April Update

Project activity can best be described as a bit unfocused right now, as a somewhat indirect fallout of the pandemic, not so much due to the change in work habits but because it's self-evidently slowed any real uptake of the IdP 4.0.0 upgrade. More typically we'd be fielding a decent range of bug reports and working on a patch but with the paucity of testing so far we haven't seen much, so we're in a holding pattern on exactly what the next release needs to be. We do have at least some positive feedback that suggests the release is solid, at least for upgrades.

We'll probably be forced to open up the master branch for new work fairly soon to start work on V4.1. There's a small set of deprecation warnings that need to be added so that at least one release is done with them prior to V5, but the list of deprecated material is much shorter than the V3/4 transition was. We have no ETA for 4.1, so we do not advise waiting for that update before making the jump.

Until we open the tree for active feature development, some work is being done on feature branches. One primary work item has been getting ahead of the coming removal of the Nashorn Javascript engine from Java 15. This will leave exactly no scripting engines accompanying the Java runtime. Before this happens in a supported LTS release, we will be revamping the scripting support in the IdP and supporting code to adapt to a wider range of scripting options that include the old Rhino engine that predated Nashorn, and the subset of the Graal VM project that includes a migration path from Nashorn. It appears for the moment that that will be the best option for people with Nashorn scripts today but we're hedging our bets and making sure other options can be plugged in before this becomes a real problem. V4.1 will lay the groundwork for this.

After the IdP release and with the relative breather, work is complete on the SP upgrade and posted beta packages, with testing as usual being minimal to non-existent (which is why we don't bother much with them). After some additional testing on shibboleth.net this week, the release will most likely be done next week. Apparently, there's not much immediate pressure to get any SameSite assistance out the door because Google kindly decided to exercise their total dictatorial control of the web and defer wider dissemination of their Chrome change. In any case, the ReleaseNotes for the upgrade and documentation on the changes are available.

We are also actively engaged in reviewing a lot of older issues and finding small items to close out (fixed or not) before tackling some bigger work. We have also been working to fix issues with the project javadocs caused by a range of bugs in Java, javadoc, and the Maven javadoc plugin. The javadoc search feature works again and most of the expected links between projects and dependencies are working again, with the exception of the Java EE APIs.

Most of the summer will probably be taken up by further work on advanced authentication features, designing a plugin installation and upgrade architecture, and adapting the OIDC extension into its final form. Some of this work will probably ship ahead of V5, but the bulk of it will be targeted for that release next year.