January 26th, 2010

A new year, a new release

Few news from the La Distribution front since our last release, 3 months ago. To be frank, things were a little bit slow lastly!

In October/November, i was very occupied relocating from Paris to Berlin, and December was all about family and friends. In January, back on track, i didn’t work on a new major release but small updates on top of Concorde: package updates, security, performances, stability.

The name for this release is Concorde 2 and you’ll find a detailed changelog on an external page.

La Distribution is currently used in production on a few websites, and I’m learning a lot from this experience. Near all latest improvements come from real world usage and that’s a terrific thing.

For the future, Concorde will continue to be maintained, and if needed we’ll release a third version. Also, as soon as possible, we’ll start working on the next major release.

The focus of this next release is to code what we need to deploy our appslots.com service, which represents what we think a mainstream hosting provider should be in 2010. To achieve this goal, the main features will be ‘multi domains’ support and hackability (through plugins, hooks, filters, …). Cool uh?

La Distribution is an open project, so feel free to join the fun :-)

Happy New Year !

October 14th, 2009

Concorde just landed

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Last night, our last release Concorde (aka 0.3-42-3) was pushed to the stable repositories. It’s now officially available for everyone !

The new features were covered in an earlier blog post, but for the end user, quickly, the 3 most interesting improvements are: Localization (french now available), OpenID (consumer and provider) and UI enhancements.

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September 29th, 2009

Upcoming release: Concorde

Photography of the Concorde Metro Station

La Distribution current policy is to release a new version every three months. This allow us to regularly showcase our progress, giving opportunity to testers and enthusiasts to submit their feedback and influence the roadmap.

The end of September approaching, it means a new release is coming its way. It will be named Concorde, after the Parisian Metro Station, no link with a defunct aircraft ;-)

So, what’s new?

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August 21st, 2009

Gallery available one click from you

A decent photo album application is definitely a must have for La Distribution. It’s a top feature, needed by near every user. Who doesn’t have at least one photo camera, and a bunch of photos to upload these days?

When i reviewed the available PHP powered solutions, it seemed that Gallery2 was the most serious solution: pretty well commented code, solid installer, good community. Other evaluated packages were Zen Photo and Coppermine Gallery, but as a developer & maintainer, i decided to focus on one.

logo And actually, Gallery2 was not the final choice … Few months ago, the team behind this application decided to rewrite everything from scratch aiming to build a better, simpler and more modular app. While I’m always suspicious about people that believe they need to restart their project from zero, it seems in this case it was not a bad idea. As of today, development had been relatively quick and the current beta is really promising.

What do i like about Gallery3?

gallery2-350

  • simple MVC code (powered by the Kohana framework)
  • mass uploader (in flash)
  • efficient organizer
  • support for GD or Image Magick (with appropriate detection)
  • out of the box Cool Iris support
  • installer available as a PHP class
  • modular
  • it works

You can test it from the “edge contrib” repository. The package is already pretty good, it supports Single Sign On and UI integration, but it’s still in development, our quality guidelines being pretty rude.

I believe we should be able to have something excellent for (or during) the next major release. Exciting, go Gallery team!

August 4th, 2009

Summer UI Refresh

I commited last week an interesting design update for La Distribution.

While, it was not on the roadmap for the next version, it’s part of a background effort, aiming to always have a simpler, easier & nicer user interface.

So, how does-it looks? (On the left, earlier version, on right, updated).

mini

Hmm, what changed? Well:

  • The Super Bar (on the bottom) start to looks a little bit like a dock, far better.
  • The Top Bar is much simpler, with a small logo on the left, and user/session informations on the right.
  • In the admin application, bread crumbs are now in an expected place, just bellow the Top Bar.
  • The application list is completely refreshed, more colorful, looks fresher.
  • The application settings panels now feature tabs to navigate between different sections
  • Generally, the default width is now simply 1000px instead of the old weird value calculated in ems.

It’s of course not a final version. For example, we’ll likely add a bit of color before next release. Also, maybe we’ll rely more on ajax/javascript to offer a more responsive feeling, and accelerate some user scenarios.

You can already test the updated version, you just have to use the SVN or Edge flavor. As always, we’re waiting for you feedback!

July 23rd, 2009

Update to Barbès released

1262417734_d103dead4a Last night, three weeks after La Distribution first release (codename Barbès), an update was pushed to the stable repositories.

Except the clone feature, this is mostly a bug fix release, so there is nothing huge to expect, only stability improvements and little UI touches to the admin.

On the package side, bbPress is promoted to the main repository, this mean it’s now sufficiently stable, fully featured and supported. Two new packages make their apparitions in the contrib repository: moonmoon (a feed blender application) and gallery3 (the new version of the popular photo gallery application).

To get this new release, just update your current install, or if you don’t have one yet, maybe it’s time to install one with the web installer in a few seconds.

On the development side, a branch was created to help maintain this version while we’ll be moving fast forward on trunk with the development of the new major version. An interesting point is that the now famous 3 flavors of La Distribution are at the time of writing exactly identical. This will not last long!

Bellow you’ll find a more detailed changelog for this release:

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July 20th, 2009

The 3 flavors of La Distribution

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Depending on your profile and your needs, you might be interested in different flavors of La Distribution. The purpose of this article is to clarify the differences between these flavors to help you choose the one that best suits your needs.

Current Stable Release: Barbès

The stable release is the one you get when you’re installing La Distribution with the default Web Installer. In this flavor, La Distribution is updated time to time (like your OS) and you should enjoy the most stable experience. When updates are available, you’re notified in the dashboard and encouraged to upgrade.

To install this flavor, just grab the web installer script, upload it as installer.php where you want to perform the installation, adjust directory permissions and run it through your web browser. That’s all.

This release is made of two package repositories: ‘main’ & ‘contrib’. The first contains the core application and packages that pass our quality requirements. The second is optional and contains more but less advanced packages.

The two URIs for the Barbès release repositories are:

http://ladistribution.net/repositories/barbes/main/
http://ladistribution.net/repositories/barbes/contrib/ (optional)

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July 9th, 2009

How to create packages? A tutorial with Moonmoon.

Distributing a new or existing web application on La Distribution is really easy. All we have to do is to embed the application in what we call a package. As of today, La Distribution can theoretically support all PHP web applications, this mean there is tons of potential applications to package.

Moonmoon logoIn this tutorial we’re going to package Moonmoon a PHP based PlanetPlanet clone. It’s relatively simple, it’s representative of a typical web application, and better, it’s from my friend Maurice! Frankly, I had no clue if the packaging was possible before starting writing this tutorial, so let’s cross our fingers.

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July 6th, 2009

La Distribution release

On thursday, I organized an apéritif to celebrate h6e.net new identity and to launch the first public release of La Distribution. Friends gathered around drinks and this was a very cool summer evening. Thanks all for coming!

apero

The presentation (in french) about La Distribution went well and was very nicely received, generating lot of questions from the audience. As I remember:

What kind of applications are you thinking/dreaming about?

Coming from Netvibes, i can already answer that a widget dashboard application would be a great addition :-)

Also, for me, a killer application would be a personal/social mp3 jukebox where you can put all your music and exchange with your friends. This doesn’t seems very legal at first, but this is a great example of the kind of things you can do when you are 100% in control :-)

What about La Distribution in the enterprise ?

It depends the current needs of the company. For internal communication, blogging and wikis are already great, and generally we’ll do our best to add productivity applications in the catalog. But as of today, if you think about word processor or spreadsheets, i don’t know yet a decent alternative to Google or Zoho.

What do you think of Opera Unite ?

Opera Unite is very interesting, especially their proxy feature. But imho, it would have been better with a traditional server side programming/hosting environment, say PHP. Also, what happen when the laptop running Opera unite is off power or off the network?

Is it possible to apply a theme on all applications?

Not yet, but the ongoing Minimal Themes series is a step in this direction.

How to build a package? Is it difficult?

Building a package is fairly easy, but building a great package is more difficult. Detailed instructions are coming but if you’re a hacker, you can already have a look at the existing ones.

That’s all for the questions I remember. But you, dear reader, maybe do you have other questions about La Distribution?

This is the first post on this blog, hello!