Squiz Matrix 6 is coming
18 Dec 2017 By Bartek Banda
We’re extremely excited to announce the upcoming release of Squiz Matrix version 6.
The planning and development of Matrix 6 started early this year, and today we’re thrilled to finally break the news to the world.
The Matrix team has been listening to user feedback and reviewing industry standards to bring you a next generation version of the Squiz Matrix CMS platform. Big version updates can take months, sometimes years in the making, and we’re really excited to provide our users with what we believe to be the best version of Matrix yet.
Matrix 6 will refactor a lot of backend framework components and will also feature a reimagined frontend Admin user interface.
The aim is to create a new foundation for the platform to grow on, using modern web technologies and updated server stack components.
Let’s have a look at some of the big changes coming to this exciting new release.
A reimagined user interface
When we released Matrix 5 in 2014, we changed a lot of the visuals components to the Admin interface. Most of these changes were simple CSS changes to things like colours, backgrounds, and layouts.
For Matrix 6, we’re taking this to the next level.
We’re planning a complete re-write of all the CSS and many areas of the HTML and JS will also be refactored. We’ll be building the new interface on the Bootstrap 4 framework, which will also make it easier for users to extend and customise the editing interfaces as you’ll be working with the most popular and common frontend library on the market.
The introduction of other frameworks and libraries is also in planning, with the overall goal to create a much more modern, fast, and user friendly interface for you to interact with.
Refactored backend components
In order for us to ensure that Matrix can evolve well into the future, we need to make sure that it has a solid foundation to do so on.
There are many areas of the core backend that were due for an update. We are spending serious effort on improving how Matrix operates in order to make it as fast and optimised as possible.
Here are some examples of things already in development:
- A new logging system for storing changes and events. This will in turn enable us to build things like better content versioning controls and new reporting and maintenance tools.
- Moving the Safe Edit and Metadata system off the file system. This will improve performance, reduce disk space, and eliminate the need of having to use that “Regenerate Metadata Files” checkbox ever again.
- A new and improved Matrix search tool for faster indexing and advanced backend search options for better content discovery and more powerful implementations.
Deprecations and removals
Over the 14 years that Matrix has been in development, there have been a lot of new assets, screens, tools, and features added to the product.
We are now at a stage where we need to do a big stock-take, clean out the features and assets that are not needed anymore, and put a greater focus on what users actually need and use.
We’re spending a lot of time reviewing the whole feature set of Matrix and have already identified several asset types and screens that are safe and make sense to either remove or convert to other more common functionality.
Reducing the feature set in Matrix will not only make it significantly easier for us to maintain, but also simplify interactions and reduce the learning curve for new users.
Other new stuff
There are lots of other big updates we’re planning for Matrix 6, and the original release will act as the new bedrock for us to build these new features on.
Improvements like closer Git integration, more connectors, better system replication and import/export tools, are just some of the other big ideas we’re planning on adding.
When will Matrix 6 launch?
The release of Matrix 6 is currently scheduled for the last quarter of 2018. But this is only an indicative date that will most likely change over time. Before then however, we’ll be releasing Matrix 5.5 at the start of 2018.
Version 5.5 will feature a lot of improvements to the Admin interface, but more importantly, it will act as a stepping stone towards version 6.
We’re also updating the server stack support for version 5.5 so that you’ll be able to run Matrix using PHP 7.1 and PostgreSQL 10 on EL7.
More information around Matrix version 5.5 and 6.0 will be published in the coming weeks.