We are actively testing Silverstripe 2.3 rc2, the lastest candidate for imminent new release of Silverstripe CMS / CMF. Among very efficient code upgrade and efficiency improvements, we love the following feature enhancements and definitely recommend professionnals to engage in learning this Content Management framework that fits CMS and website development, including the administration and layout of dynamic image galleries.
- Security new features : possibility to select multiple groups for viewing and administration privileges
What would be nice now : integrate the user import function from the newsletter module (see our post on how to do this for version 2.2)
- Wysiwyg editor new features : possibility to insert predefined template was missing for webmasters wishing to go beyond the single layout for each page type. Editors can now choose between predefined templates where content is structured in various configuration (read on for instructions on how to set that up).
What would be nice now : display a small preview of the layout, like typo3 does. Or integrate on demand page component addition (example : on demand HTML editors, list types, gallery types in one page)
- Other promising features (not tested) : data CRUD scaffolding, Update to TinyMCE 3.2, HTML flash code is now full XHTML compliant!
Prestashop is an amazing example of very specific features that benefit large audiences : the new version 1.1 is still in beta stage but the image mapping feature is really impressive. The objective described in the products section of prestashop admin manager, allows the administrator to select portions of a category image, link areas to a specific product, all this stuff is linked to the products database, in a process that saves thousands of repetitive work : "When a customer hovers over the image with the mouse, a pop-up appears displaying a brief description of the product. The customer can then click to open the product's full product page. To achieve this, please define the 'mapping zone' that, when hovered over, will display the pop-up. Left-click with your mouse to draw the four-sided mapping zone, then release. Then, begin typing the name of the associated product. A list of products appears. Click the appropriate product, then click OK. Repeat these steps for each mapping zone you wish to create. When you have finished mapping zones, click Save Image Map." The interface uses the jquery imgareaslect plugin and the result below proves that Rich Application Interface is not any more for the rich only.
Developping new functions in Silverstripe CMS is not easy task : documentation of the framework is good enough for most web site development tasks but when it comes to specific functions, we know the potentiality is there but lack specific API documentation. It took me a few hours and a lot of brain energy to find out how to ... duplicate the newsletter recipient import function to have it work for users and groups. Objective was to let my own customer import hundreds of his own customers. Done, tested to a certain extent, click here for more on Silverstripe's dedicated thread.
What is MCMS ?
MCMS is a new acronym used by the developers and marketers of osTube, a collaborative CMS that focuses on video publishing. videos, sounds, photos, documents types are supported in a portal layout that integrates user blogs and comments.
OSTube integrates encoder and flash player
Shipped with 4 or 5 available templates, osTube featuires AJAX based portal layout manager and obviously a powerful uploader linked to command line encoders. CAn be a good application to resell but I wonder about the search engine : will that be as powerful as google 's youtube ?
silverstripe is getting serious there : experienced website developers will be delighted to try out a new version of the famous Gallery extension that implements in site image editing for text captions, reordering and item deletion. Novice users will not get lost as this extension builds on what's popular, with Facebook-style interface for adding captions after insite image upload. the result is wonderful as it implements one of the best modal galleries out ther, based on (commercial) Shadowbox jquery gallery plugin. Another guy is working on a Nyromodal implementation (because it's GPL) and no doubt next time I need the stuff I'll work on porting the front end to my own choice of jquery modal gallery plugin.
While EXTJS 3.0 is on the way with a roadmap setting deadlines for early 2009, Jquery continues its path on the way to serious lightweight alternative to the massive EXT : JX extension for Jquery includes the viewport paradigm on which relies every EXT JS application.
Web based interfaces
In spite of huge progress and impressive use of ease, Jquery is not there yet : for the development of applications many developers have chosen the exhaustivity of EXT JS. Have a look at google code hosted project in development : ecartcommerce, CMS jimw, both ext js and zend framework based. In the world of content management systems, mysource is making the news with a new video that demonstrates inline editing, and other exciting Rich Application features.
Zend framework might not be as popular as other famous programming frameworks such as CAKE PHP or symfony. But still it's getting quite usable with version 1.7 approaching and a growing number of serious of libraries are hitting the ground. We've already covered code generation, scaffolding and RAD with Zend framework in previous articles, this article covers lower level libraries from Zym Projet
Zym Project includes a powerful navigation abstraction that can help building pages hierachy in a CMS application for example. Other goodies include the bootstrap class, that takes all configuration from ini files (bootstrap class also exists in another ZF extension, ZENDEX). Some classes of Zym Project have been integrated into 1.6 official release of Zend Framework. API classes Reference guide is available online.
The world of content management was doing fine with the concept of the usual administration framework or form based edition : some tools integrate front end editing, meaning that connected users can browse their site with a special menu tool bar on top or inside the page. What's even better is in situ editing, as demonstrated on NicEdit Wysiwyg editor demo page : NicEdit instances can also replace any element (divs,spans,paragraphs,ect.) with editor instances without effecting the layout of the page.
What's nice about internet technologies is that they always get better. But this can also be a problem, and Flash 10 complies to this rule with a new security feature that impacts all CMSes with advanced file upload ability, specifically those using the swfupload component : wordpress and silverstripe customers have reported inability to upload files after upgrading flash from 9 to 10 ! Thank god the bug is fixed with the new version of swfupload : go ahead and start copy and paste operations on your websites.
I have to admit that the race for the best opensource content management software is an exciting one. Years pass and technology goes ahead but some names have the capacity to stay on track : in 2007 modx was, in my opinion, the best PHP CMS I could implement for customers. 2008 saw an impressive competitor come up as a reliable solution, including a powerful development framework : Silverstripe version 2.2 is a must, with a simple tree based navigation and drag&drop page structure management as most visible features. Automatic image resizing, online image editing, flexible database structure, are features now common in silverstripe, sometimes shared with modx or other competitors (check out JOJOCMS, Concrete5 or even the old WordPress !!). Of course on the development side of the moon, 2008 also celebrated the ever increasing popularity of Zend framework on the server side, and EXTJS on the client side : those 2 powerful libraries have little implementation examples, but that is changing quickly too : the latest pre release version of MODX CMS, code named revolution, is demonstrating the use of EXT JS to an extent that's going to make 2009 a new era for opensource content management solutions !
Ever thought of using WordPress as a CMS ? Today's showcase features a perfect example of wordpress implentation for corporate advertising. Served by efficient graphic design, 4 seasons entertainment implements an event page, a list of artists via wp-page-numbers plugin, and of course the usual suspect CFORMS.
Showcase your site on webmasterbulletin
If you're in the business of creating stunning websites powered by efficient opensource or commercial CMS, let the world know : submit your work for review at webmasterbulletin showcase !!
Today's showcase : 4 seasons
4 Seasons Entertainment & Events has been bringing life to many major events in Dubai, U.A.E for over a decade. 4 Seasons delivers results, time and again. We pride ourselves to be one of the few agencies that renders 360 solutions for any type of event. All our resources are in-house, giving us the flexibility to support any event from small internal meetings to large conference and awards dinners or product launches with efficiency and precision.
After a few hours looking for a good implementation of recursive data with Zend Framework, I came across Hector Virgen's table abstraction for nested recursive tables, which uses the efficiency of the Modified Preorder Tree Traversal method that retrieves descendents and ancestors faster that with the old parent_id reference. In fact parent_id is not needed any more but in the example below we will keep the parent_id implementation. My aim here is to implement a draggable tree with data from this Zend_DB_Table abstraction. Setting up ext js with Zend Framework is not that hard, especially when many tutorials have been posted around for extjs tree with other frameworks such as Cake PHP .
what is nice about Omeka CMS is not the backend : you will find in the admin sandbox that most sections of the restricted area, while perfectly efficient, lack today's common AJAX reactivity. But on the front end, the result is stunning : websites built with Omeka have all gone throught a graphic design expertise that push the enthousiast to look more into the technology behind (Zend Framework). As such the tool fits perfectly into its mission statement : "web platform for publishing collections and exhibitions online. Designed for cultural institutions, enthusiasts, and educators, Omeka is easy to install and modify and facilitates community-building around collections and exhibits."
wmc is a professionnal web content management tool that does more than just let you write within your won website : it helps you with words via a specific semantic engine that will do its best to optimize your website for Search engines ! From the vendors website : "Semantic analysis is the process of linguistically parsing sentences and paragraphs into key concepts, verbs and Proper Nouns to determine the “aboutness” of content. Using statistics-backed technology, these words are then compared to your taxonomy* (categories) and grouped according to relevance".