I'm using Joomla 3.4, do I still need to install K2 extension to create a blog posts on my website? This question is quite often appears on Joomla forum. So I decided to solve that dilemma.

But let's start from beginning....

What is K2? 

K2 from getk2.org - it's still very popular solution featuring several content forms for items (think of Joomla articles with additional fields for article images, videos, image galleries and attachments), nested-level categories, tags, comments, a system to extend the item base form with additional fields, a powerful plugin API to extend item, category and user forms, ACL, frontend editing, and sub-templates. Looks promising, yeah, I agree. Developers promised a new version which will integrate K2 with default Joomla 3.4 features (ACL) and appearance of back-end.  So we all have to wait. But I guess here is not a problem, but somewhere else. Each time when I installed someone K2 I had 2x more work, not only with settings but also to describe why I installed and how to use it. Normal people, like your clients, do not understand why they need two separate extension for content and second for "blog" post.  Of course sometimes you can use only k2, then problem should not appear.

Joomla 3.4 and Helix3 - Bothers in Arms

But I can guess in not all cases you will need all K2 features with extra loaded JS and CSS files - which came with it. Since JoomShaper team published Helix3 framework and there is available stable version of Joomla 3.4 - in most cases I decided not to use K2 anymore. This same move was made by our developers team in last Joomla templates. New Joomla have many features which before was not available without installing addcional extension, for example tags. Also Helix3 came with powerful Post Format system, which is similar to K2 options (Image, Media, Image gallery).

k2 feature tabs

Yes, we know Helix3 do not have "Extra Fields" and "Attachments" yet.

helix3-post-formats

But it have extra Audio, Link, Quote and Status formats which give them new features.

Comparison table

I’ve made small comparison table (advantages and disadvantages) of features of both K2 and Joomla 3.4 with Helix3 on board (installed template framework).

 Feature  Joomla 3.4 + Helix3
 K2 v2.6.9
 Price Free Free
 Commercial use Yes Yes
 Import  No need
K2 has an import feature, which automatically converts the categories and articles to categories and K2 items, without any changes to your original content.
 Export  No need No option to export k2 items to standard articles
 ACL  Default Separate ACL for Users and their Groups - not fully compatibile with default
 Comments System Yes, but default is only social comments Yes
 Images & Quality You can add images via editor or "Images and Links" or "Helix Blog Option". Your images will have this same quality as uploaded images.   Uploaded item images are auto-resized to 6 configurable dimensions, either globally or per category. You can also set quality of generated thumbs. Images are click-able to whole article.
 Gallery Yes No, you have to install "Simple Image Gallery Pro" plugin
 Media Yes Yes
 Attachments No, you have to install an extenstion Yes
 Quote style Yes No
 Tags  Yes  Yes
 Extra (Custom) Fields in the articles No, you have to install an extenstion Yes
 SEO  Yes  Yes
 Sub-templates for
 categories
Yes, basic  Yes, the possibility to manually create separate layouts per K2 category.
 Social sharing Yes  Yes
 Profile page for
 authors
No, you have to install an extenstion  Yes
 Front-end
 submission
Yes Yes
 Content Versions 
 History
Yes No

 A summary

Decision of installing K2  depends only from you, if you need extra features like Extra (Custom) Fields or built-in comments system and you're too lazy to install addcional plugins leave K2 in your package, if not - Simplify your life and use only default Joomla features with Helix3 on board.