Current state of TYPO3 4.7 development

January 18, 2012

Category: Development
Author: Steffen Ritter

TYPO3 4.7 is in the middle of its six-month new version release cycle, so now it’s time to highlight our current achievements and provide insights leading up to the final release.

Our general goal of TYPO3 4.7 is to improve usability and accessibility. TYPO3 received funding for improvements in terms of the BLE project. Since the first alpha release in October 2011 - which addressed the reworked HTML5 frontend rendering base and the web-accessible video enhancement - the development was geared toward  streamlining and integrating the outstanding parts, namely the file abstraction layer and the media management (known as the DAM or Digital Asset Management). In addition to these new code-related features and a new distribution, the TYPO3 Government Package has been set up and published to showcase a best-practice approach on handling web-accessiblity requirements. Overall, TYPO3 4.7 is on track.

Lessons learned

During last summer’s development phase of the BLE project, we decided to base new components on the upcoming ExtJS version 4, which had already been released. A generic and dynamic list module with support for custom collections, filters, and advanced search possibilities in the TYPO3 backend was on the horizon; this new technique underscored the aim of using the new paradigm of developing applications with JavaScript, based on a new version of ExtJS. However, because TYPO3 contains a mixture of code based on ExtJS version 2 and 3, there is still the question of how to upgrade those available and working parts, such as workspaces module, form wizard, and the recycler. Many weeks were spent working with a huge amount of JavaScript files in an effort to migrate them to the new feature set and requirements of ExtJS 4, and provide a backward-compatible layer for third-party components relying on the previous ExtJS version 3. It turned out to be an almost "never-ending story" to modify all cases and achieve stable ExtJS components again.

Based on this experience, we chose to revert back to ExtJS 3, which does not mean that ExtJS will be removed; it is the same version as in TYPO3 4.6. We learned the lesson here and had to accept that work simply was lost for the time being. Sencha, the distributor of ExtJS, has announced to support TYPO3 in this regard since both communities share a common collaborative spirit.

Changed Roadmap and Release Schedule

As a result of lessons learned and to adjust pending and planned features - most prominently the file abstraction layer and its friends - the roadmap has been adjusted a bit to keep the final release date of April 24th 2012. Fortunately, all this means is that the first beta version (and thus the feature freeze) will be postponed by one week and the amount of beta releases is reduced from three to two.

  • 2012-02-14: 4.7.0 beta1
  • 2012-03-13: 4.7.0 beta2
  • 2012-04-10: 4.7.0 RC1 (as planned)
  • 2012-04-17: 4.7.0 RC2
  • 2012-04-24: 4.7.0 final (as planned)

Next steps

The biggest feature for sure is the file abstraction layer, which currently already has a promising and almost stable low-level component: a new driver to integrate WebDAV storages is under active development.  As a result, file handling will be improved in the backend user interface, and documentation will be written to allow extension and core developers to use this great feature and extend the functionality.

So, if you're interested in learning more about the new enhancements of TYPO3 4.7 or want to support the development or documentation, just get in contact with the Release Manager Steffen Ritter.

As always, please test TYPO3 4.7 alpha3 whenever possible, and give feedback and report possible bugs and misbehaviors immediately. Thanks!

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