I am extremely pleased to announce the winter release of glFusion, version 1.7.2. We're pretty excited about this release as it adds several feature updates like Two Factor Authentication, new spam blocking modules like Akismet, cool Forum Plugin updates to Ranks, Badges and the addition of Likes. We've added as many new capabilities as we could while still maintaining our commitment to supporting legacy PHP versions back to 5.3.3. Read the rest of the article to get a full list of all the awesome updates in this release.
This release cycle brought some new capabilities to the Forum Plugin. Lee Garner reworked the Badge and Rank system to make them much more flexible and useful. You can now use CSS (non-graphic) badges, or graphic badges, or a combination of both. You can also have multiple badges displayed for the users. Lee also improved the capabilities of the Ranks icons, providing an unlimited set of ranks instead of the previous 5 limit. Where Lee really showed his talents is with the new Likes feature. User's can now Like a post, their like will be displayed in the footer of the post and the author of the post will be credited with the Like. See the Updated Forum Documentation for more details.
Spam prevention is always a challenge as spammers continue to evolve their capabilities. glFusion continues to evolve as well. We have added 2 new spam prevention modules to the Spam-X plugin; Akismet, a spam filtering service that filters spam from comments, trackbacks, and contact form messages. The filter works by combining information about spam captured on all participating sites, and then using those spam rules to block future spam. Akismet is offered by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com.
Formcheck does an analysis of the submitted form to determine if it is a bot submitting the content. Formcheck is always the first spam filter called since it does not rely on 3rd party services like Akismet or Stop Forum Spam. Our tests have found the Formcheck will stop a high percentage of automatic bot submissions, including registrations and forum submissions.
Finally, we created a new dashboard for Spam-X to give you a clear view into how many registrations, posts, etc. have been blocked and by what module.
glFusion takes the security of both our code and functionality very seriously. Security is more than just a slogan to us, it is a core component to our development methodology. Recently, glFusion was audited by a federal agency that uses glFusion to run several internal sites. The audit identified some deficiencies in the enforcement of security controls, such as multi-factor authentication and password complexity rules. As a result of this audit, we have implemented the following features:
- Two Factor Authentication (2FA) - User's can now protect their accounts by using Two Factor Authentication which requires entering a token generated by apps like Authy, LastPass Authenticator or Google Authenticator. The 2FA app generally runs on your smart phone or tablet. Check out Turn On 2FA for more information on Two Factor Authentication
- Password Complexity Rules - You can now specify attributes to control the complexity of the password. You can set a minimum length, require numbers, special characters and upper / lower case combinations.
The awesome CKEditor which is used by glFusion to provide the WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) editing features has been upgraded to the latest release. We've also implemented a much more convenient method to perform some advanced customizations without worrying about them being overwritten during the next glFusion upgrade.
We've extended where the CAPTCHA plugin can be used, you can now force a CAPTCHA widget on the Login screens and the Forgot Password screen.
Finally, our great community found a few bugs and made some great recommendations for tweaking the usefulness of some features. See the What's New Wiki Page for a full list of all tweaks in glFusion v1.7.2. The glFusion Wiki has been updated to reflect all the new updates.
Our next major release is actually getting closer faster than we anticipated. The long term vision was to rework / rewrite many of the internals of glFusion. We're finding we can do this in a way where we can roll out updates as we go. So, glFusion v1.8.0 is in the works and it has a brand new caching backend which provides some significant performance improvements, but more importantly, less load on the system and more concurrent users. We're working on updating all the plugins to leverage this new capability as well. Lots more work to do and we're pretty excited about getting it done as quickly as we can.
As always, I would like to thank the glFusion community for all the feedback, bug reports, ideas and encouragement as we continue to evolve glFusion. I encourage everyone to Get Involved!