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Open source CMS is constantly changing. We'll help you keep up. PHOTO: Emma Frances Logan Barker

Due to its organic nature, the world of open source software is in constant flux, which makes it difficult to keep tabs on.

To keep you in the loop, I’m kicking off a monthly roundup of open source CMS news, starting today.

Here are your latest open source CMS highlights.


The WordPress team, backed up by its colossal community, spent November ironing out the creases in WordPress 4.7, which is set to be released this month.

This latest version of the world’s most popular content management system boasts features such as,

  • A new default theme (Twenty Seventeen)
  • Native video header support
  • Custom CSS for Customizer
  • Admin language control for users
  • Minor editor tweaks

I have been critical of lackluster WordPress releases in the past, but 4.7 is promising to deliver an impressive set of useful features.

In particular, the ability to experiment with custom CSS through the Customizer interface is something that will simplify the lives of webmasters and developers alike.


Joomla unveiled a wealth of information about its next major release, Joomla 3.7.

Firstly, Robert Deutz, Joomla’s CMS maintainer and former PLT member, was announced as the 3.7 Release Lead. The organizational change came as a result of personal reasons.

Joomla plans to bring about three major features with 3.7: routing, custom fields and an associations manager.

The release date is set for March 28, 2017, and you can follow the development via GitHub.


Nov. 18 was a milestone for the Drupal project, as it marked one year since the arrival of Drupal 8.

The team saluted its platform by highlighting some of the best Drupal 8 projects to emerge over the last twelve months, including the likes of, and

Drupal’s founder Dries Buytaert chimed in on the special occasion:

“I'm proud to say that Drupal 8 is supporting an amazing array of projects. In my recent keynote at DrupalCon Dublin, I explained why the why of Drupal is so important. After one year of Drupal 8, it's clear how powerful our collective purpose, projects, and passions can be.”


I was a big fan of Prestashop 1.6 when it landed back in 2014. It transformed the PrestaShop user experience from top to bottom, and I still see it as the platform’s contemporary turning point.

When I first heard about Prestashop 1.7, I was hoping it would build upon the positive features of 1.6. Yet, I was also desperate to see it eliminate the frustrations that came along with it – and I believe it has.

Prestashop 1.7 brings about features including,

  • Redesigned product and modules pages
  • A new starter theme
  • A reorganized main menu
  • The adoption of Symfony2 framework elements

The changes made to the product creation page caught my eye more than anything else. As good as it was, Prestashop 1.6 was cumbersome to use when it came to creating products. Prestashop’s new interface boasts a far more efficient design, making life easier for merchants creating products at scale.


The Liferay Digital Solutions Forum was held in London early in November. The agenda was strengthened by the presence of Hubspot, Fujitsu and Costa.

Liferay’s events are typically well run and full of relevant insights — and this one was no different. Liferay executives Bryan Cheung and Edwin Chung spoke eloquently about Liferay’s stance on digital transformation, and how they hope to combat the obstacles surrounding personalization.


The Concrete5 team and wider community spent their November preparing for the launch of Concrete5 version 8.

Two release candidates were served up during the month, and in the final week, the Concrete5 team decided that version 8 was ready.

Version 8’s feature set is substantial, with enhancements on every major front,

  • A smoother installation process
  • Improvements to workflow,
  • User desktops for collaboration,
  • Timed page releases,
  • Upgraded multilingual internals,
  • An updated, attribute-based form block

The Concrete5 community waited for more than a year for this release, and on December 1st 2016, they finally got it.  


MODX Evolution 1.2 — the biggest MODX release to date with over 1,200 commits — was readied throughout November and released on December 1st 2016.  

The release brought about,

  • An updated TinyMCE editor
  • A new starter template based on Bootstrap3
  • New manager user roles

MODX also admitted that there was, “[an] issue allowing Evolution sites to be compromised”, and that this release would remedy the problem.

Other Headlines

Following BloomReach’s acquisition of Hippo back in October, Hippo enjoyed its annual event, Hippo Connect, with a new zeal. The Dutch Police, FC Bayern Munchen and the Met Office helped make up the guest list in Amsterdam.

Meanwhile, Acquia Engage 2016 hosted the likes of IBM and Nestle in Boston. The winners of the Acquia Engage Awards were also announced at the two-day event.

New Year Preparations

The biggest players in the open source CMS space have spent November preparing for the turn of the year.

WordPress, Concrete5, Prestashop and MODX will all enter 2017 with a relatively fresh version of their platform out in the wilderness. I suspect their work will continue in the form of bug and security patches, but I think settling down in time for the holiday season is now their primary aim.