Yesterday morning (October 17th), the Joomla! team officially released the latest major version - Joomla 5. Here are some thoughts...
Honestly, I don't have much to say. It largely looks and functions the same as Joomla 4. The only big difference you might notice is that the admin template now supports a dark mode. I think this looks OK. Not perfect, but not bad, either.
I wish there was a clear toggle for dark mode on/off. It appears to use the browser's setting, which is usually based on your operating system's personalization settings. In other words, if you use your operating system in dark mode, then your browser is probably also in dark mode, which means that the site is in dark mode. There is no manual way that I can see to toggle back and forth between the two without changing settings in your browser's dev tools. This could be annoying in certain scenarios where older extensions don't support dark mode, or dark mode interferes with how things look for certain users. For example, if you customize your admin template to look nice in light mode, but one of your admins is reporting issues seeing things in dark mode, you might not even know to check if you only use light mode. So I think a manual, obvious toggle, should be present somewhere. I might develop a simple plugin for this.
Anyways, the other changes are mostly the same as what was updated in later version of Joomla 4. Namely, the updated two factor authentication system and email authentication method. Other than that, the team has made significant progress removing or reworking depreciated functions left over from Joomla 3x.
Functionally, most people probably won't tell any difference between Joomla 4 and 5. I guess that's sort of the point.
KevinsGuides.com is now running Joomla 5.0. I was able to upgrade with only a few minor-ish problems. A few important extensions, like Advanced Module Manager and Akeeba Social Login stopped working properly. Advanced Module Manager says it works with Joomla 5, but that was not the case for me. I will have to look into this. Perhaps an update will be issued soon. I had to disable my social login features, powered by Akeeba's social login system. It appears that I could login with Google, but it showed an error on the return page. Facebook's login api was recently updated on Facebook's end, so I don't know if it was even working for the last few months.
Finally, the site's comment system is down.
Other than those issues, it's been smooth sailing. Of the thousands of visitors this site gets, less than 1% of them actually use any of those features that are broken. So I'll have to look at my options in the days to come.
Should You Upgrade?
I would encourage you to test out your site thoroughly with Joomla 5, instead of just jumping into an upgrade like I did. At the very least, make a backup. Since this site isn't my livelihood, and I'm not really paid to maintain it, I didn't mind if things broke. I can just fix them later. The information is all still accessible, and that's the important thing.
If you are running a more demanding application for a business or something that people actually depend on, make sure you test things more than I did before updating. There's really no need to upgrade early if you don't have to. Wait a few months for third-party devs to catch up and then consider a full migration. You should definitely upgrade eventually, ideally the sooner the better, but there's no immediate rush if you're coming from Joomla 4.
If you're coming from Joomla 3, you are overdue. Joomla 3 is no longer receiving security updates. You need to upgrade or find alternative solutions ASAP. I am available for paid consulting and migration service if needed.