After months and months of were working on it - leave us alone were finally at a point where were comfortable sharing a developer snapshot of 5.7. Why so long a wait? Because working for me is a horrible exercise in throwing stuff out. We like to explore many ideas, and while Ill proudly say that the final product we come up with is usually pretty compelling, theres often quite a few mishaps on the way. Its like songwriting; ugly to watch - and best done quietly in the privacy of your bedroom.
So were very far from done. In no way is this a stable alpha that is a few bugs away from being launched. It will not upgrade properly over an old site. Large parts of it are completely unfinished, unstyled, unworking or broken. And they're known to be that way.What we can say is everything thats in here, should be, and theres a known list of what we need in there for it to be 5.7 stable. The rest of this post documents what weve got, what its supposed to be used for, what we know needs to be done, and what we havent really started yet but know were going to have to. I guess you might even call this a Roadmap. (gasp)
Where do I get it?
You can get it in git. It's in the 5.7.0-wip branch (wip = work in progress.):
What's in it?
Without further ado, look for this stuff:
The Editing UI - We revisited the design of the edit toolbar to be a lot cleaner. We were able to remove the labels because all but one of the items have informative drop downs that explain what they do when you roll over them. The in-page editing experience has been completely rethought. Blocks and areas highlight in much more subdued ways with the hopes that people can focus on content and functionality more than how the template is arranged. You can even use the + in the editing bar to instantly add a block to any area in the page, automatically entering edit mode first. Blocks can be dragged around easily, can be added to the top, bottom or middle of an area, etc. Generally we looked a lot at where Wix/Weebly/SquareSpace were heading and took a step in that direction ourselves.
Redactor is now the default editor instead of TinyMCE. Youll also notice theres an in-page editing experience with it where the toolbar/settings are floating right above the block area. We use that for Layouts and a new Gathering block as well.
Layouts have been completely gutted and rebuilt. They now create block areas with some actual hierarchy involved so permissions can trickle down. They also can honor a grid system, so if you define it in your theme you can keep site operators using bootstrap columns, etc. We did kill the ability to move layouts up and down relative to one another within a single area. Hopefully that isnt a calamity because it would be complicated from both a technical and user experience perspective to get around it.
Conversations have been built into the core. This will replace the free guestbook block and the not free discussions add-on. Conversations are stored in a table structure that makes sense for them, hook into spam protection, can be attached to all sorts of stuff, and are slowly getting functional parity to discussions and our eventually will serve our own needs at concrete5.org
Composer 2.0- Adding a sub page was always an afterthought compared to editing one. Now adding a page happens centrally, where you can use many different composer templates to make many different page types. These composer templates can be used elsewhere to make audience contribution easier. Were still exploring how we can make these forms more friendly. Composer also can be included on the front-end and can access validation.
SSO - Weve built a new extendable way to handle single sign on. Weve built integration to Twitter and Facebook. We still need to work through the front end for this stuff, but the bones are solid.
MyAccount is being rethought. Its been on hold for a bit, but weve got some new thinking in terms of how to handle pages in a my account area, relations between users, etc. All of this will get a revisit from us soon and is the most likely to dramatically change.
Theres a new image editor. Its all JS based and again has some good bones and real experience issues. Its more powerful than it really needs to be and its too hard to accomplish simple tasks like resizing an image. That being said the heavy lifting of building a simple image editor in JS from scratchish is done.
Mobile - were going to have the main toolbar be responsive. The goal is to get basic editing viable on a phone/ipad if youre willing to peck it out. ;
Multi-file uploading - works in conversations nicely, but hasnt been integrated into file manager yet. The idea is drag and drop files into an area and magically upload.
Reskinning Blocks - we intend to revisit all the core blocks, and important chunks of the dashboard like advanced search for file manager, users, pages. Were still tossing around design ideas and havent started the production work yet.
Calendar & Content scheduling - Theres a new concept of featured data at a page level. We use this to be able to get an understanding of whats on a page quickly for reasons youll understand when you play with the Gathering block. We intend to add an event data model to that so its easy to add a simple event to your site. We also intend to make it easy to schedule a pages release for the future without turning on advanced permissions.
iOS/Android desires - Weve started building mobile apps for our favorite client, so its reasonable to assume by the time 5.7.1 or .2 comes out there will be a nice concrete5 app to go with it for easy posting of tidbits from your phone.
New core themes - We want to kill the existing example themes in the core because they are lack-luster at best. Weve got a photo in the background theme pretty close to ready to go and were working on a text heavy one to compliment it. That along with a truly minimal nothingness theme is what we intend to ship with.
The Gathering - This is something Im very excited about. The gathering block lets you pull data from many disparate sources and present it in an attractive grid. The vision here is you could point it to your businesses facebook page, twitter feed, and internal press room and everything would magically trickle together. It uses some cool JS to try to fill in holes as best it can, but it also lets you tinker with the tiles. You can resize, move, even choose which template the tile is using to present the data. Clicking on any tile could bring up an overlay where you can interact with it. You will be able to promote a tile into a page. You can pick a tile and turn it into a stand alone block. It presents information you already had access to in a way that makes it compelling in new ways, and its just fun to tinker with.
I dont want to write on endlessly. Andy and I are going to spend some time talking endlessly about this on TR, so well just post that here and Id encourage you to suffer through that before asking too many pointed questions.
If you have time to help, theres two areas where we could immediately use it:
SSO sources. I know we need google+, what else? These are pretty well defined and they dont need to all match one another perfectly as long as they work well. If youre writing clean code and following the examples we will happily accept these as pull requests.
Feeds for the Gathering. I know we need feeds for all these sources, and all we have is basic RSS and Flickr:
- You name it!
Tiles and overlays for the gathering. More the better.
Its great to be at a point where we can share this stuff with you all. We're very excited about 5.7 and while theres still lots to do, I believe we can get this stuff coming together quickly.
Oh, here's a couple of screenshots - they're not final...