glFusion Development Update 2


developmentSome of you may have noticed things look a little different here at glFusion.org.  We decided it was time to take some of the latest developments with glFusion for a little test drive and make sure everything is working as it should.  We are running the latest development snapshot, and so far things appear to be working well.

Read on for a quick overview of some of the changes you can see on the surface and then we'll describe a few of the administrative changes.  Keep in mind, we're not done yet, but we wanted to make sure what we've done so far is working as it should.

Improved Search Engine / Results Page

If you do a search on the site, you'll notice the search results are now presented in a nice Google like format, with the results for each of the areas or plugins all bundled together.  Results are returned in date order, but can easily be sorted by several attributes.

 

searchAs much as we would like to take credit for the absolutely wonderful feature, we can't.  As most of you know, glFusion is a fork of Geeklog v1.5.0.  We chose Geeklog as our based because of its mature code base, straight forward implementation of features, and overall robustness.  Because the code between Geeklog and glFusion still shares many similarities, we are able to leverage some of the enhancements implemented by the Geeklog team.  The new and improved search system is a result of Geeklog's participation in Google's Summer of Code.  Sami Mazen Barakat  is the student who developed the new search functionality.  He was mentored by Randy Kolenko. What they developed is in our opinion one of the best enhancements for Geeklog and it is reflected in glFusion.  Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Improved Comment System

commentsAnother Geeklog Google Summer of Code project was to enhance the comment system.  The goal was to allow comments to be edited and also moderated.  glFusion has implemented the features that allow a user to edit their comments (admin configurable) and to also set an automatic comment close date on articles.  glFusion has not implemented the moderation feature at this time.  Jared Wenerd is the GSOC student who developed these enhancements.  He was mentored by Michael Jervis on the Geeklog team.   This is another excellent enhancement that brings tremendous value to Geeklog and glFusion.

Consolidated CSS and JavaScript

codeglFusion uses several CSS and JavaScript files to accomplish some of its great Web 2.0 features.  To allow you to customize parts of your site, we have separated out the CSS into several files.  As a result, page load times were a little longer since there were so many requests from the browser to the server to get each of the individual files.  We've solved this problem by consolidating all the CSS into a single call statement.  We've done the same thing for all the JavaScript files as well.  Now, only two statements are required to load all the CSS and JS.  We've leveraged the caching technology used in glFusion to make building and serving of the files much faster.  As a result, we're seeing about a 20% reduction in page rendering / load times!

Multiple Menus with Site Tailor

menubuilderWe've enhanced Site Tailor so you can now create multiple menus.  You'll notice the new Navigation menu here in the left navigation bar.  The footer menu is also administered via Site Tailor.  You can now create and customize multiple block menus and even get creative and place a horizontal navigation menu in a static page.  glFusion now has a full featured integrated menuing system!

Forum Enhancements

glFusion v1.0 included the Forum plugin by Blaine Lang, with the ability to set bookmarks.  New with glFusion v1.1.0 is the ability to easily sort your bookmarks.  Check out the new Bookmark tab in the Forum navigation bar to sort your bookmarks by Forum, Topic, Title, Views, and Date.

 

forumWe've also added a Latest Posts tab.  This will display the last n (where the site admin sets the value for n) number of posts.  What we've noticed in usage of the system, is that we've fallen victim to relying on the Forum centerblock on the homepage to see new forum posts.  Since it only lists 10 items by default, we found we were missing some posts on days with lots of activity.  Now, we can easily see the last say 50 posts to make sure we don't miss anything!

Administrative Enhancements

submissionsWe've made a few tweaks to the Administrative interface as well. We've separated the Command and Control screen from the Submission screen.  We've also added a new Log Viewer so you can easily monitor your common glFusion logs.  Finally we've also added a configuration option to hide the Admins Only block except when you are on an administrative screen.

Online Configuration

configurationWith our ongoing effort to bring better integration and synergy to all the various parts and pieces of glFusion, we've moved the configuration options for CAPTCHA, Forum, and FileMgmt into the core glFusion online configuration system.  This means no more config files to edit!

Media Processing APIs

media galleryWe've moved all the media handling (resizing of images, thumbnail creations, etc.) out of Media Gallery and into the core glFusion code base.  This means that all plugins can leverage the same media management code.  So for example, attachments in the Forum are processed using the same code that images in Media Gallery are processed by.  This gives you a single spot to configure your graphics drivers and provides a mature and consistent interface for all plugins to use!

Mail System Enhancements

We've modified the internal email handling routines to include improved HTML email support and secure SMTP (TLS or SSL).  This makes it possible to use email providers like Gmail to send your outgoing emails through.

We Need your Help

With all these features, and still a few more left to implement, glFusion v1.1.0 is shaping up to be a great release! But we need your help in squashing development bugs and beefing up our online documentation!  As we continue to grow, we want to make sure these important things aren't left behind. If you see any issues here at glFusion.org, please post them in the forums. Browse the documentation and feel free to enhance it where you can improve it. And finally, if you have any feature requests, feel free to post them in our Tracker.

 


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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