2017 was good to MODX with lots of meetups, bug hunts, a MODXpo, hackathons, hundreds of bug fixes, various improvements, exciting new community initiatives and regular MODX releases.
It was also the first term of MODX Advisory Board (MAB), which was closely involved organizing those community events. Besides that, a lot of planning was done by the MAB. Let's take a step back and analyze the primary goals of the MAB for 2017:
- More community involvement
- Better communication
- A clear roadmap
During the first MAB term, we found out we had a serious community-reach-problem. We did a lot of talking and plan-making and thought we did a really good job at sharing that throughout the community using Slack, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It turns out we failed horribly.
We came to this conclusion during STERC's Holland-tour, on which STERC visited the largest Dutch MODX Agencies. One thing they asked to those agencies was what they knew about the MAB. Most of them knew of the MAB's existence, but no-one had any knowledge of what the MAB had done or was doing at the time.
The main channels they used for getting MODX-content was the MODX newsletter and MODX.com, two channels which are not community-maintained but maintained by MODX LLC. MODX LLC is doing a great job at sharing new release info and bigger community events, but there is much more to share and guide regarding the CMS MODX.
Therefore we need a community website, maintained by the community with the prime target being:
- Informing developers, users and potential users about MODX CMS
- Informing about MODX CMS development progress (MAB)
The MODX.org Working Group was started by the MAB, and a project-site was started on Github. The working group did a tremendous amount of work on content and wireframes. Besides that, there has also been the possibility of working together with the modx.pro project, which already contains community-functionality and is currently being redone by Vasily Naumkin. The English context of modx.pro (en.modx.pro) could then become modx.org. Work continued on this at the SnowUp meetup in Switzerland.
After establishing a platform to communicate community progress, we can start thinking of a second term of the MODX Advisory Board.
While we're on the subject of making plans before doing anything: we had some troubles making MODX 3 reality. We did a lot of talking, presentations, MAB sessions and mockups but MODX 3 still isn't here.
At STERC, we had the same struggles when working on our company website in the past. The only way to make it happen was treating our website as a client-project. So we made a plan, budget and arranged a project-team and finished the website in mere months.
So we did the same to MODX3. We have the same three requirements:
At STERC we decided to reserve adequate time for me to be able to make a plan for MODX3. That plan is finished, and it was shared with some well known MODX LLC and community members to get feedback. We're going to publish the plan here on the project website modx3.org.
A list of features in MODX3:
- Enhanced login screen
- Client help built in for agencies
- Enhanced dashboard
- New dashboard default widgets
- UX improvements for content managers
- Extracting third-party dependencies (Smarty, xPDO, AWS S3) as composer packages
To finish a project like this, you need the right people. Gauke will be involved, MODX LLC people will be involved, and former STERC intern Rinze van der Brug will be involved as a UX-specialist. Last but not least, Vasily Naumkin will join the STERC team for the next three months to work on MODX3.
One big threat is on the horizon: paid client work. It is very normal in the open source community that client work gets priority over open source work. The reason for this is the fact that client work is usually paid and open source work is not. By getting funding for MODX3, we avoid this risk. STERC is committed to MODX and will fund part of MODX3 development, so is MODX LLC. Besides this funding, we can use more contributions to make this happen.
We've started on MODX3 in Switzerland at the SnowUp and will continue to do so when returning to STERC HQ. The current MODX3 scope is built around a 3-month release. We are very confident of a release in 3 months. If this experiment works, we can discuss doing all major releases on a project-basis.