HTML Logo by World Wide Web Consortium (www.w3.org). Click to learn more about our commitment to accessibility and standards.

ocPortal 7.1 beta1 released!

ocPortal 7.1 beta1 released! Version 7.1 beta1 has now been released. This version is a feature release that introduces HTML5/schema.org support and a number of bug fixes since the last release. 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 (created via the form below) during step 3.
Please make sure you take a backup before uploading your new files!

Your upgrade to version 7.1 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)


The ocPortal development team is pleased to announce that ocPortal 7.1 has now entered beta.

ocPortal 7.1 brings full support for HTML5 and for the schema.org (schema.org - Home) meta-data initiative that Google/Yahoo/Bing jointly announced on Thursday 2nd June.

We feel that schema.org is a very important project, and is perfectly aligned with the goals and nature of ocPortal, so we have scrambled to release a solid implementation (achieved within 3 days).

Not only should schema.org support enhance the Search Engine Optimisation of ocPortal websites, it really opens up new interoperability possibilities.

For example, look at how Microsoft have been using 'tiles' in  Windows Phone, and the recent Windows 8 demo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p92QfWOw88I). This is a great example of how semantic markup can be used to create rich interfaces from website data. Because ocPortal now provides this data automatically, in the standardised schema.org microdata format, ocPortal webmasters need not do anything to enable these kinds of interoperabilities.

Specifically, we have implemented the following into ocPortal:
  • Use of the XHTML5 doctype
  • Use of HTML5 semantics tags: header, footer, aside, nav, article, time, output
  • schema.org, specific screen types and blocks
    • WebPage (the default, and we properly support marking up elements such as breadcrumbs, and what the prominent navigation links are)
    • ProfilePage (authors, member profiles)
    • ContactPage (various contact blocks, support tickets)
    • ItemPage (catalogue entries)
    • Table (catalogue tabular views)
    • Offer (eCommerce product entries)
    • ItemPage (download entries)
    • ImageObject (gallery images, images of the day)
    • VideoObject (gallery videos)
    • ImageGallery (galleries)
    • NewsArticle (news entries)
    • BlogPosting (blog entries)
    • SearchResultsPage (search results)
    • CheckoutPage (shopping checkout)
  • schema.org, re-used components
    • Review (comment posts)
    • Rating (comment posts with reviews)
    • AggregateRating (ratings)
  • schema.org, overall layout
    • WPHeader and WPFooter [which interestingly, seem redundant given that HTML5 also implements these semantics natively, and schema.org requires HTML5]
    • WPSideBar
  • upgraded/changed HTML4 functionality that is no longer valid HTML5
  • workarounds to make Internet Explorer display pages reliably when HTML5 tags are present
  • (We already supported, and continue to support, HTML5 video)
  • (We already supported, and continue to support, HTML5 drag and drop upload)
  • The inbuilt ocPortal XHTML validator now can validate XHTML5

One thing we have consciously avoided implementing is WPAdBlock ("An advertising section of the page"). As developers of ocPortal, we are ultimately in the service of website owners, and implementing this part of schema.org would make it very easily for browser plugins to strip adverts from sites, eroding the business model of some websites. This is of course controversial, and webmasters could easily add WPAdBlock into the templates on their site – it would be fascinating to hear a discussion on this matter.

Interestingly, schema.org does not currently implement any microdata standards for encoding social data. It would be great to see a lightweight equivalent to sioc (sioc-project.org | Semantically-Interlinked Online Communities) as we feel this would open up many more opportunities for innovative interactions with social websites.

Overall, we really like the microdata design. Initially we were skeptical of microdata, given it reinvents the wheel of what is already covered by RDF and microformats. However, given that microformats are a kludge, and RDF is seen as complex and bloated, we find that schema.org shows just how well microdata can work.

To enable the beta support in a copy of ocPortal 7.1 you need to type the following into OcCLE (ocPortal's console):

Code

:set_value('html5','1');

We have to stress that we are not actively promoting the use of the ocPortal HTML5 support yet…

  1. We have done a thorough HTML5 implementation, but the standard-to-be has not exited the 'Last calls' stage yet, so is subject to flux (it is expected to be fully stable at some point in 2012). We've made considerable effort to make the support work via an option, so that people aren't forced into anything that is not yet officially (on a number of levels) ready.
  2. No browsers fully support HTML5 yet, and a lot of the potential (such as linking the 'time' elements through to calendar software) are not yet realised. Browsers that don't support HTML5 will not malfunction (at least, we are not aware of any unresolved problems after cross-platform testing and working around a few problems we did find), it's just they won't receive the benefits.
  3. We don't want to suggest that it is important to upgrade and cause people to scramble over their theme's templates to upgrade them. At this point it may not be a worthwhile effort.
  4. Most of the 'HTML5' features that get advertised are actually CSS3 or one of the many new Javascript specifications. ocPortal has made use of these for progressive enhancement for quite some time now.

The big reason we had to implement HTML5 was for implementing the schema.org support properly (i.e. without making everyone's websites invalid, a rule that we expect less-careful developers may not adhere to). In due course, it makes a lot of sense for people to get the advantages of this – so if you have an ocPortal site, and are prepared, you might want to consider making the switch in the coming months.

Expand: Fixes have been made to the following issues Fixes have been made to the following issues


7.1 beta1 released. Read the full article for a list of changes, and upgrade information.

View all

Trackbacks

There have been no trackbacks yet

Edited