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Moving forward with Composr

ocPortal has been relaunched as Composr CMS, which is now in beta. ocPortal 9 will be superseded by Composr 10.

Head over to compo.sr for our new site, and to our migration roadmap. Existing ocPortal member accounts have been mirrored.


The news you've all been waiting for

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Posted
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#38781 (In Topic #8713)
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Nearly two years ago, our groundbreaking version 3 of ocPortal was released. As we've talked about before, the last two year's have been difficult for ocProducts. The cutting edge attributes of our product were not enough for us to get significant notice, because our free competitors were distributed and talked about so much, simply as a function of them being free.

It was a set back, no doubt, but not to be beaten we have been quietly working on the worthy successor all this time– version 4.
The wait is almost over as team beta testing of ocPortal 4 has now begun. So now that feature development has concluded, I can today bring the news you've all been waiting for – information about the new version, including the radical improvements and innovations we've got for you.

In a way, the long development of version 4 has been advantageous - ocPortal 3, which consists of about two-hundred-thousand lines-of-code, is now an extremely stable robust piece of software. This is a very good thing. Recent customer feedback has been excellent, and even though we haven't been able to cut through the massive noise of our competitors, it's very telling that those users that do find us are sticking with us!

So without further adieu, here is a summarisation for the hundreds of improvements we've made for this new release…

ocPortal 4, the highlights

The thrust of the new version

Almost every screen in ocPortal redesigned for increased usability and attractiveness.

A new philosophy of feature minimalism to fight feature bloat and make ocPortal easier to learn and deploy.
  • Systems that have always been in the core of ocPortal, such as galleries, do not have to even be installed anymore if staff do not want them. (this is not entirely finalised, but will be in later betas)
  • The Setup Wizard allows more things to be turned off, right from the offset.
  • Other features that staff may not want can now also be disabled, removed from view to improve usability and strength of website design.

Even higher standards

ocPortal 4 premiers a ground-breaking new approach to preventing cross-site-scripting security vulnerabilities. If we make a mistake in our coding we will pick up on it right away, almost totally avoiding the accidental and until-now inevitable XSS vulnerabilities that plague web applications. Our new approach is so elegant, we could publish a scientific paper on it.

The entire code of ocPortal is now written to be 'type strict', a process helped along by a new development version of PHP written by ocProducts. What this tech-speak means to you, our users, is that the proportion of bugs that could slip past us will drop, meaning your future ocPortal experience will be more stable than ever.
Stability has also been improved via a number of other techniques (please note that the beta of course will not be fully stable - this is about the long-term stability of ocPortal websites).

We have cleaned up our terminology, our template file naming, and generally improved code quality and consistency throughout the software.

Web standards improvements:
  • We now provide support for real XHTML (this is not something many products actually have - which is a bit of a dirty little secret). In technical terms, ocPortal can now work through a strict XML DOM model. This prepares your website for the future when XHTML becomes more important
  • ocPortal now has a new more flexible and semantically accurate CSS layout, compared to version 4
  • Markup semantics have been improved. This means the search engines of the future will better understand your website
  • Full distinction between GET and POST forms. This means that you can now bookmark, and link to most result screens. It also means improved search engine access.
  • Better Javascript and Cookie-facility detection
  • A print stylesheet, to make your website print cleaner, using less ink
  • Automatic cleanup of invalid XML syndicated onto the web site from external sources (e.g. RSS), so that external sources cannot dirty your clean and high quality website

A lot of new features…

Menu improvements:
  • the ability to place images on menus
  • more control over the zone menu
  • ability to easily override and customise the zone, management and community menus

A powerful new filtering syntax that can be used with many different ocPortal features.

News improvements:
  • Better news archive
  • 'Ping' support, so you can inform blog search engines about new articles you write
  • Chicklets support ?
  • A new "on this day in the website's history" news block
  • News ticker

The word-filter now supports search and replace of swear words, in addition to the former 'blocking of submissions' approach.

OCF member accounts and usergroups improvements:
  • Email address verification can now be disabled
  • Auto-detection of timezones for new member's and guests
  • Member blog posts available directly on profile screens, bringing the blog and forum closer together
  • A powerful new punitive system, to replace the warning system
  • A feature to allow the staff to easily delete lurking members who never contribute
  • Secret usergroups
  • "Club usergroups" that come with a forum and are managed by ordinary members
  • Powerful member and usergroup searching, giving ocPortal social networking strengths
  • Friends lists on member profiles

OCF forum improvements:
  • The ability for member's to move public topics out to become personal topics
  • Group-shared personal topics
  • Easy quick creation of 'Happy birthday' topics
  • You can now "sink" topics, the opposite of pinning them
  • In-topic search
  • An enhanced "reply" screen for moderators, with support for scheduling (deferring) replies
  • Feature "hot topics" using the main_forum_topics block

Downloads improvements:
  • Import a filesystem directory of files into the downloads system
  • Statistics
  • Licenses
  • Anti-leech functionality

Trackback improvements:
  • Moderate trackbacks
  • Ban trackback spammers
  • An effective trackback spam prevention measure

The reason for IP address bans can now be recorded

Catalogue improvements:
  • New field types
  • A new tabular listings view
  • Emailed reports to the owner of entries, so they can see what hits they are getting
  • Time-limited entries (useful if using the catalogue system for classified directory advertising)

eCommerce improvements:
  • Support for SecPay and WorldPay as well as PayPal
  • Usergroup subscriptions may now be configured work for either primary or secondary usergroup subscription

A very powerful new way of filtering and constraining form submissions. Useful for adding per-group word-filters, re-capitalisation of sentences, adding strong field type restrictions to catalogues, and many other things.

Comcode improvements:
  • Rollover buttons
  • A new 'overlay' tag, for creating Comcode layers and popups
  • Integration with the banner system, for text-triggered overlay banners
  • A currency conversion tag
  • List entering syntaxes for numerical and alphabetical lists
  • Inline links now have automatic detection for their link titles
  • Syntax highlighting (requires GeSHi to be installed)

Banner improvements:
  • Full support for banner types, with configuration of the parameters that define a type and constrain the banners that may be included within it
  • Text banners
  • Flash banners
  • Banner permissions (for adult advertising, for example)
  • Unique-click assurance
  • A new specific permission for members to not have to see banners
  • A new block that can show banners from a single banner type together (for displaying a set of sponsor logos)

A new 'form to email' block that gives you the option to allow visitors to email you directly from your website.

A new collaborative task/message handling system, as an alternative to the support ticket system.

You can now recover form data if the web browser crashes.

Theme changes:
  • A new, more minimal and unassuming theme layout
  • Say good bye to the 'TOP' and 'BOTTOM' templates - these have now been merged with 'HEADER' and 'FOOTER'

Forum driver improvements:
  • phpBB 3 support
  • Basic Invision Board display name support
  • Much better control to tie ocPortal themes to forum skins
  • Comment counts now shown for entries presented in ocPortal categories
  • Automatic comment topic creation

PHP 6 and Unicode compatibility (in theory- PHP 6 is not out yet).

Installation improvements:
  • Detection and explanation of various server issues that would inevitably cause ocPortal to not work correctly.
  • Auto-creation of a .htaccess file, to give an optimal run-time environment

A new permissions log, so you can easily track down the cause of permission problems.

Optional spell checking functionality for all form submissions.

A new 'integration' module that can help to tie the interfaces of other web systems into ocPortal.

New features for those using ocPortal to develop websites for clients:
  • The ability to easily remove all ocPortal branding from an ocPortal website, including from the Admin Zone
  • A new simplified Admin Zone interface that automatically enables for those with reduced access

Search improvements:
  • A much better search interface
  • Logging and stats for search keywords, to help you optimise your website navigation
  • Users can search inside downloads, such as word documents
  • Highlighting of search terms within results

Auto-correction of mistyped page names.

Email improvements:
  • Better support for different HTML mail clients
  • Better support for text-mode webmail clients
  • Much smaller email transfer sizes
  • Improved algorithms to make email less likely to be seen as spam
  • Recipients now have the ability to reply without having to battle the email background colour

Version history for language files.

The date and time internationalisation support has been completely overhauled, and now the calendar can be internationalised.

A great deal more…

I'd like to thank everyone who has patiently waited for this news. Not one long-term community member has made an issue of the development time, which has been longer than the development time for other versions. I value all your trust. Those that have asked me about the new version have done so in private, respecting our needs to control development.

The wait is not entirely over though. We expect version 4 to be in beta for a longer length of time than our prior releases have been. What we will soon release will not be appropriate for live deployment, not support upgrading, and there will be a number of other beta releases before we will change our view on this. Nevertheless, the ball is definitely rolling, and the lid to the cookie jar is about to be left open.


Happy Easter!


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
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#38803
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Community saint

cool so when will we be able to test it?

I run http://otakuplayground.com and am hopping to make themes and other things for ocportal even though I no longer use it for otakuplayground.com I still love it and feel it could go far with the right help. It needs themes and needs people to advertise for it.
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Posted
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#38816
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Community saint

Great news Chris, Allen and Philip! I shall anxiously await it's release! <plug> Any possibility of slipping a slide show function into the gallery for this release?</plug> :cool:

"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
Rating:
#38820

Non-joined user

I am all for the slideshow. Awesome idea.
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Posted
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#38824
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Community saint

Slide shows and ecards would both be cool.  :offtopic:  :thumbs:

I run http://otakuplayground.com and am hopping to make themes and other things for ocportal even though I no longer use it for otakuplayground.com I still love it and feel it could go far with the right help. It needs themes and needs people to advertise for it.
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Posted
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#38825
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Community saint

My concern is whether I can port over my current site, after extensively modding it, without totally breaking the display.

If not, then it looks like I will have to stick with 3.2.8 for some time to come.

Ah, well, can't slow down progress because of the minority!

 :(

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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#38826
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Community saint

ah ya that happens with a lot of scripts some people are still using ipb 1.3  :lol:

I run http://otakuplayground.com and am hopping to make themes and other things for ocportal even though I no longer use it for otakuplayground.com I still love it and feel it could go far with the right help. It needs themes and needs people to advertise for it.
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Posted
Rating:
#38838
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Community saint

Hi Chris!

I love that:

New features for those using ocPortal to develop websites for clients:

  • The ability to easily remove all ocPortal branding from an ocPortal website, including from the Admin Zone
  • A new simplified Admin Zone interface that automatically enables for those with reduced access

 :thumbs:

And, of course (quoting Fletch), what about the "I can port over my current site, after extensively modding it, without totally breaking the display"?

Thank for your time!
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Posted
Rating:
#38881
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Community saint

Oh I just read that. Thats the best part. I assume though you still have the buy it to remove the branding.

I run http://otakuplayground.com and am hopping to make themes and other things for ocportal even though I no longer use it for otakuplayground.com I still love it and feel it could go far with the right help. It needs themes and needs people to advertise for it.
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Posted
Rating:
#38889
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Community saint

amichan said

I assume though you still have the buy it to remove the branding.

That's for sure, but still it's a BIG new features!  :thumbs:
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Posted
Rating:
#38894
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Community saint

I would totally agree and some thing I know a few people wanted.

I run http://otakuplayground.com and am hopping to make themes and other things for ocportal even though I no longer use it for otakuplayground.com I still love it and feel it could go far with the right help. It needs themes and needs people to advertise for it.
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Posted
Rating:
#38970
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Hi all,
Two of you independently asked for a slide-show feature, so I'll say something about it. This is a feature we put on our radar in August 2006, and it has since been 'ratified' under our feature planning process. That means that the feature is something we intend on implementing, but also that is is subject to priorities. It's unlikely we'll be able to get this into version 4, but I'll say that we would like to implement it at an appropriate point, and it being requested does have a bearing on our prioritisation.


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
Back to the top
 
Posted
Rating:
#38971
Avatar

Community saint

oh ok well thats cool.
I did switch what I use for my gallery but hey I might switch back when you add it.
 :thumbs:
Keep up the good work.

I run http://otakuplayground.com and am hopping to make themes and other things for ocportal even though I no longer use it for otakuplayground.com I still love it and feel it could go far with the right help. It needs themes and needs people to advertise for it.
Back to the top
 
Posted
Rating:
#39032
Avatar

Community saint

Chris Graham said

Hi all,
Two of you independently asked for a slide-show feature, so I'll say something about it. This is a feature we put on our radar in August 2006, and it has since been 'ratified' under our feature planning process. That means that the feature is something we intend on implementing, but also that is is subject to priorities. It's unlikely we'll be able to get this into version 4, but I'll say that we would like to implement it at an appropriate point, and it being requested does have a bearing on our prioritisation.
  Good enough for me Chris!

"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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