What Releases to Expect from eZ in 2015

What Releases to Expect from eZ in 2015

As we carve out our new path, I wanted to follow up on some of changes we have been working on internally at eZ since 2013. This year is the year when all of our hard work will finally come to a head. This is the year when our long term plans and future product lineup come together.

So in saying that, here are some of the highlights for what you can expect from eZ this year.

2015 Will Be The Year of eZ Platform and eZ Studio

As mentioned before, in 2015, we will be introducing some big changes in our product portfolio introducing eZ Platform and eZ Studio -- read on to better understand the scope of each product. As soon as 5.4 and the eZ Publish community project 2014.11 where out the door, we switched focus fully on this. We are even in the process of hiring to bolster our engineering and development teams.

The next 2015.01 community project release, which will come soon, will contain these changes. This will make it the first alpha of eZ Platform, and the next evolution of eZ Publish Community Edition.

Yes, you heard that right, an early eZ Platform alpha is coming out within the next two weeks!

So in terms of releases here is what you should expect this year:

  • 2015.01 : "eZ Platform alpha1"
  • 2015.03 : "eZ Platform alpha2" & "eZ Studio alpha1"
  • 2015.05 : "eZ Platform beta1" & "eZ Studio beta1"
  • 2015.07 : eZ Platform FTR & eZ Studio FTR
  • 2015.09 : eZ Platform FTR & eZ Studio FTR
  • 2015.11 : eZ Platform LTS* & eZ Studio LTS

For testers, there will be possible composer updates in between the releases to get access to new features.

*Access to maintenance releases for the LTS is provided via eZ Studio subscription, see below for details.

Ready for the Cloud, Ready to Scale

eZ Platform and also eZ Studio, which builds upon eZ Platform, has been written from day one to be more flexible when it comes to configuring for different environments. This allows the software to run at scale in cloud environments. With legacy no longer bundled, this is effectively immediately possible.

FTR vs LTS?

As previously blogged about by Roland, we are harmonizing our release model to provide stable, official and fully documented releases for both our community and customers. This has many benefits, including improving our upgrade process to also cover community releases. It also allows customers to get access to new features early, just like a community user, which is often preferred during project development.

Fast Track Releases (FTR) come out every two months, and each release is supported until the next one is out, in other words it follows a "rolling release" model. We aim to do micro updates to these in between for blocker and critical severity issues, while other issues are rolled into the next FTR release.

Long Time Supported (LTS) is available to customers with commercial support from us for three years, which can be extended two additional years. This is often preferred when putting projects into production, as LTS releases focus even more on stabilizing over time. All included third party libraries are supported throughout the lifetime of the release.

This effectively means eZ Studio bundles a LTS version of eZ Platform.

What about Legacy?

As this is being written, engineering, with great feedback from the active community of development reviewers, are in the middle of externalizing the legacy version to be available via LegacyBridge. This is done in order to gradually move out on from our legacy dependencies over the next two months.

For 2015.01 this specifically means we will provide instructions for installing the extra legacy packages you are used to having with eZ Publish Community Edition.

In theory, you will technically be able to continue doing this for future eZ Platform releases as well. However, in practice this will eventually have very limited use cases, as we will do larger updates to central FieldTypes like "XmlText" -- which will become "RichText" -- and "eZ Flow." Simply put, you won't be able to use content that uses these FieldTypes in legacy, and the old versions of these FieldTypes will not be properly supported in the new Platform UI.

This is the reason why eZ will not support use of legacy together with eZ Platform and eZ Studio. And why we recommend, and will continue to recommend, using eZ Publish Platform 5.4 LTS as the release to prepare for the transition to eZ Platform or eZ Studio.

The transition from 4.x (legacy) to eZ Platform and Studio roughly looks the following:

  1. Move to 5.3/5.4 and twig-based layout to take advantage of the improved performance
  2. Transition content views and start to take advantage of the additional API features
  3. Move to eZ Platform or eZ Studio and transition workflows to new systems

What about Community Edition Releases?

As talked about on share.ez.no, the way we handle releases has been greatly simplified. This does not hinder anyone from syncing up with the eZ Community Board to help coordinate the effort for those interested in building more 5.x like community releases.

However as mentioned above, for a stable transition to eZ Platform, eZ Publish 5.4 LTS is the recommended stable base to use for transitioning to eZ Platform and eZ Studio.

Licenses and Copyright?

As before, our open source software, mainly eZ Platform and related bundles, is licensed under GPLv2, exactly the same as Linux, which is the main operating system hosting eZ Platform, eZ Studio and eZ Publish. We will also continue to use a Contributor License agreement (CLA), meaning copyright for the contribution is shared with eZ for use in eZ software.

Our commercial software, as before, will be available for customers under updated Business User License agreements (BUL) and for trial use a (Trial and Test License) TTL. Open source software from eZ Systems bundled with our commercial software, is also provided to customers under the same commercial license.

How Does this Impact Stability and Contributions?

Again as covered in a share.ez.no post, we aim to make eZ Platform much more stable than the eZ Publish Community Edition was, which was already very stable thanks to its strong focus on Backwards Compatibility (BC).

The improved stability will be first and foremost archived by automating acceptance testing using Behavior Driven Development (BDD) with Behat. In addition to unit and integration testing, we need to take this into account when doing Pull Requests (PR) against eZ Platform. The same goes for CLA concerns, however we will be changing to use an automated service to simplify the process from within the PR itself.

So, the reason why we refer to the release as a alpha is because we bundle the eZ Platform UI package, which is a 1.0.0-alpha1 package.

Access to eZ Studio?

eZ Studio early access alpha and beta testing will be rolled out to selected customers during the spring. If you are interested in participating, please contact your local sales representative.

What's Next?

Within the eZ Community Board we are making changes (together) to prepare for eZ Platform's fully open nature. The board is transitioning into becoming a facilitator for collaboration, enabling groups of people from eZ, Partners and the community to work together in the open on a much wider array of topics than before.

Related to that, we also want to deal with topics like automated performance testing in collaboration with community. We'd like to standardize how this is done in a similar way to how we are transitioning to BDD for Acceptance testing. Both can be used as building blocks for eZ and the community to automate testing needed for continuous delivery, optionally in combination with use of something like Docker.

And last but not least, we will soon be sharing eZ Platform roadmap in collaboration with eZ Community Board, partners and customers.

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