The odd bit

Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is an enemy action.

The odd bit - Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is an enemy action.

Enhanced Selection Datatype v2.0

I have some good news for the fans of the Enhanced Selection datatype for eZ publish: version 2.0 is in the works. The new version will contain some shiny new features, but it will also be completely rewritten from scratch. The code of the currently released version is almost ancient and a rewrite will make it easier to add new features (and of course, bring it more up to date with eZ standards).

It’s possible that class content and/or object content won’t be compatible between the two versions, but in that case I will make an upgrade script to ease the transition. I do aim for the fact that current object-level templates won’t need to be changed for the new version.

Another issue is eZ publish version compatibility. The latest stable release is 3.9.x and both the 3.6 and 3.7 series have had their end-of-life bugfix release which means they’re unsupported as of now. My plan is to support version 3.8 and newer. My guess is that this is not such a big problem for 3.7 users (the new version will most likely be compatible, just not supported). The real problem will most likely be 3.6 and older releases, mainly due to the fact that they’re based on PHP 4.3. If I go for 3.8+, I cannot guarantee it’ll be compatible with the PHP 4.3 series. And that’s the reason for this post – and I’ll only say it once:

If you want 3.6 support, speak now or remain silent forever. Now where did I hear that before? 😉

Marketing: Looks vs Functionality

I’m not a fan of marketing departments (too much blah blah) but I’m feeling rather frisky so I’ll write a post about two marketing strategies I’ve been able to observe first hand. This little adventure takes place in the wonderful world of software…
The first strategy is to make the looks of an application one of the primary selling points. The goal is to make the user interface sleek, sexy, shiny, … In other words, the interface should be so appealing that potential customers may be persuaded to buy the product when just seeing a demo.

The second strategy is to sell your product based on what it can do. Not what it should be able to do, but what it really can do. Important here are flexibility and our of the box functionality, but also extensibility. Potential customers should be persuaded to buy the product based on the feature list.

In most cases, there’s a mix of both strategies but the careful observer will notice one of them has the upper hand.

I’ve worked with the same piece of software for years. The creators just had to go with the feature list because the out-of-the-box looks were not quite up to par. But it meant nearly total freedom. It has its flaws which are a bit irritating when you’ve worked with the package for some time, but there are ways around them exactly because of the freedom they give to developers.

Recently, we had to switch to a new software package. Clearly leaning to the first strategy, it seemed rather okay on a first impression. But a demo is not as good as practical experience and that’s where the bubble of the first strategy bursts. It’s rather poor under the hood, especially when you’re used to a lot of freedom. Everything’s fine as long as you stay within the out-of-the-box lines, but it feels more like hacking instead of developing/programming as soon as you need something custom.

I’m not putting a name on the two products, but I’m quite sure some of the people reading this will know what I mean. And it should be pretty clear what I prefer 😉

New anti-spam plugin deployed

I noticed an increase in comment spam lately. Fortunately, most of them were held for moderation anyway so only the odd one got straight to the site. But today’s 34 spam comments (apart from all comments that had been automatically marked as spam) was a bit too much.

I searched for, found and deployed an anti-spam plugin. It doesn’t harass users, so no extra input is required when posting a comment. We’ll see how well the thing can hold its position.

PS: Feels like it’s been forever since I posted here…