Re: Is eZ Publish 4.0 like Microsoft Vista?

Sunday, 17 February 2008, 06:23
Categories: Random thoughts, eZ Components
Tags: eZ Publish 4.0, PHP5, eZ Components, content model, eZ Publish 5.0, maintenance mode, feature freeze, extensions, CMS, hacks, business model, storage model, presentation layer, content management, kernel, lib

Inspired by Bruce Morrison's post in his blog: http://suffandnonsense.blogspot.com/2008/02/is...

eZ Publish 4.0

I kind of understand the disappointment with minor revolution of the current big version 4.0, although I had known (more or less) what to expect when I was awaiting it few months back. You can ask yourself: was PHP5 more of an improvement, or maybe a necessity? If the latter, the smaller was the step ahead, indeed. Nevertheless, I am very glad this step was made, no matter what the version is called, for reasons that must be obvious. Back to the expectations, I can only imagine how 3.x introduction was different (greater) to 4.x, because I've only known eZ Publish since 3.8.x or so (BTW: have to admit I gave up after several attempts with 3.5... it beat me!).

eZ Publish 4.0 maintenance mode, 5.0 eZ Components-based rebuild

Bruce's suggestion is to put eZ Publish 4.0 at its rather stable state into feature freeze mode, while concentrating efforts on taking full advantage of the maturing eZ Components to produce the next big version (5.0) from scratch. I have to say that I like this idea for similar reasons:

  • There's always a risk of ending up with Vista-like model,
  • It will probably take equally long (or even longer) to incorporate majority of eZ Components into eZ Publish (with compromises possible/necessary on the way), than it would have taken to build a completely fresh thing,
  • Past limitations and problems will probably become even more concreted,
  • I believe that eZ Components with all their features would prolong the application's lifespan, secure its potential and make future port to PHP6 easier (I'm not sure if another platform "rewriting" would be a good idea).

There's another thing, but it deserves to be covered in its own paragraph.

Solid content model vs. feature richness

In my comparatively short experience with eZ Publish, I have already dug deep enough to see its few weaknesses, especially regarding the content and storage models. Don't get me wrong, by no means would I call eZ Publish weak, it's just that it has its limitations defined and there are only so many things you can do with it without hacking or severely extending.

Now, I do understand how big part various "rich" features play in the eZ business model and in those of many eZ partners. For example, extensions such as eZ Flow or Web interfaces that make it possible to have an advanced out-of-the-box product with time required for implementation significantly reduced. Having seen how business-oriented eZ people are, I do not expect this direction to be given up at any stage (and I like that).

However, I hope that that direction does not prevent from improving the application at its core, that is the foundation for all eZ business after all. Unlike presentation layer or even more advanced extensions, which can be developed independently, core upgrades would be rather difficult to be introduced by means of hacking the kernel. I'd like to be optimistic, but don't see alternative storage models or advanced class features coming any time soon. New rebuild could be an ideal opportunity to make eZ Publish even more versatile and fit to solve even more advanced content management tasks (and not only!).

Summing up

It doesn't seem like this issue is up for a discussion, but I haven't heard anything official on eZ Publish 5.0, yet. So, maybe it is not too late ;)

If you ask me, I think I could live in this 4.0 feature freeze mode... if what I was waiting for was a completely new eZ Publish 5.0 in a year or two, with even greater core features and as few compromises as possible.

Comments

  • Bruce Morrison
    Monday, 18 February 2008, 01:08

    Disappointment Clarification

    Hi Piotrek

    I just want to clarify the "disappointment" side of things, at least from my point of view.

    Talk of the eZ publish rewrite started quite a while ago, I don't have an exact date but it would have to be early 2006, at least. This forum post is one that discusses eZ 4 and a "features" list as well as "eZ platform" (both seem to have been (re)moved). ( See: http://ez.no/developer/forum/general/3_9_4_plans )

    This thread is from July 2006 and I appreciate that things change, but from memory that list had a bunch of really cool stuff in it. I remember being excited about eZ 4.0 and the opportunities that it would bring. There was talk from both the community and eZ themselves so it was from both sides of the fence. My "disappointment" stems from the "potential" that is yet to see the light of day.

    Cheers
    Bruce
  • Piotr Karaś
    Monday, 18 February 2008, 07:52

    The next big thing

    Hello Bruce,

    Thanks for the reply and the clarification. Yes, now I see the actual origin of your disappointment. Unfortunately, even if I had read or heard the plans that you mentioned, I don't remember any details. And the forum topic you point to has a number of further links that unfortunately are not valid any more. So there's unfortunately no easy way to refresh the memory. If you happen to discover any archived details - I'd be grateful if you could share that.

    I hope the next big thing is only delayed and not canceled, and it will be up for a debate once again.
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