A revised Core development structure

Categories: Development, TYPO3 CMS Created by Benni Mack
Photo by Richard Brutyo on Unsplash
Photo by Richard Brutyo on Unsplash
A new Core development workflow will take effect on March 1st, read more about new roles - and how you can participate!

In the last years TYPO3’s development process showed that Core Development needs an improved working mode. The original “scratching my own itch” idea of fixing small parts that are necessary for oneself alone is not sufficient anymore when roadmaps, deadlines and communication are additional factors. In addition, we've identified that one big single team to maintain all parts of TYPO3 Core development is difficult to manage and to steer - no matter how much time you spend on it. Additionally, we’ve seen changes within our process that helped core development immensely in the past years:

1. Core Initiatives, which we've kickstarted in the beginning of 2018, have created SEO, Admin Panel, GDPR and various other cool new functionality that we've built into Core or as an extension. There are many people enjoying improving TYPO3 Core, and it’s just amazing to see how much passion this kind of development way empowers.

2. TYPO3 GmbH, the company established in 2016, is 100% driven by TYPO3 Association, the heart of the community. TYPO3 GmbH helps financing and maintaining development, infrastructure, new integrations and functionality. Also, maintaining ELTS helped a lot to stabilize but also take work off our shoulders. It's great to have this team as an addition for the strategy of TYPO3 Core development.

In general, we've come to the conclusion that responsibilities and job descriptions need to be sorted out.

Here are our four takeaways

1. Centralized Coordination

Most of work is actually managing day to day communication: Answering technical questions, funneling ideas or identifying possible severe existing issues, connecting the right people to the according necessary tasks. This job can take up a lot of time during the working day, but is necessary to keep contributors motivated and pushing topics in development forward. This is not a decision-makers’ position, but more a person with a reliable time frame to be available for contributors, new initiatives etc on a day-to-day basis. We call this position the Open Development Manager. This position is open for anyone to apply, however, it should be clear that this position takes up a lot of time during daily business hours, so the employer should be involved when applying for this position. 

2. Overall Strategy vs. Improving Core’s Code Base

The roadmap and strategic decisions need to be taken by people who have a different responsibility than people who want to ensure TYPO3 Core has a clean code base. The existing Core Product Team - consisting of Oliver Hader, Susanne Moog, Tymoteusz Motylewski and Benni Mack - will take over the strategy part (Susanne Moog and Oliver Hader being employed by TYPO3 GmbH) to align TYPO3 Core goals with the overall strategy of the TYPO3 ecosystem strategy.

One person needs to take final decisions - this will be the previous Core Team Leader - the position we now call TYPO3 Project Leader.

The previous “Core Team” - people who coordinate reviews, merges and the people who are responsible for every single line of code in TYPO3 Core, we now define as a group of developers with full merge access to all relevant parts of TYPO3 Core development. Each person within this group needs to have a full understanding of the whole TYPO3 Core functionality, align with rules given by the TYPO3 Project Leader with a full commitment on their time and quality and security perspective on a developer basis. People with these merge rights are now called “Framework mergers”, and will be appointed by the TYPO3 Project Leader (you can apply for this position as well, see below). This will be a small group of maximum 8 people to get quick and direct communication and technical decisions. 

To sum it up: Framework mergers ensure that TYPO3 Core’s APIs get even more consistent and streamlined.

3. Components

We’ve identified that there are parts of TYPO3 Core that can be easily maintained by a separate group of people responsible for only a specific area - let's take Fluid, Form Framework or SEO, which these people can focus on exclusively, as they are specialists in that area. We want to invite people to take this responsibility and work separately and aligned with the Product Team, but with significant more freedom on how to progress and how to work together on one specific component. We’ve identified components, which are not solely based on a “per system extension level”. There is one head of development for this component, which we call Component Merger - this person has merge rights to bring changed / modified code in there without having to discuss every detail with the Framework mergers.

4. Initiatives

We like the initiatives as it allows for anybody to join a certain topic without having to know every little detail of the Core API. It is also the door-opener for innovation and new features - which might be released as an "A-Class Extension" with a certain quality standard, or a new part of TYPO3 Core. Initiatives have a separate roadmap regardless of the TYPO3 Core releases, but only when they are feature complete and ready for integration in Core, Framework mergers will come into play. Organization is done by the centralized coordination, so things move forward - each initiative at its own pace. We think it's a great idea to deliver great functionality - once finished, get it in.

These parts in total build a new development structure and contribution workflow, as follows.

How to continue

Read more about responsibilities and descriptions at the new (!) Core Development page, where you can also apply for a position.

For this change to take place, the new structure will take effect starting March 1st, 2019 and we will dissolve the existing Core Team.

Starting today, everybody - developers, contributors of any kind, existing core team members but also people with a good technical understanding for the Core or a specific component - can apply for one of the open positions.

New initiatives can also be applied for - see the Initiatives page for more information.

I am really happy to see how far TYPO3’s Core Team, the longest standing team for the past 14 years, has brought the product further. At this point, I’d like to thank everyone involved in the past years, making this product such a great experience for millions of people! I’m looking forward to the next 14 years of further innovation in Content Management with TYPO3.

If you have further questions, feel free to reach out so things can be clarified. I'm very sure we will have further refinements in the coming weeks and months.