Before we begin the final stages, we have released the Beta 2 version.
We made various improvements: Worked on UX topics like the page editor, context menu and keyboard shortcuts, but had also a special focus on the iPad version which we polished dramatically. And to make sure we ship not less features as we had in 4.5 we added the deletion process and version/restore.
All that is summarised and demonstrated in the following video.
Now we have 4 weeks left until the release date. We are getting exited
Now just add your favorite locations in the application. Ever wanted to save bookmarks to a node in the configuration tree? At your service!
The workflow now communicates with the Pulse. The message view and possible actions can be defined for each workflow step. This opens the door wide open to implement any kind of processes and makes your content alive.
Notification and UiContext
Guide your users by showing notifications and confirmations. Its easy, just use the app developers best friends: the app, sub app or UI context. Open dialogs modal to the entire UI, the app or just the sub app.
Multilingual authoring itself is not new, but now you can choose the content’s language in every dialog.
On to Beta 2
Now we hunt down the details to make the new Magnolia snappy, handy and convincing. If you currently miss some transitions, keyboard shortcuts or think that the configuration tree could work better, these are the things that we will attack now.
Here’s an overview of what has changed and what’s new in this release.
APIs, APIs, APIs
We’ve invested heavily to stabilize and solidify our internal APIs to ensure we offer a robust foundation for you to build your apps upon. We’ve reorganized and restructured the modules to more cleanly separate them. The diagram below shows what we’re aiming at and what we’ve mostly reached with this milestone.
Here’s a short video with some more details on these many changes the API team has been working on.
More digital asset management
Our new Digital Asset Management (DAM) has seen significant improvements in several key areas. We now have the beginnings of support for different metadata standards, with simple Dublin Core set to be delivered with 5.0. The integration with STK and the migration from the old DMS module to the new DAM have made big strides. We’ve also added a registry for asset providers, which will make the seamless integration of assets managed by external systems possible (think Flickr, Dropbox or a full-fledged DAM system).
The most visual and an impressive addition to the DAM module is the new image editor, shown above, which offers basic image editing operations. You can now crop, rotate and flip images and convert them to grayscale. And all this already works on the iPad as well. See it live in action in the video below.
Provide you own skin
On the UI part, we’ve had one big focus on improved theming of apps. Extending, re-using and redefining existing CSS definitions just got a lot easier with the addition of an @AppTheme annotation for apps and full SASS support. The increased consistency of the look and feel of many UI elements has allowed us to refine our visual design – more changes will be coming in the next releases. And lastly, dialogs may now appear modally against a sub app, an app or the entire web app and are properly stacked one upon another, when opened sequentially.
Under the hood changes in work flows
Most of the changes of the work flow team remain invisible in this release. The new Workflow API is almost finished now. We’ve also upgraded our new workflow engine jBPM to version 5.4, which proved to be more difficult than anticipated, but which also brings us a lot of good stuff we’d like to take advantage of.
On the front end side, work on the message details pane has seen quite some improvements. This feature will allow you to react on a message right from within Pulse. A promising concept we’re currently researching uses standard form definitions for configuring the display of message details. This could make it easy for a developer to set up powerful message panes with just little effort.
Build your own app – now!
We’ll run an “app week” now to see how well our refined APIs perform in the wild. Join us and build your own app:
If you intend to take the DAM for a spin, make sure you read the already quite comprehensive DAM API documentation.
Be warned, though, that there will be bumps on the road, as this is all very much work-in-progress. Our documentation is not yet complete and not always accurate, but we will adjust it in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for updates.
To conclude a sprint, we create videos highlighting all major new features and notable changes we’ve worked on. Here are the latest videos, one for each of our three development teams. They quickly show you what has changed in the just released Alpha 2 version of Magnolia 5.
The Workflow team has focused on a commands refactoring and has brought back basic activation. Next on their task list is the implementation of a full 4-eye workflow using the newly integrated jBPM engine and our new UI.
The DAM team realizing Magnolia’s new Digital Asset Management has worked on the DAM API a lot during this sprint. They’ve also finalized our support for several metadata standards, of which we intend to implement Simple Dublin Core first. And finally, the team has added video support both to the DAM and the Assets app.
The AdminCentral team has ported our code base to the just released Vaadin 7 and has also upgraded to CK Editor to version 4 and mgwt to 1.2 at the same time. A significant effort has also gone in adjusting the visual appearance of our new UI, incorporating a series of changes resulting from several design reviews we’ve conducted during the last sprint.
In September at the Magnolia CMS conference we demoed the Magnolia 5 preview, revealing the new UI and its interaction pattern. We showed how to work with Apps and how collaboration works via The Pulse. Now, 3 months later, after tackling no less than 420 tasks (change-log), we are shipping the Alpha1 release.
All this is demonstrated and summarized in the following Video:
We could endlessly talk about technical details but the following are the most noteworthy improvements since the preview:
App API: The framework is vastly improved. You can make apps with just a few lines of code.
DAM: The new hub for media types is now integrated it into the STK. This means that you can do basic image operations (such as cropping) and to navigate simply using the thumbnail view.
Configuration by Code: Magnolia CMS can now be configured by code. We expect this to be extremely useful during project development as it will make deployment and updates much easier.
–> see details
Meta Data: Replacing the MetaData sub nodes with JCR mixins has removed one of the biggest performance issues. You can now use specific mixins like mgnl:renderable or mgnl:activatable.
–> see details
CKEditor: The latest CKEditor means you get rich content editing. The new integration is based on custom plugins and allows for the addition of other functionality in a Vaadin friendly way.
–> see details
Old AdminCentral: It sounds easier than it actually was. Getting rid of the old AdminCentral meant having to write a new Security App, create a basic Configuration App and integrate the old Tool pages into the new UI. In addition, the Maven project structure is restructured into an independent Main and UI project.
User interactions: One of the biggest changes is that now you can open a tab per item in all content apps. (This is the same pattern already being used in the pages app.) The result is a much better user experience, providing room for even more actions. On top, each of the tabs can be bookmarked.
And what’s next? We target an Alpha 2 release in January to improve and finalize the existing code base. We will be finalizing the essential API so that real development can begin.
When will it be final? We have stripped 5.0 down to what is really essential to replace the Magnolia 4 series. We are positive there will be Beta ready in early Spring. Additional new features will be shipped with successive releases of M5. You probably agree that we don’t want to wait much longer for the 5.0 final, right? Once this is out we can innovate at a much higher pace! I am sure of that