Two be, or not two be?

April 09, 2007, 07:24:23 AM Posted by Grudge on April 09, 2007, 07:24:23 AM in Two be, or not two be? | 2 Comments
Apologies for the appalling title for this post but I couldn't resist. Anyway - this weekend we finally annouced what we've been working on since roughly February 2006 - SMF 2.0. I figured there was undoubtably going to be a few questions regarding the version number and the time working on it so thought I'd try put a bit of reasoning around it - and this is what Blogs are for, right?

So - firstly the timelines. As said above we've actually been working on this for over a year now which hopefully will go some insight into the way we work here. Around Jan last year we released 1.1 RC2. At this point we decided (As we did at a similar point in time for 1.0) that we absolutely had to put a feature freeze on 1.1. This was suppossed to stop all development on 1.1 and leave it for bug fixing only - and as such we "branched" CVS and started work on SMF 1.2 (At the time).

Unfortunately things sometimes don't go as planned. Around the time of 1.1 RC2 internationalisation was becoming more important and 1.1 wasn't handling it very well. We made the decision to make 1.1 UTF compatable and this led to a longer than expected development cycle for 1.1 as we released the (previously) unplanned RC3 with final coming the end of last year. Compuart is our resident language expert and as such was left to work on the language changes for 1.1 with the rest of the development team fixing bugs as they came up.

Anyway - during this time work continued on SMF 2.0 - huge backend changes started going in such as post moderation and permission profiling which require relatively little user interface but a rewrite of much of the back end. More recently we implemented database abstraction which required the rewrite of (Almost) every query in SMF. We've also renamed all the old language strings to ensure they make a little more sense ($txt[242] never told anyone anything). Over the last six months we've been moving towards a MVC structure which has moved around the functionality in the backend - and been working towards removal of code duplication - most recently in the admin center, moderation center and profile rewrites.

This kind of nearly moves onto the reasoning for the version number of SMF 2.0. I've always viewed the choice of a version number as follows:
Version X (i.e. SMF 1.0, 2.0 etc) - A substantial rewrite of the software.
Version X.X (i.e. SMF 1.1, 1.2 etc) - Additional functionality.
Version X.X.X (i.e. SMF 1.0.9, SMF 1.1.1) - Bug fixes.

The reasoning for picking 2.0 (Over 1.2) was simply in recognition of the substantial changes made and the impact that will have on our customization community (Mod and theme authors). We have not completely written the backend but we have made huge changes to the code bases that will almost certainly break every mod out there, require substantial theme reworking and hundreds of new language entries. We've done our best to help out these people from the community - in particular the new upgrade script will do its best to convert existing themes to be 2.0 compatable, and even try to change the language files, but for mod makers it's going to involve more substantial changes.

Of course there's still more to do with 2.0. What we annouced this week were only the current feature set - we still have more things on the road map and we hope to plough through these over the coming months. Bloc's been making good progress with the templates and making what we've already added look a little more polished. As is often the case there are plenty of bugs to be ironed out but remarkably few serious bugs. I'd like to get the WYSIWYG editor enabled here in the near future to allow people to start reporting bugs as I'm certain that a wave of browser incompatibility bugs will arise as is always the case with javascript.

It's been an exciting journey so far and over the coming months it can only get better... watch this space.


Daniel15 on April 09, 2007, 08:00:46 AM said
I am really looking forward to this release, it's going to be awesome :D

cave on April 09, 2007, 07:07:19 PM said
Quote from: daniel15 on April 09, 2007, 08:00:46 AM
I am really looking forward to this release, it's going to be awesome :D

Me too. :)

SMF 2.0 sounds more fresh and powerful than SMF 1.x. So it was the right decision.  :D