Announcement Last update Cyclos2, planning Cyclos3

Functionality discussions and feature requests

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Announcement Last update Cyclos2, planning Cyclos3

Post by hugovanderzee »

We published the last functionality update for Cyclos2. This means no more features will be added to
this release (and therefore no more database upgrades and new translations files).
We will continue to support Cyclos2 but will publish updates only for bug fixes or the addition of new
The main functionality addition of the latest update is the ‘customization’ function. With this function
it is possible to modify the static pages (login, news, contact, info etc), the help pages and the layout
of Cyclos directly from the administration section.
The new update can be tested at the demo sites:

We started to work on a new ‘milestone’ release called Cyclos3. Apart from the more frequent 'updates'
we create releases when a structural modification of Cyclos is planned. The Cyclos3 release is
scheduled to come out in September 2006. The Cyclos2 release was published in January 2006 after
implementing the 'dynamic account' structure. To remind, in Cyclos1 the accounts where still ‘static'.
With Cyclos2 became is possible to ‘design’ a account system. It allows the creation of accounts,
transfer types and set permissions and other configurations (we still provide standard databases).
Apart from the dynamic account structure the main functionality additions of Cyclos2 where the
extended loan and micro finance module, the external payment module and an improvement of the
mobile phone module.

Most of the work of the development of Cyclos3 will be done on the restructuring Cyclos.
The migration from Cyclos2 > Cyclos3 will not be difficult (we will provide update scripts and
documentation for the migration of Cyclos2 > Cyclos3)
The restructuring involves the following technical implementations and modifications:
- Integration of the Spring application framework
- The aspectJ framework will be abandoned in favor of Spring aspect programming
- Use of domain data objects
- Better separation of layers using interfaces
- Integration Junit test framework
- Implementation of a services layer (in stead of the application class in Cyclos2).

The restructuring will have clear advantages:

- Better bugs tracing and prevention
The mayor part of the bugs found in previous versions of Cyclos where due to errors that occurred
when passing data objects through the view–business logic–data layers and the control of user input.
With the new structure and frameworks we will be able to catch most of these bugs (and other bugs
as well).

- Clear design structure
With the new structure it will be much easier for developers to learn about the working of the system
and to contribute to the development.

- Easier implementation of new features
With the new structure it will be also easier to implement new functions. The first release of Cyclos3
will include two new features. The first one is an improvement of the permissions structure.
The second function, called the 'dynamic field' function permits the addition and modification of fields
(described here below).

New feature - dynamic fields
This feature will be added under the ‘customization’ menu in the administration section.
With this feature it is possible to create new fields, set its properties and modify existing fields.
It is possible to create and modify profile, advertisement, loan and loan group fields.
To give an example, when adding a new profile field the following properties can be set:
Visibility: The new field will be visible in the member profile but could also exist in other pages
like registration forms, search member / ads pages, loan management etc.
Permissions: With the permissions can be defined who can view and modify the field and if the
field can be hidden by the member. Various combinations are possible. A member could have view
access to its own profile field but not those of other members, a broker might have full control of a
member field etc.
The field type The field type can be a number, name, e-mail, select box or drop down combo. In the
case the field is a multiple select or combo (like the area field for example) the administration will need
to be able the manage the list items. A user input check will be automatically generated according to
the field type. In the properties can also be specified if (and how) the field will fit in the peer to peer
module that will be added later this year (interconnectivity between Cyclos installations)

The customization functions will make it a lot easier and less error prone for organizations that want
to customize Cyclos. All customized pages and fields are stored in the database. In cyclos3 also
the images and Cyclos settings will stored in the database. This way Cyclos3 will be less dependent
on the local server configuration what will simplify the system tasks (backups, upgrades etc) considerably.
Hugo van der Zee
Cyclos development team
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