glFusion Development Update - Summer 2014


We've received some very positive feedback on the v1.4.x release of glFusion. As needed, we’ll be releasing minor updates as issues are identified and fixed.

There are some more major changes coming to the next major release of glFusion. Current plans have a new major release coming out late this summer. As we get closer to finalizing the feature set, we’ll be able to better estimate an exact timeframe.

One of our core goals has always been to make transition to new releases as painless as possible. We continue to embrace this goal as we implement some major changes in the look and feel and the functionality. Instead of a ‘big bang’ approach, we’ll be making incremental steps, which means smaller, incremental releases to ease the transition to newer tools.

So what's coming?

glFusion Required Software Versions

Starting with the next major release of glFusion, we will only support PHP v5.3 and above and MySQL v5.0.3 and above.

PHP v5.2 was released in 2011 and MySQL v4.1.25 was released in late 2008. Neither product has active support for these older versions. Actually, MySQL has no active development on any version prior to v5.5, so it is recommended that you run the latest releases where possible. You'll see the MySQL minimum requirement continue to move towards supported versions over the next few glFusion releases.

One of the driving factors in not supporting older versions of PHP and MySQL is that it limits our development options. As both PHP and MySQL evolve, they both offer new and improved features that we would like to take advantage of. Going forward, there are no plans to provide support for end-of-life versions of PHP or MySQL.

Time to say goodbye to our old friend MooTools...

Mootools has served us well for several years, but glFusion hasn't been keeping it up-to-date with the latest set of features. Evaluating the amount of effort needed to update all the Javascript to the latest version of MooTools versus what it would take to implement a new Javascript engine - it made more sense to move to jQuery. With the next major release of glFusion jQuery will be the standard Javascript library. For those of you who don't speak programming - this means the widgets like the MooRotator or MooSlide will need to be updated. We are going to make this a slow transition - which means nothing will break by upgrading to the latest version of glFusion, but with one of the future releases, MooTools support will be removed.

Breaking out of the rut...

Below is a screen shot of glFusion v1.0 release - next to it is a screen shot of the latest release. Not much difference in the two. Behind the scenes there has been a tremendous amount of work done on stability and functionality. But, the overall look and feel hasn't really changed much. It is still difficult to create a unique look for you site.

glFusion v1.0

glFusion v1.4.2

Time for this to change. The plan is to provide a generic base theme out-of-the box. It will look very much like the current Nouveau theme currently bundled with glFusion. But, we're going through each and every template, file by file, and making the necessary adjustments to both the glFusion code and the templates to ensure all aspects of the look and feel can be easily styled and that we provide a stable base to work from.

We're also adopting a new framework for themes - UIKIT, this is a mobile first, responsive framework that provides a great foundation to build a modern UI. Check out these screen shots of the work-in-progress.

Main Index Page
Forum Post
Mobile Friendly
Admin Interface

Theme development has always been a weakness of glFusion. Nouveau showed that it was possible to develop a modern theme, but it still didn’t have the needed flexibility and it requires a bit of technical understanding to make any major changes to the overall look. We need a base line that can be used as a starting point for those who want to really customize their sites.

A major part of the process in developing the UIKIT based theme is to walk through each line of the glFusion code and ensure template variables are available and to move hard coded HTML items back into the templates. This is a tedious and time consuming task, but the outcome will be incredible. A base theme, built on a well-documented and modern framework that fully supports mobile, desktop and everything in between. The theme templates do not contain any embedded styling, it is all driven by the framework.

I look forward to continuing the work on the next major release. I hope you are as excited as I am about these enhancements and I look forward to any feedback.


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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