2016 has been an amazing year for Grav. There have been many milestones reached, awards awarded, and achievements achieved. If 2015 was the year that Grav arrived, 2016 was the year that Grav became a legitimate player in the open source CMS community.
What We Accomplished...
The first part of the year focused heavily on improving the original 1.0 release with a new 1.1 version. This version focused on many important things, including:
- providing more flexibility
- improved form capabilities via more powerful blueprints
- GPM versioning and channels
- a complete JS rewrite of the Admin plugin
- new form fields
- UI cleanup
- and more!
During the course of the year we also reached several milestones including becoming the 3rd most starred () CMS project on GitHub, and the #1 most starred PHP CMS project. Speaking of GitHub, Grav was also featured in the inaugural GitHub Community Cast.
Grav in FontAwesome
Another landmark for Grav this year was the inclusion of the Grav logo in the FontAwesome 4.7 font icon library. We were able to achieve becoming a part of this release thanks to the passion, and ultimately, votes of our awesome community members.
Best Open Source CMS
Another big achievement Grav accomplished this year, is again thanks to our amazing community of Grav users. Grav was nominated for 3 categories in the CMS Critic Awards, and eventually, we walked away with "Best Open Source CMS" award for 2016! This is pretty amazing considering the tough competition we were up against that included ProcessWire and Bolt.
This month, we were able to release the Gantry 5 theme framework for Grav. This release brings the power and flexibility of Gantry 5 to Grav.
Prior to this release, Gantry 5 was available for both Joomla and WordPress. With its nearly 1 million downloads, Gantry 5 ranks as one of the top open source theme frameworks available. Grav users are now able to take advantage of this sophisticated system to create cutting edge themes with the unprecedented flexibility and control.
Last week, RocketTheme released its first batch of premium professional themes for Grav, providing a valuable option for professional developers and end-users alike.
Although you can't actually see it yet, this year we laid a lot of the ground work required to support commercial plugins and themes using GPM via both the CLI and the Admin plugin.
We created a new License Manager plugin that will enable you to register commercial licenses with Grav. This allows you to transparently install and update plugins and themes without any extra hoop-jumping.
The underpinnings of GPM were modified to provide seamless support through Grav and even the getgrav.org site. Although what we need now are commercial plugins, so more on that soon.
Professional Services with Trilby Media
Lastly, 2016 was the year that launched Trilby Media, a development company started by the Grav core team to provide professional services for Grav. Trilby is able to provide consulting, custom theme and plugin development, site migration, or even start-to-finish custom site development services. By utilizing Trilby Media for your Grav project, you are helping support Grav ensuring it's continued development.
What We Didn't...
Even though we had a great year, there were some key targets that we totally missed. Based on our Plans for 2016 blog post from January, here's what we didn't get done:
Admin Pro Plugin
First and foremost, and the question we get asked most often, is regarding the continued absence of the Admin Pro Plugin. There are a couple of reasons for this. I'll try to explain them in more detail.
First, we have continued to make progress on the pro version, and in several areas key areas of functionality it's very close. However, there is one area that continues to plague us, the WYSIYWG editor.
Now before you start with cries of "there are loads of existing WYSIWYG editors available", while this is true, those are HTML editors. They read and write HTML. While that's fine for traditional CMS platforms, Grav makes use of Markdown as it's preferred editing solution.
Even though it can support creating content in HTML, it's not ideal because unlike Markdown, there is no intermediate text-friendly state. Once you use a WYSIWYG editor and save, that content is now in HTML and you can not reliably go back to markdown. In an effort to find a solution we have tried various new WYSIWYM (What you see is what you mean) editors that claim to provide a flexible translation layer between the source and rendered HTML. Unfortunately, these are just not ready for prime time.
We understand the importance of a WYSIWYG editor for clients and non-professional users, so getting this right is of paramount importance, and is really the primary hold up for the Admin Pro plugin. We have evaluated all our options and the current plan is to utilize an existing WYSIWYG editor.
The trade-off is that once you use the WYSIWYG editor on a particular piece of content, it will forever be an HTML document. The tricky part now is ensuring we can bring as much of the core capabilities we offer in Markdown, such as link and image processing, to HTML.
Another critical factor was the lack of the marketplace support in GPM. Before we finished the plugin, we needed a way to distribute it. However, we were able to develop this relatively simply, and now this is no longer a hold up for us going forward.
Our plan is to re-focus on getting the Admin Pro version finished up and released early next year. For real!
Forms Pro Plugin
We didn't even start this plugin because we first want to finish the Admin Pro plugin. However, much of the functionality that we needed to make this plugin feasible, was added during the Grav 1.1 release. Also the regular Forms plugin was significantly improved to bring validation, global and modular forms, as well as customizable actions.
So now the required elements are in place, we just need to get around to working on the Forms pro plugin itself.
We have decided to tackle the API question in two phases. The first phase will be an API built on top of Grav 1.X that first exposes page access, then slowly adds other functionality such as configuration settings. We will potentially expand the scope of this API layer to include features that are needed or requested by commercial sponsors or Trilby Media customers. We have a proof of concept but will continue to develop this approach next year after the Admin Pro plugin is released.
The more full-featured API we have been discussing will be become part of Grav 2.0. At this point, we will be able to build the API in at the core level and build plugins and features on top of it. We hope to start the groundwork for Grav 2.0 this year, but in reality, development probably won't begin until the following year.