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ByePie 28 Dec 2007 

Having put a lot of thought into the matter over the past several weeks, I’ve made my decision to leave development of SimplePie.

“Why!? Oh Why!?”, you scream (well, maybe not, but I’m not a telepathic seer). For a start, I haven’t actually really used SimplePie myself since early 2006 (now almost two years ago), and I now have less and less to do with PHP at all (and I totally hate it ? a recent bug in SP was caused by the fact that “0” == false ? and have therefore moved to (mainly) Python).

Furthermore, over the past year, since March/April, my time has become increasingly limited, and SP has de-facto been one of the things that I have cut a long time ago (the reason for the lack of commits from me much) ? the majority of my time is now spent on schoolwork, with what is left over being spent working on various specs (predominantly HTML 5 and Tolerant HTTP Parsing).

However, what does the future of SP hold? Well, various decisions need to be made about the future direction ? do you try and improve 1.x further (it was already stretched to breaking point at 1.0, mainly held back by PHP itself ? a sad state to be in), or do you start on the vision of SP2? To take the former option, I doubt you could get much further than what is currently planned for 1.2 with the current 1.x base ? any further development requires a large amount of reworking the internals of SP (to the extreme of being questionable about whether there is any point of not starting from scratch). The latter option is probably the best (though ideally get 1.1 out as soon as it can be).

One of the aims of SP2 is true modularity ? it should be possible to use (and load) nothing more the parser itself (i.e., give it raw XML data, and it gives you an API to access the title, description, etc. as they are in the feed without sanitising them at all) ? which has several advantages for deciding any successor to myself: get people to write various modules for it against pre-existing specs (most of which are only drafts and so will need further development over time). What exactly those modules will be I am mainly undecided (though it won’t, I assure you, be the more complex parts of the API itself ? the design of them is mainly unwritten and comes from knowledge of successes/failures from SP1’s API). I will myself continue maintaining a couple of the modules (namely, the Unicode and IRI ones, both of which I use outwith of SP ? though more may be added to that list).

I’m more than willing to be around in a consulting role for a while ? my contact details are in the footer of my site, and I’ll stay around in the IRC channel for a while ? as well as helping people around the SP1 codebase (though I’d like to see that totally feature frozen come the end of January, with a final non-bugfix release from it in February) ? which is horrifically uncommented in parts, and uses stupidly complex algorithms in others that without prior knowledge of them make no sense (I’ve had issues with some myself when coming back to them having not touched them in a while 🙂 ).

Alas, there’s too much to write about the vision of SP2, so that will have to be done in another post; until then, g’nite.

Posted by Geoffrey Sneddon at 3:23 pm. Comments (11)


Comment by seyDoggy on 28 Dec 2007 at 8:56 pm 

This is sad sad news. I hate to see the future of SP sp bleak. I use it quite a bit.


Comment by Ernie Oporto on 28 Dec 2007 at 9:49 pm 

So will Ryan still be around doing SP development?


Comment by Peter J. on 29 Dec 2007 at 1:20 am 

Thanks for all of your hard work over the last few years!


Comment by Geoffrey Sneddon on 29 Dec 2007 at 4:11 am 

@seyDoggy: I’d be amazed if nobody took over (or just totally forked SP) ? there are so many people who already use it.

@Ernie: Yeah, but he’s never done anywhere near as much as me since I started doing development, and he still doesn’t have my knowledge of XML/RSS/Atom/HTTP/PHP/etc.


Comment by Ryan Parman on 30 Dec 2007 at 10:40 am 

Geoffrey spoke to me about this a few days ago, and he and I have not had much time to go over the details of this transition yet because of the holiday break. I do, however, want to share a few things that we are planning:

1) SimplePie is NOT stopping development. I have big plans for where I want to take SimplePie, and those can’t happen if SimplePie is dead. In posts over the past few months, I’ve talked about where I want SimplePie to go, and that is still the plan, although it may take a little longer.

2) Over the past 3.5 years, SimplePie and it’s community have grown larger than Geoffrey and I could properly handle. It’s certainly larger than I alone can handle. Geoffrey and I will be looking for people in the SimplePie community to get involved with development, support, and other various aspects of the project.

3) I’m expecting to release SimplePie 1.1 in a matter of days. We also have a MySQL-capable branch that was likely to be 1.2, and will now definitely be 1.2. SimplePie 1.5/2.0 are no longer on any kind of timeline, as we need to get new people involved and up to speed first before we really plan those releases out.

As soon Geoffrey and I have time to work out more of the details, we’ll be sure to let you know. 🙂


Comment by cherryaa on 30 Dec 2007 at 4:00 pm 

I’m sorry, too – I’ve only just discovered SimplePie and am bowled over by the amount of enthusiasm, participation and support it brings with it!

Geoffrey, I’d never criticise anyone for “following their heart” so I wish you the very best with whatever you’re moving on to. I hate PHP as well, but for different reasons … I’m just rubbish at it :/

Ryan, it’s good to hear you and the SimplePie community are still on board. Thanks to you all for your great work 🙂


Comment by Geoffrey Sneddon on 1 Jan 2008 at 8:12 am 

FWIW, if it isn’t clear, I will continue on as an inactive developer (which I really have been for several months already), occasionally making odd commits, which are mainly bugfixes (but don?t be surprised if that goes to the extreme of me writing the core of SP2).


Comment by Ernie Oporto on 1 Jan 2008 at 12:48 pm 

Good luck to both of you. Nothing like a trial by fire to get the coding skills up to speed. =) Looking forward to the next versions.


Comment by Sheldon Kotyk on 1 Jan 2008 at 1:28 pm 

Let me know if there is any way my team can help be involved in this project. We will end up using it more as we develop our web products.


Comment by binarywaves on 3 Jan 2008 at 9:05 am 

SP is rocking in the world and the news is disappointing for us. Cheerup guys