Flexible Content Management System


The Road Ahead (with apologies to Rand McNally)

Contributed by on Aug 27, 2002 - 02:49 AM

In essence, right after John passed the reigns of the project to me, and just before the mass Exodus that followed, I saw the project very much as in a similar vein as the Apache or Linux development trees.

There is a stable tree, and there is a development tree. In our cases, the stable tree was the 0.72x branch, while the development branch was the more cutting edge 0.8x development. As many of you that had been struggling with the 'stable' 0.72x branch knew, its stability left much to be desired, as most of the development concentrated on 0.8, leaving, IMO, 0.72x falling a bit by the wayside.

I strongly believe, as I have explained in one of my earliest articles, that 0.,8 development can and should continue, yet that 0.72 development should receive a renewed emphasis - in effect making the two separate development projects under the same umbrella.

That way, one development team can concentrate on making the 0.72x branch as stable and reliable as possible, while the 0.8 team would work on the 'future'. Since it would be necessary for the two teams to share knowledge and resources, the best of either branch would benefit the other as well.

Just because the former development team has opted to abandon the project, I do not believe that this vision needs to change - it just means that 0.72 and 0.8 will be developed and finished by new developers, and fresh blood has certainly never hurt a gene pool

Some of you may ask, why 'waste' time on 0.72, when 0.8 is 'around the corner'? Well, I've said it before, and I will say it again - regardless of much of the hype, and release promises, a functional (production capable) 0.8 was not even close, at best, 6 months out. While you can certainly download 0.8 from CVS, and play around with it, PostNuke is *not* just what the CVS contains, but it is also the ability to expand via the use of third-party modules, creative themes, etc... Since 0.8 would have deliberately broken compatibility with legacy themes and legacy modules, one would also have had to count the time it would have taken developers to port their modules, themes, etc.. over. Repeatedly having to fix and rewrite modules for each new release certainly grew taxing on developers, and the deliberate breaking of compatibility in the 0.72 tree because of the case issues certainly did not help either.

In summary, in order to give 0.8 needed time to mature, and develop, a rock-solid, stable release branch was needed that users and admins can utilize *right now* - I see 0.72x as that branch.

Seeing as how 0.8 is currently on hiatus, and waiting for a fresh flock of developers, I decided that the community is best served by us concentrating on making 0.72 as good as it can be.

What does that mean:

- Concentrating on, and little by little, eliminating and fixing all residual bugs and inconveniences left.

- Enhancing and expanding existing systems.

- Introducing short URLs (something PN desperately needs), yet while maintaining backwards compatibility so as to not break existing internal and external links.

- A theme system overhaul, to introduce either theme creation, and breaking the three column paradigm (which, incidentally, Neo has already done what was termed impossible within the existing PN Theme structure). More on that later and separately.

- Maintaining longer compatibiity for module developers, and introducing a path to the new API that is easier.

- Legacy support for themes, yet introduction of new technologies.

- Agressive alliances with existing web-technologies to enhance and improve performance and features.

- Innovation, innovation, innovation....

Some of these will start to be introduced with the 0.721 release, and others will follow in subsequent releases. Each release is intended to stress ONE new feature, and further streamlining of existing structures.

Therefore, in summary, the goal and objective is to provide you, the PostNuke administrator and user with a system and infrastructure that will allow you to get the best out of your site, while at the same time allowing you to extend and retain your investment in your site - don't have the time to update your theme, use the old one, until you do, etc...

I'm sure I have missed some issues, and might have misunderstood others - let me know, discuss this, and we'll revisit this issue. As I said, your well-being and your sites and applications are my concern, and it is with that in mind, that I have made these decisions - and in closing, I'd like to leave you with another Robert Frost quote:

"The best way out is always through."