Part I - Upcoming Product Versioning and Packaging workflow.


As mentioned in the Top 10 of 2010. We are all set to introduce enhanced product download and upgrade system for our users. JA Update System comprises of New Versioning and Packaging system, Update component for Joomla, to update JA Products right from the Joomla Back-end and complete overhaul of JA product management. The overview is divided into two parts. Have fun reading it.

Eight months of development has gone into this system and currently the new system is under test phase and we are pleased with its performance so far. However, It will still take some time for it be pronounced as Stable and to be put into action.

JA Update Service

This is sure to make things easy for everyone of us and i am sure, this would be the unique Update System ever developed so far in the Joomla Community.

Terms used in this document and how JA defines them :

  • Version: Version will be no longer applied for JA Template Package. Versions are applied for templates elements only (modules, plugins, template itself). One template package consists of many elements.  And the element can have many versions during a package life, However, only the latest version will be available in the package.
  • Updated Date : The updated Date is now officially applied for template package. Normally the updated date of a template package is the latest date that any element of the  package are updated to new version. Eg: JA Teline III have JA News modules. And when JA News module is updated to lastest version on 25 Jan 2010, then the updated date of JA Teline III template package is 25 Jan 2010. When users see that there is new updated date for JA Teline III, he/she will check what element is updated with full changelog, he can decide to update that element or not.
  • Template Package vs Template: Template package refers to a template + included extensions (all wrapped under one zip) while template refers to a single template element which is the core element of a template package.

Why change ?

Product development involves bug fixing, improvements, addition of new features, compatibility issues etc... and this is a continous process. It applies to templates, modules, plugins and components. Until now we had been updating the download packages under each version release. With over 100 products for distribution under various packages, it's a complicated workflow. At the same time, user has to download the complete package everytime a version is released, element segregation is a problem under current versioning and packaging system. So, in the last 7 months we have worked upon and developed better versioning and release platform and named it as "JA Update Service".

Whats coming up with JA Update Service?

  • User can check the release date and download only the selective elements which needs to be updated on his / her site.
  • Date of Update would be the main criteria.
  • We generally keep updating the packages as and when any bug is fixed. This does necessarily not require a version release. Version release is generally undertaken in view of priority bugs or issues.

Image 1 (below) : How the JA versioning / packaging is undertaken as on date.

Old Versioning and Packaing

Image 2 (below) : How the new Versioning / Packaging will be :

Proposed Versioning and Packaging

As shown above :

  • It would be possible to download only a module (updated one), instead of downloading the complete package.
  • Changelogs and version details will be linked in the "Details".
  • It will also have a countdown of days since updated.

Behind the scene :

  • JA Download packages are made on the fly from various trunks of SVN. For ex. any package which contains 5 elements (modules, plugins, template etc...) are taken from the respective SVN. Joomla Core distribution is added on the fly along with sample data files and mysql database.
  • Changing the download system to have the above functionalities is a big task and wll also requires synchronization of forum, main site, permissions etc...
  • The development and coding for above download system has taken over 8 months and again is an In-house production.


Whats in the Part - II

How do you feel about updating your template or plugins or modules right from your Joomla Back-end and that too without losing your custom edits? Well, that's the power  JA Update Component will give you, details of which are coming up in Part - II.