[ic] "Interchange 6"? Really?

Peter peter at pajamian.dhs.org
Thu Sep 29 04:00:00 UTC 2011

On 29/09/11 13:38, Paul Jordan wrote:
> So from a business standpoint, anything I am doing now - no matter how
> well written, will assuredly need a rewrite sooner than planned. As
> these systems grow and evolve, at some point you have to say do I keep
> dumping time and money into this, or do I need to get the client onto
> IC6. This is something that was never in the original estimate, and it
> is not a trivial task considering a rewrite, and all the testing that go
> along with replacing something that is already working.

Not necessarily, IC5 will be around for ages (I would say a *lot* longer
than five years).  You can leave your existing sites on IC5 and they
will continue to happily churn away for a long time to come, and it will
be supported.  Also there will eventually be a clear migration path so
you can move your sites over to IC6.  I think that when the
compatibility plugins are ready it should be a little bit more difficult
than upgrading from an older version of IC (say IC4.8 or 5.0) to the
current version.  It will mean having to install any base modules for
IC6 and making a few "compatibility" tweaks in catalogs.  While a lot
can happen between now and then my personal belief is that there will be
compatibility plugins to support ITL, usertags, catalog and global
config files, actionmaps, jobs, etc.  The base goal will be to take a
current standard demo shop and get it to run with minimal changes on
IC6, then to add in any other needed compatibility.  At least that's how
I see things progressing.

> The way I see it, if IC5.x continues to operate for another 5 years,
> I'll take on the rewrite on my own time. What can affect this is the PCI
> standard making keeping up to date more of a priority, and some updates,
> like perl, breaking IC, but there appears to be maintenance support.

Right, I am sure that those sorts of changes will be the minimum that we
continue to support in IC5.

> #1 I'd like to see a realistic guesstimate when a fully function IC
> replacement will be ready. Whether it is 2 years or 5 years makes a lot
> of difference how I run my business.

Stefan is the person in the best position to answer this.

> #2 Are there some projects that the community can fund that will "lessen
> the blow"? Maybe we can start using the new syntax now with a middle
> man? This will lessen rewrites of tomorrow at the cost of speed today.
> I'm fine with that.

For now I think we need to focus on getting an initial release out, that
will be mainly up to Racke.  I think maybe funding some design work for
a demo shop might go a long ways towards that.

In the future, funding would help to add new plugins, especially the
compatibility stuff (which I would be happy to work on myself but I will
probably need funding in order to make any decent headway on it).

Also there will likely be a need for documentation.

> #3 Is it possible for the community to pay for an interim tool that that
> will run IC 5.x and 6.x simultaneously for a domain? This will allow one
> to migrate to the new system over a year or two. We can build new
> features for clients in IC 6.0 while taking our time converting older
> code. I would think the main issue would be session management?  I do
> primarily back office systems, very complex compared to a store. It
> irk's me that I would need to work in IC5.x bang up to the date that a
> full rewrite is done... It's not like a store where complex features are
> less frequently requested.

There is no issue with running IC5 and any other platform (IC6 included)
on the same server or same domain.  I would suggest keeping the sessions
separate if you want integration and just setting up some sort of login
sharing (which is easily done).

> Who knows, maybe we can start writing 6.x code in 5.x as or running IC
> 6.x apps inside or alongside 5.x by next summer...
> I guess what I am asking for is akin to XP Mode... We need a IC5 Mode :-)

Honestly, I think it's best to just keep IC5 code in IC5 and develop for
IC6 when that platform is ready (I think that there will be something
ready soon).  As far as current development goes, I would suggest the
following roadmap:

1.  Continue to develop your site(s) in IC5 for now.

2.  Develop *new* sites on IC6 when it is available.

3.  When the compatibility plugins are available, at that stage you
should move your IC5 sites to IC6, at least the ones still in active

4.  After that point you can do new development on those old sites in IC6.

> #4 Can someone at the Dev Group throw up or link to an interim wiki or
> forum for users to use as they wish? I'd like to post tags that I have
> available, and others could too. We can also try to get funding together
> for IC 5.x or 6.x projects - which depend largely on the answer to #1.
> If you guys can pick a good one, even if it is off site, and link to it
> (make it official) we'll take care of the rest. Although it would be
> nice if it was somehow searchable on the main site.

If someone wants to do this then I would be happy to post some of my
code and guides up there as well.

> I know I'd like to spur a feature rich coupon system as mentioned a few
> months back,

Be careful trying to create a one-size-fits-all coupon system.  It gets
really complex really fast and then just becomes a PITA to work with.
Keep it simple and it is a lot easier to use.

> Lastly, I think in the begging of 2012, or possibly sooner, I will throw
> up some redesigns of icdevgroup.com, because it does have an image and
> marketing problem. The fact that starting to use it today assures a more
> complex tomorrow makes it even worse, so, we need to spin that in a
> positive light, and we need to let people know it is a product to take
> seriously.

I am all for this.


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