With all the new features available in Jahia’s 6.5 release, I decided to put together a list of my Top 5 most exciting new features. As a matter of full disclosure, my personal bias in choosing my Top 5 exciting features in Jahia 6.5, is geared toward those features I think can best help our development team deliver high value features for our clients and deliver solutions as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Sure, I like the wiz-bang features too, but for me those usually don’t rank as high as the stuff that helps pay the bills and keep clients happy.
Simplified Content Editing
The success criteria for our projects almost always includes some element related to the adoption and productivity of the content editors once the solution is deployed. Unfortunately, I have to confess that I have been involved in projects that failed because the editing interface was just too complicated for content editors. I’m excited to see the super-simple editing UI in Jahia 6.5. This is not only a great selling point for the product, but also a giant positive factor when it comes to having happy clients at the end of projects.
Natural Development Model
Maybe this isn’t completely new in the Jahia 6.5 release, but I’m including it anyway, because this is such a big sticking point for me with other CMS products. Some CMS solutions require developers to learn some proprietary query syntax, or use some awkward proprietary editing interface. Jahia 6.5 allows our developers to work in a development environment that feels natural to them. They can use their favorite IDE, familiar libraries and familiar tools. Here are a couple of examples:
- Jahia and component modules are built using Maven; builds and deployments can all be done with Maven
- Jahia provides Maven archetypes for creating a custom module projec
- The product (and modules) are built using familiar best-of-breed open source components like Spring, Lucene, Jackrabbit, EH Cache, and others
To me, all of this adds up to a lower learning curve for developers who are new to Jahia, and more productive, happier developers in the long run.
Portlets + Modules
I like having options. Flexibility is a good thing, right? When it comes developing and deploying modular functionality, Jahia now provides two options. In cases where I want to deploy standards-based portable functionality, Jahia continues to provide JSR-168/286 portlet support through the well known Pluto container. Jahia 6.5 also introduces a new, more powerful option for developing and deploying modular functionality through their aptly named “modules”. Modules can be reused across projects and deployments and allow a level of customization well beyond anything possible in JSR-168/286 portlets.
One of the most challenging parts to many of our projects is the integration required with other systems, both internal and external. Integration considerations can result in a robust scalable solution or they can lead to a brittle solution full of bottlenecks and unmaintainable dependencies. Jahia 6.5 is built using the Apache Camel integration framework for its own internal integration and for integrating with external systems. This gives us a huge head start in solving our integration challenges, and helps us ensure that both internal and external integration is done coherently and intelligently
It’s been a long, long time since a client has approached us about a project that didn’t include some sort of social features, whether it was a community forum, comments, voting, or sharing. Sometimes the easiest solution for these features is a third-party widget like AddThis, but other times social features can be so much more compelling to end users and valuable for an organization when they are built into the core of the website and integrated with website’s UX and data. I love that Jahia 6.5 leverages Apache Shindig to provide organizations with all the plumbing they need to build out their social features. Jahia provides a few social features out of the box, and for everything else they give me the tools I need to build amazing social features with minimal effort.
So that’s my list. Of course there are also a lot of other cool things in the Jahia 6.5 release that didn’t make it into my Top 5 (REST API, consolidated JCR content storage, GWT editing UI, remote publishing, etc). I’m curious to hear what others would include in their Top 5 list.