e107 v2 Development Updates

by admin in Blog

As the last blog post originates from three months ago I would like to inform you about the numerous changes that have taken place up to now and changes that will take place over the coming months.

As the last blog post originates from three months ago I would like to inform you about the numerous changes that have taken place up to now and changes that will take place over the coming months. I will be recapping what has happened over the last (say, three) months and more importantly, we are now able to give more information on what’s coming up next.
Take a comfortable position and grab another cup of coffee (if you please so) as you are now up for, what should be, a long and extensive but incredibly satisfying read.

Recap: what has happened over the past months?
The past three months consisted of many preparations and behind the scene changes. e107 Inc. has been working on re-organizing their teams in such a way that they are now able to answer your questions and inquiries more efficiently and effectively. As an example, the e107 security team is now looking after all security reports that are handed to us, in a very effective and efficient way. This is incredibly important for both you and us. Providing a secure system is one of our main goals, it is a shared responsibility to keep the internet secure. Also, it will help reducing the amount of time the support team needs to assist in recovering hacked installations, which is also a big plus wink

V1.x development
Even though the focus of our development process lies on version 2.x, the e107 team has definitely not abandoned the 1.x branch. In fact, over the past months it has been preparing a maintenance release named 1.0.3. This release includes feature enhancements, several bug fixes and some security fixes that were reported to us over the past weeks. Currently the translation team is working on their, at least to me, valuable task of updating the language packs.

V2.x development
In addition to our behind-the-scene changes, the entire e107 team has been involved in the development of the upcoming version 2 release. Over the past months the teams have had regular meetings to brainstorm about the e107 support and development processes which resulted in several changes. One of them is the move to Github on the 24th of November 2012. The introduction of Github makes it possible for anyone who wishes to contribute to e107 to do so. It offers more flexibility and insight into the development process. More details on the Github move can be found in a previous blog post as well as the wiki pages on Github: https://github.com/e107inc/e107/wiki
I personally have been working on LAN and UI enhancements; basically I’ve been trying to clean up old code and making it look shiny again cheesey

Let’s take a look at the future: what about the development of version 2.x?
The development of 2.x has been stretched over a long period of several years. Something that I personally regret but that can be explained by a couple of factors. The main reason for the period of time it took to near the upcoming stages, is that roughly 75% of the core code has been rewritten and updated to new standards. On top of that, all of these changes had to be backwards compatible with previous versions of e107 to make sure that all installations can be upgraded to v2 without major issues. Otherwise you would be forced to freshly install v2 without being able to upgrade from v1, something that is just plain wrong in my opinion smile Last but definitely not least, all of the people involved in e107 Inc. are volunteers with plenty of daily activities and full-time jobs. This means that all the time they spend on e107 is done aside from the large portion of time spent on their primary activities. As shown in the contributor graph here: https://github.com/e107inc/e107/contributors, development has taken place at a steady pace with moments of increased availability and time.

e107 is now finally nearing the alpha stages. This means that the development team is now ready to show you the tremendous amount of work and effort that has been put into the development over the past years. Something I've been proud of - especially of Cameron and SecretR who put so much time and effort in the development: staying up late, working well past midnight is not uncommon for them!.

Let’s take a look at some of the new features that e107 2.x will introduce (and that I personally have been anticipating):
- To start off with, version 2.x integrates the jQuery and Bootstrap frameworks. Both frameworks can be described as collections of up-to-date website technologies that are now used in the core of e107 and that can be used by developers in their themes and plugins. This is a huge step forward as these frameworks have opened e107 up to awesome possibilities and stunning enhancements. For more information on both frameworks, we recommend checking out their websites: http://www.jquery.com and http://twitter.github.com/bootstrap. Over time, all core code will be adjusted to use Bootstrap CSS styling.

- An example of the above mentioned possibilities is the Featurebox plugin. The Featurebox plugins displays any content that you like to 'feature', in a given area on your website. You know those fancy tabbed areas on websites which highlight news items? That’s an example of what you can do with the Featurebox plugin!

Another major enhancements is the ability of the so-called “inline editing” where it is no longer needed to browse to a new page to make a simple change (e.g. quickly editing the title of your news item).

See the screenshot to the left for more clarification. This will come in real handy if you are in rush and you want to make some quick changes.


- The Media Manager is a new area within e107. All media is now collected in one place. It holds core media such as icons but also download media, news media, and also gallery media. The latter is another new plugin in e107 which can be used to display a simple gallery on your website. In addition to the collection of media, the media-manager als holds functionalities to resize your images in realtime - you will never have to manually resize an image again, or upload a separate thumbnail for that matter. You will be able to use a single image which the media manager can convert into multiple sizes to use in different parts of your website.

- For those familiar with the content management plugin in the 1.x series of e107, this plugin has been removed from 2.x. This is due to the introduction of the powerful Pages/Menus feature. This feature allows you to place your content on your website. It covers both a simplification of the functionalities present in the v1.x content management plugin as well as new functionalities which are based on new features introduced in v2 (Search Engine Friendly URLs for example).

- Speaking about Search Engine Friendly (SEF) URLs. This is another feature that many of you have been anticipating. We are working hard on integrating SEF URLs into the core of e107. Most areas are finished whereas a couple of other areas are being finished up. Progress will be made during the upcoming development releases.

- The 'Schedule tasks' feature (often referred to as "crons" by nerds.. yep, guilty) will allow you to set specific tasks that will be automatically performed.
- Finally but definitely not the least important, version 2.x also offers the ability to remotely install themes and plugins. This means that you will not have to go through the process of downloading, uploading and installing the plugin manually anymore. With a few simple clicks you can install any plugin or theme right from the admin area.

We would like to have some more feedback on this area so we can improve it even further.
To ensure that plugins and themes match the updated standards, a Theme and Plugin builder has been introduced. This is a tool that will help plugin and theme authors to build and update their contributions while matching the new standards. This is needed to to take advantage of all the awesome features that v2 offers.

The above mentioned new features are definitely not all the new features that e107 2.x introduces. There are many features and functionalities included that will be enhanced over time. There are too many new features and functionalities to mention now, but over the coming months they will be introduced to you. Social logins is an example of such a feature.

Testing required!
As already mentioned, multiple areas, features and functionalities in the 2.x release of e107 have had limited testing in live website environments. Once we are releasing the first alpha version (which will be very soon now!) we need your help. Be aware! The alpha release is a development release. We take great care in providing a stable system so we don't expect anything to break. Having said that, there are likely to be bugs but that's exactly what the alpha is for! smile

These are some of the areas that we would like to receive feedback on:
- The upgrading process from v1.x to v2.x. This should be a matter of uploading the alpha release files onto the latest v1.x installation. The admin area will then provide help on updating the database. Your data will be retained but please always backup your data first, as with any update, just in case smile

- Backwards Compatibility (BC). This includes the ability to use plugins and themes (that were originally created for 1.x) on 2.x installations. Anything that worked on a 1.x installation should work on 2.x. (In some cases minimal adjustments may be required).

- Functionality on mobile devices. Being able to use e107 on your mobile device (be it a smartphone, tablet or another device) is becoming more and more important. If you own a mobile device, please feel free to test your 2.x installations on them. When reporting issues, be sure to mention the device you are using as well as the software and its version (e.g. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Android 4.x or Apple Ipad, iOS 6.x, Safari, etc.)

Final notes
All this information must have made you anxious to try it all out, right? Great! So am I (even though I've been actively working on developing as well as of last November cheesey). As already said, we are nearing the alpha stages. It will not take long before we will be able to offer you our first alpha release. Here are some final notes:

- Up to the first stable release, you will be able to use e107 in the English language only. The reason for this is that we are working hard on rewriting all old code into up-to-date code. This rewrite also includes major changes to the language files. Once the changes to the languages file are stabilized (probably during the first stable release), the translation team will be working on creating language packs for your language. It would be a tremendous waste of their time if we would ask them to create a language pack on every development version.

- The screenshots embedded in this blog post are only snapshots: the screenshots do not represent the final state of 2.x and may be subject to change over the coming weeks and months as development progresses. Just because I am so anxious, here are some more screenshots that I would like to share with you:

E107 V2 InstallInfopanel



The e107 team hopes that by means of this blog post, it has informed you of the development process. I'd like to say that we have entered a new phase in the e107 development process. It is our goal to inform you more frequently of any updates and changes and I'll do my best to achieve that goal. Please let us know what you think by using the comments section on this Blog post and the forums for feedback.

Thank you, for your continuous support and faith in e107!

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