A sneak peak into the goals and vision for the next major release of concrete5.....
We originally conceived concrete cms as a flexible toolset for building pixel perfect sites with ad agencies. We didnt like training clients over and over on intimidating CMSs, so we built concrete around in-context editing from day one. We always imagined an expert building out the site to begin with, followed by a site owner managing it over time. You hear me speak a lot about this balance between builders and operators. A CMS is the glue that eases or strains that relationship.
Today concrete5 is discovered and used by many site owners with very limited technical experience. This is a happy accident. Many budget web hosts offer concrete5 through a 1-click installer, and our built in marketplace integration has made it easy for anyone to get started with concrete5. Many folks happily use and love concrete5 without a technical resource involved at all. We see this as a great thing, but we never sat down and architected concrete5 to serve this market. Theres any number of things about the solution we offer today that are less than ideal for a consumer audience. With 5.7 were taking a moment to step back to re-solve some challenges with this larger audience in mind.
Andy and I grew up running BBSs in the 80s, so online community has always been dear to our hearts. When concrete cms was commercial software, many of our projects were building online communities with it. We treated concrete as a framework and always built this stuff out as custom extensions to the my account area. In concrete5.6 or less theres some great bones for building an online community, but you really have to be a developer and be willing to put in weeks of work to make anything worthwhile happen. As part of our goal to make concrete5 appealing out of the box to those of all skill levels, we want to really flush out the social networking/online community aspects of it.
As a business weve reached a certain level of maturity as well. This is the 5th year since we went open source, and weve reached a point where it starts to make sense to focus on doing a few things really well instead of anything and everything. My goal has never been to run a company with hundreds of employees, nor have I ever wanted to flip concrete5 to some large investor. We have to be thoughtful about what we do and dont do. This is generally great as it means were passing more opportunities on to the community, but it does mean we have to be willing to face hard changes.
I firmly believe that creativity happens with small groups in comfortable relationships, not in a vortex of criticism (thanks oatmeal!) Im a firm believer in transparency as well. What follows here is the best set of notes and explanation around what we believe we want to do with 5.7 today. All of it has been labored over, yet none of it is complete. Were an agile software shop, this is how we work. The sky is the limit until we reach that point in the project where things need to happen and we start looking for interim steps and gauge the practicality of our ideas. That point is right about now, so I thought it wise to share where we were with all of you.
Were very eager to get your feedback and thoughts. That being said, were not going to hover over these threads and respond to every post as they come in. For my own sanity Im gonna let you guys duke it out for a week and then come in and cleanup the mess. Ill certainly provide details if I have them, and Ill update these pages as decisions are made. Oh, heres a quick answer to an obvious question: soon.
Now to the actual meat of the matter....