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I am sorry to announce that I am no longer able to do any work on my CompareRevisionsAddOn, HistoryPlugin, and RevCommentPlugin.

The main reason for this are the frequent new TWiki releases with no backward compatibility, which cause a lot of work when trying to keep all plugins and addons up-to-date with many different TWiki versions. I can understand that it might be necessary to make incompatible changes between major releases (like from Cairo to Dakar), which are less frequent (not more than once a year). However, if every change in a sub-minor version (from 4.0.1 to 4.0.2) stops an addon (which sticks to the API) from working, I am no longer able and willing to waste my time by trying to keep step with all these changes.

I understand that the developers of Twiki reserve their rights to develelop their product in their own way, as expressed in DevelopersVsUsersDiscussion. But on the other hand, I as a user also reserve my right to install a product only if it fits my needs.

When we chose TWiki out of a list of several hundreds of available wiki and cms products, we did it since we thought it would be an easy-to use and (after some initial adaptions and new plugins) easy-to-maintain solution. However, since it now turned out that upgrading to a new Twiki version is far from being easy and is very time consuming, we decided to freeze our installation at the Cairo release, along with our plugins, which might be further improved but in this case no compatibility with any other TWiki release will be maintained.

If at some point we have to decide that we cannot use the Cairo release any longer, we will not blindly upgrade to any newer TWiki release but instead reconsider if it would be worth to totally swip to a different wiki system. At present Mediawiki seems to be a good candidate, since with the growing popularity of Wikipedia more and more end-users get used to the syntax and look-and-feel of Mediawiki products, which in my opinion are now developing rapidly towards an de-facto-standard for wiki products.

-- JChristophFuchs - 13 Apr 2006

Hm, I thought SteffenPoulsen has updated at least one of your three Plugins lately. It would be a shame to loose your valueable contributions, but you're right to be angry. We also haven't got ThomasWeigerts great contributions back into TWiki 4.x, but I'm sure that's just a matter of time and everything will cool down soon.

-- FranzJosefSilli - 13 Apr 2006

I am sorry that you feel this way. As I understand it, several people worked on extending the plugin APIs, and recoding your plugins, to try and remove the dependencies on unpublished core features. Unfortunately it seems that you have subsequently been burned by the change to Pattern skin that went into 4.0.2. This has been an emotive change for a lot of people, though an unavoidable one, as it was driven by a strong reaction from the user community.

Unfortunately TWiki can't be the product of choice for everyone. There are always forces pulling it one way or another, and creating a one - size - fits - all wiki is next to impossible. Indeed, if your requirements can be met by something as simple as MediaWiki, you are probably making the wrong choice trying to use something as powerful and flexible as TWiki.

-- CrawfordCurrie - 13 Apr 2006

JC. I was one of the user community voices that was pushing the hardest to get the pattern skin changes into 4.0.2. In fact I was probably the loudest voice.

The issue with the Pattern Skin in 4.0.0 and 4.0.1 was that the skin was defined using table layout. This meant that the main topic area was a large table cell.

The minute someone put a large graphic on the topic the table cell would adjust to the width of the graphic even when the browser window was smaller than the graphic.

I had many users adding flow charts and process maps to our most important topics. They looked OK on a 19" screen running 1280x1024. Actually even sometimes they looked OK on a 19" if you side scrolled to the right a bit.

The minute you read the same topic on a laptop that had 1024x768 all the text was still the width of the image. So reading half of our ISO documents now required you to side scroll left and right for each and every line on the page. That is close to impossible to live with.

On Internet Explorer which most corporate users use, even verbatim text created the same problem where pages could easily become 3000 pixels wide which made them unreadable.

And printing was also a problem. Almost all topics with graphics had to be printed in landscape and some could not be printed at all.

This problem was not in Cairo because the topic area was defined in pure CSS.

Different methods were tried to make the table layout work. But none of them worked satisfactory.

So there was no other way than redefining the Pattern Skin back to a style sheet defined skin.

And since this in any case broke backwards compatibility Arthur decided to also address some issues raised concerning how easy it is to tailor the Pattern Skin. It was wise if him to do it all at once instead of breaking the compatibility again and again the next many releases. I can tell you that when the width problem was discovered ArthurClemens hardly slept for two weeks trying to get the fix available as fast as possible for 4.0.2. He did a heck of a good job.

Seen in hindsight 4.0.0 was released a month too early. I was myself testing 4.0.0 very intensively before the release and I did not see the graphics problem. It was my users that went crazy and angry right after I had upgraded to 4.0.0 because they could not read the most important process docs.

I wonder if your users have not had the same issue with 4.0.0/4.0.1. Maybe they do not use Plugins:TWikiDrawPlugin and other graphics as much as we do.

ArthurClemens also early identified the compatibility problem your plugins in a bug reports raised round release of 4.0.2 and he even tried to fix them but had a problem getting them installed and working and at the same time had to attend some of the other Pattern issues raised. SteffenPoulsen has stepped in the last days and fixed your plugins really well.

So I would upgrade to 4.0.2 now using the new versions of your plugins. Plugins that my users appreciate very very much. They have been begging for them since release of 4.0.2.

See Bugs:Item1634 and Bugs:Item1672 for the story.

Also see EdinburghReleaseMeeting2006x02x20, EdinburghReleaseMeeting2006x03x06 and EdinburghReleaseMeeting2006x03x13 and the IRC meeting logs attached to them and you will see that it was not an easy decision and that it was not something we did just for the fun of it.

Expect 4.0.3 and 4.0.4 etc etc to be real bug releases.

The topic I wrote recently UpgradingTWiki04x00PatchReleases has also increased an already existing awareness among the developers that patch releases in future will have to be much easier to install and SvenDowideit has started working on this.

We hope you reconsider and help us contribute with more of your brilliant work.

-- KennethLavrsen - 13 Apr 2006

Thanks for the lecture, JC. It's not that we're all that proud of recent events around 4.0.(0|1|2) (at least I am not), but as a community we're doing the best we can smile

Should you choose to stick with TWiki once your evaluation comes up, of course we'd be happy to see you back again. I for one see a lot of value in your contribution.

-- SteffenPoulsen - 13 Apr 2006

Thank you J. Christoph for sharing your sentiment with us. We are listening. Feedback like this will hopefully align the TWikiCommunity better with the TWikiMission. My sincere hope is that TWikiCommunity members will see the value of our mission, and will be contributing to the open source TWiki with more focus on the mission. In order to remain competitive in the market, issues on compatibility, performance, complexity and quality need to be addressed, as we have seen with your feedback and other reports on TWiki.org. We have no other choice.

I personally do my best to keep the platform as stable as possible, advocating a stable API, and asking Plugin developers to package Plugins in a way that makes it less painful for the users.

Thanks again J. Christoph for all the support you gave in the past.

And thank you SteffenPoulsen for updating the Plugins smile

-- PeterThoeny - 14 Apr 2006

Not to directly related to the issue discussed here, but Main.BruceRProchnau recently expressed some of the same concerns as JChristoph in his mini-blog at his topic.

-- SteffenPoulsen - 30 Jul 2006

I have just gone through a major effort upgrading my plugins to TWiki4. Much of that effort was self-imposed due to that I had relied heavily on features outside of the Func API. Nevertheless, once I got the hang of Dakar it was not that bad, albeit time consuming.

Dakar has, however, made much of our applications easier to produce and maintain, especially looking forward. So I am pleased that I made the change. (I must confess that it did take quite some time before I made the plunge due to the effort in migration.)

My one big complaint is performance. Dakar dramatically deteriorated as compared to Athens and even Cairo.

-- ThomasWeigert - 30 Jul 2006

With regards to features, I think that Dakar has reached a level that we have to spend quite some effort digesting and really pushing the application envelope. What we need now is speed. I hope that the focus on Edinburgh is performance, and little else...

-- ThomasWeigert - 30 Jul 2006

Yes, performance improvements are vital to the success of TWiki.

IRT usability/upgrade, Bruce posted also a note at NewVersionInstall.

-- PeterThoeny - 03 Aug 2006

Speed without simplifying it is not a likely occurrence. But it's also obvious from my experience around here that simplifying it will never happen either. By simplifying I do not mean a simple install either, although that is one result of doing so.

I see mention above of the new release being slower. Of course it is. And the one after that slower still unless simplification becomes a usable word around here wink

-- BruceRProchnau - 06 Oct 2006

Agreed, we are in heavy need for customer advocates - a sponsor for simplification would do us good.

If anyone feels like taking part in playing that kind of role (TWikiRelease04x01Process / customer advocate), efforts are very much appreciated.

-- SteffenPoulsen - 06 Oct 2006

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Topic revision: r15 - 2006-10-06 - SteffenPoulsen
 
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