Significant phpBB (development) changes
Postby Acyd Burn » Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:34 pm
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 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)
Im ok with everything here
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.
So the purpose of this is to allow users to continue to use mods until the developers of these mods have the time to make them compatible with the new release? As a corollary we are splitting up the development into two branches and giving users/admins an unnecessary option or choice .. the decision to update to a new feature release or not. Now with this i foresee some other issues like.. having to explain the difference between the two, how to update, how to downgrade back to the "stable" branch etc etc.
Wouldn't it be much easier and manageable to create a release schedule or some form of a plan and instead have a stable release and beta releases or "RC". This would benefit the development and be more user friendly. Then, mod devs would know that phpbb 7 beta1 is scheduled to be released on march 17 2011. depending on how the first beta release goes we can make an educated and maintainable forecast for the next beta releases if needed and then when all testing is done an actual release. Our current development schedule "or lack of" instead accomplishes this. stable branch of 3.0.6 is out with lack of support for development, throw in discussion of phpbb4, and we haven't even forecasted the release of 3.1, 3.2 etc etc.
To combat our old viewpoint on release schedules, "Its done when its done" wow how obvious. To say that we cant set a goal for a release date, and forecast our expected developmental contributions is unacceptable. Yes it may be unethical to set guidelines on individuals that contribute development time free of charge, but we are not doing that. What we can do is look at past experiences and see that user "bobtheman" has contributed 200 hours of coding for the past three years straight and its a good odd that he will do so again this year. Add in adequate time for unexpected occurrences and we can make at least a educated guess on when phpbb4 beta1 will be released.
The concentration of the community as a whole should be on two things only, the current stable release and improving it as needed, and developing the next stable release. It almost seems that you are forecasting the release of phpbb4 .. by saying it will take a release of all of this .. 3.1 3.2 3.3 etc etc before 4.0 could be released.This also allows us to properly concentrate on phpBB4 without the pressure of a community actively waiting for a small set of new features.
if phpbb4 is as important as it has been made out to be, which i agree with for various reasons, then it would be in the best interest to set an actual schedule for phpbb4 and open the community up to its development to expedite the process because releasing 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 to get to 4.0 may not be necessary. If we dont then its no more important than the secrecy and elitist development of 3.2.
before you continue work on phpbb4, im interested and want new features in 3.3 please