Why we're not porting K2 to Joomla 1.6 (just yet), the life cycle of a release, Nooku Server and more
First, some facts...Joomla 1.6's life cycle is very short. Just 6 months. By July 2011, the Joomla team will end development and proceed to releasing Joomla v1.7.This is very disturbing for many big projects like K2, considering all the big changes that 1.6 has introduced in its framework (language files, content elements, classes, functions, ACL etc. etc.) and the unnecessary workload added (see language files going back to Joomla 1.0 days), especially for free extensions like K2, Virtuemart and many more...
Many developers have expressed doubts about 1.6. Jen Kramer also nailed it in her recent blog post: Joomla 1.6 and Beyond: Should I upgrade? Should I build my new sites in it?
So did Andy Miller of RocketTheme fame on: Should I upgrade to Joomla 1.6?
Back to the title of this post...
What does Joomla 1.6 bring to the average Joomla user? In practical terms: not much
In reality it introduces a troublesome ACL, enhancements to the core of 1.5 with the addition of the jXtended libraries (already available for 1.5), there are framework changes that do make the extension of forms easier in the backend (but this is something do-able even now with some PHP, no biggie) and some tidbits here and there. Oh, not to forget! The admin theme is now blue-ish.
Meanwhile WordPress and Drupal show significant signs of improvement and at least indicate that the people behind them take the future of their CMS very seriously. Although I don't generally agree with their marketing model, they're doing one hell of a job "distracting" people to them, when Joomla is far superior "by design" from these CMSs ladies and gentlemen. Just try developing your first plugin, module or whatever in Drupal or WordPress! Ha!
Back to the Joomla world, what's the status of 1.6? Well, let's just say it's possibly not coming in 2010. There are many things that simply cannot move forward for many reasons:
- too much bureaucracy?
- lack of professional involvement to stir goals and development
- lack of money to support development
There may be more and -don't get me wrong- they are valid reasons, cause, hey, it's not a perfect world.
"So what's your point?" you may ask...
My point is this: forget about Joomla 1.6. Move on to Joomla 2.0.
How do we do that? We take 1.5 and we supercharge it:
- separate components into standalone applications and minimize dependance between components and the core of Joomla
- remove all the garbage (weblinks, newsfeeds, polls etc.)
- introduce the concept of "installation profiles", e.g. install Joomla from scratch to use as a blog or portal or whatever you want. Make it easy for professional integrators and template designers to pack websites easily. It's no biggie. This can lead to different "sample data" packages and content setups.
- improve the current framework in very specific points. Fix any bugs (e.g. modules not being able to attach stuff to the <head> of the document when the cache is on"
- improve performance. The work is there. Klas has pointed out the weaknesses of the current caching layer. Add his fixes in and move on. Next stop will be to better handle application load (and server load) when we have cases where users need to be logged in and therefore the cache cannot work. Maybe a mechanism to select which elements to cache or a mechanism similar to what Ning uses: Cache everything and attach some query strings to certain user-interaction related links so that the application fetches fresh content. This is a simple, tried and tested way.
- Create a unified installer for everything. Use the concept of the manifest.xml file to install 1,2,3 or 12 extensions at a time. That way you can install a plugin and 2 accompanying modules without telling the user to install them separately or write a component to act as the intermediate.
- Forget com_content. Want more? Use K2 for core content. It's completely separated from the core yet 100% tied to the framework. It doesn't suck with menu item ids. It's veeery familiar to com_content. This will boost 1.5's features to 2.0-ish and slap Drupal and WordPress in the face. Think comments and tags and basic content ACL is difficult? Come on? It's all about decision making.
- Internationalization: include the excellent "unicode slugs" plugin from Jean-Marie Simonet to create unicode capable URLs. It's here already and it's free under GPL.
- Extend the default "content elements" for all extensions so that less experienced devs can create a simple plugin that has a "content category" selector which doesn't suck.
- Improve the media manager a bit with the addition of more actions. Upload and delete is not enough.
- Add a new admin template that just doesn't suck. There are many people out there that have fresh ideas and can significantly help. Sticking to the same Mambo-like pattern just doesn't cut it anymore.
- Make all Joomla 1.5 extensions and templates MVC capable so that template devs can rip the thing out and create amazing templates both for the frontend and the backend.
There are more to be added of course and I got a whole list for that, but these are the most important perhaps.
The key word here of course is "initiative". I believe that software development is like real life relationships. If you drag the thing over and over it will eventually lead to a break up. You have to be able to transform when circumstances demand.
What are your thoughts?
P.S. For those trying to read "between the lines", no, I'm not talking about a fork of Joomla I'm talking about advancing Joomla and how I'd like to see things for v2.0. Jeez...