Kickoff of TYPO3 4.7 development: Focus on standards and accessibility

Categories: Development created by Steffen Ritter

TYPO3 4.7 is entitled to bring standards and accessibility to the user. The focus of TYPO3 4.7 will be on excellent default values, accessible frontend output and full compliance with web standards.

While the previous releases of the TYPO3 v4 development branch mainly brought technical improvements under the hood, easing the development for integrators and enhancing the backend user interface, TYPO3 4.7 will reach out to the to the end-users again. The focus of TYPO3 4.7 will be on excellent default values, accessible frontend output and full compliance with web standards.

And a lot more that YOU help us develop.


The goal for the frontend output of TYPO3 4.7 will be to make it 100% compliant to web standards, so that any output generated by TYPO3 meets W3C validation criteria.

The main doctype advocated by TYPO3 will be HTML5, with all content elements using the best possible markup for its rendering when using the HTML5 doctype. This ensures all content types are rendered with semantic markup structure and less superfluous code.

Additionally it automatically takes care of accessible content-presentation. This is not only needed by the several accessibility laws (which the TYPO3 output will comply with by default) but also to ease up presentation and automatic adaption of content on mobile devices with differing display resolutions.

The goal is also to ship with a revamped media element making use of state-of-the-art HTML5 and Flash (as fallback) techniques for rending videos in an accessible way with alternative audio tracks and closed text captions.

Finally the result set of the TYPO3 search (indexed_search) will be overworked in terms of accessibility and markup rendering.


File-Abstraction Layer and Image-Element improvements

Furthermore one of the most difficult topics editors currently have to deal with is the mess on how to put links, alternative texts and titles to elements having more than one image.

This is nearly as hard as trying to track which files are used on which pages and exchanging them everywhere.

Tackling this, a long outstanding features set called file abstraction layer is planned to be shipped with TYPO3 4.7 - finally. 

The file abstraction layer will be an API for usage and handling files and folders within TYPO3, without the need to deal with specifics of the actual file system. It is going to tackle the “referencing” of files, tracking where files are used and automatically exchanging them when the file is changed. This will not only reduce the amount of disk space needed (no copied files anymore) but also enables the possibility to warn users before removing files in use.

In addition to that, the file abstraction layer will be extendable to also deal with files on remote storages such as content delivery networks (like Amazon S3) or even accessing files from web services such as Flickr. Building on top of the file abstraction layer, a new media management can be created, substituting the former Digital Asset Management (DAM).

ExtJS Migration and Backend Cleanup

To let these features become as user-friendly as possible, parts of the backend interface will be overworked. To be future proof and make use of the new possibilities ExtJS 4 offers, the backend has to be ported to ExtJS 4, which will reduce the markup massively and therefore becomes easier to style and is more compatible with mobile and small resolution devices.

Development will continue on a new file list module for the File Abstraction Layer which is based on a new core feature to list records in a  highly extendable and customizable listing component.Designing this as a re-usable component enables the use of it in e.g. a logging module in the same way as in a record list module. 

Government Package

Owing to the general focus on accessibility, and thanks to a sponsoring by a German governmental institution, all releases starting with TYPO3 4.7 will also ship with a “Government Package” in addition to the other packages shipped with earlier versions (such as the Introduction Package).

The Government Package will demonstrate the capabilities of TYPO3 with particular focus on governmental websites and their requirements towards accessible content output. It is preconfigured and packed with a number of extensions and has a highly accessible template with an additional high-contrast version.

First, the Government Package will only be available in German, but it is planned to translate it to English as well.


Release-Coordination and Release-Plan

The development of TYPO3 4.7 is coordinated by Steffen Ritter who has been elected by the TYPO3 Core Team as the release manager for this version. Steffen Ritter, a German freelancer and computer science student, is active within the TYPO3 community since years and will be supported by the release team which consists of the former release-manager Xavier  Perseguers and the Core Team leader Oliver Hader and co-Core Team leaders Benni Mack and Ingmar Schlecht.

The feature freeze of TYPO3 4.7 will happen - as always  - with the Beta 1, which will be on February, 7th 2012 this time. Until then, we have 10 weeks left for developing and integrating all the features.

To tackle the refinement, improvements and finishing of the kick-started features within these 10 weeks the release team decided about a coordinator for each topic responsible for managing these topics. We aim to work on this as “de-central code sprints” contributors may subscribe to. Doing so we expect on the one  hand a better handling and faster work-cycle as well as we think it is  easier to manage and more productive for contributors to reserve some  (more) time concentrated in a short phase, than trying to help out a little here and there aside their daily business.

The so called “BLE Project” – a project financed by a German governmental organization – already created the basis for many of the mentioned possibilities which are needed for the law-compliant usage of TYPO3 on governmental webpages.

If you would like to help actively (by coding or donation) in one or another topic, feel free to contact the Release Manager (Steffen Ritter), The Community Manager (Ben van't Ende) or the coordinator of the according topic directly (see the respective projects on Forge).

The general Roadmap for TYPO3 4.7

  • TYPO3 4.7 alpha1: November 29th 2011
  • TYPO3 4.7 alpha2: December 20th 2011
  • TYPO3 4.7 alpha3: January 10th 2012
  • TYPO3 4.7 beta1: February 7th 2012 (feature freeze)
  • TYPO3 4.7 beta2: March 6th 2012
  • TYPO3 4.7 beta3: March 27th 2012
  • TYPO3 4.7 RC1: April 10th 2012
  • TYPO3 4.7.0: April 24th 2012