You are here - the current state of playI've been using eZPublish 4.0 since the beginning of the year. It's not quite what I envisioned when the rumbling of version 4.0 first started, oh so long ago, actually it's nothing like what I imagined.
Hence the title of this post. Initially Vista (Longhorn) was slated as a "minor step" between Windows XP (Whistler) and Blackcomb. However it gradually took on many of the features slated for Blackcomb. People got excited, but it's release was delayed several times, the developers were given other priorities and finally development started afresh based on Windows 2003 server and a limited feature set. When finally released the general consensus seems to be one of disappointment or at least significantly underwhelmed.
Over time there has been quite a bit of excitement of what a new version of our favourite CMS might provide. Given the quantum leap in functionality between eZ Publish 2.0 and 3.0 who knew what unimaginable ecstasy version 4.0 would bring! However time marched on, PHP4 end of life was announced and eZ Publish 4.0 became a port of eZ 3 to PHP5 (continuing the community effort by Paul and Kristof).
Now this is not a bad thing, on the contrary it's the best thing that happened to eZ Publish in recent times (including the Online Editor in the distribution would be a close second).
At the local PHP meetup I would get strange looks because I was still using PHP4. I could get people excited about eZ Publish but people soon lost interest when told that it required PHP4 and a specific version at that. No matter how good the product sounded it's was hard to get people interested about something that had "special requirements". "None of the other PHP CMS have those requirements" was the standard response. It was impossible to get a foot in the door. Hopefully now with PHP5 support more people will be willing to try eZ Publish.
PHP5 support also makes it easier to get eZ Publish into corporate environments. RedHat seems to be the Linux distribution of choice in the corporate world (at least here in Australia) and it's lack of support for php4.4 has meant that in situations where we were the "application provider" we either had to convince the systems people to install the newer unsupported (by RedHat) version of PHP or do it ourselves. Of course this just created a bunch of issues around support (of the custom PHP) and called into question the choice of eZ Publish as a CMS platform.
Oh yeah, eZ runs faster under PHP5 as well!
Three cheers for eZ4.0 on PHP5!
eZ Components to the rescueI spend much of my time working with eZ Publish as a framework by coding extensions that merge existing data sources into a CMS managed environment as well as creating fully fledged applications that run parallel to the CMS. When I learned of the eZ Components project and that it would from the basis of the new eZ Publish version I was very happy.
There are a bunch of subsystems in the current version of eZ Publish that are tightly coupled with the main content module that makes them pretty difficult to reuse in custom modules. Two that come to mind are the Image system and the Rich Text/XML Block Datatype. It seems such a waste that these subsystems can't easily be reused outside of the content module.
From what I've seen of the eZ Components they will solve these type of issues. They will form the building blocks on which future versions of eZ publish are built. From what I can tell current version of eZ doesn't utilise components at all, although some of the components features have made their way into the eZ publish libraries. (Of course running under PHP5 allows the use of components in extensions).
New versionsYesterday I was alerted to an update to the eZ Publish roadmap by a posting from
 Paraphrased from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Development_of_Windows_Vista