PEAR 1.4 at the horizon
Especially Greg Beaver and of course many others have done a great job and the implementation of PEAR 1.4 will possibly reach a new milestone by the end of this week 1. Of course this version of the PEAR core brings a huge lot of new features.
The installer now supports channels, which means, that everyone is free to set up a PEAR like repository and integrate it directly into the installer, using a channel.xml. Multiple channels can be accessed directly from one of the installer interfaces (console, HTML, GTK). Setting up a PEAR like repository will be allowed using the new package PEAR_Server 2 3.
Another new feature of the installer are real post install scripts, which give the developer a flexible way to customize the package installation and procede further installation steps beside file installation (like setting up a MySQL database as PEAR_Server does) 4. This is especially interessting for delivering complete applications with the pear installer instead of just components.
One of the greatest new advantages is the automatic resolution of package dependencies 5, 6. Using different options you can download all (including optional) dependcies or just necessary ones. Dependencies can be bundled in groups, which can take a help text to describe their sense.
The package.xml file (which has been shown a bit crappy with time moving on) has been nicely refactored, allowing comfortable usage of the new installer features 7, 8. The conversion between the old and new format is quite simple, using the pear convert command. New PEAR packages will contain both, a package.xml and a package2.xml, so that installation is BC.
Another nice feature is the installation of PECL binary packages. I guess this will make especially our Windows related friends pretty happy. :)
A whole bunch of new installer commands are available, like pear convert as mentioned above. channel-autodiscover, for receiving the settings for a channel automatically through a web URL, and channel-alias, for creating shortcuts for channel URIs are just a few from the channel section.
I recently updated to the latest CVS co of pear-core and created my first package2.xml. This part and installations work like a charm. I also discovered Gregs developmnet channel and installed packages from there. The installation of PEAR_Server was not possible here some time ago, so I will try that tomorrow again. Last time post install scripts broke down with some database problems. All in all this release seems to be quite stable from the client side to me and I guess with Gregs ammount of testing it will mature pretty fast.
So far: A nice product! :)