After T3CON08 21 developers, most of them member of the TYPO3 core team, met for one week to discuss possible strategies for a smooth migration from version 4 to 5. The outcome is a new joint roadmap, visionary new features for both branches and a unified core team with a common vision for future versions of TYPO3.
The TYPO3 Transition Days took place from 13th until 17th of October in the Technische Universität Berlin which liberally provided us with a great conference room for the whole week. The main goals were:
- Work out a common vision for the development of TYPO3
- Form a unified core team
- Define a roadmap for the next TYPO3 releases
- Improve the communication and decision making process in the core team
- Demonstrate FLOW3's features and internals to those who had not yet worked with it
Getting into the flow
The first day mostly consisted of tutorials about different aspects of FLOW3. This was to make sure that all attendees had the same knowledge base for the later conceptual work on the TYPO3 roadmap. While many developers got new insights into the current state of TYPO3 v5, an important outcome were a lot of ideas how techniques and features of version 5 could already be used in the version 4 branch.
A firm stand
After establishing a common basis, we discussed our points of view regarding the lifecycle of version 4, the current state of version 5, migration strategies and current rumors inside and outside the TYPO3 community. It turned out that the previously separated teams have a lot in common and can profit a lot from working closer together. A lot of ideas for collaboration popped up and were transformed into new features for the roadmap.
However, we also found threads in a few web forums in which people expressed their concerns about version 5 and a shrinking v4 core team. Their fear is that version 4 is discontinued while version 5 is not yet ready to use. Therefore we raised the controversial question "TYPO3 v4 - End of Life in 2011?" at the end of one day of discussion. The idea was to give enough food for thought during the succeeding chats and for the night.
During the next day we formulated the "Berlin Manifesto", a collection of statements we, the individual developers, commit ourselves to:
- TYPO3 v4 continues to be actively developed
- v4 development will continue after the the release of v5
- Future releases of v4 will see its features converge with those in TYPO3 v5
- TYPO3 v5 will be the successor to TYPO3 v4
- Migration of content from TYPO3 v4 to TYPO3 v5 will be easily possible
- TYPO3 v5 will introduce many new concepts and ideas. Learning never stops and we'll help with adequate resources to ensure a smooth transition
This manifesto should signal developers, agencies and users that version 4 is far from being dead, it's already a good idea to look at version 5 and we have some exciting new features to come very soon.
After a long brainstorming about new features for version 4, the minimum feature set for TYPO3 5.0 and initial feature set for FLOW3 1.0 we created a new roadmap which outlines the releases for the next year or so.
An important guideline was to let v4 and v5 converge and make migration to v5 easier with each v4 release. That's why we have included important features such as a Model-View-Controller framework and TypoScript 2.0 into the v4 branch planning already.
With a still growing core team now consisting of more than 30 members we run into communication issues every now and then, especially while discussing controversial features. During the Transition Days we addressed these problems and came up with some easy communication guidelines we want to follow.
Another important point which is now clarified by the guidelines was that of taking decisions. In the past it could happen that discussions went on for a long time and it was unclear who would take the final decision. We now clearly defined the role of the release manager, core team leader and started a new R&D team which focusses on the long-term strategy and takes decisions when no consensus could be reached within the core team.
And what will change?
All who've been at the Transition Days were quite excited about the outcome. After spending five days together and having discussed lots of new ideas we felt really like a reunited team pulling together. We'll from now on look even closer at how we can take away people's concerns by inventing new features for version 4 while following a common roadmap, bringing the both versions closer together.
And from now on we want to have regular meetings with the whole, big, united core team. The next one is planned for the time after T3DD09 and will - instead of "Transition Days" be simply called "TYPO3 Core Developer Days".
Podcast coming soon
During the meeting I recorded some voices (and pictures ...) of the participants and will compile that into a podcast soon. After watching that you surely won't doubt how exciting the future of TYPO3 will be ...