Wow what a great year 2015 was! We made huge strides last year with our Grav 1.0 final release and the release of many new plugins and themes including our widely anticipated Admin plugin. We also were nominated for Best Free CMS on CMS Critic's annual People's Choice CMS awards. Grav 1.0 was also featured on Product Hunt and were one of the most popular 'hunts' that month. We also garnered great attention on GitHub where Grav is now the #2 most popular PHP CMS based on stars.
What do we have planned for 2016?
So now we have Grav 1.0 out the door, I bet you're asking what do we have planned going forward. Well, I thought I would outline what we have on the white-board and our thoughts behind them.
Admin Pro Plugin
As outlined in the original Admin beta blog post the plan has always been to offer a full-featured and powerful standard admin plugin (done!) as well as an even more feature-rich professional version that delivers more client-friendly functionality. This Pro Admin version will be a paid plugin that extends the standard functionality and provides features such as:
- Customizable color schemes and logo
- Content revision system with visual diff and revert features
- Media manager
- WYSIWYG editor option
- User Groups and ACL manager
- Backup manager to allow list, restore, and delete from you backup history
- Custom Dashboard with new widgets
- Language manager to add custom translation strings
- Statistics page
- Sophisticated editor buttons to pick images and links from other pages
We plan on this pro plugin to be evolve even after release, so the list of features is not a static one. Suggestions for functionality are always welcome!
Gantry 5 Framework for Grav
The Gantry 5 Theme Framework is another great open source project that RocketTheme develops. It allows for the development and customization of themes using a sophisticated set of technologies that are also underpin Grav itself. It enables the development of complex layouts and theme-based functionality that can be easily ported to a variety of platforms such as Joomla and WordPress.
This spring, we are now bringing this powerful framework to Grav! Works is well underway and the combination of the speed of Grav combined with the power of Gantry is going to be a tough combination to beat!
Forms Pro Plugin
Our second planned paid plugin is for a Form Builder. This will allow you to build blueprints for forms with a simple-to-use GUI interface, enabling you to build complex front-end forms and allow for the development of page-level and even custom site configuration forms. We have only discussed this as we are currently focused on the delivering the Admin Pro plugin.
The idea behind this is that we provide some architecture and capabilities to enable 3rd party developers to provide their own commercial plugins to all Grav users through our built-in GPM system. Currently we are in the requirements and scoping phase of this effort. We need to careful evaluate and assess the best approach for this. Nothing is finalized, so your thoughts and ideas are welcome!
One idea we have had in the back of our minds for quite some time is developing a comprehensive API for Grav. This would allow us to build front and back-end applications for a variety of platforms as well as allow 3rd party integration. This will take the form of a RESTful JSON API that should expose all the critical functionality within the Grav core.
Ultimately this will allow us to develop much more powerful JS-based clients and even native applications for mobile devices. You may of seen the news about WordPress Calypso late last year which basically allows for a powerful REACT-based GUI for wordpress.com. This is essentially what we hope to do also going forward.
We started a proof of concept already as a 3rd-party plugin and had good initial success, but this is something we want to get perfect, so we are going to work on this aggressively this coming year.
We have long wanted to have a solid set of test cases in place for automated testing of the Grav core. Testing is tough, and very time consuming and it's usually the first thing sacrificed when working under other constraints. Over the past year we branched Grav a couple of times with the idea of building out a series of tests. Unfortunately these got left behind and quickly became obsolete.
However, this time we are going to make it stick! We have selected CodeCeption which is built on top of the venerable PHPUnit framework but focuses on BDD style testing (Behavior Driven Development). What this generally means is the tests are human readable and much easier to develop and maintain.
We have started on 'coverage' tests and we want to build a comprehensive set of those as well as usability tests. We also plan on providing testing for the admin plugin as it is becoming more and more critical in people's workflow.
Documentation and Videos (ongoing)
Since day one, we have worked hard to provide useful and relevant documentation. Our users seem to love our docs and I think that has contributed greatly to the growth we have seen so far. We will continue to bolster our documentation with more details, more guides, more tutorials, well, just more! There are certain areas we know need fleshing out, and these will receive our attention first:
- More information on blueprints and their relationship to forms, adding, extending and customizing them.
- Details on setups and configuration for various popular web servers.
- Improved troubleshooting information for the most common issues and questions we see
- More guides for setup on a variety of hosting platforms for optimum performance.
- Detailed information on how to work with and customize Grav ACL
- More recipes in our Cookbook section to help you get started customizing quicker
- More performance optimization tips
We also want to develop a series of videos to help people get a better understanding of Grav and how to install, use, manage, customize, and develop more effectively.
Grav 1.X Improvements (ongoing)
Even though Grav 1.0 is released and we don't want to change things too radically, we do plan on implementing some key improvements under the covers. Some of these include:
- Enhanced blueprint capabilities to allow more flexible overrides, and customization.
- Core-features/plugins to enhance Grav on large-scale sites.
- Page-level SSL support
- Improve GPM to support versions in dependencies as well as marketplace
- Better in-code documentation
If you have any specific feature requests, please add them to the Grav issue tracker so we evaluate them for inclusion in our future releases.
Grav 2.0 (planning)
We want to keep things as stable as possible for Grav 1.0. Even with the valuable additions we plan on doing on the 1.0 platform, major architectural changes are going to be reserved for the next major revision of Grav. This new 2.0 version will probably be a major revision that allows us to re-architect fundamental aspects of the core Grav system and use the valuable knowledge garnered from 1.0 to make 2.0 faster, more flexible and even simpler to use.
As you can see we have a very busy year a head of us! Let us know if you have any thoughts or ideas on how we can continue to develop and improve Grav going forward.