glFusion Development Update - April 2010


Back in March, I reported on some of the great enhancements we have planned for the next release of glFusion. Well, it just keeps gets better! We have continued to add new features and enhance some of the existing features.  Also, based on community feedback, we have decided to call the next release glFusion v1.2.0.  Read on to learn about some of the latest enhancements and our release plans....

glFusion v1.2.0 and beyond...

When I last wrote about our next release, I called it glFusion v1.1.9.  Based on community feedback, and a re-evaluation of all the changes we've made, we have decided to label this release glFusion v1.2.0.  How does this affect you? Well, not too much. Regardless what we call it, we think you'll be pleased with the final result.  

glFusion v1.2.0 will still support PHP v4, but it is important to understand that overall support for PHP v4 is dwindling. The PHP group stopped supporting PHP v4 in December 2007. Several glFusion plugins now require PHP v5. So if you haven't made the jump to PHP v5 yet, please start planning to do so soon.

Also, we are no longer updating the Geeklog migration code.  The current migration code will still migrate Geeklog v1.4.1 through v1.6.1 sites, but it will no longer be updated to support any future Geeklog releases.

After we release v1.2.0, our next major release will be labeled glFusion v2.0.0. We are planning on dropping support for PHP v4 with the glFusion v2.0.0 release, as well as migrate from MooTools v1.11 to v1.2.1.  glFusion v2.0.0 is still in the planning phase, but we have mapped out some of the desired features in our Roadmap

 

Comment Enhancements

Eric and I have reworked the overall style of comments in glFusion v1.2.0.  It now defaults to include the comment author's avatar within the comments. Comments made by the article author (the person who wrote the original story) can be styled differently from the others to make them stand out more.  We even included a way to specify styling for comments made by certain groups of users (say all Root users, etc.) We have changed the default view mode to nested, which really does a much better job of presenting comments.   Finally, we have added a configuration option to allow you to specify which editor (Text, HTML, or WYSIWYG) to use for posting comments.

 

More Administrative Enhancements

Plugin Administration

Mark Howard has gone crazy on the administrative interfaces.  He has completely rewritten the content submission queue so it is now much more functional and user friendly.  He has also rewritten the plugin administration system so that the plugin related maintenance takes place from a single screen.  And as if that wasn't enough, he has also updated all of the other administration screens to have a much better layout and a consistent set of features.

 

Additional Security Updates

Authentication Required

As we continue to review the code in glFusion, we continue to enhance our "defense in depth" security features.  We have improved the random session id management, and also made a small change to one of the previously implemented security controls.  In March, I reported about a new feature that requires a site admin to re-authenticate before gaining access to any administrative features.  We still have that requirement, but we now automatically initialize the administrative session when you log into the site with an account that has admin access. This way, one won't have to re-authenticate until the administrative session expires (default is 20 minutes).  This saves an admin from having to input their password twice, (if you login and go directly to the Command & Control screen).

 

Enhanced Block Location Controls

Currently, you can tie the display of blocks and centerblocks to specific topics, or set them to display only on the home page.  We've added a new option to allow blocks to display everywhere but the homepage.  This provides much more flexibility to place dynamic content, based on what the user is currently viewing.

 

Enhanced User Registration

We have added the much requested option to allow users to select their own password at registration time.  Now you have the option to allow new users to choose their own password and receive an activation email when they register.  With this registration method, once they select the link in the activation email, their account will be activated.  We believe this new feature will make for a much better user registration experience.

 

Plugin Updates

Many of the changes in v1.2.0 have required some changes in how the various plugins interface with glFusion.  Lee Garner has been very busy updating his plugins to ensure they will take advantage of all the new features.  All the other plugins supported by the glFusion crew are also being updated to ensure they are both compatible, and take advantage of any of the new features.  The drawback is that any legacy Geeklog plugins that have not been specifically ported to glFusion may not work properly.  This will continue as glFusion evolves.  If there are specific plugins you need that have not been ported, please let us know in the forums and we'll see what we can do.

 

Summary

We're working hard to make our goal of releasing v1.2.0 before the end of April.  We're cutting it close, but we are still optimistic. Depending on how our testing goes, we may push the release a bit if necessary.  As the saying goes in the Open Source world, it will be ready when it is done. However, we are running the latest development code here at glfusion.org, so you can see some of the outward enhancements now and help us ensure everything is working as it should. If you see any issues, please post about them in the forum.

We will be publishing all of the language file changes in the Translation Forum in the next few days in hopes that our community will help update the various language files with the new or modified language tags. 

I'll close this update with my sincere thanks to Mark Howard, Lee Garner, and Eric Warren for all their hard work on glFusion, and to the glFusion community for your patience, support, and feedback.  Everyone makes this such a rewarding experience, and I am blessed to be a part of it!


by Mark

Mark is the main developer on glFusion. When not doing his real job and playing with his family, he really enjoys working on glFusion and the collaboration with the glFusion community.

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