About OpenWGA 6.3
So it's again 4 months since we released OpenWGA 6.2. Is there anything like version 6.3 on the horizon? Oh yes, there is. And if you found the latest releases relatively ... well, boring, then there is a chance that you might change your mind on this one. There are actually some major new features in line for OpenWGA 6.3, currently scheduled for release in early April 2014 [Updated]. Let's have a brief overview of things to come.
- Integrated REST/SOA web service: Yes, we are finally providing some out-of-the-box functionalities regarding RESTful web services. OpenWGA will offer an integrated server for providing and managing content in a RESTful and service oriented manner, fully based on HTTP facilities, consuming and serving data either as XML or JSON. There will be four different types of APIs to use:
- The CMS API provides the complete feature set of OpenWGA Content Stores via REST interface, including page creation, content versioning, workflow operation et cetera.
- The HDBModel API does the same for data-driven HDBModel apps, providing a complete interface for all model operations as web service
- The Query API allows to prepare any custom query for execution and result retrieval
- The Custom API can be used to design your own RESTful API via TMLScript, providing exactly the data and behaviour you want
- A huge amount of work went into new features for file attachments:
- An upgrade for OpenWGA content stores will introduce what we call Distinct File Contents. Using it your database will no longer store the contents of each individual file attachment. Instead it will only store "unique contents", using a single file content storage for multiple files that are equal. This not only drastically reduces needed storage space in many situations (think of many absolutely equal file attachments that currently are stored on multiple content versions), it also speeds up some processes, like the creation of a draft copy with large/many file attachments.
- File derivates are another feature introduced by the content store upgrade and represent a new type of stored files that are "derived" from your normal file attachments. An example are thumbnails - smaller image versions - for your image file attachments, which OpenWGA 6.3 will automatically create for you. But the usage possibilities of derivates are far more flexible than that. They can automatically create any derived version of your files that you can think of, like thumbnails for your attached PDF files or movies, plain text extractions for your office documents, icon images denoting the file type, whatever comes to your imagination.
By the way: A new version of the Basic Website Kit, to be released along with 6.3, will automatically select derivates of images that fit best into the available space. So if your authors keep uploading those >5 MB digital camera pictures: Relax, only a scaled down version of them will be published!
And as a special "bonbon", we are likely the first WebCMS to implement some experimental support for HTTP Client Hints, a new web standard currently in draft, by which a web server may serve clients with retina displays (or some other high pixel density technique) web page resources that are specially suited for this display type. OpenWGA will use them to send larger derivates of images for optimized display.
- A feature closely related to derivates are file annotations. File attachments now provide flexible ways of annotating your files with additional metadata. What OpenWGA 6.3 will automatically do is determine and store the mime type of your attachment and, in the case of images, determine their width and height. But again, their usage is open and flexible and you may let OpenWGA annotate your files with any data you want.
- The Content Manager will have some exciting additions
- A Dashboard, providing an "all relevant information at a glance" overview for your authors when they log in, which can be composed individually from the relevant data of any website project
- You will be able to scale the internal webpage view down to any size that fits your way of working, either because you have a small screen or you prefer the better overview (for most webpages we ourselves now prefer to work with a scaled down 80% view in CM :-)
- A revamped history panel with improved browser history management which will finally allow to use browser back/forward buttons to navigate visited pages (at least in IE and Gecko-based browsers. We shall see what we can do for Webkit)
- OpenWGA 6.3 will feature a new image scaler implementation, which - at least in our own tests - drastically improves the quality of small scale thumbnails for large pictures. It is based on the awesome ImgScalr library, is already contained and default in OpenWGA vanilla installs (no need to separately install a plugin any more), and yes, we use it to create the thumbnail derivates mentioned earlier!
- The OpenWGA Enterprise Edition will feature one big new package called the OpenWGA cluster communication and management service. This is a framework for clusters of OpenWGA server nodes, not only providing high-level convenience features like pushing config updates across the cluster, but also coming with its own (tomcat-independent) session replication management with optimized resource usage and additional capabilities.