With a focus on APIs over new features, Magnolia International Ltd.’s latest roadmap announcement now includes yet another version of the 4.x release, with a target date of November 2011. This is a managed upgrade approach from the Swiss-based CMS maker, looking to lessen the pain (and perhaps risk) of moving websites and future CMS development to a full-blown Magnolia 5.0 version.

Gearing Up for Magnolia 5.0

This approach will usher in a “gradual shift to Magnolia 5.0 by migrating existing sites to Magnolia 4.5 first,” the company said in a statement. New projects developed on the upgraded platform are expected to run on Magnolia 5.0 “…without further modification.”

By “managed,” the company said it is releasing Magnolia 4.5 with a new templating and security layer (Java 6 and JCR2.0) and support for CMIS / REST (interoperability and representational state transfer) web services. What’s not on the table for 4.5 is the new UI and Digital Asset management upgrades.

CMIS Support

Magnolia said the CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services) upgrade “…will make it easier to provide documents managed within Magnolia to other systems and vice versa.”  This is a standard that Magnolia co-sponsored and which has gained traction in the document management and ECM world, according to the company. The REST web service API (characterized as “the remote procedure call of choice… great for dynamic languages -- especially JavaScript”) will help open the door for other apps to directly access Magnolia content.

Templating for Mobile

On the templating side, the STK2.0 now supports mobile “…which makes all sites developed with Standard Templating Kit instantly available as a mobile version,” the company said. To get there, the technology will include a new “page component variation” approach. On top of that, a recent Gregory Joseph Blog indicates STK2.0 will also include HTML5 support and the “super useful ‘extends’ feature.”

Joseph said the items on this “tentative” roadmap for 4.5 include:

  • Upgrade to the basic stack: Java 6 and JCR2.0
  • Repository and content access and APIs (expose and use JCR APIs directly, and provide wrapper.utils for interoperability (here’s a company presentation on JCR2.0 and content API)
  • Security moved to JCR level
  • Upgrade to security activation between author and public instances
  • Support for CMIS layer via standard APIs
  • Inversion of control to improve module development
  • STK 2.0

A Managed Approach to Upgrading to Version 5

Magnolia was expected to move to a full 5.0 version after the release of its CMS 4.4 in December 2010. This was an enterprise version with a focus on collaboration, and the promise of a major update by summer 2011. The previous update v.4.3 came in March 2010 with improvements in content localization, multi-site management support and the Magnolia Store that tracks installed modules.

So while the number 5.0 seems a hard target to hit these days, like Apple’s recent 4S (iPhone) announcement, Magnolia is taking a managed approach to a major upgrade of its CMS platform. But there is still plenty to like, including a new STK with mobile support, upgraded security and CMIS.