What to expect in 1.8 “Tempel”

Back in October we let you know what to look forward to in 1.7 and beyond and since writing we have delivered 5 releases of 1.7, 6 Xibo for Android releases, moved to GitHub, opened the Xibo Community Forums and made many improvements to the Xibo Cloud.

Spring Signage are also pleased to be able to provide another full time Xibo resource, so please welcome Piotr Mis to the team (@peter in community). Peter will be assisting with the day-to-day Xibo support and helping to test our releases!

1.8 codename “Tempel”

We are now hard at work on the next Xibo release, which will be 1.8.0-alpha. In our October round-up we mentioned Playlists and Interactive Signage as targets for this release and we can now narrow this down and elaborate.

Playlists

Support for Playlists will be in the release. This is the idea that the contents of a region can be re-used across multiple layouts allowing content creators to have a set of layouts that differ slightly, but with the same main content. An example would be displays around a campus with an arrow showing the nearest exit in one region, but a common region for the other content. There are more details in the Feature Topic.

Interactive Signage

The full interactive signage implementation (as described in the Feature Topic) will be part of 1.9 Series, but we hope to include some basic features in 1.8.0-alpha2. In particular we hope to write a player API which allows 3rd parties to directly take certain actions on the Player (change layout).

Xibo API

The Xibo API has been in BETA for a long time, too long as far as we are concerned. 1.8 series will include a RESTful API with 100% coverage and a complete API document. We hope that this API functionality will greatly improve 3rd party interaction with Xibo and give developers a stable and reliable link into the Xibo CMS.

Changes for Developers

We recognise we have been on a journey with our Framework, Theme and Module Implementations and that this journey hasn’t always been a happy one! A lot of Xibo has been in existence since 2006 and doesn’t stick to modern day standards and ideals. We are happy to announce that this is going to change in 1.8 onwards.

We’ve decided to bite the bullet and strive for real code change – here are the highlights we’ve adopted:

  • PHP 5.4 or higher
  • The Slim PHP Framework
  • Twig
  • Composer
  • PSR-4 (yes, Xibo has a namespace!)
  • MVC (yes, we have models, controllers and Twig Views!)
  • RESTFul by design
  • A separate Web Folder for Security
  • PHPUnit

These changes have meant a lot of work, but have also meant that every bit of Xibo code has been revisited, scrutinized for improvements and had a test written to support it. We hope that adopting these standards means more contributors, more ideas and more Xibo!

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.