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2.x and beyond, what to expect next

Friday 30 September 2016 3:33:16 pm

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Summer is over, v1.5 releases and even v1.5.1 releases are out, eZ Conference is quickly approaching, and one of the talks there brings up topics around v2.x and beyond. A topic we very much would like to get some feedback on this fall, especially during the conference, and also a topic we would like to involve the community and partners actively in next year.

What to expect next?

 

Last spring we blogged on eZ Platform development status and feature outlook. By v1.4 release most of those features were done, but as said back then making a CMS is a major task, one that grows as you work on it and one we don’t take lightly. Especially when you have an existing community with lots of expectations based on the past, and new customers and ecosystem members having expectations based on what they want for the future. But we are not complaining, it’s the challenge we signed up for :)

For those of you following eZ development closely you might have started to see recently work on Symfony 3.x, kernel “7.0”, and other things. And you might also have picked up that there is a eZ Enterprise LTS planned by the end of this year, and deducted this might imply that 1.x more or less gets frozen in terms of features by then.

If so you are onto something, and to better have a base for discussing the future, let's share our tentative plans.

 

Tentative LTS plans

Universal Discovery Widget media browsing

Before we talk 2.x, for the first LTS there are a few features we need to have in place before we can consider freezing the features in 1.x, some of which are:

While not our full list, that's the highest priority features planned, and thus most likely to make the cut. Main focus here is first and foremost cover the needs of new customers, as needs for those upgrading sometimes far exceeds this thanks to eZ Publish very broad feature-set, and is thus one of the focus areas next year.

As for timeline, the upcoming v1.7 (2016.12 or the December release) release will become our very first LTS release. Specifically it starts off as any other Fast Track release accessible for both community and enterprise customers, and once 17.02 is out patches for the LTS will continue to be made available to eZ Enterprise customers as part of their LTS service level.

 

Tentative features wanted for 2017

Once the first LTS is out we do tentatively plan for a 2017. First and foremost:

Online Editor Custom Tags / Blocks

Provide eZ Platform developers with a similar functionality as what was known in eZ Publish as custom tags, with a range of different options to extend the online editor of eZ Platform with custom capabilities.

As eZ Platform’s Online Editor is centered around blocks, we are also contemplating if we should have a common set of blocks across Editor, Landing Pages and other places. However either way we should also subsequently find a way to re introduce inline custom tags in the editor.

eZ Platform Online Editor custom tags

Content Tag

This feature will provide users the ability to tag content with a more advanced functionality than the current keywords field and manage taxonomies used for tagging. Timing of this feature depends on the community, partners and NetGen working together on a initial UI for eZ Tags, so it reaches a level of maturity where eZ can mature it further as part of eZ Platform.

eZ Tags taxonomy

Content variations in the content repository

We want to provide editors with the capabilities to create and manage different variations of content that can be used in different context, for instance having different versions for some fields and having the flexibility to simply create new variations.

Adaptive content delivery in eZ Studio

Directly related to the feature above, this eZ Studio feature makes it possible to deliver a specific variation of content targeted to a specific user based on the knowledge of the users, delivered by our Personalization service or by other service.

Adaptive Content Delivery

Content workspace in eZ Studio

This feature aim at offering editors with a place where to craft content ahead of publication and collaborate with team mates, and eventually push it to different instance of eZ Platform, either local or at a later point also remote.

Content Workspaces, personal and shared

Many other more minor features are equally planned, but for now that will do, now on to the technical features..

 

Technical features planned for 2.x

Several of the features above implies updates to our technology stack and hence a version bump, here are the technical changes planned to be rolled out in 2.x during next year:

Symfony 3.x

Symfony 3 brings us among other things Cache, Workflow and a matured LDAP component. Needed for Workflow features, LDAP integrations and performance improvements that we would like to introduce next year.

Decouple Repository & Improved Storage Engine

Time is prime next year to finally get started on long rumored Improved Storage Engine. We will move current storage engine out to own repository so community can maintain it for legacy compatibility, and so we can forke it into a new improved one for better content scalability, cluster scalability and performance.

Adopting Flexbox for Frontend

From some we are getting requests to support Flexbox, and as it is a rather different layout model for especially Landing Page handling, we plan to introduce it in 2017, assuming it gets recommended and accepted by one of the major CSS frameworks. If we end up with for instance Bootstrap 4, this implies a switch to Sass as well.

Editorial UI framework/technologies

As mentioned before, we decided not to panic and did not throw away work when YUI went from mature to frozen for all eternity 2 years back. However as both we and Partners would like a more efficient, more future proof base to build our UI’s on, it’s time to start to tackle this.

Context for picking new technology: Current UI approach of 100% REST based, single page application for Content management has provided benefits like making sure our REST API is truly cable of handling all repository features. But it has also slowed us and partners down as opposed to a traditional model using Symfony for the overall UI handling. It has also tied us deeply into one single framework in the fast moving frontend space, something we need to avoid in the future and thus decouple into components so we can gradually replace them with other technologies on a case by case basis.

 

The end, but not the end

So.. Given eZ like most others have finite people, and given the plan above, “Are there other important features/improvements to tackle in LTS, in v2.0 or soon thereafter?”

This is one of the fundamental questions we are bringing at eZ Conference on October 5th-6th, in Paris, where we’ll present more details on the roadmap plans above. You’ll have the chance to meet representatives for most of eZ Crew, including Product Management as well as Engineering team, and we look forward to see you next week and for opportunities to discuss (diskutere, discuter, diskutieren, keskustella, raspravljati, 話し合います) with you all.

eZ Conference 2016, Beyond the Web, October 5th-6th in Paris

PS: Open Product Innovation board on October 7th

As time during conference is limited, and there are many interesting talks to attend, for eZ Conference attendees that are still around in Paris on Friday October 7th we would also like to extend our invitation to join our fall Product Innovation Board. Here you’ll meet our Product management team, existing board members and myself to focus specifically on discussing roadmap and features needed for 2017, in depth.

PSS: Community development participation in 2017

For many of the larger efforts that will be undertaken, especially UI renewal, we would like to involve Community not only in the discussion as mention above, but also in participating in the different parts next year. After initial discussion we will propose a plan for feedback and as part of that break down the different parts that needs to be done so people can more easily suggest tasks to contribute on.

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