Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of addressing a large crowd of Joomla developers at their conference in New York. The Joomla community is a fantastic bunch and the time I spent there talking about MooTools was perhaps some of the best I’ve had. The people present were very interested in MooTools and as well they should be. Joomla ships with MooTools built in and there is a large community of Joomla plugin developers who end up using MooTools because of it. Unfortunately, it still ships with 1.1.
A few months ago we, the MooTools team, decided to start focusing more on helping the Joomla community with their upgrade woes and began to re-address the compatibility code for 1.1 to 1.2 in earnest. When I spoke in New York to the Joomla team there and said that our goal was to have something to help them upgrade available by the end of the year, there was, dare I say, rawkus applause.
Well, here it is, Dec 31, and I’ve kept my promise. With the help of many of the MooTools Dev team (Chris Pojer, Darren Waddell, Nathan White, and others) we’ve finally got a compatibility layer that actually works and, more importantly, helpes you upgrade.
First, it logs warnings to the console (such as Firebug) and helps you find the places in your code that need updating. The script is not a compatibility layer as much as it is an upgrade helper. Hopefully this will help us retire 1.1 for good.
Secondly, easily half of the work, if not more, was spent creating a test environment for it. When MooTools 1.1 came out, we didn’t have a test framework to run against the code. When we released MooTools 1.2, we did, and it shipped with tests for most of the functionality included. So to make this compatibility layer, we had to go write tests for all of 1.1 (about 400 individual tests), then write the upgrade helper, compatibility code, and then run the tests from 1.1 against the 1.2 code base with the upgrade helper loaded. Creating the tests for a deprecated code base is no fun but I’m glad we did, otherwise the compatibility code would be in far worse shape.
But as a result of all that work by the MooTools Dev team, I can say that the helper script we released today is likely to cover about 95% of all the changes between 1.1 and 1.2; the other 5% being essentially un-hackable. Still, for most developers, it should cover all their work.
Seeing 2010 roll in with people dropping 1.1 is a great way to start it. If you’re still running 1.1, now is the time to move on.