eZ publish 3.8 will ship with Content Diff

One major feature which will be part of the forthcoming eZ publish 3.8 release (out in May) is content version diff functionality. It will sit on top of the versioning and archiving system, which is included by default since the early days of eZ publish 3.

Related to Multilang Enhancements

Integrating content diff is a logical move, if you consider that eZ publish 3.8 will also include enhanced multilanguage handling. The new multilang features are most useful when translating content, and here, content diff is just perfect to spot changes in the language version which is supposed to be translated.

Diffing Accross Datatypes

Combined with the content object model of eZ publish, you will be able to diff content per object attribute. This means, that it is not just one big text field like in Wikis, where you can identify changes. Actually, the cool thing is that you can diff accross any “form field” of your content, or in eZ publish linguage: accross the various datatypes.

Of course, diffing does not make sense for all datatypes, for example, binary data like images. Indeed, what you can do with the image datatype, is to diff its metadata like filename, size, and modification date, also the alternative text.

The following datatypes will have diffing capability: price, URL, email, date, time, datetime, float, string, xml field, keyword, media, etc.

Read more in the Content Version Diff specification.

The Future of eZ publish and eZ components

Now you can take a look into the future of eZ publish development, as well as the eZ components. I have conducted and published an email interview with five of eZ systems’ leaders of the development team.

eZ components

Ideas for future eZ components are:

  • a framework component,
  • a MVC component,
  • a component for sending IPC messages between different parts of an application,
  • a workflow component,
  • a search component.

eZ publish

  • The eZ publish 4.0 Features List has just been published.
  • The eZ publish 4.0 Roadmap will be published beginning of June.
  • eZ publish 4.0 will be based on PHP 6, mainly because of Unicode support.

Self-fullfilling Prophecy

Our dev leaders provide lots of valuable information and are doing a fine job as fortunetellers – as they are predicting a future they shape themselves, it should become a self-fullfilling prophecy :)

Honestly, I fully trust in what they are saying and doing, there’s a lot of intelligence accumulated at eZ systems. Just look at the high quality of eZ components, and you will be able to anticipate just how good eZ publish 4, the next big version of eZ publish, is going to be.

Templates – Who Cares?

… everyone, it seems!

Those with some years of experience in the software business know: the implementation or decision upon a template engine is always good for flame wars.

Why? Templates are such a basic technology of a CMS, a must-have and not really something sexy. Those who hoped to make templates sexy, invented XSLT.

So why? Because it is a basic technology!

These are the flame war factors:

You can’t get Tempates out of Your Way

Every developer or Web designer building a Web site on top of a CMS, has to cope with the integrated template system, sooner or later. You will have a love-and-hate-relationship, because on the one side they help you, on the other side, every implementation has its pros and cons.

Love-and-hate-relationships are not really something that makes the involved parties calm and relaxed.

Who Takes Over the Bridge?

Templates are supposed to build a bridge between the programmers, who care about the business logic of a solution, and the designers who care about the user experience aka GUI. Thus, there are two groups with diverging interests affected by templates: programmers and Web designers. Every experienced how different their thinking can be? OK, then you clearly see the potential for conflict.

Love, Peace – and Common Sense

The discussion about the new template language for eZ publish, implemented as a library in the realm of the
eZ components, has of course been long, and is still ongoing – but there’s light.

It was interesting to observe, how the eZ components team will fight the fight and I must say, they did a good job.

So, what was it that created love and peace in eZ templates land? It was pragmatism: whenever a discussion becomes lengthy and and unfocused, bring it down to the facts, for example with a summary of past input and suggestions for solutions.

Doesn’t sound sexy? No, it doesn’t. Tempates are not sexy, they are basic technology, so let’s be pragmatic and treat it like that, so let’s cool down discussions and go back to work.

Sounds simple? It does, but is hard work, because you need to focus on the result!

You love such discussions? Jump in, you got time until Monday, 12:00.

PS: Did you find any irony in this text? Let me know :)

Yes, there is professional support for Open Source CMSs!

I have in the past read several papers about the Open Source CMS market, where the authors argued that such products lack professional support, that you depend on a forum or mailinglist, blabla. This is plain wrong!

For example, the company I work for, eZ systems, is the creator of the Open Source CMS eZ publish. We provide all the services you need, as well as total product responsibility for our CMS in the realm of the eZ publish Network, which includes guranteed bug fixing.

Aleksander Farstad, the CEO of eZ systems has just published an article entitled Power of Enterprise Open Source where he takes a closer look at what it really means to provide an Open Source product, plus professional support.

The essence of his view is: “The power of Enterprise Open Source originates from the combination of freedom and responsibility.” He further writes: “This gives both the users the freedom of choice and at the same time the backing of a responsible party providing a full set of guarantees and services.”

So, you consultants out there, get it right from now on! Of course, some of you already know about this :)