Project website improvements
During 2012, some small improvements have been done on the websites, but the structure is essentially the one from the beginning. The project has changed, the web has changed, our users now use the site more and more from mobile devices. Content wise, we’ll need to review the content of the site to see what is still accurate, and what needs to be revised. Site wise, we need to review the organisation and structure of the site to be more according to what our users are expecting nowadays.
Skenow and I represented ImpressCMS at CMSExpo in Chicago in May 2012. It wasn’t the first time ImpressCMS attended the event, skenow and marcan participated 2 years earlier as well. CMSExpo was very interesting to attend, as it gave us the opportunity to meet up in person, and we could meet with several people from different organisations and companies in the web world.
It wasn’t all good news though : we felt afterwards that the conference didn’t yield enough in terms of website traffic, new site members or contacts to justify the considerable cost. We'll have to see how we can improve that, and how we can maximize the gains we get out of attending conferences.
In 2013, we want to focus more on being present locally, both online and on local events. The German community has shown that it is a technique that works well, and ImpressCMS does have a point in favor with its Multi-lingual features to make an impact in non-English web communities.
ImpressCMS Release strategy
In 2012, we released a new version of ImpressCMS roughly every quarter. In the current situation, without automatic update, that is an acceptable frequency. Those 4 releases were maintenance releases of the 1.3 branch, although some significant features were added in those maintenance releases, like the upgrade of the password security in 1.3.3.
Progress in the development of ImpressCMS 2.0 hasn’t been as fast as we would have liked, but there is has also been a discussion about the scope of the first release in the ImpressCMS 2.0 series. One extreme would be to just drop the code that takes care of making ‘old’ modules backwards compatible with the old system.
Another extreme would be to include all the feature requests that have been filed since ImpressCMS 1.1. As always, the right answer will be somewhere in the middle : a release that drops the legacy code, and that includes a number of significant improvements.
ImpressCMS 2.0 final will be an improvement on ImpressCMS 1.3.4, but it needs to be more than that : it also needs to be the foundation of our next generation of ImpressCMS releases. That next generation will have shorter release cycles, with a focus on one or two features to add or improve. This will also require us to improve our install and upgrade routines to make them easier to use.
Theme design and structure
In 2012 themes were created that took advantage of Twitter Bootstrap 2, and we saw the first developments on the boiler theme framework. Both are alike that they promise responsive design themes for mobile users, more consistency in the structure of the elements, and HTML5/CSS3 pages.
While the HTML5/CSS3 is just a technical change, the ability to create responsive designs easier will be a significant boost to using smartphones and tablets on ImpressCMS-baed sites.
It will be worth waiting for, as MrTheme is promising features that aren’t yet available in other open source CMS's.
2013 will be an exciting year for ImpressCMS. We are celebrating our 5th anniversary with a milestone release coming up, we will reach out locally and we have a number of cool features cooking right now.