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Vanilla 2.5 release schedule & features

LincLinc Director of DevelopmentDetroit Vanilla Staff
edited November 2017 in Development

It's been a long year.

We branched 2.4 back in January, but it took us until April to announce a beta and then... things stalled. It's increasingly difficult for me to coordinate releases for both cloud and open source, so I put out a request for a release manager to help out, but no one stepped forward. That led me to come up with a release schedule sync to allow me to handle both at the same time. Unfortunately, I can't sync things retroactively, and 2.4 remained sidelined. I'm sure many folks used it in production without incident, but I never felt comfortable sending it out for general consumption, being at a random fork point we don't really have the resources to support.

I'm happy to say we're ready to shelve the 2.4 release permanently and move forward with a defined release timeline for 2.5 this year.

We plan to release a 2.5 beta no later than Nov 21, with an release candidate to follow by Dec 5. The 2.5 gold release will happen by Dec 22 at the latest.

What's new in 2.5?

If you're currently using 2.3, you can look forward to the following new features:

  • Dashboard fully redesigned.
  • Full, native API support.
  • Flat categories - a Vanilla-only innovation.
  • Enhanced security features, including a dedicated Dashboard area.
  • All-new category management page.
  • Full IPv6 support.
  • Twitter card support.
  • OAuth 2.0 support.
  • Apple touch icon support (in core).
  • Hundreds of translation improvements.
  • Hundreds of bug fixes.
  • Tagging core support for developers.
  • JSON-based addon definitions that allow priority setting & better dependency controls.
  • Better category scaling and advanced developer features.
  • Improved logging and debugging features.

Let's talk about three things in particular.

1. Dashboard redesign

We started from the ground up with our new Dashboard, the first major product revision by our in-house designer. The new Dashboard looks fresh, works consistently, and is organized more coherently. For developers, we have a fully-featured style guide built in to the software, and the new layout allows for a more extensible and sensible approach to modifying our menus and navigation scheme. Plus, it remembers the page you were last on!

2. Flat categories

This feature allows thousands of subcategories to be navigated seamlessly without scaling issues. Consider the use case "I need a category for every publication by a company" or "I need a category for every city in the world". A flat category allow paginating thru a long list of its subcategories in alphabetical order rather than a custom sort, and comes with a user-facing module for quick searching. It also doesn't "bubble up" latest post data to parent category, which limits the need for database updates.

3. Native API

Years in the making, this API represents a seamless reboot of Vanilla from its foundations. We have a fully documented and standards compliant API designed to give you low-level access to all of Vanilla. You wanna build a full-featured mobile app? A whole separate UI? The tightest integration with a forum anyone's ever seen? Go for it. No more messy hooking into data-querying events and slinging fuzzy data around in the guts of Vanilla. This is a fully unit-tested and reliable interface to build your next forum-based project on top of. In coming releases, we'll be transitioning Vanilla into an API-first model where it strictly uses this new API for all its internal functionality. As we do, more and more of Vanilla's features will be exposed via API. For now, we have core functionality, and a dynamically-updating in-Dashboard docs system to personalize your endpoints depending on what addons are enabled on your forum. And, most impressively, we did all this without breaking everything that came before.

Questions?

I'm happy to answer questions about the upcoming release or our new release process here. It's bittersweet to bury 2.4 before it arrived, but we've made great strides in 2017 and this release will tie it all together nicely.

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Comments

  • I have been using 2.4 without problems with more than 200k of visits, the problems I have had have been from the hosting provider, but we have already solved them, to install this new version you must update the database or it will only be the code, I would like that you could have a theme skeleton and addons with the new API and the new changes, leaving behind the obsolete, and thanks to the whole vanilla team for their great work, every day we can see the advances in github the commits =) O.o :)

    Regards,

  • R_JR_J Cheerleader & Troubleshooter Munich Moderator

    @Linc said:

    Questions?

    I'm happy to answer questions about the upcoming release or our new release process here.

    Is there a rule of thumb for OS releases? What always surprises me is that you are using a version for your commercial need, which is ahead of the OS version, but you do not release that version as OS. If a version is stable enough to be used by you in production, why couldn't it be released for OS? Wouldn't it be more easy to release both versions in parallel?

  • LincLinc Director of Development Detroit Vanilla Staff
    edited November 2017

    @R_J said:
    If a version is stable enough to be used by you in production, why couldn't it be released for OS?

    We were releasing to cloud every 2 weeks or less. That's not a reasonable pace for open source.

    We also were doing zero QA outside of our cloud environment. That frequently meant we knew that releasing the current master branch would absolutely break some open source installs, and sometimes it was in that state for many months at a time until we could dedicate someone to fixing it.

    It's important to differentiate between the level of care needed to deliver code that you can use, as an advanced developer, vs what many users need when they have very minimal technical knowledge.

    @R_J said:
    Wouldn't it be more easy to release both versions in parallel?

    Yes, that's part of why I've elected to slow down cloud releases and sync them with open source, as linked above. And by "more easy" I mean "easy enough I can actually manage that" vs simply doing nothing (which is of course even easier :lol: ).

  • I have being using 2.3 for zhila.me. I will follow 2.5 and help to make Vanilla more popular.

  • Waiting for beta version 2.5 to install a new forum. =)

  • @Linc, that is great news. Very happy to hear this support for the OS community. Couple of initial questions:
    1.) Do you anticipate a smooth upgrade path for existing 2.3.1 installs?
    2.) Very happy to see OAuth 2.0 support... though we went the SimpleSAMLphp route. Just out of curiosity, with the new API access, could someone conceivably write a SAML2 Addon or App (don't know what you'll call these in 2.5)? I am aware of a couple good Open Source SAML PHP libraries that could make a good starting point.

  • haryonoharyono Siak Sri Indrapura New

    I have been using vanilla 2.3.1, but i'm not yet try 2.4 version. 2.4 and 2.5 version, i can't find in my softacolus. Can you help me?

    I'm sorry for bad english :D

  • LincLinc Director of Development Detroit Vanilla Staff
    edited November 2017

    2.4 was never officially released, so it's not in Softacolus and never will be.

    2.5 isn't released yet, so it isn't in Softacolus either, yet. I hope you'll be able to find it soon after the release, but we're not responsible for that and I don't have any insight about their process for you.

  • Oh man, I was very sad and angry for a moment. At first I thought you said "We plan to release a 2.5 beta no later than Nov 21" as in November 2021... Damn, trying to beat SMF with that schedule :anguished: I read the rest of it and calmed down quickly - Nov 21 is just a few days away :surprised:

  • hello sir, still one basic thing is ignored. Ability to support community with ad-sense. In vanilla there is no easy way to post ads below post title and between post paragraphs as desired. Lack of these give only 1/5 CTR when compared to word-press. IF it is made possible in 2.5 no one will shift from vanilla forum to word press. Forum could be used to post long posts , same as blogs.

    No one will like to use a platform if 4/5th of revenue is lost due to lack of mobile oriented ad placements.

    Please tell me is it possible in vanilla 2.5. I love vanilla so do not want to shift. this is urgent. Thankyou

  • LincLinc Director of Development Detroit Vanilla Staff

    @himanma said:
    Please tell me is it possible in vanilla 2.5. I love vanilla so do not want to shift. this is urgent. Thankyou

    You want the Pockets addon. Please start a new discussion for assistance setting it up if you need it.

  • Cant wait till the new version is out there, so finally i can put my Website in to production..
    And i hope there will be better SEO improvements in next version.

  • rbrahmsonrbrahmson "You may say I'm a dreamer / But I'm not the only one" NY ✭✭✭

    The exact words "We plan to release a 2.5 beta no later than Nov 21" do not promise a release date, merely reveals the plan. It's the nature of software development (one may say life) that things deviate from the plan. Given them some space;-)

  • R_JR_J Cheerleader & Troubleshooter Munich Moderator

    @Linc said:
    I got married and hosted family Thanksgiving for the first time this month

    Those are things which are far more important than any piece of software. :+1: Congratulations! =)

  • @Linc said:
    I got married and hosted family Thanksgiving for the first time this month, so I slightly over-committed on how much would happen this week. :)

    The position of the Lead Developer and Manager of the family Thanksgiving can be quite a busy job :)

    Congratulations on your decrease of authority in family matters :p

  • rbrahmsonrbrahmson "You may say I'm a dreamer / But I'm not the only one" NY ✭✭✭

    Congratulations Linc! Great news, well worth any delay!

  • Congratulations dude, keep it up. =)

  • Cannot wait for this release! Keep it up Linc!

  • Dr_SommerDr_Sommer Dr. of tender Programing ;) ✭✭

    @Linc.. take your Time... Real Live is more important... :+1: :awesome:
    Congrats... :heart:

  • Any update of progress with v2.5?

    It is really sad how thing repeat as with 2.3 and 2.4.

  • 2.5 has a branch of its own in github now... so the release is coming closer, I assume.

  • you are talking about a beta release here. If you are that impatient for it you probably shouldn't be using it.

    grep is your friend.

  • At the moment I dont want to play with composer and run anything from git, but I am really waiting for the beta to get my hands on it. I will be running a clone of my forum on the beta as soon as it is released, and some of the my users will help to test the cloned site.

    Apparently the status of the alpha is pretty good considering the remarkably tight schedule for beta-rc-gold posted by Linc here.

  • maximka10maximka10 New
    edited December 2017

    It is little strange idea to expect developers to fix such approach.
    If they do it again and agin for year it is management problem.
    For now it is absolute ideal world for developers. The worse is situation with open source branch - the better, as less public complains.

  • LincLinc Director of Development Detroit Vanilla Staff
    edited December 2017

    Vanilla 2.5 RC1 is now available.

    Please test this pre-release carefully and report issues with 1) How to reproduce the issue and 2) Details of your environment including Apache/Nginx/IIS and PHP versions. Installation and basic troubleshooting instructions are in the README, please use them.

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