This has been 4 months since Typo 5.3 release, and this calm month of July may be the perfect occasion to look at what happeded on the Typo planet.
Cyril and I have been quite busy lately. He quited his job and started a new adventure in a new company. Cyril also moved to Paris, which is great as we’re now able to gather and work together, when we have time. He’s also been dedicating more time to Oupsnow, a bug tracker he’s writing in Merb. I’ve also been quite busy lately, starting lots of Rails projects around Twitter, having less and less free time left by my daily job, and starting a number 3, delivery due next December, so I’ll have to move soon. And that takes a lot of time too.
Hopefully, we had many contributors who came to help us while we were too busy to care about Typo. Erik Ostrom updated Wordpress converter, Michael Reinsch fixed some bugs and did some nice refactoring, and Wei Jen Lu did a fantastic job on translating Typo to Chinese. Wel also had a couple of people submitting patches fixing bugs on Lighthouse. May they be all thanked for the great job they did.
Our main concern lately has been reducing Typo memory footprint. We’ve already dropped lots of useless code and fixed a few bugs, even though there’s still lots of work to be done. By useless code, we mean 3 things:
Removing dead code that is no longer called anywhere. And there was plenty of it, trust me. Typo is an old house, inhabited by lots of different people, and every house needs a bit of cleaning sometimes.
Code that’s trying to reinvent the wheel when the same functionnality has been integrated into Rails for a while now. I know we still carry a lot of this one, and we still have a lot of refactoring to do.
Code that should simply not be in a blogging engine core and can be moved elsewhere as a plugin. Deciding what to keep and what to drop is not always easy, but that’s the usual step in the life of a software.
I’m not really sure yet, but I don’t think Typo next release will carry any major feature. Instead, we’re focusing on performance improvement, bug fixes and usability improvement here and there. I guess it’s a needed step to take before restarting on a fresh, clean ground.
Even best things must come to an end, and that’s just what happened to Typo 5.2 Helmut Newton for Rails 2.2 development cycle which has been released today, Sunday January the 28th, 2009, 4 months after Typo 5.1.3, the last of the Cartier Bresson series. EugÃ¨ne Atget, Don Mc Cullin, Henri Cartier Bresson, and now Helmut Newton, maybe those names don’t sound familiar to you. They are just legends of the photography, from the 19th century to today, and tomorrow.
Many things have passed since last summer, which are worth being told. First, Cyril Mougel, another frenchie, has joined the crew, and done a real hard and good work on Typo port to Rails 2.2, making this release possible. Having someone working hard on your project is incredibly motivating at a point you can’t imagine.
Second, we’ve moved our sources from subversion to Github. That may seem meaningless to you, but I consider it as the most important step we’ve done since I took over the project. It gave us more visibility than I was ever able to have in 2 years, showing people we were still alive, working, and doing good job. Which led the the third point.
Third, we had numerous people submitting patches. We had more contributors on this version than I had in 2 years of releases. I really want to thank them all, because, by adding some improvement here and there, by fixing bugs, they made this version exist. That’s just great, you’re just great.
Fourth, we’ve moved our bug tracker to Lighthouse. Redmine is too damn buggy and was permanently using 100% of my 2.4GHZ CPU and 2GB of RAM. Maybe moving to something owned by Mephisto’s creator sounds ironic to you. There is more in terms of irony. One of the guis who made this release possible, being our biggest contributor, is also the one who helped Mephisto to come back alive.
Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?. I finally made my mind on using lighthouse because it’s a very good product, and that’s the most important.
It’s now time to talk about the release, isn’t it ?
Typo 5.2 is more than a simple port from Rails 2.0.2 to Rails 2.2, it’s a major, deep, rewrite of the application. Sometimes in a software life, you have to stop the run of feature addition, seat down, and watch the path done so far. Typo has known lots of Rails version, including a number of major versions, 1.0, 1.2, 2.0, and now 2.2, lots of additions, improvements, to a point where it became bloated, coming with some pieces worth figuring on Coding Horror. We’ve ditched lot of code, sometimes slaughtering Typo with an axe before rebuilding things, aiming at stability and performance. We’ve also removed some useless features, and managed to divide Typo’s memory footprint by 4 on some really huge blogs. Some of them, like the preview, are useful and are already on our TODO list for the next release.
We’ve also fixed a huge, very huge amount of bugs, too many to be told here, actually, from functionnal aberrations to security breaches. See the CHANGLOG for more information.
What about the features ?
There are hopefully some new features.
We’ve rebuilt the admin, almost from scratch, focusing on both efficiency and usability.
The new editor is easier to use, and is designed to display every needed information on the first part of your screen. Simple editor comes with easy to use XHTML quicktags toolbar, allowing most widely used tags as well as Typo macros. We plan to improve it in the futur.
Some global configuration items have been moved on a user basis, like the editor choice. This is the first step to more personnalization. The first one to move was editor.
Search engine optimization everywhere on your blog. You can now define keywords and description for your whole blog, as well as for categories. Specially crafted titles and description are also avaliable for your posts, making them easy to index by search engines. Last but not least, in order to avoid content theft, you can add some content at the bottom of your RSS telling where the article comes from, with proper credits and link.
- A new theme catalogue, plugged to John Wang’s one, which is soon going to be our Typogarden. You can now browse and download up to date themes from your Typo install, instead of browsing the web here and there, looking for outdated templates. All templates at Typogarden have been updated to work with 5.2. That’s cool.
The long waited delete all spam button, so cool when you have thousands of them coming each day.
Excerpts, that allow you to display on your index something completely different as on your article, which won’t appear on your RSS feed.
Our live search, which was so hype 2 years ago, showed itself to be horrible to use and inefficient. It’s now avaliable as a plugin and has been replaced with a more traditionnal and clearer search engine.
And many more.
Once again, thank you to every contributor who made it possible. Hope you’ll enjoy.
After 4 months of hard work, doubts and refactoring, Typo 22.214.171.124, aka Typo 5.0.4 beta is finaly out. As for any beta release, it was mostly done for testing purpose, and to let our happy translators do their job. So please, fill in bug reports when you find one, and don’t be shy, submit a patch along :-). All the features are not frozen yet, even though any addition will be minor.
So, what’s new there? Many things.
Multi roles, we did it
Multiple roles are finally here, thanks to the work of Davide D’Agostino and Cyril Mougel. You can now choose between Administrator and Publisher. Contributor may come soon, but this special profile needs some more development.
A new default theme
Typographic is a simple, clean theme made by HÃ©lÃ¨ne from O2sources, a French company involved in free and open source projects. Typographic relies on lightness, simplicity, warm colors, and adapts your screen… up to a certain extent.
Dirtylicious and Standard issue have been removed and are now hosted at Typogarden. If you want to keep using them, you’ll have to download them first.
A brand new admin
The admin has been rethought, lot of code has disappeared, and it’s now cleaner, lighter and easier to use.
We now have tag management, which we plan to improve with things like tag merging, or detection of too close tags. We also offer tag autocomplete in the publishing interface.
The publishing interface has been rebuilt to be easier and clearer to use. We’ve dropped the live preview powered editor since it was really killing the server by sending continuous AJAX requests.
The come back of the gem
The gem is back and working, which means Typo has never been easier to install. Just run
# gem install typo # typo install /some/path
And you’re done. Typo is now running on a random port using sqlite database.
However, we don’t recommend this configuration for production use. Even though there are many ways to run a Rails application, we have chosen and support Passenger aka mod_rails with MySQL as the easiest and most reliable way to run Typo.