The Joomla! Project just recently announced that you're now about to download the Joomla! CMS Release Candidateelease Candidate. They have asked community members and interested parties to download and install the package on your development web hosting or localhost and to assist with bug reporting and quality assurance.
Please keep in mind that beta releases of Joomla, such as this one cannot be upgraded, so it's purely for testing purposes. If you do choose to test the Joomla! 3.5 release candidate package, please do submit the issues you come acrosss to the Joomla! CMS Issue Tracker, and do not upgrade production sites to this RC version.
Joomla 3.5 Release Candidate
The final Joomla 3.5 Stable Release is scheduled to be released on March 16, 2016 according to the Joomla News Announcement.
Joomla 3.5 hopefully will be introducing the following features:
- Update Emails Plugin periodically checks Joomla updates and will email the super admin when one is discovered. Very helpful for staying on top of the Joomla! releases. (Contributor: Nic Dionysopoulos)
- Opt-Out Of Anonymized Data Plugin allows you to opt out of sending anonymous information back to the Joomla team to better understand how we're using Joomla! (Contributor: Don Gilbert)
- Item Counter adds the number of published, unpublished and trashed articles in the Category Manager for articles, banners, contacts and newsfeeds. (Contributor: Peter Martin)
- Add a user CSS file to Protostar checks to see if a user.css file exists and loads the file if found to add user customization. (Contributor: Roland Dalmulder)
- Download system/environmental data for support purposes (Contributors: Radek Suski and Roberto Segura)
- TinyMCE Drag and drop images allows the user to drag and drop images into content (Contributor: Dimitris Grammatiko)
While Joomla publically has a backwards compatibility promise, Joomla 3.5 is exempt due to the changes in PHP7. The String class had to be renamed to StringHelper as Joomla! wouldn't be able to run on PHP7 otherwise. For more information on this topic, see String Package 1.3.
How to Test The Joomla 3.5 RC Release
There's many ways to test a release of Joomla. The most popular ways are either to spool up a MAMP, WAMP or XAMPP instance on your computer, but we prefer to use inexpensive web hosting for our testing environment. It gives us a true feel for how the software will perform in a "real world" scenerio. There are two hosting providers that we do this on. One, is CloudAccess.net. Hosting is only $5 a month, and you can spool up or shut down your test environment at any time (and not be charged further). The other testbed we recommend for more advanced users is ChicagoVPS.net. They offer a 128MB single core VPS with 10GB disk space for just $12/year. If you do choose to get the $12 VPS, make sure you read "How To Install Joomla From The SSH Terminal"
As always, please report the issues you come across to the Joomla! CMS Issue Tracker