After more than a year in developping, we now see the light at the end of the Joomla! 1.6 development tunnel. During the last week of April, Joomla! Team published a rough timeline of Joomla! 1.6 in an article titled "Joomla! 1.6 Development Shifting Gears." In that article, Louis Landry, who is the Joomla! Development Coordinator and Architect, laid out a timeline of releases at various development stages. Even though almost all of those releases lack set release dates. It can still provide us a general idea when we can expect to get our hands on a functional Joomla! 1.6.
Milestone 1 - 1.6 Feature Branch Freeze - 5 May 2010
Right now Joomla! 1.6 development is at the so called Feature Branch Freeze phase. It basically means that no new features will be considered for Joomla! 1.6 after May 5, 2010. Any new features should still continue to be developed albeit toward Joomla! 1.7. Features included in the trunk will be geared toward achieving stability. Bugs and issues will be managed via issue tracker.
Milestone 2 - 1.6 Beta - 17 May 2010
Joomla! 1.6 Beta 1 has been released on May 17th, 2010.
Once the development enters this stage, all major systems should work as expected. In order to assure good quality and change control, Joomla! Bug Squad will manage all commits to the trunk, and automatic testing will be applied. A series of Beta releases will be announced in a regular 2-week cycle. This Beta phase will last until all priority 1-3 issues are eliminated and the system is polished enough for a general release.
Milestone 3 - 1.6 RC (Release Candidate)
When Joomla! 1.6 is stable enough for early adopters, RC releases will be prepared. At this stage, there will not be any API changes. User interface and behavior changes will be minimal. The 2-week release cycle will continue until all systems work, UI finalizes and all reasonable issues are eliminated.
Milestone 4 - 1.6 GA (General Availability)
This is the release general public is waiting for. When the development reaches this milestone, the Joomla! Team is confident that Joomla! 1.6 is stable and works well for production use. Bugs and issues will continue to be managed by Joomla! Bug Squad. Development will shift to focus on Joomla! 1.7.