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CKAN 2.0 beta has arrived!

February 27, 2013 in News, Releases

Work on what has become the 2.0 release started back in June last year when we decided that a more user friendly cleaner simpler CKAN was the next step to raise the profile and usefulness of open data portals.

We went back to basics and redesigned the theme to focus on the core parts of CKAN: discoverability of data for end users and better data management tools for publishers.

Instructions to install or upgrade are below and you can go play around with it on beta.ckan.org – just create an account to try out all the funcitonality.

You’ll see a more engaging search page that highlights the use of facets and search result sorting as well as the keyword search; a redesigned dataset page showcasing resources, tags, activity streams and re-use of data (the “related” tab); a new multistep dataset registration process to guide publishers as well as a scalable authorization model for managing access rights to datasets (more info below under ‘Organisations’).

Highlights

Organisations

We’ve simplified the authorisation model for datasets. Previously a dataset was ‘owned’ by the user who added it to the portal – edit or admin access to the dataset had to be manually added one by one. This made it harder to distribute management of datasets for large portals with numerous publisher accounts for multiple publishing organizations (e.g. Departments or Agencies).

In 2.0, by default, datasets always belong to an organisation (e.g. Department of Health, Office of National Statistics etc) and access rights are automatically allocated depending on the organisation access level members have. So if your department has 1 admin, 5 editors (add/edit/delete datasets, but no member management access) and 10 members (can see org private datasets, member, editor, admin accounts, but not add or edit anything) then any dataset that one of the editors adds will be editable by any of the other 4 editors or the admin.

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 12.16.54

Activity Streams

Datasets, users and groups now generate activity streams that can be ‘followed’.

Group activity screenshot

Templating

We have switched our templating engine to use Jinja2, making it easier to customize CKAN. We’ve found this to be much more designer friendly and intuitive than Genshi. It’s also generally cleaner and renders faster. We’re also able to extend templates (for example by extensions) in a less invasive way than previously using the {% ckan_extends %} template tag.

Note: Jinja2 templates do not support the IGenshiStreamFilter extension point, so extensions should either extend templates or provide template helper functions via the ITemplateHelpers extension point.

Installing or upgrading

This first beta release is aimed mainly at developers, and is only available via source install. You can refer to the “Install from Source” instructions or the “Upgrading a source install” sections on the documentation depending on your needs.

In either case, make sure to point the repository to the 2.0 release branch (release-v2.0):

  • For first time source installs, in section 2b use:

pip install -e 'git+https://github.com/okfn/ckan.git@release-v2.0#egg=ckan'

  • For source install upgrades, in section 2 use:

git checkout release-v2.0
Note that this is a major version change and there are significant backwards incompatible changes, so if you are upgrading an existing instance make sure to backup your database before trying to upgrade it.

Our supported extensions are currently being upgraded, and the degree of support for CKAN 2.0b varies depending on the extension. If you are using custom extensions on your instance, it is likely that you will need some work to upgrade them to 2.0. We are working on new documentation explaining how to upgrade from 1.X to 2.0, but in meantime to test this beta release we recommend disabling all extensions and enabling them one by one to see which ones will require updating. In case of doubt, feel free to send an email to the mailing list or ask on the IRC channel.

As with all beta releases, you are bound to find bugs or things that need improvement. We are still working on the proper stable release, and collecting all pending issues on this milestone on GitHub Issues:

https://github.com/okfn/ckan/issues?milestone=1&state=open

We would love to hear any feedback and bug reports, feel free to send them to the mailing list or add an issue to GitHub.

What’s coming next

We’re now working on a dataset approval workflow for moving datasets from private to public state as well as support for bulk actions and harvesting management interfaces. We’ll also be adding tweaks and improvements as people use the beta and provide feedback, as well as activity stream support for organisations.

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