Introduction to Joomla 5: Empowering the Web with Serfe

Last Update November 29, 2023

Welcome to the latest introduction to Joomla!, the content management platform (CMS). At Serfe, we take pride in presenting the latest innovations of Joomla! 5, the most advanced version to date, designed to take your web experiences to the next level.

What is Joomla! 5?

Joomla! 5 is an open-source content management system (CMS) powered by PHP and backed by the GPL license. Developed to create dynamic websites, it uses a MySQL database to offer flexibility and performance.


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After 3 years working together, we reached a successful website transformation: Migrating from Drupal 7 to WordPress 6.

Inception Phase

The client initially reached out to us to resolve several critical issues plaguing their website, which had begun to impact their business's reputation in 2020. Upon conducting a comprehensive review, we identified a range of tasks required to enhance the user experience and address the critical errors.

Performance optimization

When we undertook the project, it became evident that the website faced significant challenges, particularly in the areas of security and performance. At that point, we had already determined that migrating the eLearning platform to WordPress was the most suitable solution. This transition represented a substantial investment for the client. We initiated a long-term plan, first focusing on improving the Drupal platform to a level that would sustain the business. Afterward, we began to consider the migration.

Early in 2023, we started working on the new eLearning platform powered by WordPress. After five months of extensive web development, we released a new refreshed website with outstanding performance. We took on the challenge of enhancing the website's performance, and the results were nothing short of remarkable. Through meticulous optimization efforts, we successfully boosted the website's speed, achieving an impressive score of 98 on mobile devices according to the PageSpeed Insight tool and grade A on GTmetrix. This achievement marked a substantial improvement in user experience and page loading times, greatly enhancing the site's overall performance and competitiveness.

Here is an screenshot of both tests: PageSpeed GTmetrix

We combined our more than 15 years of experience working on CMS and performance with a unique configuration using a plugin that provides remarkable results. You can read more about our

Securty improvements

We resolved issues that were hindering users from completing courses which was also related to bad practices into existing and previous source code.

One of the most crucial steps was the migration from Drupal 7 to WordPress 6. We recognized that the site was running on PHP 5.6, which posed security vulnerabilities. To rectify this, we upgraded the core of Drupal 7 and all its modules to the latest versions, ensuring proper functionality and enhanced security. We meticulously applied security patches to the core and continued to work through each module to guarantee a seamless transition.

Subsequently, we focused on updating the source code to support various custom modules and ensure compatibility with PHP 7.4 and later upgrading to PHP 8.1 into WP Engine environment.

UI/UX Improvements

Following the resolution of critical issues, our team embarked on a redesign phase. During this stage, we not only updated the theme but also collaborated closely with the client to implement design enhancements. These included the creation of a new header, footer, and several modifications aimed at achieving a responsive design. Our goal was to ensure that students could access the course from any device seamlessly.

Key Achievements and Integrations in the Wordpress migration

  • Integration with LearnDash: We seamlessly integrated the website with LearnDash plugin, a widely-used system known for its robust eLearning capabilities.
    • Create and update courses
    • Edit courses content and manage assets (photos, videos and audios when necessary)
    • Enable coupons
    • Offer course bundles
    • Sell course access on a subscription plan
    • Automatically enroll users into courses after purchase
    • Automatically remove course access on a refund or cancelled subscription
    • And more...
  • Stripe Payment Integration: To facilitate secure payment methods, we integrated Stripe, adding an extra layer of convenience for users. We've integrated the following Stripe's products
    • Stripe Payments: we enable WooCommerce to use "Stripe Card Processing".
    • Stripe Checkout: the Stripe checkout embed solution is shown during the payment step.
    • Apple Pay + Google Pay integration allowing users to pay easily.
  • Custom Plugin Development: Our team developed a custom plugin tailored to extend LearnDash's functionality, addressing specific business challenges effectively.
  • Website Optimization: We optimized the website's performance, significantly enhancing the user experience and page load times.
  • ADA Compliance: To ensure inclusivity, we implemented ADA compliance measures, making the site accessible to all users.
  • Technologies Utilized: In addition to WordPress 6, our project involved integrating , implementing user registration functionalities, and utilizing the Astra theme to create a seamless and visually appealing user experience. We also installed and configured the following plugins:
    • WP Online Active Users: tracking real time logged in users
    • Automatic time-out for inactivity: we implemented a plugin to logout user after 10 minutes of inactivity
    • Identity Validation: a simple implementation to prompt security questions time to time during course.

DevOps & Ongoing Maintenance

Beyond mentioned achievements, we also focused on further improving website architecture. To achieve this, we made the strategic decision to migrate the site from a shared hosting environment to a dedicated Virtual Private Server (VPS) in 2020. This move not only enhanced performance but also provided scalability options for growing business. We set up a new server from scratch, deploying the Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP (LAMP) stack, and configured the necessary security settings to maintain optimal website performance.

Even this move was a significant improvement for the old Drupal website, we had already identified the next step to migrate to WordPress, and clearly, the new site would be even faster using WP Engine. That's why when we launched the new site in 2023, we migrated to this new hosting. The managed hosting services provided by WP Engine not only improved site speed and performance but also enhanced security and reliability. With WP Engine's advanced caching and content delivery network (CDN), we experienced faster load times, resulting in a seamless user experience. The robust security features and automatic updates ensured that the website remained protected against potential threats, while the scalability of WP Engine's hosting allowed us to easily accommodate increased traffic and growth.

Today, the website stands as a testament to successful transformation. All critical errors have been resolved, and it now operates smoothly. We continue to work closely with the client, addressing new requirements and tasks as they arise.


Didas Research

Didas Research is an independent research firm. Its sole focus is on helping their clients take advantage of long term investment opportunities. Its research is grounded in rigorous analysis of the key elements of long term performance. It focus on the drivers of sustained earnings growth through objective analysis of capital allocation decisions and business models. By integrating financial, industrial, competitive and stakeholder performance, it seek to identify businesses best placed for sustained long term growth at undemanding valuations.

Development details

We took Wordpress for start developing this website. WordPress provide great built-in features and the admin panel allow you to easily manage pages, post and users.

We implemented a custom plugin which offer management feature to visualize large volume of business and financial data. The information is uploaded to the site through the administrator panel using Excel files. The plugin is responsible for reading and processing the data for storage in the database. The economic-financial information is displayed on the site using different types of graphics libraries implemented with jQuery and custom pages where the information is shown in a friendly way. There are filtering methods which provides the ability to organize results by group, sector and region.

The system also allows registered users to keep a list of companies. Thus, they are able to compare between them.


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This website provide useful information about researches on regional climate modeling with a focus on land surface-atmosphere interactions, their relation to the water and energy cycles, and potential contributions to understanding the predictability of the hydro-climate system. The site is leaded by Dr. Hugo Berbery who is collaborating with students and researchers from different institutions.

Serfe was requested for some specific components to show weather forecast from South America region. After analyze different alternative we conclude that implement a custom extension for Joomla would be the best option. Thus, we started working on the web design and implementing a custom Joomla template for it. We designed also the desired component in collaboration with the client, identifying necessary information and material for the development. We suggested Joomla because it also provides basic CMS features such dynamic page content, menu item manager, contact page, SEO and more.

Forecast Joomla Extension

We implemented 100% of this extension including one Joomla component, a module and a plugin. The component provide all the functional part of the application, in the Administrator panel the admin is able to add, edit or remove the satellite images and its values. The module is shown in the Forecast and Monitoring pages so the visitor is able to filter and choose different option to see different images based on domain and variables. The plugin is handling the effects and the dynamic load of each image which is loaded into the slideshow in the main content page.

Custom template

In order to fit the web design we customized the basic Joomla template, including specific module sections and changing HTML structure. This template works better for desktop and a few tablets (for iPad 2 and higher). We also implemented HTML templates override for articles and category pages to avoid hardcoding for them.

The Inter-Agency Task Force

The Inter-Agency Task Force is an NGO. The site's main objective is oriented to provide communication for American Jewish people whose activities are to inform them about majority/minority relations in Israel, topics like economy, education and social services treated in Arab Israeli communities as well as the financial resources to provide effective solutions.


The site was implemented in Drupal 7. We received the PSD for web design therefore we implemented a new custom Drupal theme using Bootstrap and jQuery based on CMS standards.

We developed a custom Drupal module for entities management (people, articles, posts and events). The administrator and any registered users is able to create, edit or delete content on the page. Forms module for custom entities include its own attributes which were to be used to filter them in search engines.

Among the main features of the site we can highlight a powerful search engine that was developed in order to display and filter the results showing entities site so customized and optimal. Thus, it offers the possibility to apply advanced filters, using keywords, tags and content type obtaining as results a list of articles and events that match the search criteria. All filters are dynamic and these were implemented using Ajax combined with Drupal API.

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Serfe info(at) FALUCHO 2032, S3016LDB, SANTO TOME, SANTA FE, ARGENTINA 1-305-5375397
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