Today I am pleased to announce that CiiMS 2.0.0 Beta is now available. CiiMS can be downloaded directly from Github.
This beta release includes hundreds of new features including: a new default theme, a major dashboard refresh, a comprehensive JSON Rest API, composer support, performance enhancements, and much more. We'll review the most important updates in the next section, but first I'd like to cover some frequently asked questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does "beta" mean?
Beta means there is now a feature and design freeze for CiiMS. The primary focus of the project has now been shifted to completing the documentation and fixing any bugs that come from the beta discovery. Unless it is absolutly critical, no new features or API changes will be introduced before the release.
Why 2.0.0 instead of 1.10.0?
1.10.0 was intended to be a minor update to CiiMS to bring it up to date with some modern features and standards, such as support for composer and a refreshed dashboard. During that time I changed the versioning of CiiMS to semantic versioning, which required any major API changes to bump the major version. There are a lot of major and breaking API changes between 1.9 and 2.0 including but not limited to a change in how migrations are performed.
Why did this release take so long?
In December of 2013 I was contacted to publish a book. Writing a book with a bunch of source code takes a lot of time. Between writing, my day job, and a couple other circumstances I wasn't able to dedicated large blocks of time to CiiMS.
Is there any documentation available?
YES! A full set of documentation for CiiMS including installation instructions, API details and card and theme development is available at https://docs.ciims.io/.
Is CiiiMS using Yii1 or Yii2?
Due to the release timing of Yii2, CiiMS is currently using Yii 1.1.16 which has support until December 2015. As you can imagine rewriting the entire platform from scratch is a massive undertaking for a single developer. If you would like to help contribute to a Yii2 CiiMS please contract me directly. I'd love to make this happen, and need more contributors to make it a reality.
How can I installed CiiMS 2.0.0?
Is there a demo I can preview?
YES! Checkout https://demo.ciims.io.
Is 2.0.0 backwards compatible with 1.9.x?
Sorta. There are a bunch of changes to CiiMS that make a direct upgrade impossible, however you can transfer your content and categories between instances faily easily. Checkout the migration guide for more details.
When will CiiMS 2.0.0 be released?
An exact release date hasn't been chosen at this time. My focus is on bug fixes and API documentation, so it shouldn't take that long.
What ever happened to the hosted version of CiiMS?
This probably deserves it's own blog post in it's own right, but here's a basic summary of what is going on. The hosted version of CiiMS 2.0.0 is still in the works. As you can imagine trying to do a major update, writing a book, and not having a lot of free time has made working on it difficult (especially when billing and hosting considerations come into play). Additionaly, when I first tried to release the hosted version I found a bunch of issues that would make CiiMS cost-prohibitive (eg having to build massive modules and management tools just to get people to deploy their apps).
As a solopreneur, my goal is to make CiiMS the best hosted platform to work with, and the codebase at 1.9 just wouldn't allow me to accomplish that. 2.0.0 makes that process significantly easier to implement and will ensure the platform is stable and performant.
Net-net, I'm still working on it. My goal is to have it out early 2015 for those who have signed up for the pre-release access.
And while we're doing a Q&A, how do you pronounce CiiMS?
Major Changes Since 1.9
CiiMS 2.0.0 has introduced a lot of major changes since 1.9. As the transition between 1.9 and 2.0 is so large, there is no changelog available. After 2.0 is released a changelog will be used to to highlight all changes made between versions. Below I'll summarize some of the more important ones.
A Full API
In 1.9 the CiiMS API was introduced. This API provided a fairly basic way of interacting with CiiMS. While you could do most everything you needed to, working with it was somewhat complicated. In 2.0 that has changed. The CiiMS API is now a fully supported component, and allows for complete interaction with all sides of CiiMS including creation and modification of all attributes, pagination, and manipulation of all settings. In fact, the new dashboard exclusively uses the API to interact with the site.
A Dashboard Refresh
In 2.0.0 the dashboard has been completely rewritten both for performance, and to take advantage of the updates made to the API.
Content and now be quickly viewed, searched, sorted, and filtered from a single screen. At a glance you can preview everything about a post ranging from it's comments (via both CiiMS' internal comments and Disqus comments - the internal API's allow for new comment providers to be integrated trivialy), to the number of likes a piece has. CiiMS now also has it's own internal analytics tools that allow you to see the number of page views and article has seen over the last 24 hours.
The content editors has alow been completely revamped to take better advantage of the available screen space. Include with this new editor is a left hand pane that gives you access to all of your basic content attributes. Content is now saved automatically in the background while you're writing (without incriimenting the revision count). The improved split screen editor now has the most requested feature in CiiMS, a toolbar so that you can quickly interact with content. Content is still written in Markdown, but any changes made via the toolbar will be reflected inline with the appropriate Markdown syntax, and will even show some rudimentary formatting. It's something you need to try out to fully appreciate.
Better Theme Management
In 2.0, theme development and management is significantly simpler. Themes can be installed via a simple GUI OR can be installed using the composer CLI utilities. Publishing themes is also easier. For more information theme management and development checkout the documentation page.
Dashboard cards have grown once again to become even more powerful and easier to develop with.
And the rest...
Do you have questions or comments about this release? Leave a comment below! Find an issue? Report it on Github so that I can fix it. Let me know what you think!