Back in March Hippo CMS 7.5 (news, site) was released. That version was focused on localization and contextualization. This week, the open source WCM provider releases Hippo CMS 7.6, but this time, the focus is on supporting developers as they build their websites and applications.

Focusing on the Needs of Developers

Most of the time Web CMS vendors like Hippo focus their releases on new functionality and enhancements that make the lives of editors and website administrators easier and allow them to offer content and features to their customers. And this should be the focus of releases in most cases.

But sometimes you need to pay homage to the tons of developers who sit in the back rooms building the websites and web applications that use your web content management system. And this is what Hippo has done with its latest release out this week, Hippo CMS 7.6. So Hippo listened to the feedback coming out of its community and fixed a few things for developers, plus offered a few other things.

Hippo Trail - Developer Website

According to Ajre Cahn, CTO and Founder of Hippo, the Hippo Community has grown dramatically over the last few months. He told us that there is 3-4 times more traffic now than there was a year ago. So they wanted to step back and work on improving the developer experience.

One of the things Hippo has done is create a new developer website: the Hippo Trail.

Hippo Trail

The Hippo Trail offers improved documentation for all levels of developers from the beginners (Hippo Baby Steps) to the experts (Hippo Awesomeness).

Hippo Trail

The website includes documentation, source code, public forums, bug tracker, wiki and lots more. Says Cahn in a recent blog post:

I really want to stress that with our latest set of releases -- including 7.5 and our newest 7.6 that we’re focusing a lot of attention on feedback that we’ve gotten both from beginner Hippo developers – all the way through to some of the most advanced developers out there.


They asked and they have received. Hippo CMS 7.6 includes a new HST REST API. The best news about this is that the developers can define how they want the API to look.


Relaxed CNDs

In prior versions of Hippo CMS, once you created a content type and launched it into production, you couldn't change it. Now Hippo offers relaxed CNDs (relaxed node types). Essentially, node types, or CNDs, are the same as schema definitions in an XML schema or table definitions in a relational database.

Saying they are relaxed, means that you are now able to change them in production.

Hippo relaxed CNDs

Now when you create document types using the document type editor in Hippo, simple CNDs are created. Hippo does say there may be instances when you still want to use strict typing of your document types. You can read more about this change on their website here.

Support for Spring & More

Developers have been integrating the Spring framework with their apps already, but now Hippo has come more inline with what Spring is doing. Hippo offers support for Spring MVC.

You also already know that Hippo support CMIS with its recent Nuxeo integration. And there are a few more goodies you can read about here.

Hippo Friday

Hippo is committed to supporting its developers. It's also committed to ensuring innovation of its product. To do that, Hippo decided to allow its development team to pick what it wants to work on every second Friday. Called Hippo Friday, 10% of each employees time can be spent on whatever they want.

Cahn said this was a little hard to get started at first, because it does require taking time away from the businesses they support. But they are seeing a lot of innovation and that is something required to ensure the continued success of the Web CMS.

The next version of Hippo CMS is in the works and it does redirect its focus to editors and administrators, but I doubt the developers will be completely cast aside. Cahn believes the community is critical to the success of the open source CMS. With the market for solutions that support web engagement growing more competitive, it will be important for Hippo to continue its path of multi-channel, multi-lingual content delivery and contextualization.