Mark West (Great Britain) presented past, present and future of the Xanthia templating engine. Form it's roots in eNvolution development to the recent integration of Xanthia as a subclass of pnRender which reduce Xanthia's code by almost 50%. He emphasized the advantages of this real templating system of non-templating systems like the old theme enginge or Autotheme.
After some turkish fast food Larsneo (Germany) told about the advantages of accessibility within Postnuke core. All avertable barriers will be removed from the core. The rest will lie in the hands of the administrator. This will not only make Postnuke sites accessible for handicapped users but also better to evaluate for search engines.
His second topic was the dangers of cross site scripting and other security issues. He pointed out his latest advances in fighting these problems. In the following discussing the team came up with a number of ideas that might prevent some of the mistakes of the past.
The second Day
The second day was the day of the module developers and far too short. Jørn Lind-Nielsen (Denmark) introduced us to his latest coup: workflows in Pagesetter 5.0.0. The state-based system uses XML and php-plugins for the design of specific workflows. Everybody was really impressed by his advances.
A new quality of commercial module development was presented by Frank Schummertz (Germany): He and his collegues from pnCommerce are currently working on a complex confugurator module that enables their customer to offer a shopping system for air conditioning system. The user enters all the requirements he has and the module calculates a specific offer.
The Remains of the Day
All in all it was a very interesting weekend with a bunch of really nice people. I think by getting to know eachother personally the relations within the team improve and we established some quite important connections among the module developers. As far as I understood Jørn, he's going to cooperate with Xexpress' Brave Cobra (Belgium) who not only entertained us with the story of his journey that almost ended in Paris and not in Stuttgart, because he used the right highway in the wrong direction. He also turned out to be a skilled singer and guitarplayer as he played some songs in the Biergarten as the other relaxed from the day.
Not quite a Roadmap
One of the important results of the meeting was the evaluation of the state of the .8-development – what is done, what is missing and what needs to be done:
Postnuke .8 will not contain any more features that .7x in regard to kinky stuff like more colorful links or coffee machine drivers. It will be a total redesign of the Postnuke core that gets rid of all the legacy stuff from phpNuke and form Postnuke into a professional framework that offers Interfaces for module developers.
So the main features will be the abstraction of API, Permissions, ADODB aso from the modules. An admin will be able to install the pure core with e.g. Pagesetter only and it will work. This will be a slim, performative core and it is already pretty advanced. But it needs to be completed and properly tested.
The next step will be milestone releases for module developers to test their modules with the new core. These milestones will work and can be uses as example but there will be no upgrade mechanisms for existing sites and no garantee that it will be 100% compatible to the final release. As a result the milestones can't be used in live sites.
Another thing that needs to be done is a total rewrite of all the old modules. They need to be API compliant and templated. The estimated 6 month did not suffice as the work turned out to be more complicated than imagined.
The last problem to be solved is the upgrading process, as for example the data from the Weblinks module will have to be distributed to the new Weblinksmodule, the ratings hook and EZComments.
All this efford will make the system more secure, performative and flexible but it's still some road ahead.
BTW: We are already planning a second meeting next year near Hamburg.