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eZ Platform 15.03 is Out, What’s Next?

Tuesday 19 May 2015 1:56:37 pm

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Two weeks ago, the second alpha of eZ Platform, 15.03, was tagged. This blog post covers the release, but maybe more interestingly; what is coming next? And with the suggested plan finally out, we are looking for feedback, discussions, and even contributors interested in working closer with us on the release.

eZ Platform "being coded" abstract

eZ Platform is continuously improving, and as of 15.03, it’s editing capabilities have improved compared to the previous alpha. Most notably is the introduction of content browsing needed for selecting location/relation/content in various places like section assignment, relation and relation list selection. Also in this release, most of the main field types have now been completed -- including media, image, binary, country, relation and relation list, and it contains latests security fixes as covered in recent security advisory blog post.

 

So have a look at the 15.03 Release Notes and take the release for a spin using the installation procedures. Alternatively, if you don’t have a development environment set up, you can read the recent article on sitepoint.com, about getting started with eZ Platform using vagrant!

 

Update on progress

Besides the release, what many might be wondering about is if the stable release is late. In short, compared 2015 release plan back in December: somewhat. We are still projected to reach our 15.07 milestone in July, but it's tight. Depending on when we reach that, and how comfortable we are with the stability we’ll either release it, or more likely call it a Beta to let first stable gain more features and stability until fall.

 

The main reasons we are a bit behind schedule are:

 

Increased use of platform stack among our customers and community

After 5.4 came out, an overwhelming majority of new customer projects have been using pure Platform stack, sometimes in a way we had not anticipated. This has provided us with an increasing stream of bug reports, feature requests, and contributions to Platform stack. Which we have happily tried to stay on top of, recently resulting in 5.3.5 and 5.4.2. This is a good thing, as it makes sure the Platform kernel is widely battle tested, already as of the very first release. For further info on additional upcoming features to expect in 5.4.x, see below.

 

Scope is essentially bigger then the roadmap: Finding a minimum viable v1 release

Intentionally, the Roadmap did not mention many features we had in mind. As timetables are pretty fixed, and capacity is always hard to do anything about on short notice, scope is the only remaining factor you basically forced to have flexibility in. 

We are continuously trying to identify a “Minimum Viable Product”, however both ourselves, community and customers have come to expect a wide range of CMS features. And with legacy gone, this is somewhat reflected in features below.

 

Upcoming eZ Platform features

With no further ado, here are links to Epics we use to track features, feel free to check them and connected issue out, pitch in and provide feedback if the topic overlaps with something you're working on:

 

That’s the features already in progress, however there are also a few more we hope to tackle before we call feature freeze, namely:

  • CLI Installer should ideally be abstracted to use Doctrine schema files, and a Data import format for use by site packages using API for Import/Export functionality. This is a must if we want to support Postgres again, and other databases in the future.
  • Online/RichText editor UI, a must for editing content. The ambition here is to provide a more intuitive way of working with it, but hopefully we’ll be able to reuse an existing editor for most of this. The RichText FieldType is already cable of xHTML5 conversion for exactly this reason.
  • Permission management UI, eZ Publish/eZ Platform has one of the most advanced permissions systems out there, but that’s not much of a help without a UI for it.
  • User management UI, given users are essentially content in eZ Publish/Platform, we might reuse the Content Editing part here mainly leaving User FieldType editing missing. The alternative is to build this on top of the Symfony form integration mentioned above, however then with quite some more features to duplicate.

 

Additional features we are hoping to make part of the releases, but did not initially plan are:

  • Content editing controller in kernel, for use in user generated content and other front-end editing features like user registration, we plan to have content editing in place built on top of the Symfony form integration mentioned on Content Type management above.
  • Named queries and content view module. Remember fetch and fetch alias functionality in eZ Publish legacy? To really get back to “eZ being easy”, we need a few missing features. What we plan here is to add syntactic sugar in Twig to perform a dynamic search using pre-defined named queries, and execute sub request with proper cache headers underneath on the search result and probably also it’s search hits. With possibility to define “viewType” (embed, line, full, menuitem..) this can like in the past power a lot of your content and location listing needs, including menu generation.
  • Additional performance efforts to improve the speed, like Field Criterion/Sort Clause SQL performance, and profiling efforts to identify other bottlenecks.
  • Travis / Docker + Browser CI service + BDD testing, for wider platform support
  • Enhance security with updated password handling, and hardening default settings.

So that is most of the features we have in mind for first stable release, some might not make it in first release, but we’ll do our best. After most of these features are done, we plan to move focus toward Roadmap features planned for the 15.09 and 15.11 milestones.

 

Wrapping up

I personally think the release is shaping up to become a rather awesome one, and hope you do to. Even if it undoubtedly still provides less features than legacy, they are all shaping up to be far more powerful, modern, extensible and better tested.

But what do you think! Aiming for too many features here? Some you could live without? Critical features missing from first stable? Interested in collaborating on to get a head start on Platform development?

PS: On the topic of eZ Studio we’ll come back with more details soon as well, until next time!

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