eZ Summit 2013 in Cologne - Overview

By Ivo Lukač -

It is always a pleasure to come to Cologne. It is maybe not as attractive as last years Partner Conference location (Lisbon), but it definetaly has it charms - read: lot of Koelsh beer and interesting people :)

Roadmap

One year ago we heard a lot of new things coming to eZ. The big trendy term covering all new things was Customer Experience Management. In the meanwhile lot of other terms popped up describing the same thing: how to enhance the end customer experience on the web. This year at eZ Summit the concept for eZ future was described in much clearer way:

  • CREATE ( capturing the traditional CMS features )
  • DELIVER ( capturing multi-channel, especially cross-channel experience )
  • OPTIMIZE ( capturing constant evolution of the web and improvement of end user experience using integrated analytics and optimization tools )

There is one more part of the formula which is not yet int the focus, but could be very interesting in few years: AUTOMATE (basically automate the whole thing). Very challenging indeed.

KISS

In one of the eZ Summit presentations  (Melvin Brand Flu from live|work agency talked about service design) pointed out the importance of the KISS (keep it simple stupid) concept and his advice was to use grandmother for testing :)

Btw, The multi-channel is really gaining momentum: Orange presented eZ site factory for their projects, American Museum of Natural History presented a kiosk based on eZ Publish and their implementation of eZ App factory based mobile app. There was also a presentation of a solution for TV screens. 

5.1

First things first: in few months the version 5.1 (code name "Stetind" - mountain in Norway) is coming. Full REST API server should be available and also lot of other small pieces that are missing now (like some datatypes, etc). Also storage persistence cache will be introduced with plugable cache layer (APC, memcached, etc). IMO we should be able to implement simpler projects with Stetind. 

5.*

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eZ Systems is getting ready for the envisioned CREATE-DELIVER-OPTIMIZE future with a complete rewrite of the eZ Publish system. This really kicked off last year with the development of the new Public API (and with a little help by Netgen). The first big milestone was in November with the launch of 5.0. It introduced dual core architecture: new stack (implemented partially) and complete old stack. A very important feature of the new eZ dual core systems is the full backward and forward compatibility. New features can be accessed from the old kernel, and old from new kernel.The complete new stack on top of legacy storage will be available in 5.2 version November this year. In short: there will be new editorial interface running on top of new public API and REST API.The new editorial interface is in the works for some time now and we see some great progress recently. It is one of the things that can’t be done quickly. First it needs to be user tested as early as possible, way before the actual implementation. Secondly it depends on the new REST API to be done, that is why we need to wait a bit more. Few things that the new interface should be:

  • user centric (adapting to type of user and scenario)
  • cross device, multi screen (supporting work on smaller screens and touch devices)
  • front-side and backside editing blended together
  • extensible
  • supporting web application (not just web sites)

I encourage all eZ Community to engage in the user testing of the new interface. It is a very important piece of the puzzle because it is something that clients will use. They will mostly compare other systems based on what they see so it is very important to give them a slick and easy to use interface but powerful when needed.

6.*

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The next big milestone will be to go with the complete new stack and without old stack. It is still uncertain when this will happen, as there are a lot of pieces that need to be specified and implemented. The most important part missing in the 5.2 plan is the new storage engine which should bring better performance on top of SQL database. Once all pieces are ready for the new stack the version 6 will be announced. My guess is that the November 2014 looks like a first window for the version 6 release. Lets be optimistic :)

Hybrid delivery

In parallel with the new product there is also a lot of work on the new platform. The goal is to have an enterprise hybrid delivery: client can choose between on-premise and cloud (PaaS based) solution. And a very nice touch is that the price should be the same. IMO this is a great idea because it enables 2 things:

  • additional clear benefit why a client should pay the enterprise  subscription: eZ Systems will not only take care of the product, but it will take care of the platform too. This should simplify the process of implementation and reduce time to market.
  • smaller packages for smaller projects: for large number of projects the classic on-premise ES was hard to provide, one of the reason was the fact that a partner would need also to install the platform. With cloud, not only partners don’t have to worry about the installation, but it is easier for eZ Systems to support the solution on their platform: hence the opportunity for less expensive packages.

Lets wait a bit to see how this Cloud story evolves.

Symfony

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I am mentioning Symfony especially here because 2 communities are now getting closer what in my opinion is very significant for both.

For eZ Community it is interesting to hear that Symfony has 500+ active contributors. It was 4th most active Github project in 2012. Symfony Live conferences are organized  in Paris, Cologne, Berlin, San Francisco, Portland, London. This community is obviously big and eZ could benefit by getting bigger developer pool.

For Symfony community it is really interesting to get an integrated powerful CMS solution with which they can start to work in no time. Also my guess is that Sensio Labs (company behind Symfony) will be trailing eZ Systems to the enterprise world.

This years eZ Publish Summer Camp that we are organizing will have more Symfony workshops to bind 2 communities even more.

eZ AWARDS & Netgen Impact

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The eZ Awards is now a traditional event where eZ Systems gives credit to some community members that really shined in the previous year. The Awards event was a part of the summer conference before, seems that it will be part of the eZ Summit from now on.

We took the award in "eZ Market Solution of the year" category for eZ App Factory, an extension which ties your eZ Publish installation to a mobile app builder solution, providing a quick and easy way implementing content-based apps for iOS and Android.

Congrats to all other award winners ez.no/Resources/eZ-Summit/eZ-Awards-Presentation !

Important to mention that my dear colleague Edi was nominated for the contributor of the year, missed the award by few inches :)

Speaking about Netgen impact in general: Petar and Edi are still working hard as a part of the core team on new things for 5.1. And don’t forget the Summer Camp.  And there is a lot of small things that the whole Netgen team is doing to contribute back, which there is no time to list here. We love building our business the open source way :)

 See you at the next eZ gathering.

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