Joomla 1.6 is coming towards the end of its beta phase which means it will soon be available as what is known as a "Release Candidate". This will not be the final version, but at this stage it is likely that there will not be any major changes. The main changes with this new version are more flexible access control and unlimited levels of categories. However some major changes were necessary to implement these features and as such, it will not be possible to simply upgrade your site from 1.5 to 1.6. Here are my thoughts on some questions that you might be asking.
Does this mean I have to rebuild my entire site to make it compatible with version 1.6?
Hard to answer as that depends on your site, but in many cases the answer is "no". Although there will not be a simple upgrade, we are expecting to see a migration tool that will guide you through the necessary steps.
Do I have to change to version 1.6?
No. But you'll probably want to eventually. Joomla is like other software in that support and upgrades are only provided for current and recent versions. In the case of Joomla 1.5, you will most likely continue to receive support via the Joomla forum and upgrades for at least one year after version 1.6 is released.
I haven't started using Joomla yet, so should I wait?
It depends on what you want to do with your site. For most people, the deciding factor will be extensions. Most extensions that are built for Joomla 1.5 will not be compatible with Joomla 1.6. So if you need to do anything beyond the basics of Joomla, you will need to wait until the appropriate extension is available in a Joomla 1.6 version. Although developers have had a long time to test Joomla 1.6 in its beta form, it may take weeks or months for them to release a 1.6 compatible extension. My advice is build your website now as you have a massive choice of extensions (over 6000) and the current version of Joomla is very stable.
Will I need to buy a new version of the Build a Joomla Website tutorials?
No. The current Beginner course is free and we will produce new free tutorials for Joomla 1.6.
If you plan to purchase or have already purchased the 2010 version of the Beginner Plus course, you will automatically receive access to any updates to this course.
Our Advanced course is in production and the first chapters will be released soon. This first version of this course will cover version 1.5 and updates for version 1.6 will be produced where appropriate.