Flexible Content Management System


The Vision Thing....

Contributed by on Aug 28, 2002 - 04:20 AM

Where we have been:

The original PostNuke project split from php-nuke because of ideological differences, notably the isolationist development style of its developer, and his rather negative attitude towards his community. The breaking point that caused the split was the infamous posting that directly resulted in the creation of PostNuke. In many ways the parallels are striking, as *I* felt that PostNuke had been in a similar down-spiral with regards to its commitment and attitude towards the community.

Due to changed circumstances, myself and other like-minded folks will hopefully be able to return PostNuke to its community based, as well as techno-ideological roots.

I'd like to remind some of the more impatient folks in the user community of John Cox' original words during that initial organizational phase, specifically :"We spent the next month or so planning where we wanted to go. We also worked on some things that we knew could be done in the short term, and tried to get those together while we talked about the project. We also looked at some of the things that others were working on, to get even more ideas. All of this time was spent planning. We would be no where near the point we are now if we hadn't used this time wisely. "

Assessing the present situation, evaluating what needs to be done, selecting the proper direction and making decisions that will not just be a stop-gap measure, but will provide long-term growth are not easy tasks - and I will NOT be rushed into dumping out some half-asses statement just to satisfy some impatients, only to have to revise it a half a dozen times.

So, Where are we now:

The project has lost 100% of its core developers - which mnay might see as a point of crisis, but I saw it as quite the opportunity (as a matter of fact, in Japanese, I believe, the words for 'crisis' and 'opportunity' are the same).

Let's face it, the project had grown a lot of bloat, and had become very top-heavy - and grew increasingly detached from the userbase and community that supported it - a massive pruning of the org chart would have been necessary anyway, and the mass exodus that took place conveniently saved me hassle of having to deal with that.

It was also an opportunity to create a far leaner organizational structure, with less bloat, and populated with participants that are more concerned and more in touch with the community, since community is an important focuse for us (but, rest assured, it is not the sole focus). Again, I am reminded of the original vision statement, which stil applies:

"We are trying to also build a community. Everyone is welcome here. Although, the current climate might be more suitable for some one that is accustom to a development atmosphere, I think that we are also doing our best to build up the community. Without the support of everyone that reads this document, we could well loose focus of where we want to go, and in the end we would all loose out. We want to build a better website. Obviously you want to see if there is something better on the horizon, or you would never visit. "

It is worth noticing that a redesign of the website was thus, far from the fluff that some claimed it is. In order to show you where we want to go, it is necessary for us to show you what that looks like, and work together with you in refining and finetuning it. The redesign of the new PostNuke website was a great illustration of the community coming together and working with the developers to create something better than we originally envisioned - and that process is far from over.

Where Are We Going:

Now we're getting to the juicy part, and the one that everyone is curious about - the future. Again, I need to refer back to the original vision statement:

"Well, here it is in a nutshell of where we want to get to. We want a division of Core to Plugin files (...). We want a system that installs without a hitch, that allows you to choose what you want to install to make your website run better and faster. That is what is on our mind. We also want to maintain some semblance to PHP-Nuke in terms of adding abstraction layers to allow you to be able to use all of its add-ons and themes if you so desire. "

Originally, the vision for PostNuke was simple - create a stable, lean and small core, and build upon that core with modules. This went well, as many past developers have done an admirable job removing clutter from the core, streamlining it, and making it lean and mean. In addition, much of the original functionality has been agressively moved to modules, all the while making efforts to maintain legacy compatibility with themes and modules.

So, those of you concerned about the vision can rest assure that *nothing* about it has changed - in fact, as I said in the beginning, it's startling how much our present condition mirrors those that existed when the original vision was committed by John Cox.

What we want:

* a lean and stable core

* functional and flexible modules

* flexible and easy to use themes

* a stable API system to provide future stability and


Where you might perceive changes is in with the roadmap, but only by virtue of the circumstances that gave rise to where we are now - yet, again, I saw our situation as an opportunity to streamline the roadmap, and provide what it set out to, a bit 'earlier' (i.e. under the 0.72 tree) than laid out back then.

But that is what I will be dealing with in the next article, as this is already plenty to digest (and I'm starting to type the 'Road Map' as soon as I hit 'post' on this one, which will then be followed by the new org chart, and new dev team).