Discuss: Significant phpBB (development) changes

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Acyd Burn
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Discuss: Significant phpBB (development) changes

Post by Acyd Burn »

Discussion topic for the significant phpBB (development) changes
Hello,

We are very pleased to announce some planned improvements to phpBB's development process and release cycle. These changes are a direct result of our past experiences with the development of phpBB 2.0.x and 3.0.x, and will directly impact development direction, release strategy and version numbering.

After two great years of phpBB 3.0.x and the heroic plans for 3.2.x, we are again running into problems similar to those faced during the development of 3.0.x. In an effort to provide the community with a more solid groundwork, we have discussed and agreed upon the following changes:

phpBB 3.0.6

phpBB 3.0.6 will be released as planned.

Version numbering system

At the moment, we are using the former Linux kernel version numbering system, which we believe is no longer suitable for phpBB. We will be using a custom system specifically designed around phpBB and oriented toward a controlled release schedule.

We will continue using the X.Y.Z scheme, with the first number representing the major version, the second number representing feature releases and the last number representing maintenance releases. Unlike before, no significance will be given to even/odd numbers, so consecutive numbering (0,1,2,3...) will be used.

Here are some examples:
  • phpBB 3.0.x (current stable branch)
  • phpBB 3.1.0 (first feature release of the stable branch; architecture is the same as with 3.0.x)
  • phpBB 3.1.1 (first maintenance release of the 3.1.x branch)
  • phpBB 3.2.0 (feature release of 3.1.x once 3.1.x becomes the stable branch)
  • phpBB 3.x.0 (subsequent feature releases, based on the architecture of phpBB 3.0.0)
  • phpBB 4.0.0 (completely new software with a new architecture)
Release strategy

We plan to have up to two supported branches at any given time; a stable branch (currently 3.0.x) and a feature branch (planned 3.1.x). Stable branches will continue to be supported for around 6-9 months after the date of a new feature release. Exact dates will be announced well in advance to provide MOD and Style authors with the ability to coordinate the releases of their own packages.

Each feature branch will have a tiny list of new major features and multiple new minor features, while maintenance releases will focus on bug fixes. Planned features will be announced to the public as a roadmap with additional small features being added as necessary. Overall architecture will be maintained as much as possible within feature branches to ensure maximum MOD and Style compatibility as well as smooth updating from the stable release. The automatic updater will support feature updates and, as always, assistance will be available for users updating their boards to the latest version.

We will continue releasing maintenance versions for the stable branch during the support period, with the last release aimed for around one month before the end of support. If necessary, patches for critical security issues will be released for a short period of time beyond the end of support date.

Such a release strategy prevents users from having to wait years for a feature that would've previously only be added in a major release (X.0.0). Necessary or commonly requested features will now be added to a feature release and available much sooner. This also allows us to properly concentrate on phpBB4 without the pressure of a community actively waiting for a small set of new features.

phpBB Ascraeus

phpBB Ascraeus, formerly 3.2.x, will now be released under the new version numbering system as 3.1.x. We will still attempt to provide most of the planned features, and will therefore continue using the codename Ascraeus.

Patches for external libraries

We have additionally devised a release strategy for patching grave security issues found in any external libraries that are used within the phpBB software.

If a situation arises where a critical vulnerability in an external library is found in-between phpBB releases, we will release a pl version of the previous maintenance release. For example, a vulnerability in an external library included in phpBB 3.1.1 would result in phpBB 3.1.1-pl1. Any bug fixes already made in SVN would still be released in 3.1.2 and would not be included in 3.1.1-pl1.

The stable branch, phpBB 3.0.x, is not supposed to have any external libraries.

Managing two different versions

In order to manage two completely separate products (phpBB3 and phpBB4), we will also slightly adjust the structure of the Development Team. Developers will now be assigned to their "preferred" version, although they will continue to be able to work on both. This will result in two loose groups, with each mainly responsible for one version. Each group will also have an assigned Release Manager, who will be responsible for coordinating the team and managing the releases. Release Managers will be coordinated by the Development Team Leader, although more freedom will be given to the individual development processes. The Development Team Leader will continue to be responsible for overseeing overall development and making sure that everything is in line with our philosophy at phpBB.

Effects on the other teams

Because the above changes will affect nearly every Team Member, other teams will announce their plans separate on our blog at phpbb.com.

Discussion

These decisions are the result of numerous discussions and were not taken lightly. We believe and hope that the plans outlined above will result in a better and stronger phpBB. While it is understandable that you may have a different opinion on some of the topics discussed, we would like to ask everyone to please respect the ultimate decisions made and give us the benefit-of-doubt when unsure.

We invite you to discuss what these changes mean to you as an administrator, moderator, MOD/Style author and/or user.

Thank you,
The phpBB Team
CorniI
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Re: Discuss: Significant phpBB (development) changes

Post by CorniI »

cool!
faster new features is great!
Now let's see how compatible feature releases are from a mod and style point of view. We will see :)
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god0fgod
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Re: Discuss: Significant phpBB (development) changes

Post by god0fgod »

Since phpbb3 is already so advanced, how can phpbb4 be made much better by starting from scratch? Wouldn't it make more sense to simply continually add to phpbb3? Or is phpbb4 being based on the foundations of phpbb3?
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Re: Discuss: Significant phpBB (development) changes

Post by Senky »

Oooo. Quite a good new. If there will be new phpbb (4) with a completely different code, phpbb3 will be still alive and developed. For me especially it's very good, because I have website based on phpbb3 core (so good php library :D ) and I cannot imagine rewrite whole site to phpbb4... (aka ppmsite.com and phpbb2)
Good idea - develop new, keep old (old....hmm ;) )...
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Re: Discuss: Significant phpBB (development) changes

Post by ihermit »

Awesome, so this is basically splitting phpbb into [stable] and [bledding edgee] releases?
Sounds like arch vs debian stable to me :lol:
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SoftGil
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Re: Discuss: Significant phpBB (development) changes

Post by SoftGil »

Kudos to what seems to be a Smart and Clever approach, finally!

Much appreciated and keep up the good work.
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yexusbeliever
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Re: Discuss: Significant phpBB (development) changes

Post by yexusbeliever »

I felt this coming. I notice the changes in management already. Keep up the great work!
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Re: Discuss: Significant phpBB (development) changes

Post by stickerboy »

Sounding very interesting and promising. Hope it works out :)
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Re: Discuss: Significant phpBB (development) changes

Post by Richazey »

Quick question will people be able to convert their phpBB3 board to phpbb4 in the future
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Re: Discuss: Significant phpBB (development) changes

Post by ihermit »

parkstee wrote:Quick question will people be able to convert their phpBB3 board to phpbb4 in the future
I don't see why not.
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Re: Discuss: Significant phpBB (development) changes

Post by DavidIQ »

parkstee wrote:Quick question will people be able to convert their phpBB3 board to phpbb4 in the future
Getting way ahead of yourself buddy. The announcement is not to say that phpBB4 is "Comming Soon". Only that the way releases and versioning are done has changed among other things. ;)

However there would likely be a converter available whenever phpBB4 materializes in the far future. It would be pretty dumb not to have one for our own product ;)
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Re: Discuss: Significant phpBB (development) changes

Post by A_O_C »

I am glad that there will be "feature releases". I had a feeling this was coming too - almost every new version of 3.0.x had features added to it.
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Re: Discuss: Significant phpBB (development) changes

Post by ihermit »

Oh man, I can't wait.
This is really exciting news :D
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Re: Discuss: Significant phpBB (development) changes

Post by AdamR »

god0fgod wrote:Or is phpbb4 being based on the foundations of phpbb3?
In effect, phpBB4 would be to phpBB3 what phpBB3 is to phpBB2. The concepts of how phpBB works would be carried throughout, but the core code and foundation would be very much different.

But as DavidIQ said, this is very far down the road. When it does materialise, we will of course keep the community informed.

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Re: Discuss: Significant phpBB (development) changes

Post by Derky »

I have many questions about this. :?
phpBB Ascraeus
phpBB Ascraeus, formerly 3.2.x, will now be released under the new version numbering system as 3.1.x. We will still attempt to provide most of the planned features, and will therefore continue using the codename Ascraeus.

Version numbering system examples:
[...]
phpBB 3.x.0 (subsequent feature releases, based on the architecture of phpBB 3.0.0)
phpBB 4.0.0 (completely new software with a new architecture)
If I look at the code of Ascraeus, this looks like a new architecture that will not work on 3.0.x :|
So how can it become a feature release then?

Code: Select all

// Register Cache Manager
phpbb::register('acm');

// Grab global variables
phpbb_cache::obtain_config();

// Register Template
phpbb::register('template');

// Register permission class
phpbb::register('acl');

// Register user object
phpbb::register('user', false, false, phpbb::$config['auth_method'], PHPBB_ROOT_PATH . 'language/'); 
Release strategy
We plan to have up to two supported branches at any given time; a stable branch (currently 3.0.x) and a feature branch (planned 3.1.x) Stable branches will continue to be supported for around 6-9 months after the date of a new feature release [...]
We will continue releasing maintenance versions for the stable branch during the support period, with the last release aimed for around one month before the end of support
But the stable branch will only last 6-9 months after the feature release? So after that there is no stable branch anymore?
The stable branch, phpBB 3.0.x, is not supposed to have any external libraries.
And this will be also unsupported after 6-9 months? :|
Version numbering system
We will continue using the X.Y.Z scheme, with the first number representing the major version, the second number representing feature releases and the last number representing maintenance releases. Unlike before, no significance will be given to even/odd numbers, so consecutive numbering (0,1,2,3...) will be used.
So let's say as example:
  • 3.0.6 has came out today.
  • Next month 3.1.0 will been released, then we have 2 versions:
    • 3.0.6
    • 3.1.0
  • And 2 months from now there will be a maintenance update, will the versions become then:
    • 3.0.7
    • 3.1.1
    Or something else? (It's all between the 6-9 months limit)
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