the exact same
- sh404SEF will not be ported to Joomla and instead be replaced with a new extension: 4SEF
- wbAMP has been modified to run on both Joomla 3 & 4 and will be released in the next couple of weeks
sh404SEF and Joomla 4, the longer story
sh404SEF has been a staple of Joomla SEO for nearly 15 years now. I released it's first version publicly at the end of 2006 and it really took off the next year, when a I started a website to support my various Joomla extensions.
Since then, and through various distributions channels, it's been used on hundreds of thousands of Joomla websites, to this day. But as Joomla 4 was to be incompatible with the previous Joomla versions in many ways, it became clear early on that we would need either to:
- rewrite it from scratch
- use the opportunity to build something better, overall
From the start, sh404SEF has been dedicated to SEF URLs management: in accordance with SEO best practices, it first and foremost makes sure that each piece of content on a Joomla site has one single URL. To achieve this, it replaces Joomla way of building links based on menu items with URLs based only on the content itself, ie titles and categories typically.
And then many SEO-related features came along that such as easy redirects or canonicals, meta data management, OpenGraph tags and OpenGraph image detection, some level of structured data, custom error pages and even a URL shortener.
That's best by SEO standards but:
- there were sometimes conflicts with extensions expecting menu-item based URLs
- newer SEO feature were more and more difficult to add without bloating the component
So a year and something ago, I decided it was time for a change for a better range of SEO products for Joomla 3 and Joomla 4.
4SEO and 4SEF, the new SEO solutions for Joomla 3 & 4
4SEO has now been around for a couple of months. Although not everything is in place yet, it's already the most modern and complete SEO product for Joomla.
It however does not deal at all with SEF URLs. For that, now that Joomla 4 stable has been released, we have just started the development of 4SEF. 4SEF will be the logical continuation of sh404SEF, but it will only deal with SEF URLs.
All SEO features in sh404SEF have already been taken over by 4SEO and you can use them today either on your Joomla 3 or Joomla 4 site. And of course, 4SEO can do much more than sh404SEF in terms of SEO.
By having two separate extensions, you can enjoy today best-in-class SEO with either sh404SEF for URLs, or another SEF URL extension or even just Joomla native SEF URLs system.
So what's left really is the SEF URLs handling and 4SEF will take care of it soon.
The Frequently Asked Questions
Is 4SEO a replacement for sh404SEF?
Not exactly. 4SEO does way better in terms of SEO than sh404SEF but only sh404SEF can optimize SEF URLs. The upcoming 4SEF component will take over SEF URLs creation and management on both Joomla 3 and Joomla 4.
When will 4SEF be ready for real use?
We plan on releasing 4SEF during the last quarter of 2021. We will have a 4 to 6 weeks public testing period prior to the stable release, so please follow us for release announcements.
Will sh404SEF ever run on Joomla 4?
Can I upgrade my sh404SEF site to Joomla 4 today?
We do not advise that until 4SEF is ready. Without it, you would lose your URLs and your rankings would take a hit.
How long will sh404SEF be supported?
sh404SEF will be supported as long as Joomla 3 is relevant. Joomla 3 will be supported by the Joomla project for 2 years after the release of Joomla 4, which means August 17, 2023.
I know people will keep using Joomla 3 much longer than that so I will support sh404SEF at least another year after that.
Does 4SEO requires 4SEF or another SEF URL extension?
4SEO does not care at all if you use stock Joomla SEF URLs or a 3rd-party extension for SEF URLs such as 4SEF. It actually does not even know as it's based on a crawler which just looks for links in your content. It does not care how these links were created.
Does 4SEF requires 4SEO?
4SEF will not require 4SEO to produce SEF URLs identical to those generated by sh404SEF today. However, it won't have any of sh404SEF SEO features and you'll need to add 4SEO for these - and many others.
How will I move from sh404SEF to 4SEF?
Just installing 4SEF on a Joomla 3 site will be enough. It will take over SEF URLs handling from sh404SEF. The process will be transparent, possibly with an initial import phase right after installing.
Will 4SEF take over all functions of sh404SEF?
NO: 4SEF only does SEF URLs. All other sh404SEF features such as custom meta data, any form of structured data, analytics, etc will require to run 4SEO on the site. When ready, 4SEO will also take over meta data from sh404SEF transparently and this should happen at 4SEO version 2.0 only.
What about wbAMP?
As mentioned in the "Short story" version of this post, it should be released within the next couple of weeks.
This post is already quite long so I will stop here, please feel free to ask any question in the comments below!