What’s EE Reactor?
I’ve been thinking the same thing and I thought it was just me. I’ve seen EE Reactor referenced in a way that made it seem like it was an announced somewhere but as far as I can tell it wasn’t. In the EllisLab blog post there was a bullet item that read:
EE Reactor concept update
Surely I had missed the original announcement if there was going to be an update. So I went hunting.
A quick google search turned up three tweets from Leslie Camacho about phone calls regarding EE Reactor and an update that “it’s going quite well…”.
Then there were some more mentions in the forum thread about “The state of EE”. All of the other Google results have to do with actual reactors and, you know, physics.
I’m not the only one wondering. In the forums, Danny Tam asked:
Are there any links you can point me to to learn a bit more about this EE Reactor? Can’t seem to find anything on it.
He was pointed to Leslie Camacho’s Twitter feed. Well, okay.
Another response to questions about EE Reactor was:
The reactor group (not branch) for CodeIgniter started in an effort to have a branch of CI that the community was responsible for maintaining and adding to with oversight from EL.
Recently the idea came up to harness this idea for EE. That is what is being discussed in this thread.
Leslie did answer Kenny’s question a couple of days later:
Like CodeIgniter Reactor, but for ExpressionEngine. We have four awesome devs eager to give it a trial run, goal is to have it set by EECI. If it works with 4, we’ll expand.
CodeIgniter Reactor started as a community run branch of CodeIgniter (Reactor is now a team of developers). It moved along at a faster pace than the version developed by EllisLab because it did not have the weight of commercial software (ExpressionEngine and MojoMotor) sitting on top of it.
The CodeIgniter you can download today is CodeIgniter Reactor but it’s no longer called that. As stated in a blog post by Derek Jones last month, “CodeIgniter ‘Reactor’ is CodeIgniter” and the EllisLab branch of CodeIgniter is “no longer being publicly maintained.” I don’t know if that means that ExpressionEngine 2 is still truly based on an open source version of CodeIgniter or not.
Is ExpressionEngine Reactor a community-driven version of ExpressionEngine?
It’s an interesting question and theory because EE is a commercial product and not open source like CodeIgniter. From what I can gather, EE Reactor is going to be an experiment wherein a set number of developers are allowed to poke, prod and improve EE and then EllisLab may pull (some or all of) those changes into the commercial version of ExpressionEngine.
Because EE doesn’t have a free version and isn’t open source like CodeIgniter, I don’t see how this could be anything but a tightly controlled experiment. What are scenarios on how this would work?
Here’s one I could come up with: if you own an EE license you could opt to download and use the EE Reactor version instead of the EllisLab version.
There are some potential downsides to this theory:
- EE Reactor could begin to implement features of commercial add-ons.
- More people would choose the Reactor version than the core EE version thereby shifting the development of the EE people use to a completely different team of developers.
- The Reactor developers would be doing free development work for EllisLab.
- Support could be a mess because the EllisLab support team would have to know two different “kinds” of ExpressionEngine.
- Fragmentation of add-on support (“Does this add-on support Reactor?”).
There’s a lot there. The above list is just me riffing on my theory of how it could work. As I’ve made clear earlier: I have no idea what EE Reactor is or how it really will work.
But people sure are talking about it like it’s been announced already.