Are we there yet?

No, Donkey. Well, sort of.

TFW you realize you’re, like, eight months behind schedule.

Finally, something that somehow looks like wpMovieLibrary³ is here. The official GitHub repository has been updated, you can download the latest version over there. Does this mean we’re done? Well, no.

The version of the plugin you’re about to install should really be considered as a Beta. I would’ve loved to release a final version instead, but I feel it’s just safer to go that way. We’ll see why.

We come from far…

It must be the hundredth time I’m writing but, wpMovieLibrary³ is a complete rewrite of the plugin, meant to be easier to use, extend and maintain. WPMovieLibrary version 1 was a small, personal project that was never supposed to draw any attention; WPMovieLibrary version 2 was a clumsy attempt to make this personal project a more usable tool for a variety of people and websites. wpMovieLibrary³ now tries to complete the process by offering an (almost) (sort of) professional solution to people who want to manage movie libraries.

It took way, way too long to build this third version and I’m pretty ashamed to admit it is, as of today − and in my humble opinion − nowhere near ready to be publicly released yet; But I also have to confess I’m getting deeply tired of this project running in close circuit for all these years, just between myself and a couple of testers. Time to go public. Time to get feedback and move on.

wpMovieLibrary³ should really be considered as the fifth or sixth version of the plugin. By the time I was done with the early stages of the rewrite, WordPress had introduced major changes that definitely had to be implemented in the plugin. By the time I reached the second phase of development, the REST API was merged to the core, prompting yet another set of adaptations, and now that we’re here, the next update will probably need to introduce yet another major change, this time on the deepest part of the plugin: how metadata are handled and stored. This actually should have been part of the current release, but I deliberately postponed it to let people adapt to the big changes in the overall handling of the plugin without fearing to lose data on top of it.

… And we’re still far, far away.

Far away from what I’d really love to see in this plugin, that is. I have tons of ideas and features I want to add. While testing this Beta you’ll notice a lot of features are missing, including but not limited to general settings, Headbox theme choices, grids filtering options, multiple movie import, limited terms thumbnail management… All these features will be back soon, but first I want to make sure we’re not going the wrong way with what’s already done. Which brings me to my next point.

Why is it not on

Because it shouldn’t, for now. wpMovieLibrary is not a popular plugin, really, running only on a few hundreds of sites. Little more than one thousand if the official statistics are to be trusted. But the changes brought by wpMovieLibrary³ and the number of popular sites relying on the 2.x version require a very cautious release of a major update.

Having been developed and tested in an almost closed circuit for the past few years, wpMovieLibrary³ requires heavy testing and feedback by real users; hopefully releasing the plugin in its current stage, with limited features, will provide great comments and suggestions as to what should be improved, modified, removed, etc. Keeping neat lists of feature requests and bug reports will tremendously ease my task while giving a working update of the plugin for those who dare use it.

Note that the plugin requires PHP 7.2, the latest WordPress version (4.9.8 by the time I’m writing this) and relies almost entirely on the REST API, more reasons why updating to version 3 should be completely voluntary as most users don’t have access or knowledge as to how and why they should worry about this (and they shouldn’t, actually).

So, what’s next?

If you’re willing to join the ride, download the update over at GitHub, make complete backups of your site’s files and database and install the plugin, play with it as much as you want, and bring on your impressions, bug reports and feature requests!

Obviously, try not to report obvious missing features, like multiple movie import, person handling, actors pictures support, etc. I’ll be sharing soon on GitHub lists of planned features, known bugs and planned fixes.

For now, I’ll take a week or so to put those lists together and deal with feedback, then move on with what’s need to be done! But right now it’s 5:40 AM and I haven’t slept so I’m heading off to bed for a couple of hours before my daughter wakes me up. She was born exactly seven months ago, by the way, and her name’s Julie.

I’d also want to thank each and every one of you for being supportive over the years. Your patience and kindness are so humbling. Thanks to you all.

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