JFBConnect v9 Release Candidate & Joomla 4 Update

We're excited to announce the first (and hopefully only) Release Candidate version of JFBConnect v9! Earlier this year, we released the first beta of JFBConnect v9, which included Joomla 4 support and a revamped social network plugin system. This new release incorporates new features, feedback from users, extensive testing, compatibility with the latest Joomla 4 RC4 and other ease-of-use improvements. The administrator area has been overhauled to simplify configuration and reduce complexity, while retaining all of the depth an administrator needs for the best social networking integration into their Joomla powered site.

Joomla 4 Compatibility

The next version of Joomla will likely released in August and JFBConnect is fully prepared. JFBConnect v9 will work on both Joomla 3.9+ and Joomla 4 with the same installation package. There is built-in templating support for both Bootstrap 2 in Joomla 3 and Bootstrap 5 in Joomla 4. Additionally, we have fully integrated with the new update system within Joomla 4, new admin area and the underlying API changes of the newest version of Joomla.

While there's no guarantee when the final Joomla 4.0 release will be available, we expect it to be come over the next few weeks.

Facebook Business API Support

Over the last year, Facebook has split their API into 'Consumer' and 'Business' versions. At first we were able to make all features work with the same Consumer API, but as they've progressed with changes, that's become impossible. 

In JFBConnect v9, we've released a new social network provider called "Facebook Business". This new provider will allow for auto-posting to Facebook Groups and Facebook Pages. Going forward, for all Facebook functionality within JFBConnect, you'll need 2 separate Facebook Apps with API Key and Secret for each of the providers below, depending on the features you need.

  • Facebook Provider (a 'Consumer' FB App) - Used for authentication, social widgets, open graph tags, feed display from a user profile and page tab support.
  • Facebook Business Provider (a 'Business' FB App) - Auto-posting and feed display for Facebook Pages & Groups. Does not support user login/registration on the front-end.

Once setup, you won't need to manage applications separately. JFBConnect automatically takes care of using the proper API key with the needed feature. We've tried to simplify setup as much as possible and will be updating our documentation and providing superior support, as always.

jfbcv9 providers

Improved Administrator Configuration

jfbcv9 menusJFBConnect has been in development since 2009. In that time, we've added hundreds of new features which has made the configuration area pretty complex. In JFBConnect v9, configuration has been broken up into more specific sections. Just about all the features from JFBConnect v8 are still available, but each should be easier to find and the first-time configuration should be much smoother. 

For example, previously, the "Configuration" area had a tab for each social network and each network had different sections for it's own settings. We've now broken the "Configuration" area into separate "General" and "Advanced" tabs for all common settings for login and general setup. Each social network provider now has their own configuration area. This makes it much simpler to find the social network and specific configuration setting you're after.

These changes have allowed us to move some of the lesser-used top-level navigation menus into other configuration areas, like "Page Tab" into the Facebook configuration section. Less main menus should make zeroing in on what you actually want to configure a whole lot easier.

And the List Goes On

Above are the major improvements in the latest Release Candidate version. However, there have been hundreds of updates and changes to make this the best release of JFBConnect ever. A quick list of other updates is below:

  • A new interface for easily enabling individual social networks and seeing which plugins are enabled.
  • Updates to the Microsoft Azure plugin to allow for setting specific Tenant IDs (necessary for Office 365 Domains and other private email logins).
  • Javascript reduction and speed improvements to page load times.
  • Fix for 2-factor Authentication.
  • Removal of Facebook Canvas functionality.
  • Multiple bug fixes and PHP warning/deprecation removals.

For the full list of updates, see the full JFBConnect Changelog.

Available Now

JFBConnect v9 RC1 is available for download now. This Release Candidate has been tested extensively with both Joomla 3 and Joomla 4, but we still recommend testing it on a development site first to be safe. We expect the final version of JFBConnect v9 to be available shortly after the final Joomla 4.0 is released.

To download, please visit the My Subscriptions area. To get a new subscription to JFBConnect, visit our extension page.

Alex Andreae

Alex co-founded SourceCoast Web Development in 2008. Based in sunny Florida, SourceCoast develops extensions for integrating your Joomla powered website with popular social networks. He has spoken at more than a dozen Joomla User Groups and Joomla Days, including the Joomla World Conference in both 2012 and 2013. Topics have included social networking for Joomla, running a business around Joomla extensions, and Joomla development.

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