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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 ocPortal 9 will be superseded by Composr 10.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 for our new site, and to our migration roadmap. Existing ocPortal member accounts have been mirrored.

4.2 beta1 released

4.2 beta1 released We're pleased to release the first beta of ocPortal 4.2. Version 4.2 brings some new improvements to ocPortal, but also maintains database and theme compatibility.

News/Blog changes:
  • Blogging can now be separated from news, if people want it that way. This is a major change that affects navigation, CMS behaviour, definable permissions, and filtering. For example:
    • you can now set up a 'main_news' block that only shows blogs, or the opposite; language strings are auto-selected according to what you try and display (so it calls blogs "blogs", not "news").
    • you can give people access to write blogs without giving them access to post news.
    • a 'main_news' block showing blogs would link to the CMS screen to add a blog post, not the CMS screen to add a news post.
  • Big improvements have been made to news navigation throughout the news system. It is now easier to browse through different news categories.
  • Blog display is improved - rather than relying solely on filtering, or displaying via an OCF member profile, members have their own true blog home screen.
  • Improved the 'side_news' block, bringing it closer in functionality to the 'main_news' block.
  • The news system can now do '2-level filtering', which allows you to simulate a news category tree up to 2 levels deep but with complete flexibility (you can apply different 2-level filters in different blocks, for example).

Gallery changes:
  • Galleries can now be displayed as slide-shows.
  • e-card support (gallery images may be sent as e-cards, via the 'recommend' module).
  • A number of changes have been made to gallery display and navigation:
    • making it more consistent with the rest of ocPortal.
    • making it more attractive.
    • added extra information to the templates (some used by default, some passed in and available to themers).
    • added extra intelligence to the templates.
  • The 'main_gallery_embed' block can now have videos and images independently filtered, limit the number of results shown, and merge together multiple galleries for display.
  • A 'title' parameter has been added to the main_gallery_embed block.
  • A 'show_empty' parameter has been added to the 'side_root_galleries' block.

OCF changes:
  • Personal topics are now better indicated as such (to avoid confusion).
  • Staff may no longer accidentally see the title of the PTs members are reading.
  • A new hidden option has been added to disable the 'allow member emails' member option ('disable_allow_emails_field').
  • The red 'X unread topics' message now disappears if there are notifications left after clicking the AJAX 'ignore' link.
  • Improved forum tracking notifications (separate notification text sent for new topics compared to new posts, and the topic title is now included in the email subject).
  • Emoticon code tooltips are now present on the choose-emoticon-to-edit screen.
  • Our avatar sets are now packaged as separate addons, so that they can be uninstalled and there's a guarantee an upgrade won't put them back.

Stats changes:
  • Posting rate graph added, so you can see how posting activity varies over time  (OCF).
  • Statistics may now be downloaded into a CSV file, for display and analysis in a spreadsheet.

Other changes:
  • Addons may now be uninstalled and installed in bulk (great if you need to quickly make a clean site, or a site a client needs to use).
  • A new 'main_topsites' block has been added that shows a table of all the sites/banners referenced in a banner category, in order of popularity.
  • Improved HTML to Comcode conversion as used by the WYSIWYG editor (many additional cleanups have been added, for silly markup innocently achievable when using the WYSIWYG editor).
  • A new 'surround' Comcode tag has been added. This tag is useful when developing with CSS, as it allows insertion of a 'CSS anchor' for writing selectors. It can also lock floated attachments to paragraphs to avoid weird display effects.
  • If the 'SU' feature is being used a message is displayed about it (similar to the 'This site is closed, but you have access' message).
  • Join process streamlined to use more friendly activation terminology in the breadcrumbs and success message.
  • The 'side_zone_jump' block now supports zone reordering, and can be passed a list of zones to not show.
  • Reduced problem of getting flooded by error mails about missing resources / Added a throttle on the 'broken URL' error emails (the unservable incoming request variety).
  • You can now append the first level of a sitetree underneath a menu node (e.g. put subforums list underneath a link to the forums, on a dropdown menu). This is via a rather ugly syntax (which will be fixed when we make a release that breaks DB compatibility).
  • More 'redirect' URLs are sent through to CMS zone action screens, to maintain the "sub-site" illusion achieved via transparent page redirects.
  • Radio button support for catalogue fields and custom profile fields.

Minor changes:
  • Embossed menu styles improved (better look, and the CSS is easier to understand).
  • The "text-transform" effect that we performed on titles is now removed from our default CSS (it was too stylistic for a default theme).
  • Better display of Admin Zone search when there are a lot of results.
  • The zone editor's interface won't misrender anymore if invalid HTML is put into a panel.
  • Added proper form field validation for list fields.
  • Cleaned up XHTML semantics problems in 'side_personal_stats' and 'side_root_galleries' templates (now proper lists are used).
  • A few images are now better compressed.
  • The member 'wide' and 'theme' options now not show unless there exist zones which respect the settings.
  • The main_recent_downloads/main_top_downloads blocks may now take a title parameter, and be filtered using ocFilter.
  • The 'main_forum_topics' block now gives better "no entries" message when there are no hot topics but possible other topics.

Changes for developers:
  • Allowed modules to be called up by URL and then redirect to view them using Apache redirect rules (useful for developers using an IDE).
  • Modularised OCF authentication schemes, so that new importers and integrations do not require core code changes.
  • New hidden option added to disable the 'Comcode page children' feature ('disable_comcode_page_children'). This is useful for clients who get confused by the feature and don't need it.
  • A new CSS merging syntax has been added, allowing CSS experts to write their CSS rules to override the default CSS rules, rather than having to override whole files.
  • New CSS class added for menu-staff-link.
  • Added tab mechanism to the internal JS API and CSS, for use in themes.
  • Search priority for theme images changed ('images_custom' directory now takes priority).
  • The Comcode 'box' tag's dimensions parameter may now be entered via a symbol.
  • Changes made to menu templating allowing more flexibility.

Performance improvements:
  • The 'side_shoutbox' block now has better performance.
  • The number of queries required by ocPortal is reduced (member tracking has been made more intelligent).
  • When the persistent cache is on even fewer queries are now used; the persistent cache is now supported for those that have supported PHP plugins.
  • Inefficiency fixed in default templates (w.r.t. help links).

As a beta version, this release is intended for testing purposes only. It is not recommended that any live site be upgraded to it.

For those that still want to upgrade, at their own risk

To upgrade follow the steps in your website's http://mybaseurl/upgrader.php script. You will need to copy the URL of the attached TAR file as one of these steps ("3: Upload an upgrade TAR for extraction").
Please make sure you take a backup before uploading your new files!

alternatively (but not recommended), you can manually upload the files inside the attached TAR file over existing files (7-zip is just one of many tools for tar files). This is not recommended because it will bypass the upgraders addon-aware extraction algorithm and potentially cause problems.

Your upgrade to version 4.2 beta1

You can generate an upgrader from any version of ocPortal to any other version. If you access this upgrade post via the version information box on your Admin Zone front page then we'll automatically know what version you're running.
If you'd prefer though you can enter in your version number right here:

(usually blank)

(example above is for upgrading from 4.3.2 beta1)


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