• Posted by skenow
  • Posted on 11/9/2011

Are We There, Yet?

With ImpressCMS 1.3 Final due by the end of September, some of your may not have picked up on what is on the horizon for 1.4, yet. Time for the discussions to turn to how to make ImpressCMS 1.4  a reality.

When 1.3 was launched, it seemed rather simple in scope and definition, but it really was much more than it appeared. It was our first major step in changing our thinking about the development of ImpressCMS and looking at ourselves with a fresh perspective. Changing technology forces us to adapt. The core was pieced together through years of contributions and evolution through several different projects. We needed to start with a clean slate and set about establishing our own coding standards and creating a project that was ours, not just a fork of another project. The outward focus was on the technology, but the inward focus was on our mindset. [more]

Technology is only an enabler, though, not a motivator. I am quite sure that less than .001% of the 700 million Facebook users chose to sign up because of HipHop. Same for the 200 million Twitter users - they are not there because of Ruby on Rails. All of the published changes in 1.3 were grounded in technology, but the thinking necessary to achieve them was a bigger accomplishment. Having made the shift in our technology and started the shift in our thinking, we need to define our new selves.

Previous Commitments

We have made previous commitments during 1.3 about some significant changes that would be made in 1.4 or a later revision of 1.3 - removing the DHTML editor, moving to PDO for the database layer, removing all the legacy code that has been deprecated. Those are all technical changes and carry some degree of difficulty. One of the biggest obstacles in these is the lack of support of WYSIWYG editing on mobile devices. We need to uphold these commitments as best we can. Anyway, let's move ahead.

Community is our Purpose

As Herko asked - What makes a good community? Interaction, collaboration, sharing, dialogue are all present in a vibrant community. Again - technology won't create these communities, but it can enable them. How can we better enable communities with ImpressCMS?

Several of our features are definitely dependent on a community being present - comments, notfications, messaging, groups, permissions, ratings, ranks, sharing, authentication and personalization. Each of these needs a fresh look and revitalization in our next version. But, that's not all!

Core of the Core

All of the above are in the Core of our Core - the System module. What could have been our first move to an all IPF core has been left until now. It is time we tackled that one and we have to do it while we are working on the community functions above.

Timing is Everything

Even to do the above will take a considerable amount of effort - unless there are more people willing to lend a hand to get things done. And by 'things', I don't just mean coding. There is marketing, documentation, helping in the forums, writing and posting articles, testing, translating, and much more. We should be able to manage 2 major releases a year, along with a few maintenance releases in between. But, that takes a community.

Here's My Commitment

I have already started on the refactoring of the system module, taking all this into consideration. The deprecated code, banners and adsense will come out. Comments, notifications, messaging, users, groups, permissions, ranks and ratings will all get extreme makeovers. Avatars will be absorbed by users and image management. Farther along, categories, tags and menus will go in, along with OAuth for authentication. A byproduct of this will be a unified installation and update functionality for new sites and new features.

Of course, we'll still continue to make technological improvements to the core to further the efforts we started with 1.3. And someone needs to take ownership of the front end - a major omission from 1.3. Over 85% of a site's responsiveness is in the front end - images, html, js and css - not in the backend.

1.4 - here I come!

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