The 0.8 release of Stackspin marks several milestones. We’re finishing up the period that was funded by OTF and we’re getting closer and closer to a stable 1.0 release. We also moved closer to a final set of applications, by switching out Rocket.Chat for Zulip and building a proper dashboard application. Lastly, this is the first version that is officially called Stackspin, the new name we announced recently.
Managed Stackspin offering
Stackspin is an open source product, and it will stay that way. In the future, we want people to be able to run a Stackspin cluster with as little effort as possible. But we are not there yet. If you want a Stackspin cluster now, our recommendation is to reach out to us. For a fee, we can already run and maintain a Stackspin cluster for you, and help you with any problems you encounter. The money we get from that, will of course be used to maintain and improve Stackspin.
New dashboard application
We hired Ura Design to improve our UX. As part of this, they designed a new dashboard application which was developed by a developer team at Init. At the moment, this dashboard is used to manage users. We are planning to add other administration features as well, like installing, removing and customizing applications.
The user management dashboard also changed a lot in the back-end. We upgraded to the newest version of Hydra, our OAuth 2.0 and OpenID Connect server and integrated it with Kratos, an identity manager application by the same developers.
Replaced Rocket.Chat with Zulip
Rocket.Chat moved advanced OAuth2 configurations (which we need in order to set up sign-in, especially for Admin users) to their “Enterprise” edition. This meant we could not offer Stackspin free of charge with the user experience that we want to provide. For that reason, we started searching for alternatives. It needs to be mentioned that we also considered Mattermost, an application we have used at Greenhost for quite some time. But they have a similar limitation on OAuth2 integration for free users. We have also gone through a trial of Matrix, with Element as UI. However, we experienced too many problems with it to include it inside the Stackspin offering at the moment.
Then we found Zulip, a chat application that has been around for some time, and recently went open source. Apart from their dedication to open source software, what makes Zulip stand out is the possibility to cluster group conversations by topic. This might take some getting used to, but we found it is a nice solution to grouping several “threads” in one chat.
And many more changes
This post would become way too long if we would try to list everything we have done since the 0.7 release in August 2021. To name a few things, we have improved the back-up and restore procedure and upgraded everything. You can find more details in our changelog.