On May 23rd, 2006, the Joomla! team joined the Google Summer of Code program which enables student developers to create new open source applications or to assist already established open source projects. Project management was done by Wilco Jansen and Louis Landry with background support of Johan Janssens. Beside them, a team of mentors selected six projects and six students to participate in the development of specific functionality which will be important for future releases of Joomla!. Development was performed using the pre-released version of Joomla! 1.5. For their effort, the students earned $4,500 USD and participated in the development of new functionality for future releases of Joomla!
The selected projects were centered around Web services, integration, security, database abstraction and Web accessibility. This effort exploited some of the exciting new capabilities which are coming in Joomla! 1.5 due later in 2006.
The areas of focus for this effort were as follows:
- J!Explorer: a platform independent (!) Java client enabling the full power of the new Web service alike additions of the 1.5 framework. With this technology it is possible to develop brand new logic such as a backend management dashboard for site maintenance or content management, without logging into the websites you try to maintain.
- J!Ajax: the AJAX technology offers some new features for the user interface handling. Parts of this technology are included in the 1.5 framework; the 1.5 installer is a nice example. In near future it is possible to build complete interactive and intuitive forms just simplifying the ease of use for users.
- J!Package: extending the installer functionality with a possibility to browse remote directories and offer a one click install and update logic to the administrators of Websites. Full support of third party directories will be included from the start offering third-party developers to offer their own installation and update infrastructure.
- J!ACL: replacement of the current, limited access architecture with the possibility to grant or revoke access on object level (screen, form field, menu item etc.).
- J!NBS: Within this project we have taken first major steps to offer a complete database independent support. For this, we worked on replacement of the hard coded SQL statements with a more general object-to-relational mapping system. This system will be able to generate the SQL based on the driver selected.
- J!WCAG: This project modified the Joomla! code base to create accessible content that complies with the new Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). Along with these modifications, a set of specifications was delivered that will determine what Joomla! needs to output so it is accessible and compliant with the WCAG 2.0
We will continue to evaluate the results of the Summer of Code project and will later incorporate the results into the official Joomla! roadmap for future versions.
Special thanks to our fantastic team of mentors which included Gerben Dierick, Rastin Mehr, Mateusz Krzeszowiec, Wilco Jansen, Samuel Moffatt, Alex Kempkens, Lee Cher Yeong and Mitch Pirtle, Andy Miller, Mark Withington, and Shayne Bartlett.
Exciting times ahead!!!