Six years of Kunena

What is wrong with Kunena?

A new plan for Kunena

As we come to the end of what has been a disappointing year for the Kunena project, I have been trying to think of a few positive things to write. Kunena is more than just an open-source, web-based discussion forum product that people can download and install at no cost: it is something I am particularly fond of; I would regret seeing its development end and thousands of hours of work become an historical footnote. The sad truth is that the Kunena project has been suffering for far too long and a top-level management restructure is long overdue.

Kunena has enjoyed considerable success over the last six years, rising to become one of the popular extensions used with Joomla. However, while Kunena has been successful in the past, its future is unclear. For over six months there have been no reliable or regular information updates from the Kunena developers. People can draw their own conclusions about this information vacuum but I believe the main reason is the failure of project management at the top. Strategically, Kunena has failed as a project because of the overall inefficiency in its current management: there is no coherent plan or timetable, publicity or marketing narrative to encourage users that a future version (or versions) of Kunena can reasonably be expected.

Of course it troubles me to publicly state my conclusions because of my fondness for Kunena and out of respect for the people with whom I have worked for nearly six years. However, when there are more than just murmurs of discontent within the Kunena community, and when I am frequently asked what I know about the state of the project, perhaps it's time to openly discuss what has gone wrong and how we may be able to fix things … if indeed there's anyone else who feels, as I do, that things can be fixed.

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Even the developers admit that K 3.1 is flailing

Download latest [development] version of K 3.1 here

Kunena and J! 3.4

Kunena documentation

Even the developers admit that K 3.1 is flailing

The latest news about Kunena 3.1 is not encouraging

We unfortunately do not have much new information to share. We have various team members still working on pieces of the software and those parts are progressing (templating, design, etc.). However we have limited experienced architecture developers that can take the current algorithmic code and have a wide experience and knowledge in how to fix and implement some blocking problems to get Kunena 3.1 ready. I foresee a stalled situation until we get our time (which relates to cost) of developing Kunena. "coder4life", When will K 3.1 be released?, 24-Nov-2014

I do not think that anyone requires a crystal ball to “foresee” the stagnation of the Kunena project. For those of you who have followed my blog over the past few months, I think it's as clear as daylight that announcements like the one you see above are little more than a veiled admission that the developers lack confidence in their own ability to shift the project into gear and get it on track again. What is required, in addressing this issue, is less excuses, less political spin and more action.

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Kunena and J! 3.3

In my previous article, I warned of the dangers for the Kunena project about the development of K 3.1 and the diminishing likelihood that (a) a stable release of K 3.1 is expected soon and (b) developers would be able to support it afterwards. If you have been feeling pessimistic, like the dozen or so people who have recently asked me about the status of Kunena, you could be forgiven for your pessimism and I wish I had more reassuring news for you.

About six months ago, I asked the Kunena developers to give me an indication when people might expect to see a beta test release of K 3.1 and a target for stable version that could be released to the public. The timeframe estimate was for late 2014 (possibly before Christmas this year) but that target has since been “revised”. According to the Kunena Wiki site, the release date for K 3.1 is “TBD”—I assume this means “to be determined”. According to another member of the development team, K 3.1 beta is “almost available for download” but that information was posted six weeks ago and there has been no further announcement since then. The growing reality is that K 3.1 is still vaguely being promised and this is not inspiring confidence in the Kunena brand.

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Will K 3.1 be sup­ported?

What new features will be in K 3.1?

The future of Kunena

The Kunena project is on the verge of collapse amid growing fears that its next version [K 3.1] will ever see the light of day. The survival of Kunena hinges on the success of K 3.1 as much as it does on the future of Joomla.

Over the past couple of years there has been a dramatic decline in the number and availability of free third party-developed extensions for Joomla. The “core applications” within Joomla have also been whittled down to the bare minimum: the ability to register new accounts and login to a website, the ability for people to compose and publish articles on the internet and the means for website operators to allow their users to navigate their sites with a menu system. These are the core elements in any website.

Additional features, such as being able to conduct opinion polls (removed in J! 1.6), submit links to other websites (targeted for J! 3.4) or news feeds, banners, contacts and site searching (to be targeted in J! 3.5), are not seen as part of the core requirements that the Joomla CMS and/or framework developers should have to contend with.

As more features have been and will be removed from the Joomla core and effectively outsourced to third-party developers, third-party developers are have become increasingly reluctant to provide these solutions for free. The days of building extensions for free are numbered.

Third party developers, faced with the inevitable likelihood that the hundreds or thousands of hours of their time will go unrewarded, are losing interest in providing extensions for free. The same thing holds true for the Kunena project.

Against this background of declining interest in “doing it for nothing”, the Kunena project has suffered. The Kunena developers have lost the incentive to enhance the forum product so that it continues to meet the ever-present demands for new features while, at the same time, ensuring that Kunena will continue to operate as a part of Joomla.

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

What is a Kunena template (compared to a Joomla template)?

How to install a new Kunena template

This article explains the difference between a Joomla site template and a Kunena component template.

When you install Kunena for the first time it comes with a built-in template called Blue Eagle[1]. Blue Eagle is not a Joomla site template; it is a template designed for Kunena. The files in Blue Eagle are updated and replaced automatically when you upgrade from one version of Kunena to a later version.

Many people want to customise Kunena to better suit their Joomla site; however, if they change the original source code in Blue Eagle those changes are lost when they upgrade to a newer version of Kunena. There are several ways that you can customise the way that Kunena looks on your website. These involve adding your own CSS rules to your Joomla site template or use a custom Kunena template so that, when new releases of Kunena become available, you can upgrade without losing your custom changes.

Based on my own experience using Kunena over many years, this article discusses some of these custom template issues.

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active