Recently we have had quite a few people reaching out asking wether we’re still moving forward with the project, if there’s any news regarding the much awaited 1.0.5 release and we’ve even had one customer on forums asking if the project was dead. Needless to say, an update is long overdue. So here goes…

We needed a little break

One of the reasons things have slowed down a little the past month is that several team members (including myself and our lead developer Tapan) were in desperate need of a little break. Since launching SB Pro / Pagestead earlier this year, we’ve been on a crazy roller coaster ride without much opportunity to come up for air. We were both feeling like we were running on fumes and decided we needed a little break in order to get some perspective, recharge the batteries and get ready to push forward at full speed.

Both Tapan and myself live and work away from our families, so once or twice a year we head back home to spend some time with our relatives. We typically do continue work during these periods, however this time around we took things slightly easier than we normally would. We didn’t completely disappear though; support remained a number one priority and we made sure customers continued to be looked after. Additionally, we did move forward with the v1.0.5 update, but at a slightly slower pace.

All that said, we are both back into our normal routines since last week and are now moving ahead full speed once again.

Updates in general

Our internal product roadmap is not set in stone; it is not a fixed set of items we’ll be implementing. This is one of the main reasons we do not publish the product roadmap. It happens frequently that additional items get added to the list, and sometimes items end up being pushed back in order to make space for more pressing items. All goes to say it’s very much a dynamic roadmap with regular changes being made to it. Speaking to customers on a daily basis and taking product feedback seriously, this simply happens naturally. Furthermore, as SB Pro / Pagestead grows and the codebase becomes larger and more complex, it happens that unforeseen circumstances pop up which end up pushing back the release date for a certain update.

All this makes it extremely hard to give out estimates for when we’ll be releasing an update. Therefor, we do not give out any specific estimates of when we’ll be releasing the next update. Instead, we’ll mention the quarter of the year in which we’re¬†aiming to have the update available. So when we announce we’ll aim to launch the next update in say Q1 in 2018, this is only our goal. This is not a promise nor guarantee we will indeed have the update ready at that time.

The v1.0.5 update

The version 1.0.5 update is a big one; our biggest update yet. And unfortunately, we’re not able wave a magic wand and magically get everything in place. There are several items we’re working on which have proven to be more complex than we initially anticipated. One of these items is FTP publishing. In addition to regular FTP publishing, being able to publish remotely via the more secure sFTP protocol it a popular request and unfortunately the implementation of this functionality has proven to be quite a challenge.

Another complex issue we’re currently dealing with is our auto-update functionality. After launching SB Pro / Pagestead, the auto-update functionality has gone through several iterations, dictated by the nature of the updates. As the updates became bigger and more complex, the auto-update functionality needed to evolve as well. With v1.0.5 we will be including changes to the bundled block templates for the first time. It quickly became apparent that the auto-update functionality in it’s current form won’t be able to handle this. This is due to the fact that when we include all the block template combined with their external assets (like images, css, javascript, etc) the footprint of the update becomes so big, the auto-update code literally chokes on processing it (as in running out of memory while trying to process the update). Furthermore, v1.0.5 will be the first update which makes a difference between the different packages we have available, adding additional complexity to the matter.

Since the v1.0.5 update includes a number of changes which affects all the included block templates, we also need to deal with pages and templates which have already been saved before this update becomes available. Since these updates involve changes to the markup and CSS used by the blocks, not patching existing pages/template would result in rendering issues for those saved pages and templates. Again adding additional complexity to this this update.

One final item which is currently taking up a lot of time, is the first steps in making maintaining the block templates a lot easier. Up until v1.0.5, blocks are loaded through a static JSON file. We have seen a lot of customers struggling with adding custom blocks, hence we decided to start making the process of maintaining block template easier. We will be providing an admin interface to this end, removing the need to manually edit the JSON file. The end goal is to provide a complete admin interface to manage all the markup and CSS used by the blocks (although we’re not sure wether this be complete ready for the v1.0.5 update, at the very least the element.json file will no longer be used).

New block templates

I previously mentioned changes to the block template. These changes were¬†necessary due to the introduction of a additional set of block templates (an additional 200 blocks) using different external CSS files. These blocks are currently only available to our Enterprise customers, however once we release the v1.0.5 update, we’ll be looking into making these available to Starter and Professional customers as well(at additional cost) . The introduction of these blocks resulted in a number of CSS conflicts, forcing us to make changes to the markup of all the block template in order to fix these conflicts. The downside here is that this makes the v1.0.5 update more complex, but the upside is that we’ll soon have another 200+ block templates available.

The current outlook for v1.0.5

We’re still aiming to release the v1.0.5 update in Q4 of this year. However, as I mentioned before, this is not a guarantee. We always believe quality takes priority over speed. That said, we are aware that a lot of people are anxiously waiting for this update so let me assure everyone that the entire team is working hard to push this out as soon as humanly possible without compromising on quality.

If you have any questions, thoughts, remarks, feelings, etc. please feel free to share them in the comments below.

I have been building web applications and other digital products for more then a decade. Currently on an exciting journey discovering the ins and outs of content marketing while growing my newest business. Dedicated to helping digital agencies and entrepreneurs around the world succeed!

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