On 16 and 17 June, the traditional eZ Publish conference was held, an edition which the general consensus held to be one of its best. It must be said that the programme was terrific, with speeches by renowned figures and an appealing schedule of activities. The technical and entrepreneurial community came out in force with no fewer than 230 participants in attendance!
Gabriele Viedbach, CEO of eZ Systems, opened her first eZ Conference in London by outlining the vendor’s new strategy and confirming its commitment to the open source model.
Community / Enterprise: an eZ for everyone
The community version will remain the core of the range and the vendor will share the kernel with the community via the already very active Community Board. Resolutely orientated toward innovation and responsiveness, the community version will now have a monthly release cycle (version 2011.6 having just made its appearance!).
The Enterprise version, a direct by-product of the community version with biannual releases, will aim to integrate more advanced quality assurance functions and to ensure the product’s stability in professional environments. Two months of testing will therefore take place prior to release and the vendor will commit to the product through the package’s support service. In addition to enhanced stability, the Enterprise product will also provide access to a range of dedicated services (such as monitoring, etc.) and to a variety of certified extensions via eZ Market, a turnkey functionalities listing likewise dedicated to corporate use.
eZ Publish 4.5
Released in March last, eZ Publish 4.5, aka Matterhorn, has officially launched its enterprise assault:
- integration of a Rest API dedicated to handling multiple channels (particularly mobile). Although currently limited to read-only operations, Lukasz Serwatka demonstrated the scope of its capacities during the conference, in terms of its simplicity, performance and expandability;
- integration of an asynchronous publication mechanism, by which operations can be delegated to a system daemon in order to improve the contributor experience and better distribute available resources;
- improvement of the contribution bar (Website Toolbar) for a more intuitive front end (with a static, better integrated toolbar);
- creation of a workflow mechanism dedicated to user registration to offset current shortcomings that did not provide for true moderation before registration; and
- access to eZ Market (several extensions already available) and integration of the eZ Network extension in the admin panel (still incompatible with cluster mode however).
The next enterprise version (4.6) is scheduled for release on 25 October 2011 under the code name Anapurna . On the menu is an API overhaul with nothing short of a simplified complete public API!
The goal is to simplify content handling, making it more intuitive, and to simultaneously isolate all the technical logic. In the line of fire is the possibility for development teams to rework the tool’s core... to achieve greater flexibility in managing the content model or even the possibility of releasing the relational model for content management! As well as, of course, additional ergonomic and functional enhancements to keep the solution at the cutting edge.
Nicolas Pastorino, Community Director, opened up the technical path and demonstrated the community’s lively activity before announcing a surprise functionality: the imminent arrival of personal roadmap management on share.ez.no!
Then from conference to flash-talk, the subjects covered gave the opportunity for one and all to expand their horizons and share their experiences.
Amongst the first day’s speakers were ‘profiler’ Derick Rethans who revealed his secrets and Tobias Schlitt who gave a review of Zeta Components, while Daniel Kraft, Simon Wan and Backelite shared feedback on their experiences. All of them were very familiar with the environment and gave precious advice to a receptive audience.
This first day closed on a festive note with the traditional eZ Awards ceremonies. Still at the helm, the eternal Marvin spread the ‘eZ’ spirit in its raw form... and it was also the occasion to crown a few worthy players including: Ivo Lukac, Gille Guirand, Jérôme Vieilledent, Robin Muilwijk and Orange Business, to name but a few. British honour was maintained with the award for best site of the year going to ! The Banker
Day 2 had its own share of key moments: Margaret Ann Dowling opened the floor for the creator... of PHP! Rasmus Lerdorf shared his assessment and his point of view of PHP before giving the excited audience a foretaste of version 5.4.
When it came time to share the latest news, Lukasz Serwatka touted the mobile face of eZ Publish by presenting the new Rest API, developed based on eZ Components.
Per Bruer then took advantage of the flash-talks to present the latest brainchild of the Varnish family: version 3.0! Three years after the last major release, some highly awaited new features were shared: a new module based extension mechanism (VMODS), ESI support with page compression, partial streaming support and major efforts in terms of patches and documentation.
Another highlight of this second day was the keynote speech given in the afternoon by Tony Wood. The most faithful of believers, he has grown with eZ Publish for nearly ten years now and, showing off his old autographs from the eZ Systems team at the time, he reported on the evolutions and lessons learned during recent years in the world of the web. A large family today, but one whose values seem to be holding strong.
Last came a few detours via Scrum then, to close out the event, a drink during a partner session and a particularly fun and prolific Hackathon. An excellent way to share the last moments of the 2011 edition, so rich in new developments and in encounters around a common goal: the sharing of knowledge!
For those who missed the event, key presentations and videos are available for viewing.