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ocPortal version 8

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#80540 (In Topic #16336)
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ocStaff (admin)

We're really pleased to announce the next version of ocPortal, version 8.

We'll be soon be releasing a beta version, but before that we'd like to give you a summary of what we're bringing you, and how this version has come into being.

This huge update would not have happened without the direct feature-sponsorship of some fantastic individuals and the work we've been able to do for some great ocPortal clients. Some great new features have been directly sponsored by the following community members (in alphabetical order):
Please give some points to these community members to show your appreciation, or consider following their lead to multiply the rewards of their investment. (There are already a few great new pieces of functionality sponsored for development, which will likely make the next version of ocPortal after version 8.)

2011 suffered a cataclysmic collapse in the volume of small and startup businesses purchasing website services, which really disrupted the ocProducts business model in a big way. It is a credit to the passion of our community, and our ambitious business customers, that we've been able to make such a groundbreaking new version even amid the economic chaos.

Version 8 has been developed 100% in the open, so early-adopters have already been able to watch this functionality develop and test via the ocPortal Github project. The github project's commit history also contains a better log of all the small changes that have occurred.

Version 8 does break compatibility across some areas, such as a few templates and some small CSS changes, and you may need to update your menu structures, but compatibility is not broken in a radical way with this release.

ocPortal 8 features

Now, on to what you really wanted to see. Here's what version 8 brings you…

Rewritten account and profile management
  • Member profiles are now tabbed, with new tabs pulling together formerly disparate functionality such as member blogs
  • The Personal Zone has been removed, and its functionality integrated into the new tabs instead

Notifications system
  • Forum tracking replaced with new site-wide notification system
  • Support for choosing which notifications are received, and how (instant e-mails, e-mail digests, private topics, or SMS)
  • The ability to set up notifications on specific categories of any content type
  • Easily review what topics you are receiving notifications on
  • 74 separate notification types; some only for staff, some for any member
  • Monitoring the staff address is no longer necessary – each admin can choose exactly which notifications they want
  • The ability to configure means we have been able to create some fantastic notification opportunities without worrying about perception of spamming
  • For example, you can set up a notification on a chat room, to get an e-mail if it becomes active
  • For example, you can get a notification if the Admin Zone has been accessed, to monitor security
  • Webmasters can determine which notifications are configurable, and which are tied to a specific setting
  • Feature to put emails through a mail queue, to reduce load on the SMTP server if a lot of people have notifications on
  • Feature to vet emails before they go out, so when creating a new site you can ensure you haven't forgot something (such as personalising the e-mail layout) that leads to inappropriate e-mails going out behind-the-scenes

Improved standards compliance
  • Great support for ARIA for improved accessibility by visually impaired users
  • SEO improvements to help guide search engines through your website in a more sensible way
  • The latest Javascript Strict mode has been enabled
  • PHP 5.4 support

Overhauled commenting and ratings
  • Excellent support for threaded comments has been added
  • Threaded comments are supported both for content commenting, and in the inbuilt forum (OCF) as a per-forum setting
  • The commenting system has been better integrated with OCF, meaning display of posts across the system is now more consistent
  • When some content is commented on, notifications are dispatched
  • Any member with access to some content may set up a comment notification for it
  • If set up for their account, a content submitter will automatically receive comment notifications
  • Architectural support for having content being 'liked'/'disliked', or being rated across multiple criteria – with a small amount of programming it is configurable on a per-content-type basis
  • See who has 'liked' content if just a small group of people liked it so far
  • As with comment notifications, notifications are also sent when a content is rated five stars, or liked
  • Points are given to a content owner if their content was rated give stars, or liked
  • Comments are now posted via AJAX, for a much smoother user experience
  • In OCF, comment topic spacer posts are no longer rendered, and in their place a preview of the content the comment topic is for is shown
  • When you add new entries you no longer have to keep re-specifying the "allow comments"/"allow ratings" settings – the new settings are prepopulated based on averages of what you have chosen before

Updated catalogues, and… everything
  • Significant parts of the catalogue system have been "moved up" to a new fields API, shared across ocPortal
  • Any content type supports custom fields for content entries; for example, you could add a 'Transcript' field for all videos
  • Any content type supports custom fields for content categories; for example, you could add a 'Background information' field to download categories
  • The fields API now has 36 field types
  • There is a new 'video' field type for embedding videos
  • There is a new 'reference' field type, for creating cross-references between catalogues (you can set up the field to be a link to a specific catalogue, and an entry selector is automatically added to the add/edit forms)
  • There is a new 'content_link' field type, for creating cross-references between content types (you can set up the field to be a link to a specific content type, and an entry selector is automatically added to the add/edit forms)
  • Tempcode has been extended to allow advanced Tempcode programmers to 'tunnel' through the values defined in the new 'reference' fields, to do fancy stuff like pull out preview tooltips of what is being linked to, or allow back-referencing
  • Custom profile fields now use the fields API, so can make use of all the new field types
  • Extreme performance - performance maintained across millions of categories in a tree catalogue of arbitrary depth or shallowness

Upgraded galleries
  • Images and Videos may now have optional title fields, useful for content browsing, content search, attractive URL monikers, and better Facebook Open Graph support, amongst other things
  • Slide-shows now powered via AJAX for a much better user experience
  • Support for continuous play of videos in slide-shows
  • Many other improvements to slide-shows
  • Support for PDF files (requires browser PDF support)
  • Bulk imported media are scanned for EXIF data, and any match to configured image/video fields is automatically imported
  • Image and Video award display may now be templated (a common annoyance in earlier versions was this was hard-coded to always just be a standard ocPortal thumbnail in a standard box)
  • Video thumbnails may be automatically generated via FFMPEG (if installed)

Upgraded calendar
  • Events can be set as all-day without having to set them up as midnight-to-midnight
  • Events explicitly declare their timezone, to make it clear what the quoted times mean
  • Events can specify whether their date/time should be subject to timezone conversions or not (i.e. does the viewing member see it as originally specified, or from their reference timezone)
  • Calendar types may now have permissions configured, to control access to different parts of the calendar

Performance
  • Roughly 10% performance improvements overall, compared to version 7
  • Huge performance improvements on servers with saturated/remote hard disks

Improved menu editor interface, suitable for editing much larger menus

Sign up
  • Password strength meter
  • Custom Profile Fields may now be made to show on the signup form, but not actually be required fields

Support for importing from Blogger

Google +1 button added to main_screen_actions block

Better auditing
  • Banning of users direct from the 'investigate user' screen
  • Action log search facility

A powerful new AJAX API has been added for blocks
  • Advanced Tempcode programmers can make blocks re-load themselves via AJAX
  • Useful for creating infinite carousels, AJAX pagination, and AJAX sorting
  • Support for defining security, so that hackers cannot abuse it to expose unauthorised block access patterns

Authentication API re-architected, to support new authentication methods in a cleaner way

New activities API
  • Dozens of different website actions now result in activities being logged against the member performing them
  • Activity addons may decide what to do with the activity data (ocProducts will supply one, see "non-bundled addons" below)

The "posting screen" interface has been heavily redesigned
  • This is the screen used for adding news, creating new topics, replying to topics, etc
  • Many changes resulting in less clutter and better layout
  • ocPortal editing buttons now fully integrated into the WYSIWYG editor (CKEditor) as toolbar buttons

Blocks can be configured to cache via the scheduler, rather than in real-time
  • Prevents performance spikes
  • Removes the dependency on working external connectivity when rendering the RSS and Weather blocks (great for Intranets)
  • Allows greater error tolerance, via fall-back to previously cached block if cannot currently be updated
  • Allows having blocks that take a long time to generate, such as blocks created via aggregating dozensof RSS feeds

Upgraded newsletters
  • Configure periodic newsletters to automatically send details of new content
  • Multiple periodic newsletters send to different audiences
  • Multiple e-mail templates, choose which one to use for different newsletters

Overlays
  • Browser based alert/question dialogs have been replaced with Javascript overlays
  • Better for tablet browsing, avoids problems with aggressive popup blockers, better for people who like to do tabbed browsing
  • Looks a lot nicer
  • Lightboxes are now a standard ocPortal feature (for galleries, eCommerce catalogues, attachments, etc)
  • Many "side actions" in ocPortal are now shown via an overlay, such as logging in, setting up notifications, or reporting content

Attachments overhauled
  • Instead of having Comcode display in the WYSIWYG editor, now a lot of Comcode is shown in the same way blocks are (i.e. behind a button with a nice visual interface for changing the parameters to the Comcode tag)
  • A new overlay allows configuring of attachment display settings in full detail (this integrates what used to be a combination of an inline form, a popup, and the need to type Comcode manually)
  • The file-dump has been converted into a much more user friendly "media library", available in the Content Management zone
  • The attachment form is also available separately, if you are adding an attachment from this media library rather than via a new upload
  • You can choose your thumbnail manually, again by a nice selector from the media library. i.e. You no longer have to rely on auto-generation
  • The ability to edit images visually inside the WYSIWYG editor (i.e. set your width and height, and make other precise changes) has been completely overhauled

There are also 100s of small bug fixes, code cleanups, improved internal APIs, and user experience improvements. Far too many to even list here. In keeping with our policy over the year, we have fixed all ocPortal bugs (and lots of other kinds of issue) as soon as they have been reported, and all the fixes are included in this release.

Non-bundled addons

A number of new non-bundled addons will be released by ocProducts, and a number have had major upgrades…

The old Facebook addons are scrapped (notoriously it had stopped working after Facebook made changes, and we weren't able to support it anymore). Now we have a new much higher quality Facebook addon that supports Facebook logins (using the updated ocPortal authentication API) with better stability, and wider functionality, as well as all the usual set of Facebook blocks (likes block, fans block, etc), and the ability to set up syndication of news and calendar events to Facebook.

Likewise, the old Twitter addon has been rewritten.

The activity addon provides an 'activity wall' on member profiles. This wall shows the website activities they have performed, and who has liked their content. Members may post directly on their own activity wall, and also set up syndication of their activities to their own Facebook and Twitter accounts.

A new classified ads addon, that integrates catalogues with the ocPortal eCommerce framework (i.e. members can buy listings for increments of time).

A new booking addon, useful for room booking, seat booking, tuition booking, and many other use-cases. This addon is a work-in-progress, but provides a solid vision and foundation.

The ocDataMap addon (Google Map for catalogues) is now much more configurable.

A new addon replaces ocPortal's integrated swfupload uploader with our plupload/swfupload fusion, dropping the dependency on Flash for a great HTML5 experience.

A new referrals addon
  • Multiple tracking methods
  • Configurable goals
  • Configurable bonus levels
  • Extensive notifications integration
  • CSV reporting
  • Member profile tab integration

New 'Report content' addon that allows placing a 'report content' link in any template.

New addon based on Columnizer, allowing you to set up columned pages on your site

Developer addons
  • New addon for developers to 'easily' create upgrades to keep sites on the bleeding edge (creates custom patches for the addons you have [bundled and non-bundled], diffs against CSS changes, and diffs against install code changes)
  • Addons for mass-maintenance and testing of themes
  • Addons for generating developer documentation
  • Various others



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Posted
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#80545
O

Non-joined user

So, just a minor update then!

 ;)

Seriously though, well done.
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Posted
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#80548
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Fan in action

Wow, that's huge. Lots of work. Looks like you all have been busy here. It will be great to try it out when it hits Beta.  :thumbs:  Congrats on all the hard work.
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Posted
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#80555
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Community saint

seeing the light


Last edit: by Fletch

Take my advice. I'm not using it!

View my working ocPortal site (version 9.x.x) at Anglo-Indian Portal
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Posted
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#80556
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Community saint

I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas :lol:
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Posted
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#80559
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Community saint

And what a team you make at ocProduct/ocPortal to constantly bring us to the edge of our Social World with this great CMS. :cool:

I can't wait to put my hands on this one! :thumbs:

Jean

PS:
I'm noting one small omission on your list of sponsors for my small contribution as I've co-sponsorred this project: ;)
0000301: Provide a grid layout option for main_cc_embed - ocPortal feature tracker
 
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Posted
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#80563
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ocStaff (admin)

I'm noting one small omission on your list of sponsors for my small contribution as I've co-sponsorred this project:  

Ah yes, I need to contradict myself on that. That will come soon still, but not for v8. I made a call that v8 had kept growing for a long time, so a cutting point had to made.

v8 is going to be pretty quickly followed by another non-trivial release I suspect.



Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend.

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If I answered something that you think should be in the documentation, please take the initiative and add it to the community documentation. We really need people to help out here and build a well-organised large support resource.
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Posted
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#80564
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Community saint

wooohoooo, thats huge!!!
And that I have birthday on the end of this year :)  I got my present before that…

Great news TEAM and thanks for all that work.

Harry


http://digiflash.nl Photo community  (dutch)
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Posted
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#80565
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Community saint

Great work guys and another big thanks for all you do for this community and the larger OpenSource group!

 :party:  :thumbs:

"no violence, no hate, no pain, no enemies
just peace, unity, tolerance and love" - The Beloved

OCP V7 | Advocating monetary reform - FreeOurMoney

Need OCP friendly hosting? Look no further:
Web Hosting, Reseller Hosting, and Dedicated Servers w/cPanel - Elief! - Official hosting partner for ocPortal.
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Posted
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#80568
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Community saint

Chris-

Congratulations on this announcement. This release is HUGE and, from my limited testing of the github versions, ocPortal is truly moving ahead in large strides. And there is still stuff I have not yet tested. I am really looking forward to the beta.

And I will take this opportunity to once again plug the community-sposored funding of features. This release demonstrates well how the community can achieve big goals by each of us contributing a small sponsorship for some portion of some feature. As difficult as the current economic climate is for small businesses, this approach allows ocPortal to develop to better meet our new and changing needs.

I'll throw in my plug for my personal favorite feature requiring additional sponsorship: 0000063: Multi-categorisation - ocPortal feature tracker (more information at View topic: Sponsorship for Feature Tracker item #63: Multi-categorization - ocPortal). Let's make this happen so that we ocPortal users have the best and most flexible tools to present our sites.

Again, congrats and thanks for all your hard work.

Bob
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Posted
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#80573
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Community saint

My first thought…:thumbs: :thumbs: :thumbs: WOW, great work Chris!

My second thought… :'(  :'(  :'( the potential work ahead for me in re-integrating all my tweaks (i.e. the devil in the detail).

Do you have a Samsung Galaxy S / Galaxy S II ? If so, why not check out my ScreenFree FM Radio .
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Posted
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#80575
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Community saint

My second thought… :'(  :'(  :'(
I feel so freakin' good that I have another, much more competent user, who isn't looking forward to this …!

But hey, temp, I now have a cloned site to screw up right royally - thanks to you.

cheers


Take my advice. I'm not using it!

View my working ocPortal site (version 9.x.x) at Anglo-Indian Portal
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Posted
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#80576
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Community saint

Fletch said

I feel so freakin' good that I have another, much more competent user, who isn't looking forward to this …!
Although I have a lot of custome code bits here and there (and I'm still on v7.0.1), the CSS/layout will probably be the biggest pain.
But hey, temp, I now have a cloned site to screw up right royally - thanks to you.
In addition to my clone, for this upgrade I will also be using a fresh install of v8 so that I have something 'clean' to compare with. That way I can see if I want to upgrade to the new layout for specific sections, or keep my existing ones on a case by case basis.

Do you have a Samsung Galaxy S / Galaxy S II ? If so, why not check out my ScreenFree FM Radio .
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Posted
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#80585
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ocStaff (admin)

Worth spending a bit of time learning a good diff tool like winmerge I think ;).

It's really not all that bad. You just do a directory compare on what you have compared to the original version it came from, and note the changes. Then re-apply them.



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If I answered something that you think should be in the documentation, please take the initiative and add it to the community documentation. We really need people to help out here and build a well-organised large support resource.
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Posted
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#80588
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Community saint

Chris Graham said

Worth spending a bit of time learning a good diff tool like winmerge I think ;).
I actually downloaded winmerge a few months ago but haven't had a chance to get to it yet :( (I haven't needed to use tools for any serious merging for years!).
It's really not all that bad. You just do a directory compare on what you have compared to the original version it came from, and note the changes. Then re-apply them.
I know it shouldn't be too bad, but given that I have hundreds of changes in global.css alone, its not going to be a 5-minute job either.

Do you have a Samsung Galaxy S / Galaxy S II ? If so, why not check out my ScreenFree FM Radio .
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Posted
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#80589
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Community saint

Oh my god, this is very exciting news for me, newer versions are always so terribly exciting, but at the same time more than a little scary. Hopefully by the time v8 is a full release i will have gotten a better grip on OCPortal, brilliant work team, wel down to you all. :)

(((BIG HUG)))

Metal IS Forever & We WILL Rock You 'til You Choke! Rock Babe
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Posted
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#80590
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ocStaff (admin)

Ah, well I would not worry too much about that. We haven't been going to town with CSS changes – just making them when we've needed to to support the feature changes.

A better approach for the CSS is to do the diff differently - compare the v7 CSS to the v8 CSS, and then apply the (small) set of changes you see to your own theme. I have to do this for the ocProducts themes, which isn't going to be fun, but it won't take a huge amount of time either.



Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend.

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If I answered something that you think should be in the documentation, please take the initiative and add it to the community documentation. We really need people to help out here and build a well-organised large support resource.
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Posted
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#80591
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Community saint

Hey wait a minute, I'm confused here, is 7.2 not happening now or there going to be 2 branches running!?

Metal IS Forever & We WILL Rock You 'til You Choke! Rock Babe
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Posted
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#80594
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ocStaff (admin)

7.2 was renamed 8 because there were too many features. By the list above, maybe it should be called 10 instead ;).



Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend.

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If I answered something that you think should be in the documentation, please take the initiative and add it to the community documentation. We really need people to help out here and build a well-organised large support resource.
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Posted
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#80596
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Community saint

Ah I see, thank you for the clarification, nothing quite so annoying as a newbie asking questions eh. :(

Metal IS Forever & We WILL Rock You 'til You Choke! Rock Babe
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