So here we are! Finally, a release date for the long awaited version 3.0 of wpMovieLibrary. That’s actually a deadline as much as an objective: it’s been far too long since I started working on this rewrite of the plugin and never had the opportunity to release it properly and it’s really getting on me now. Time to move forward.
What’s taking so long?
Money. Among other things, but sadly, mostly money. Free software does not pay my bills; It’s always been my choice to keep this plugin completely free, and I don’t intend to change that anytime soon, but even though wpMovieLibrary represents about 50% of my work in a month, I frequently have to put everything on hold to work on boring but cash-making contracts.
Aside from keeping you waiting literally for years, the worst consequence of these multiple delays is the fact that while I’m out there busy on client projects, WordPress keeps evolving, and more than once I’ve had to start all over some part of the plugin that were rendered useless by the latest WordPress release. Terms meta, REST API, and now meta registration, you name it. All these are great features that truly bring enhancements to the WordPress ecosystem in general and wpMovieLibrary in particular, but it still means more work before moving on to the next milestone. If I were keeping track of all these backtracking over the years, version 3 should really be renamed version 5…
Where are we now?
The main reason everything’s been so quite for the last eight months or so is that I’m working on version on a private repository over at GitLab. As mentioned above there are periods when I can be weeks without committing, and I don’t want to leave unattended work in progress out in the open on GitHub with the risk of people cloning and using trashcan code all over the place.
Few months ago I made the choice to definitely drop the standard WordPress Post editor to use completely independent admin pages. This means you won’t be editing your movies the same way you edit regular posts. That’s something I’ve been considering for a long time, and the steady development pace of Gutenberg convinced me it is time to move on to that direction. I really believe the Gutenberg editor is a most welcomed change the WordPress, but I also believe wpMovieLibrary has much more to offer by using its own editor. So I’ve been setting up a bunch of complete new pages, and it looks like this:
If you’ve been around long enough you’ll recognize some of the interfaces I shared years ago as part of the late version 2.2. The movie editor is entirely new though, and should be really fun to use. It surely is fun to build! I won’t detail the features today, but let’s just say that most of the requested features for the current 2.x will be taken care of.
The movie editor is about 80% working at the moment; remaining pieces are the posters/backdrops import tools and taxonomies handling; a per-movie history is planned, but I’m not sure yet if I can make it available for version 3. Next step will be the term (actors, collections and genres) editor, and then the remaining landing pages. By the time I’m done with this there should be enough work done on the new meta registration process in WordPress core to rewrite part of how the plugin currently handles metadata registration.
I’m deliberately withholding an another pretty cool feature here, you’ll know more as soon as the movie editor is wrapped up. And if things run smoothly, I may even be able to make the code public on GitHub!
Meanwhile, as you may have noticed, the official website is down until the final release, the official blog having moved over here at blog.wpmovielibrary.com. The donation page is still up though, and I set up a newsletter that could of some use to keep track of future releases and announcements, so I’ll conclude this post with a signup form for those who want to join the ship!