HTML Logo by World Wide Web Consortium ( Click to learn more about our commitment to accessibility and standards.

Moving forward with Composr

ocPortal has been relaunched as Composr CMS. ocPortal 9 is superseded by Composr 10.

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

ocPortal 5.0.rc1 released!

ocPortal 5.0.rc1 released! Version 5.0.rc1 has now been released. This is version 5 of ocPortal (first release candidate). This version introduces a number of bug fixes, new features, usability improvements, and a wide-sweeping design overhaul. Upgrading is not recommended for live sites.

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 during step 3.
Please make sure you take a backup before uploading your new files!

Your upgrade to version 5.0.rc1

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)

Any common upgrade problems are being tracked in this forum topic.
If you have another problem, please file a bug report and ocProducts will respond and update the topic accordingly.

Changes in 5

Design overhaul:
  • A revamped Admin Zone navigation – drop downs, nicer form input, screen transitions, smooth scroll, smooth transitions everywhere
  • The Admin Zone front page is completely overhauled:
    • The staff checklist now allows custom tasks to be created, and is much more helpful and organised, and includes adding checklist items
    • There is a new block that allows you to monitor a number of sites against your own, to see how your PageRank and Alexa rank compares
    • A new links block allows you to share useful links with other staff. We've prepopulated it with lots of stuff you are likely to find useful in creating your site.
    • Staff forum posts are now shown
    • Website activity is now shown
  • Galleries have been completely redesigned (we know this is going to make a lot of people very happy)
  • The member profile screen has been completely redesigned
  • The member points screen has been completely redesigned. This makes the points system far more intuitive.
  • The quiz screen has been redesigned
  • Just about every side block has been redesigned
  • The commenting interface has been completely redesigned. The different between the old design and new design is like light and day.
  • The awards archive has been redesigned
  • When a content item has been given an award, you can now see this via a trophy icon next to it's title when you view that item. Full details of the award are given in a tooltip.
  • The download category and entry screens have been redesigned
  • The login screen has been redesigned
  • Tooltips have been redesigned
  • Just about every content type has been redesigned for how they show for displayed awards
  • Fixed XHTML validation issue on php-info screen, and redesigned
  • The posting form buttons have been redesigned
  • The popup question interface has been redesigned
  • Added zebra striping to results tables
  • Redesigned sitemap screen

Commenting, ratings and RSS:
  • Ratings are now done via AJAX, by clicking a star icon
  • Guests can give names when commenting
  • Comment topic's now advertise RSS feeds
  • There are now edit-post links on comment topics
  • Reviews will now preview nicely
  • RSS feed titles shown on the OPML index (index that lists all the feeds) are now better
  • Added admin-recent-actions RSS feed
  • RSS feeds are now set up to limit based on an item quantity as well as a date cut-off

  • Implemented a Text editing Component for CSS and template editors using EditArea
  • All the templates can now be previewed, as a part of the screens they are in, without needing to add test content. You can methodically work through all the screens in the system in order to test a theme looks good, something that was hugely problematic before. This is a huge boost to ease of themeing.
  • New CSS-styled buttons
  • Template GUIDs are now available in more cases
  • Themes can now come with bunded Comcode pages
  • Added favicons and webclip-icons as theme image
  • Implemented easier logo editing across all zones, on the edit-zone screen
  • New themeing possibilities have been created for many content archive screens, via new template parameters
  • Bug: Fixed problem that happens if you revert an edited template to the original
  • Bug: Fixed problem with an "Edit CSS" icon in the admin_themes module
  • Renamed 'Manage themes' icon to 'Themes', for consistency
  • Custom default theme images are no longer deleted if ocPortal is reinstalled
  • Added default favicon and iOS icon
  • Bug: Fixed strict XHTML validation of tables
  • Bug: Fixed shared-install bug that stopped you choosing a CSS file to edit
  • Bug: Fixed bug whereby a previewed template change would change the cache files prematurely

IE6 fixes (we've never so throughly tested a new ocPortal release on IE6 – although we expect to drop future support when IE9 is released):
  • Bug: Fixed uglyness expanding/contracting blocks on IE6
  • Bug: Fixed slow previews on IE6
  • Bug: Fixed smooth scrolling on IE6
  • Bug: Fixed image padding on IE6
  • Bug: Fixed OCF topic display problem on IE6

  • The upgrader now flows as a smooth process, without you needing to visit to find out what an upgrade includes (people will see this after their first upgrade after installing version 5)
  • Upgrade advice is now improved considerably, designed to make decisions easier with minimal research needed
  • The chance of an upgrade going wrong is now reduced, as the extraction process (on a SuExec server) happens in a script isolated from ocPortal
  • Put in safe mode links to the upgrader
  • Startup hooks no longer run for the upgrader (to reduce chance of stability problems)
  • Improved how auto-upgrade of overridden blocks/modules works

  • Added the ability for video transcoding in galleries (needs ffmpeg to be installed on the server)
  • Added a new block for animating between images in a gallery
  • A number of small gallery changes and improvements
  • The default number of gallery entries is now not hard-coded, it is the first setting on the config option list of choices for the number of entries to show
  • New galleries now default to having flow mode if more than half already do
  • Improved edit gallery screen for usability
  • Added missing edit gallery do-next link after managing gallery entries
  • Improved support for mp4 files (usually used for h.264 video)
  • Changed ogg mime-type to the newer official one
  • Added better error tolerance for corrupt quicktime/MP4 files

  • Added quiz previews
  • Allowed quiz question and answer reordering
  • Quiz questions can now include explanations for the answers
  • Bug: Now stores completion timers separately for each quiz
  • Bug: Quiz edit link is now only shown for staff
  • Quiz completion e-mails have been tidied up

  • Added a nofollow attribute to links to dynamically created future/past calendar pages
  • Fixed: Calendar notification emails all sent to the staff CC address
  • Calendar events will use the current date to auto fill rather than January 1st
  • There is now a nice Javascript error if you try to add an event that finishes before it begins
  • Guest's no longer shown as event organisers in iCal streams if a guest posted the event
  • Bug: Fixed problem with deleting a recurring event

  • Ability to switch between tree/non-tree catalogues
  • Catalogue page-link field type added
  • Catalogues can now accept attachments
  • Improved how catalogue upload-fields handle restricted content types, so that the downloads can keep their filename whilst security is still maintained
  • The main_recent_cc_entries block now gives more control on display modes
  • Bug: Problem with certain catalogue edit links
  • Only catalogues you have permissions to submit to are now given top-level CMS-zone icons
  • Bug: Fixed problems with date catalogue field type

  • Improved CEDI edit-page screen for usability
  • The CEDI orphaned page chooser is now much nicer

  • Added a bounce filter script for newsletters
  • Newsletters can now display custom profile field values of the member receiving the newsletter
  • Added pagination for viewing newsletter subscribers
  • Added feature to give stats on the e-mail domains your newsletter subscribers are using
  • Bug: Welcome emails sent on the newsletter are now only sent to people who are still signed up to at least one newsletter
  • The newsletter template is now included with welcome emails

  • Bug: Fixed problem when blogging and there are no categories to submit to and no permission to make one
  • Bug: Fixed problem editing news if the calendar addon has been uninstalled
  • Fixed problem with the side_news_categories block assuming the news module is in the same zone
  • Bug: When adding the news block, the default filter parameter filtered everything out, fixed

  • OcCLE now gives better error reporting
  • OcCLE now supports wildcards, to a degree

Forum/members (OCF):
  • Made setting additional usergroups more intuitive to set
  • Explained in OCF why posting is not possible if it's due to double-post permissions
  • Showing of the full forum breadcrumbs for the target forum when previewing multi-moderations
  • Added a forum link on the club view screen
  • Bug: Fixed problem with permissions when editing a forum
  • Removed OCF default Feedback forum, as it is duplicating functionality
  • Bug: Made OCF latest-post indicators accurate if a post is made in a forum that users have permission to, but is not browseable to (due to an intermediate hidden forum)
  • The main_forum_topics block now has an option to check forum permissions
  • The main_forum_topics block now does a better job of auto-detecting a good box title
  • Added personal-topics RSS feed
  • Added new-members RSS feed
  • Added unread-topics RSS feed
  • Full breadcrumb chain for target forum shown when applying a multimoderation
  • Added inline-personal-posts virtual topic to OCF
  • Added confirmation screen before deleting posts
  • Bug: If you delete all posts in a topic, it no longer tries to redirect back to the topic
  • Sunk posts will now show as the latest post, if they truly are (feature change, for usability reasons)
  • List CPFs are no longer shown as required if a 'blank' list option is provided
  • Bug: Ban/unban emails showed parameters in the wrong order (not as indicated in the email)
  • If the user chooses a photo and has the default avatar or no avatar, the photo will also become their avatar. This is particularly useful if you choose to disable the avatar module to simplify things / add a human touch.
  • Added welcome email previews
  • Bug: Fixed OCF post search performance
  • Bug: Fixed bug in subforum searching

Page/link management:
  • Added explanations for staff when pages are not validated
  • Added some automatic link fixing if users forget to include http:// in links
  • Added a nostalgic 'page under construction' default image for new pages (it replaces the default wholly-blank text of Comcode pages and we hope people won't overuse it)
  • Added the ability to set up a quick redirect from the ocPortal "page not found" page
  • Discouraged zone/page renaming in order to make sure upgrades remain easy
  • The sitemap will show pages that exist through a transparent re-direct
  • Fixed: Comcode child page links cannot be removed
  • Improved edit Comcode Page screen for usability

  • Comcode page owners can now be reassigned
  • For clarity Administrator groups will show on all permission pages, as locked checkboxes
  • FirePHP output (useful for permission debugging) is now a lot more clear
  • You can now click +/- buttons to assign a permission to all usergroups
  • Validated checkboxes now will only show if you have bypass-validation permission in at least one category

Chat rooms:
  • We no longer check chat room page access for chatroom post access – the assumption is now that room permission will be set correctly. This change was needed to widen cross-system use of the chat framework.
  • There is now improved support for chat bots
  • Added extra admin links to the chat moderation screen
  • Added automatic side_shoutbox decacheing on chat moderation actions
  • The chat font option is now a drop-down list of safe web fonts

  • Added new 'big_tabs' and 'tabs' Comcode tag sets, to make it really easy to put in tab navigation now very popular on websites
  • More clear error message if a broken link is posted via a URL tag
  • Bug: Fixed a rendering problem for the codebox tag when used in XHTML mode
  • Made the include tag 'missing resource' error a clickable link to add the page
  • Added 'shocker' tag
  • Added 'cite' parameter to 'ins', 'del' and 'quote' tags
  • Added 'samp', 'q', and 'var' tags
  • Changed the 'img' tag to not set an alignment by default
  • Bug: Fixed problem with how 'img' tag captions are rendered
  • Added 'title' support to the 'img' tag
  • Bug: Stopped a broken flash URL being said to be a problem with the 'img' tag
  • Removed automatic attachment placement for unreferenced attachments, if Comcode XML being used, due to need to produce valid XML
  • Improved Comcode 'faux tables' feature

Multi-site-networks (many bug fixes, upgrading to the final release of version 5 is recommended when it is available – these fixes will not be released officially for v4.3):
  • Added comment-topic spacer-post stripping support across multi-site-networks running different languages
  • Bug: Fixed newsletters on OCF multi-site-networks
  • Bug: Fixed problem deleting multiple posts on OCF multi-site-networks
  • Bug: Fixed problem editing posts on OCF multi-site-networks
  • Bug: Fixed how attachments work across multi-site-networks
  • Bug: Fixed OCF promotion on multi-site-networks
  • Bug: Fixed a lot of problems with how permissions work on OCF multi-site-networks
  • Bug: Fixed how monikers work across OCF multi-site-networks
  • Bug: Fixed how forum award's work across multi-site-network

  • Made the backup system less likely to run out of memory when generating a backup
  • Made Tempcode use a bit less memory
  • Improvements to search performance
  • Improved language cache performance a little bit
  • Performance improvements to display of large numbers of catalogue entries
  • Bug: Fixed problem with memory limits being exceeded when zipping files (e.g. in galleries)
  • Optimisations on trying to get a guest's usergroups
  • The database cache table can now save to disk
  • Bug: Fixed problem with excessive number of script language caching files
  • Memory usage optimisation in the Admin Zone, so with the new front page and menus resource usage does not rise
  • Small optimisation when converting HTML to Comcode

  • The backup module can now estimate the size a backup will be
  • You can now do a database-only backup
  • Renamed the backup install.php file to restore.php

  • New Real-time rain feature that allows you to visualise activity in your website, either in real-time, or via historic playback. This feature is enormous fun and incredibly pretty.
  • Random entry blocks can now be random per load, via a new "do not cache" block option
  • A Javascript colour picker os now used for some config options, so you don't need to type hex colour codes
  • If someone makes you a buddy, you now get an e-mail that asks if you want them to be your buddy too
  • Clearing an upload will now also delete the attachment code in the main body
  • Search results will show the term you searched for at the top
  • If the Setup Wizard has not been run a dismissible message about this is shown across the Admin Zone
  • Addons will now auto install after they are imported
  • Made adding video attachments easier by auto detecting height & width
  • Improvements to how attachments display
  • Embedded sorted tables now show the sorting method currently active
  • Unified recoverable errors and attach_message, to simplify message display
  • The output of the logo wizard is now vertically centred
  • Improved the character-limited field inputs
  • Changes to apply MAX_FILE_SIZE more consistently (so even admins are warned if they try to upload large files that the server can't accept)
  • Bug: Fixed problems with orphaned language strings cleanup
  • Allowed multi-selection of content-types to search when adding the main_search block
  • When you click a button it will now grey-out and show a loading cursor
  • Added some cross-linking advice between admin modules, in case people get lost
  • Fixed various little display issues on Google Chrome (which is now a supported/recommended browser)
  • Bug: MyBB custom profile fields now set correctly (affecting points)
  • Bug: Small issue fixed regarding showing banners with relative image URLs
  • Various little language changes to improve usability
  • When you edit menus multi-language translations are no longer discarded
  • Extra admin-zone-search synonyms have been added
  • Bug: Fixed problem accessing the language editor
  • Additional action log events have been defined
  • Bug: Fixed triggering an eCommerce subscription via a manual transaction
  • The staff-CPFs will now disappear if the staff addon is uninstalled
  • Allowed doing redirects through the logout screen
  • Search screens are now marked as no-index to search engines, and management scripts
  • You can now ban/unban whole groups of IP addresses easily
  • ocPortal is now less sensitive if addons install corrupt permission or config options
  • Improved the code that tries to accurately say why file-write problems happened
  • Improved base URL detection for CRON scripts (very minor issue, only affects people who remove the base URL from info.php)
  • Improved IP address detection
  • Improved display of relative time periods (e.g. "3 days ago")
  • Improved how CPFs are treated when doing XML data transfer
  • Bug: When doing XML data transfer sets correct charset via XML declaration
  • Stopped language packs with directory names that are too long being recognised, then causing DB errors
  • Bug: Fixed some problems with language cache auto-regeneration, especially when interacting with block caching
  • If unofficial 'prefer_curl' option was enabled, attachment thumbnails would not embed correctly in e-mails; this is no longer the case
  • Only unpaid-for subscriptions are now shown for triggering in the eCommerce manual-transactions interface
  • Base URL detection now produces nicer URLs if HTTPS is constantly on
  • Bug: Fixed race-condition on Javascript cacheing
  • Bug: Fixed site-tree editor drag and drop on HTML5 browsers
  • Bug: Better error message if failing to read a TAR file
  • Changed the IS_IN_GROUP symbol to require member ID's to be specified in a separate parameter, so that the ocFilter 'NOT' syntax can work correctly
  • Allowed the ADD/SUBTRACT symbols to work on comma'd numbers
  • Upgraded FirePHP to latest version
  • Bug: Stopped giving HTTP status codes on IIS, as it is interpreted by IIS rather than sent directly to the client browser
  • Some improved graceful error handling in certain corner cases
  • Improved how IP address bans are saved into .htaccess files
  • Support tickets will no longer send SMS's if the handling staff are still online
  • Bug: Fixed problem with permission of created files, affecting some servers only
  • Detection/fixing of URLs is improved in various ways
  • Bug: Fixed problem putting together certain page-links
  • Multi-moderations now create support-ticket reply notifications
  • The Admin Zone search now has an auto-complete
  • Fixed database type strictness error in SEF URL's feature
  • Worked around problem if translators add blank lines to language strings that weren't there before
  • Bug: Fixed race-condition problem with emptying the language cache on Windows servers
  • Added 'title' parameter to main_quotes block
  • Bug: Fixed how the main_contact_simple block handles CAPTCHA
  • Bug: Fixed big database storage problem with side_stored_menu block
  • Changed how attachment downloads are counted, for the case of non-thumbnailed images (the view does no longer count as a download)
  • Updated the CSS validator to support a bit of CSS3
  • Updated the XHTML validator to not warn about Lorum-Ipsum text unless 'Manual checks' is enabled
  • Bug: Fixed very small problem enabling/disabling debug mode via URLs
  • Changed initialisation order a bit, for better error handling
  • The fat-entry-point check now only happens in debug-mode
  • Added skipping of any field starting '_' to the form to email script
  • Added attachment support to the form to email script
  • Bug: Fixed problem stopping usergroup signup working if there are store items set up
  • Fixed problem with auto-creation of template-cache directories not setting correct permissions
  • Editing zones will now empty the zone menu cache
  • Bug: Admin logs for poll choosing showed language number instead of question text
  • Allowed spaces inside ocFilter syntax
  • Bug: Fixed ocFilter tree filter bug
  • Bug: Fixed possible stack trace problem in ocf_groups API
  • Allowed admins testing a closed site using SU to download files, or RSS, or use chat rooms, etc
  • Lots of rewrite URL fixes on IIS
  • Bug: Fixed stack trace bug if you have download blocks after you uninstall the download addon
  • Bug: Fixed stack trace if you uninstall the stats addon
  • Bug: Fixed PHP 5.2+ bug when entering large amounts of text into the WYSIWYG editor
  • Bug: Fixed download progress on browsers other than Firefox if gzipping output is enabled
  • Bug: Fixed proxy server support for local URLs (proxy server bypassed for local URLs)
  • Bug: Fixed RSS blocks not caching
  • Allowed welcome emails to run if OCF is not being used, for newsletters
  • Bug: Fixed the Java uploader on the most recent generation of CSS3 web browsers
  • Bug: Fixed the Java uploader on server's that require a passive FTP connection
  • Bug: Guests could not recommend the site
  • Raised default usergroup limits for new installs
  • Bug: Fixed phpbb admin user detection
  • Bug: Stopped possibility for reverse proxies to be banned by the hack-attack ban system
  • Bug: Fixed PostgreSQL support
  • Added (as a hidden feature, for formalisation later) an email queue feature for checking automatic emails before they are allowed to go out

For developers:
  • Added schema verification to mysql cleanup tools
  • Improvements to our XML database driver (inbuilt database, intended for developers)
  • Added do-not-edit advice to the header of PHP files, explaining how the override system works
  • Cleaned up how guests are handled in the code
  • Improved aspects of our API so that it's a bit easier to make addons that change the database
  • Added support for Comcode hooks, so addons can make new tags
  • New 'table_exists' function
  • New 'member_is_online' function
  • New 'inspect_plain' debug function
  • Improved development mode, with respect to detecting mis-used database connections
  • Some other very minor code cleanups
  • Added 'config_option_exists' and 'permission_exists' API functions
  • Code cleanups in attachment and logo wizard code
  • Addons can now include a data_custom/<addon>_install.php file. Useful for crafting special installation code.
  • Renamed 'IN_INSTALLER' to 'IN_MINIKERNEL_VERSION' for code clarity
  • Javascript templates can now hint that they should not be minimised
  • Alternative PHP implementations… Added some support for Quercus (Java implementation of PHP), but unfortunately Quercus has an outstanding bug we can't workaround. Attempt to make PHP Phalanger compiler work, but Phalanger proved unstable. Attempt to make Roadsend compiler work, but Roadsend proved unstable. IBM Project Zero support.
  • ocProducts XSS detector no longer gives error when downloading auto-generated ZIP files
  • Allowed 'db_site_user' to default to 'root' if not set, and 'db_site_password' to blank

Upgrade compatibility

Version 5 breaks theme compatibility, however it should not be hard to re-create themes for it.
Theoretically themes will automatically be upgraded, but due to the number of changes this likely will not work well.
We would advise doing the following:
  • Backing-up your custom theme to your own computer
  • Recreating your custom theme colour scheme using the Theme Wizard
  • Using a diff tool like diffmerge to see what changes you made to make your theme, compared to the default theme.
    • In particular for CSS the original CSS your theme was based on is actually saved within the theme. For example, you can use diffmerge to compare global.css.editfrom to global.css and see exactly what was changed. You can ignore the colour changes made by the Theme Wizard, and everything else will be a change you've done yourself and thus something to put back into your new ocPortal 5 theme. Also you can make use of file modfication dates – any file not modified since you originally ran the Theme Wizard won't need examining.
    • If you've made template changes, you can also use diffmerge to see what you've changed. There is no .editfrom file, but there is a .<number> file that serves the same purpose.
  • If you've made image changes, you can usually just upload these directly to your new theme.

We always seek to avoid breaking compatibility. We decided to get all our planned theme changes into this release, so that we can now maintain compatibility for a long time. The visual improvements we've made to the new default theme are profound. User's can also expect to see us announce some very good news about ocPortal 5 themes shortly.

We have maintained a very high-level of feature and database compatibility between versions 4.4 and 5.0. Therefore apart from themes, upgrading should not be problematic.

30 New addons

We have created 30 new optional addons! We originally announced just 3 addons on April 1st, and some of you fell for our fools-day double bluff ;). In addition to the three previously announced addons (ocPurrrr, ocDeadpeople and ocJester), some other addons include:
  • Three new blocks to display your Amazon wishlist, Amazon affiliate sales links, and items you are selling through ebay.
  • A new spinning tag globe to replace the tag cloud block.
  • New mapping tools to display the locations of your members or locations derived from a catalogue (useful for a store locater for example).
  • A new chat bot for the ocPortal chat rooms to interact with your site visitors.
  • A replacement for the existing chatrooms which uses a Jabber chat room from your server.
  • An adminzone search stemmer allowing you to search for publishing for example and it will display results for publish.
  • A module to incorporate Google translate into your website.
  • A range of new banners to show your support for a wide range of causes within a block.
  • A crossword generator and an altered quiz module allowing you to set entrance costs and rewards for entering and completing quizzes.
  • An Enhanced shout box

For a full comprehensive list of our addons visit the updated addons gallery.

View all


There have been no trackbacks yet