If you frequent any of the usual promotional channels such as Twitter, Facebook, the SilverStripe Development mailing list, or LeftAndMain, you may have caught some buzz about SilverSmith; the elusive product from Uncle Cheese that promises to enhance development of SilverStripe projects. Though SilverSmith is not released yet, it is scheduled to be in early 2012. This post will discuss what to expect from the release and why you should care about SilverSmith.
SilverSmith is a visual project editor with a suite of tools that streamline SilverStripe development. Because the application is aware of the SilverStripe framework and understands SilverStripe design patterns, it can accomplish tasks much faster, more easily, and with less human error than a SilverStripe agnostic text editor.
One of our focuses in SS3 has been to improve on performance. All frameworks have to maintain a balance between features and performance, and generally SilverStripe has done that pretty well. In SS3 we haven't looked to adjust that balance, but instead looked at the features that cause the biggest performance issues, and see what we can do to refactor them so that we provide the same functionality in a more efficient manner.
Since I'm working on the configuration system this week to do just that, I thought it would be appropriate to talk a bit about it, to give you an idea about how we tackle the task of keeping or improving the feature set while still improving performance. Hold on, because this is likely to get a little technical.
Colin Burns is a digital nomad and respected SilverStripe community member, who travels the world while making a living out of building websites and web projects using SilverStripe. Colin is originally from Australia and now travels the world with his wife and two children.
You'll have to let me indulge a little in this blog post to first explain how SilverStripe has changed my family's life. I would like to provide you with some background before I get to the crux of the story.
A lot of people use the SilverStripe suite to build awesome web solutions for themselves or their clients. SilverStripe is very proud of the many beautiful websites, applications, modules and themes that you build with the CMS and the Framework. We know that you put a lot of hard work and passion into building these things, so I guess it is just a natural transgression to turn this effort into a business and to actually start making money from it.
The SilverStripe suite is running under a BSD licence, which means that every developer/designer owns the right to their code and can sell it if they wish to. That makes setting up a business much easier for SilverStripe users.
SilverStripe has always regarded the CMS as a natural extension of its framework, enabling developers to tailor it to the needs of website authors. You can add form fields, customise the behaviour of the WYSIWYG editor, add custom icons for the page tree, as well as create completely new sections via the ModelAdmin class. On the other hand, deeper interface customisations were hard to achieve due to the complexity of the code behind it. The 3.0 release provides us with a rare opportunity to consolidate and simplify here.
Today I virtually met with 29-year-old German Senior Developer Ingo Schommer, who is an icon in the SilverStripe community. He is the person that bundles a lot of the community’s contributions and feeds it back into the core. @Brooke Penny says; every time she hears his name she thinks of David Schwimmer from Friends. (Apparently Ingo even resembles him, except for the fact that Ingo hasn’t had a nose job).
In his free time Ingo loves to work on documentation for SilverStripe which eventually resulted in a book. He also has the most impressive 80’s pop music collection in his iTunes library. Going back in time also meant moving to Germany a few months ago. Due to the time difference between NZ and DE, he now works crazy hours remotely for SilverStripe. Please send this poor guy some ‘Flat Whites’ if you can. (‘Flat Whites’ are the NZ coffee specialty. Caution: Addiction guaranteed!)
Sam Minnée, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of SilverStripe, has shaped the SilverStripe Suite and is part of its success story as an internationally respected Open Source CMS.
One of the parts of SilverStripe 3 that I was most heavily involved with was the development of the new ORM. ORM stands for “Object-relational mapper” and it’s the part of the system that turns your DataObject::get() calls into SQL queries, and constructs relevant DataObjects with the results. In other words, it maps our PHP objects to a relational database for storage.
Thanks to everyone who came along to our October Wellington Meetup. Word on the street is that it was one of our most popular meetups for 2011, with approximately 30 people attending.
Our MC for the evening was co-founder Sigurd Magnusson who kicked the event off, followed by presentations by community member Cam Findlay and SilverStripe Head of Developement Rainer Spittel. We have included videos of both presentations below, along with accompanying slides. See you all in the new year! Our next meetup is scheduled for January.
It’s been a while since we gave you the SS 3.0 preview to play around with earlier in the year. Now we are getting serious. We are proud and excited to announce that SilverStripe CMS 3.0 alpha 1 and SilverStripe Framework 3.0 alpha 1 are ready to download and test now.
We’ve made the new CMS faster and more flexible. It shows an outstanding new user interface and last but not least; we separated the framework from the CMS and made it its own entity.
There are only a few more days to vote for SilverStripe in PacktPub’s 2011 Open Source Awards. Public voting closes on Monday 31 October. We are proud to be a finalist in the Open Source CMS category. Last year we came in second and this year we are eager to take home the grand prize!