Kunena 2.0 has been under construction for a long time - over 2 years, actually - and very soon the first test release will be made available to the public. This article is intended to generate interest in what Kunena 2.0 (we call it K 2.0) is about, why it was designed and why we think it will revolutionise the way that people think about Kunena.
Earlier this year I wrote an article called Kunena 2.0 a new communications platform for Joomla in which I attempted to provide some background information about the future of Kunena. As many of you will know, K 2.0 is already being used in a number of websites. Very soon we hope to use K 2.0 to run the forum here at www.kunena.org. This is for two reasons: firstly, because K 2.0 is actually better and easier for us to use and (b) as a way of finding out if there are defects that need to be fixed before we move to the later stage of releasing K 2.0 as a stable version. We're still a little way from that stage.
Design goals for K 2.0
The main design objectives for K 2.0 were to remove the last of the remaining Fireboard legacy issues. The main features of K 2.0 that differentiate it from K 1.7 are:
- Database schema optimisation for improved performance and scalability to large forums up to millions of posts.
- Improved integration with Jomsocial, Community Builder and other ACL mechanisms for managing front-end access to private categories.
- Separation of the BBcode into a self-contained library that can be easily extended and used in other Joomla extensions.
- Implementation of category channels: a means of aggregating multiple individual categories into a single view.
- Re-instatement of threaded views of topics.
- MVC compliance.
While some of many of these features may not be quite so obvious to your forum users, they will involve a significant number of changes as far as those who install and manage Kunena forums on their websites. Perhaps the most fundamental change that will affect most users is that, just as when K 1.5 templates would not work with K 1.6, templates developed for K 1.6/1.7 will not work in K 2.0.
There are a few other changes as well but the good news is that K 2.0 will work on the currently supported Joomla platforms (i.e. J! 1.5 and J! 1.7) as well as the up-coming J! 2.5 platform.
What are some of the highlights?
The purpose of this article is not for me to go into the details of K 2.0 highlights. I will leave that to the dozen or so people who have already used K 2.0 on their websites to describe some of these things. The main benefit is that K 2.0 is better; it runs faster (we're talking 4-5 times faster) on websites involving several million messages. The other main benefit is that K 2.0 can be integrated into other Joomla extensions using only a few lines of code. So, when you put these things into perspective, Kunena 2.0 represents a significant shift in the way that people might have thought about K 1.x. K 1.x was, basicially, a forum component with a few extra bits and pieces added on. K 2.0 will do that and a lot more.
When is all of this going to happen?
I suppose that's really the big question that many people want to know the answer to. The answer is that a test version will be made available to the public very soon. When this occurs we would very much like people to try K 2.0 on their own test sites - not their live sites, of course - and tell us their own experiences of how it works. Because K 2.0 involves as many changes as it does, we cannot release K 2.0 as a stable version until we've sorted out some documentation issues. It would not be very wise to say "here's K 2.0" if we couldn't also provide instructions on how to install it, upgrade to it and manage it. Those documents are still to be written.
When those documents have been written (and when K 2.0 has been more comprehensively tested) that's when K 2.0 will be released to the public as a stable version.
On with the show and tell ...
I invite all my colleagues who have developed and tested K 2.0 to contribute to this discussion with their own examples of the cool new features of K 2.0.