The EZ* Road Map

The EZ* Road Map : 2012-2013

Now that I've finished the previous year's development goals - I figured it was time to begin mapping out the road map for the coming 12 months.

The first order of business has been to revamp JustJoomla.com and release a couple of new extensions which I've been working on over the past 12 months - and now that I've got those done - I'm gearing up for the next round of development work.

This will take me through to next year, and the major development activity underpinning everything over the coming 12 months will be the conversion of all my EZ* addons to be fully mobile-friendly - rather than only being mobile-friendly if customers configure the layouts appropriately.  Much of the groundwork for this has been done during development of the new EZ Clubs and EZ Affiliates extensions, so hopefully the implementation won't take too long.

In terms of new features - I've got a number of new features to integrate into EZ Portal and EZ Watchlists - as well as a long todo list for both EZ Realty and EZ Autos.

I'll write more on the specifics of these in the coming weeks.

The EZ* Road Map : 2011-2012

EZ Realty and EZ Autos have both been undergoing major rewrites and restructures this year in preparation for Joomla 1.8x, which is why upgrades for Joomla 1.6x and Joomla 1.7x are somewhat late.

Phase One (completed)

Phase one has involved restructuring EZ Realty and EZ Autos - to return them to core real estate and automotive listings functionality. The other part of this phase has involved a complete rewrite of the front-end of these components, and a partial rewrite of the back-end.

During the front-end rewrite, much of the HTML output has been converted into CSS-based layouts. Search forms have been discontinued, and all search functionality has been integrated into the listings pages as dynamic filters and table headings - along with optional inclusion of Google Mapping - to achieve an intuitive and user-friendly search process.

The great Joomla SEF URLs are also now a part of EZ Realty and EZ Autos as a result of the rewrites - and they look great!

Changes resulting from the restructure include the following:-

  • front-end members listings management has been moved out of EZ Realty and EZ Autos, and will now have its own component - to enable better development of this system and development of a more flexible paid listings system.
  • VIP Buyer's system has been moved out of EZ Realty and EZ Autos, and will also now have its own component. The VIP Buyer's system has traditionally been constrained due to its inclusion in as part of the main component - so being moved out to its own component will now enable full development of its potential.

The original goal for the end of phase one was to have EZ Realty, EZ Autos and a selection of modules running on Joomla 1.6x - however that goal has been reached and exceeded, as EZ Realty, EZ Autos and their modules also run on Joomla 1.7x.

Phase Two (completed)

Phase two is due to start once the J1.6/J1.7 compatible versions of EZ Realty and EZ Autos are released - and will consist of the following activities:-

  • development of the new component to handle seller profiling, front-end member listings management and paid listings will be finalized and released.
  • development of the new VIP Buyers component will be finalized and released.
  • development of the adverts components will be finalized and released. these components have had significant upgrades so far - so there's only a small amount of work left to be done as part of phase two.
  • EZ Feeds will undergo a 2-part upgrade. The first part will be to upgrade it for Joomla 1.6/1.7 - at which time it may be released. The second part will be a review of the system for a possible restructure - to move EZ Feeds from its current reliance on using feed files for a specific target site - to a more dynamic user-defined system. This second part is a long-term goal.

While work is being done on updating and finalizing these components - rewrites will continue to be done on the main EZ Realty and EZ Autos component admin areas. The rewrites are mostly aimed at updating the code-base in preparation for Joomla 1.8x.

New features and changes slated for introduction into EZ Realty and EZ Autos during this phase of the rewrite includes moving category management out of the main EZ* components and into the Joomla category manager - to take advantage of the recursive directory structure available in Joomla. The image upload system is also slated for upgrades during this phase.

The end of phase two will hopefully coincide with the release of Joomla 1.8x, and I'm hopeful that the code-base of the EZ* components will then only need minor adjustments to run on the Joomla 1.8x system.

Phase Three (completed)

Phase three was due to begin with upgrading the EZ* components to run on Joomla 1.8x - however Joomla skipped straight to Joomla 2.5x - so I adapted this phase to getting the EZ* components running on Joomla 2.5x. That was done around mid-February - and I've finished off phase 3 by releasing a range of upgrades today and a range of new companion components. The companion components have been developed to extend the functionality and features of EZ* - and were a medium-term goal when I began the restructure of EZ* last year. Now that the companion components have been finished - users have the ability to manage VIP Buyers, an availability calendar, HTML/print adverts of their listings, and paid listings support - although PayPal is currently the only payment gateway supported.

Phase Four (completed)

Phase four has been aimed at 2 key activities - ensuring the new features and companion components were stable, and to release bugfixes where necessary - and to begin writing in the core Joomla translation support.

This completes the structure roadmap for the EZ* products, and takes us back onto the development roadmap, which incorporates a cycle of integrating new features, testing, releasing an upgrade, receiving customer feedback, and making refinements to the system.

The Development Todo List

Now that the restructure is complete - we've got an exciting list of new features that we'll be incorporating into our various EZ* components over the coming 12 months.

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