What to look forward to in 1.7 and beyond

The Xibo Project is fast approaching a stable 1.7 release of Xibo named “Tuttle” and we’d like to let our community know what to expect and what to look forward to.

2013 – At the start of 2013 we had some good news for Xibo and we wrote about it in our blog post “Upcoming in 2013“. Between then and now our remit for 1.5/1.6 grew into something much larger and resulted in 10 releases packed with new features.

2014 – Another exciting year for Xibo which has resulted in Spring Signage being able to provide full time development resources for Xibo. These resources came on-line in August 2014 and allowed us to speed up the improvement of the product and the products quality. In only 3 months we have a new website, new “Xibo in the Cloud” services, two 1.6 bug fixing releases and two alpha releases of 1.7 (“Tuttle”).

1.7 – our focus for Xibo 1.7 has been usability. We want to shake off our “digital signage for tech people” image and become the “digital signage for everyone” solution that our tag line promises. To do this we have had to re-engineer a number of Xibo processes as well as focus more on the user experience.

Here are some of the things you can expect to see in 1.7:

  • A new CMS theme.
  • Help on every form field.
  • A new installer and  updater with more information.
  • A better calendar.
  • More translations, fewer gaps.
  • Simplified client installation.
  • Centralised client settings.
  • More modules (clock, weather).
  • Multi-select for key transactions.
  • Better layout design experience.
  • The usual general bug fixes, patches and improvements.

We hope to have 1.7 fully released as a stable version early 2015.

1.8 – code named “Tempel”, 1.8 is our future release that we have targeted for stable release in summer 2015. The exact roadmap is still being developed but we have 2 key objectives to meet with this release:

  • Playlists within regions – reusable playlists with start/end dates that exist inside a region and can be reused across multiple layouts.
  • Interactive Signage – events (buttons, sensors, rs232, bluetooth) to trigger actions in Xibo (layout changes, playlist changes in regions).

We are very grateful to the Xibo community for the support with reporting bugs, asking and answering questions and Xibo for Android purchases. We hope that the above is as exciting for new and existing users as it is for us.

Upcoming in 2013

In 2012 the Xibo Project saw some excellent growth and some equally good improvements to the platform – we are aiming for the same in 2013 and want to push forwards to offer some great new features. Here are a few highlights of the last 12 months!

  • 10,000 known displays running Xibo (we strongly suspect 4 times this figure)
  • 55,000 downloads of the 1.4 series of applications
  • 1,000 fans on our Facebook page
  • 130,000 downloads of the 1.2 series of applications
  • Launching the new Website
  • 1.4 as the most stable release yet
  • DataSets, Permissions, Campaigns and Shell Commands
  • Launching Xibo for Android to help support the project
  • More community activity on Launchpad than ever before

So what can you expect? Looking ahead to 2013 we have 3 main goals on our road map…Capture of new theme layout designer

Content Management System – a new look and better themes

We have been hard at work implementing a cleaner, more professional, easier to use theme for the content management system. It is due to be released as a development preview shortly and we hope will bring a fresh experience to the Xibo User Interface. At the same time we have been adding a workable theme engine so that you can add your own feel to the User Interface and have a sensible upgrade path once you have done so!

Improved Media Choices

Many of the basic features in Xibo were born over 6 years ago and have remained mostly the same since then – we have become aware that a lot of items are very outdated and that we are missing some basic functionality offered by our paid competitors. We don’t like this situation and we will be working hard to improve it – the following areas are first in line for some TLC:

  • Images and slideshows – easily grouping images into slide shows and transitioning between each image.
  • Tickers – more support and better support for different feeds, better user interface for designing your item template, extracting items from feeds, custom sources for feeds.
  • Videos – gap-less playback of videos in a sequence.
  • Clock – a standard clock media type.
  • Weather – a standard weather media type.
  • DataSets – data types and formula support for columns, location awareness for displays and allowing a dataset to be the source for a ticker.
  • Transitions – adding transition support for the Ubuntu Client and as much support as possible on the Windows Client.

Xibo API

The API has been developed in the background for a long time – we want to bring this development into focus so that you can start using it to build applications and extensions to Xibo. The API will support all functions of the Xibo system and should allow 3rd parties to develop anything from a layout designer to a display management application.

A note on Android

As the project has become more popular it has grown into a large community and placed much more demand on our resources (which is excellent!!) – however it became obvious that we needed a way of commercially supporting the community platform. We decided to do this by launching a low cost, yet full featured Android client (Xibo for Android).

This has been a great success and has already allowed us the time to develop many additional features for the Xibo Project. A big thank you to all our BETA testers and customers so far.

We have also been able to continue our sponsorship of the Goldstone Griffins Football Club and we hope to be able to provide more support for this local team!

Launching the new website

The Xibo project has been lucky enough to have 2 designers come forwards after our plea for help with this site. As a result of their selfless work and attention to detail we have a new site design which went live today.

Bradley Morris is a freelance web application developer based in the North East of England and is responsible for the new WordPress template. Paul van Dun is a graphics designer and developer from The Netherlands and is responsible for the new logo and network architecture images. Many thanks to both of them for making this redesign possible.

We are all very excited by the new look and hope that it will generate more exposure for the project bringing us closer to our goal of making Digital Signage easy and affordable for everyone.

Xibo on Linux Outlaws

Linux Outlaws Album ArtWork on the cross-platform client is progressing well, however we want to make a few changes to libavg to allow it to display more types of media – most crucially web pages (and hence flash, java etc).

Fab and Dan from Linux Outlaws podcast very kindly put out a request for a C++/OpenGL coder to come forward and help us with the changes needed to make this happen at the end of episode 93.

I’ve been a long term fan of Linux Outlaws, and to get a mention on the show was great! It’s easily the best of the bunch out there for FLOSS news, reviews and humour. Thanks Fab and Dan.

Libavg does most of what we want already, but is missing a couple of important elements that would make it far more useful – the first of which is an integration with Gecko or Webkit so we can pull in external websites and browser-based plugins (flash, java etc). Libavg has a very rough outline as to how this might be implemented in their wiki https://www.libavg.de/wiki/index.php/Ideas_for_Expansion, but nobody has stepped up and written the code for it yet.

If you think you might have the skills and the time to help us out, please get in contact at info@xibo.org.uk