I wanted to give everyone a progress report as to where we are with Version 5 of X and some adjustments we've made along the way. First off, there have been several sneak peaks along the way, so if you have not had a chance to review those first please do so here (must be in the X User Facebook group to see this one) and here.
A Quick Analogy
Imagine you are on an island surrounded by water on all sides. For all intents and purposes you have the necessary tools needed to get off that island, however you are responsible for not just building your own bridge but for all the future people who will use that road. You know enough to know you want to get off the island, but since you physically can't see the land on the other side (yet), you start building.
Somewhere along the way, the other side starts to come in to view. There IS land over there! But you realize that the bridge you have built thus far is not going to be suitable to make it to the other side. You trek back across the bridge already created to begin anew with this new found knowledge.
As you get back to the spot you originally stopped you notice something astonishing. There is a friend on the land you are trying to reach building a bridge out to you! You work all the harder and realize that with double the effort, the gap will be shortened in half the time! Both sides work hard only to meet in the middle and discover they are not properly aligned. While they could patch something together and get across, they both know this would not best serve the many people in the future who will use this road.
Resolute and re-committed they each go back to their respective sides and begin again.
In many ways, this represents both the challenge and opportunity of our plans for V5 of X. Creating the construct for what we are going to introduce in this latest version does not exist anywhere in WordPress and in many ways is like starting to build a bridge to land you can't fully see.
Along the way, we've had to make adjustments and at some points complete rewrites of thousands of lines of code. Whole ideas we developed had to be scrapped and re-imagined. While on some level this is challenging, this is what our customers pay us to do, and we don't take that responsibility lightly.
Each new challenge presents a silver lining with the proper perspective, and each of these silver linings create a stronger product for you to use.
Thankfully, we are past the point in the story where both sides have seen each other and we are well underway with connecting the bridge 🙂 Here are a few more specifics.
The Footer Builder
One of the exciting updates is that the footer builder will be included in 5.0! All things considered, it felt incomplete to not offer this other builder from the outset even though we had planned it for a later release. Much of this new building experience is about seamlessly jumping from world to world (global to on page to header to footer), and being able to build your footers with the degree of control you will be able to build headers felt important.
While not in our original scope for V5, we are pleased to announce you'll now have two new builders to utilize in 5.0!
Mapping In Modules
We are to the stage of actually mapping in the modules. Modules are like Elements in the page builder but for headers and footers. These modules are developed in such a way where you will be able to manipulate virtually everything in a powerful control panel (in real time of course) to create beautiful new orientations and layouts.
We want to be extra careful with this step as we have had the markup for the modules written for months, however now that we are building them into the builder, we are painstakingly going through each control to insure everything works as intended. There are many creative decisions still made in this time as we see that certain decisions made previously need to be tweaked, could be done better, or don't need to be there at all based on what we know now.
V2 Elements with Advanced Controls
For quite a while we have planned to bring more advanced controls to Elements in Cornerstone. These new controls will not be in V5 (for the page building part—they will for headers and footers) BUT the foundation that you will see in headers and footers is exactly what will be utilized to bring you V2 Elements. What we have built—and what will be debuted in V5—is the blueprint for how those advanced controls will be brought to Cornerstone's Elements.
I don't want to get too far ahead of myself at this point, but the important takeaway is that the foundation we have built here is for the next several years of X and Cornerstone development. It is strong, powerful, and built for the future. We have a very clear roadmap here, and this is one of the key reasons proper execution here is so critical.
New Senior Level Developer
Starting November 1, we are bringing on a new senior level developer to assist with production on our timeline. Developing at this level in a team setting can be a real challenge if the proper processes are not in place (which is why many products have one main developer), however we have an ambitious future roadmap (remember, 100% of the theme market 🙂) so we are excited to expand that team to three. His first month will be working through some fringe but important projects, and we are excited to grow the pace at which we can bring you future core developments.
We have approximately four weeks of work to map in all of the remaining modules and a week of final polish. There will no doubt be some further refinements in that window including complementary work being done on the live preview and live editing side of things while those modules are being mapped, but that is our final punch list. Either way at the end of that time frame you will receive another update from me, and it is my hope that update will be announcing the beta. Please keep in mind that there may be some new discoveries in this final push that need to be addressed. As much as we want to get this release out yesterday, we want it to be done right and to the highest of standards. After the beta and addressing any final bugs and kinks discovered in that time, we'll be ready to rock and roll.
I'll have more substantive info for you on the process during our beta, but thank-you in advance for your patience through this season. To say we are excited about what this will mean for our current and future customers is an understatement! This will not just be an exciting leap forward for the future of X and Cornerstone, it will be an exciting leap forward for web building as a whole.
All my very best,
UPDATE: December 1, 2016