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Insights from the TYPO3 CMS Active Contributor Meetup in Munich

September 16, 2014

Category: Development
Author: Benni Mack

The TYPO3 CMS Active Contributors met for the third time in Munich from September 8 - 10. The meeting took place right after the famous TYPO3 Camp Munich. The last ACME took place in Nuremberg in April 2014.

Embrace & Innovate

While the last Active Contributor Meetup was held with a focus on the successful release of 6.2 LTS it was important that this meetup had a stronger momentum in a forward direction. The intention was to sum up the contributors and focus on the next steps for TYPO3 CMS. The discussions about the future development were the main topic and were adressed already in the beginning of the meeting.

Every attendee came up with three topics that they love about TYPO3 CMS, and three things that they want to love about TYPO3 CMS in the future. The flexibility in design, rendering and development, the powerful interface for editing any database record, the ecosystem, and the extensibility are major topics TYPO3 CMS handles very well already. TYPO3's extension concept is currently not compatible with other PHP based projects. The team is aiming to open up the underlying architecture to make the extension-handling composer-based. Usability of the TYPO3 Backend has been a hot topic for quite some time and this particular ACME proved to be a good foundation moving towards more simplicity in the way users deal with the Backend. TYPO3 CMS is famous for the many ways to deal with certain editor tasks and integrator issues.

Keeping the product moving forward can be boiled down to two areas:

  • Embrace what we have
  • Innovate where possible and necessary

Embracing means that major foundations like TCA, FormEngine a.k.a. TCEforms will not be replaced but improved.

Areas that need more attention are enhanced with current web technologies that will ensure solid progress of TYPO3 CMS and confidence for the future. Innovating and improving is the heart of the community and will be a great part of future TYPO3 CMS development

Felix Kopp shared his idea on the separation of technology components of TYPO3 CMS. This overview collection has been commonly accepted since it clearly helps to separate technical concerns and in the end helps content editors and integrators to understand and work with those concepts in a more streamlined and focussed manner.

The new release scheme and release cycle were officially announced by team lead Oliver Hader, kickstarting the next development cycle of the TYPO3 CMS 7 branch. There will be a separate announcement for the version 7 releases with more details following on when the next LTS and intermediate versions will be released.

Working groups were built for four major topics where decisions needed to be made during the days. The active contributors split in these groups:

User Experience

The user experience and the user interface only had little attention the last few years of development,  currently there is a new movement focused on editors and integrators. All participants agreed that it is necessary for the last releases to build up the PHP foundation (having namespaces and composer packages). But the daily work for integrators and editors can be improved. Nicole, Felix, Joey, Christian, Xavier and Mathias discussed the possible actions to be taken and what could be targeted for the upcoming User Experience Week which takes place in September 2014. Decisions taken in this area were the use of the css precompiler Less over Sass, the integration of Twitter Bootstrap for the backend interface, and the usage of jQuery over Prototype and plain old javascript. CSS from the core is now delivered for the core via manually compiled LESS files, but will be optimized and automated in the next weeks.

Besides defining these practical tasks, the dedicated and separated usability team has been dissolved and its tasks and focus brought to the responsibility and attention of the TYPO3 CMS Team. Felix Kopp takes the lead position for user experience in TYPO3 CMS.

Best Practices / Automation / Composer Integration

Helmut, Tom and Benni kickstarted the next steps for having TYPO3 CMS fully operational with composer packages under the hood, and adapting the TYPO3 extension concept closer to the composer format when installing packages in an existing TYPO3 installation. Additionally the team also discussed more best practices for folder structures and TypoScript usage, which will result in a handful of new blueprints describing these improvements.

One blueprint will eventually be a best practice document to bring extension code closer to a common and well defined standard.

Cleanup and Maintenance

The group around Frans, Georg, Markus and Olly shed light on parts of the TYPO3 CMS core that could be removed / deprecated, or moved into the TYPO3 Extension Repository (TER). Additionally certain parts like old TypoScript content objects (like CTABLE, and OTABLE) or the class aliases to provide non-namespaced classes for the core classes will be put in a compatibility extension released into TER. This way, extensions that are not compatible with TYPO3 CMS 7 yet or installations that need the old parts can depend on the compatibility extension. A fully-compatible setup for TYPO3 CMS 7 will see dramatic speed improvements. The whole CMS core package will have a smaller footprint helping contributors to reduce the amount of open bugs and streamline the code.

Documentation

Anja made a huge effort in migrating the extbase forge wiki to wiki.typo3.org. The active contributors also decided to use wiki.typo3.org as the main entry point for non-official documentation and documents instead of having multiple forge wikis. For the official documentation of TYPO3 CMS, docs.typo3.org still stays the central hub. ReST documentation files are already required for adding new features and deprecating existing options, which everybody agreed that this is a step in the right direction, since documentation is available immediatelly with a change. In genereal all processes ease documentation handling and reduce the amount of spread resources.

Decision taking

We have agreed to a more straightforward decision taking process at this ACME. As its obvious that we need to pertain transparency towards everyone in our community, we want to achieve more speed in our decision making. We as team value opinions and feedback and thrive to consider that during the implementation process. Being responsible for TYPO3 CMS means to shorten discussions and to take decisions once arguments have be presented.

One of the actual consequence is that we will issue protocols with decisions in them.

Further Links:

The participants: Nicole Cordes. Benni Mack, Oliver Hader, Matthias Schreiber, Frans Saris, Helmut Hummel, Anja Leichsenring, Thomas Maroschick, Xavier Perseguers, Jo Hasenau, Georg Ringer, Christian Kuhn, Felix Kopp, Markus Klein and Ben van 't Ende.

A big thanks go to Anja and Typovision for hosting us and to the TYPO3 Association for paying our travel costs and accommodation!


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