Subtext Roadmap

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This document describes the goals for future versions of Subtext as well as a plan for achieving them. The goals for this roadmap are the following:

  • Communicate to end users what features are planned for future releases
  • Elicit feedback from users about upcoming releases
  • Provides a prioritization of features

This document is a work in progress and feedback is welcome.

Administrative Road Map

  1. Documenting existing source code and features. (priority: high)
  2. Fill specific project roles (patch manager, forum manager, etc…) (priority: high)
  3. Set up a website and Wiki for Subtext (unfortunately subtext.com is taken). (priority: med)
  4. Set up an automated build process (NAnt) (priority: low)

Upcoming Releases

As we flesh out the roadmap, we’ll divide it into sections based on planned future individual releases. For now, this document will simply list goals and features planned for the near and far future.

Gotta Have It Features Immediately (priority 1)

These features will directly support the principles of the Subtext project. UPDATE: We are rethinking the single vs multiple blog support. More details later. One important “feature” that must be discussed is the dropping of the “multiple blogs on one installation” feature. In order to maintain Subtext’s goals of simplicity and it’s focus on the hobbyist and individual blogger, it makes sense to focus on the scenario where users are using Subtext to create a single blog. This will distinguish Subtext from Community Server which is geared towards corporations and groups that wish to host multiple blogs. Please provide feedback on this decision.

  • Installer for local setup: We’ve started an installer using the WiX toolkit. Initially, this will be an MSI package that will install both a website and the database when run locally. Eventually, it will have to be able to upgrade an existing installation.
  • Simplified configuration (single blog): By removing the multiple blogs feature, configuration can be simplified immensely.
  • Configuration utility: Upon first installing Subtext, the configuration utility will be an easy to use WinForms app used to set the connection string (and certain other settings if any) within the web.config file. This utility can be run at any time to tweak web.config settings without having to muck around the XML by hand.
  • Kick ass documentation: Can’t stress this enough. We’ll use NDoc to generate code and API documentation. As for user documentation, we’ll have both a project site and a wiki.
  • Comments Automatically Expire: This is currently hard-coded into Subtext and needs to be made configurable. Allow the user to have comments turned off after a configurable number of days. Existing comments will still be displayed, but no new comments will be allowed.

Gotta Have It, But Just not yet (priority 1.5)

  • Friendly Urls: Currently, Subtext creates permalinks that look like http://haacked.com/archive/2005/05/04/2953.aspx. In a future version, we want the permalink to have a more human readable URL. For example, this might be converted to http://haacked.com/archive/2005/05/04/AnnouncingSubtext.aspx.
  • Improved Usability: One of my pet peeves about .TEXT is how hard it is to edit a really old post. You have to page through the data grid of posts till you find it. Instead, a simple option is to create a new admin token that skin creators can place in their skin where a post is rendered. When a user is logged in as an admin, the token is displayed as an icon with a link that the admin can click to edit that post. Thus, to edit an old post, simply make sure you’re logged in as an admin and leverage Google to find the post, and then click on the admin token.
  • Replace/Upgrade FreeTextBox.dll: Hopefully with something that won’t mangle HTML.
  • Comment Moderation: This is merely one tool in the constant battle to fight comment spam. Allows users to turn on and off comment moderation.
  • Simple Comment Filtering Rules Currently, haacked.com uses a simple trigger that filters out comments with a certain number of links. This exceedingly simple filter does remarkably well. To fight comment spam, we should start with a few simple (and configurable) rules for filtering comment spam. We can add more complex rules later.

Important, But Maybe Next Release Features (priority 2)

  • Membership Provider Model implementation: This will be a very simple system that allows a blog owner to create accounts with certain roles (reader, author, admin). Thus a blog can have multiple authors for a single blog.
  • New CSS based Templates: These will be templates that can be “skinned” purely via CSS (ala CSS Zen Garden). We’ll provide a tool for a blog owner to edit and switch CSS for this particular template.
  • XHTML compliance: Both transitional and strict.
  • Comment Filtering Rules Engine: This will be similar to the Junk Mail rules engine in Outlook. We’ll provide a web based interface for creating filtering rule used to combat comment spam.

Features to dream about (priority we’re dreaming)

  • A Spell Checker: For all those bad spelers out there.
  • Migration utility: We’re not so arrogant as to believe you’ll never use another blogging engine again. If you do, we want to help you migrate your permalinks and posts to it.
  • MySql Provider: because not everyone wants to pay for SQL Server hosting and some people want to honor their license agreement for MSDN Universal. ;)
  • Mono support: This may be way down the road, but supporting Mono would be a nice way to introduce the Linux crowd to the beauty of ASP.NET and Subtext. Besides, we’ll finally get props from the Slashdot crowd for our 1337 sk1llz.
  • Intelligent comment filtering: Whether it be via Bayes filtering or some other means, but a more autonomous method of spam filtering is called for.

Tags: Subtext

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