Computers & Programming

MODX needs to stay relevant

Posted: 06.04.2016 21:07

I've been wanting to write this blog post for a while, but have been putting it off for far too long. I've had these thought for a while and I'd like to share them with you.

Before I begin to rant I should (once again) express my love for MODX. I've been using MODX for some years now (about 5 actually), and I love it just as much as I did when I first began learning it. Please keep this in mind.

Lack of progress on Revo

Revo is a great piece of software. It is so powerful and has endless possibilities. For such a great open source project it hurts me that not more progress is made.

Progress on GitHub

The GitHub repo more or less a giant dump of old and outdated issues and no one seems to be interested in untangling all this mess and sort things out. Several attempts have been made, but they always come short. After a great effort has been put down, new tickets just pour in and we are back to square one.

In order to truly sort things out we need help from the team members to systematically to through everything. Decisions needs to be made. Some features are not wanted, some features are not important and some features does not fit the Revo core. Someone (with authority) has to decide this and make it possible to us to go forward with things. Too many ideas (many good, many bad) have just been left because discussion went nowhere and no one that had anything to say ever did anything.

In addition to issues, open and pending pull requests are just left there every once in a while. Noo ne wants to reject or step in and take over a dead contribution. This makes contributing to Revo less tempting for open source enthusiasts.

Progress on development

In addition to ignoring issues, no new leaps have been made in quite some time. The pull requests mentioned in the previous sections are almost all from non-core members. I though MODX had dedicated developers that were focusing on structuring and laying the path for the rest of the open source people?

No roadmap, no goals

Despite the downsides mentioned in the previous sections, there is still a bigger problem with MODX today. This is the lack of a defined and structured roadmap. There are some milestones sat up at GitHub, but these still lack an overarching goal and there is no depth to the issues that has been assigned a milestone either.

This makes it very difficult for the community to know what is going on in the MODX world these days. What are they planning for? Is there anything we can test, research, look into? I'd love to do some of that, but that is impossible with no direction to go in.

Why does not MODX have anything like this:

I would also love to see something like the apple/swift-evolution repo, which is used for: This maintains proposals for changes and user-visible enhancements to the Swift Programming Language.

Revo and PHP in 2016

Another problem I'd like to mention is that fact that Revo is right now an aging technology. If you go 5 years back it was amazing how well structured Revo was and how new-thinking it was in many ways. However, things have changed in the PHP community over the last years. Autoloading, Composer, various technologies like dependency injection are used all over the place now. As mentioned earlier, Revo 3.0.0 will introduce autoloading, which will make things a little bit better, but there is still a long way to go.

Another huge problem with Revo is how difficult it is to develop with a sensible version control system like Git. Because almost everything is stored in the database, you need to use tools like Gitify or some other component to dump or sync files to your project. This is not optimal at all, and in a world where so much is version controlled this has to change. While this might be difficult, or even impossible for Revo, I suggest looking towards the new MODX product.

Where is MODX Next?

MODX Next was relieved by Jason in a three part medium.com series, which this post is named up after.

These posts were posted over a year ago, in February of 2015. Still we have yet to see any sign of this new software. As far as I know, work has yet to begin on MODX Next too. I can not say this for sure, but no community members (that I know of) have seen any sign of MODX Next.

Like I said, Revo is a great product, but it it too defined now to be structured into something completely new by now. Instead we must love it for what it is and keep it that way. MODX Next can be the new technology that MODX can live on for year to come. If they manage to keep things to customizable as Revo is while introducing autoloading, a simpler ORM system, easier integrating with components and a more loosely coupled manager, MODX can hopefully take its throne as the best open source CMS/CMF there is. I also think this can lead to a far more popular product for MODX. Right now people look at Revo as an aging product, and this is a turn off for many (serious) developers.

In the mean time, other modern CMS are developed. For example:

Not to mention (micro) frameworks like Slim, Symphony and Laravel are getting increasinly popular by the day. If MODX wants to stay relevant for the years to come, something needs to happen, and it needs to happen soon. At the current rate things are going, we will all be over on something else pretty soon, and I'd hate that.

Again, I love MODX. I want to keep using the brilliant freedom I can not find anywhere but MODX, but it is hard when so many other things are negative.

But MODX needs to earn money too!

I know this post is very negative and I more or less attack MODX head on. I'd like to conclude this post by saying that I love all you are doing, and I know you need to generate income by doing work for customers or continue to develop your cloud solution, but I'd like to see more action on the open source front.

I think, and I really mean this, that if you release a modern product that is as fantastic as Revo, with the power of all the new and neat PHP tricks, I think you will earn your money back tenfolds. Just look at the popularity the product I've listed above.

I'd also like to mention and I'd love to help you guy out any way possible. I've offered my help with MODX Next several times before. If there is ever a time you need a new set of eyes, or you need some people to test something, count me in. I really, really look forward to this product. I just hope it comes before it is too late.