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State of the Evolution - July 2014

Posted on July 3, 2014 by fplanque in b2evolution.net, Development

Here's a quick update on what we've been working on since the last update ;)

GitHub

GitHub has become the go-to place for open source projects of all kinds. It was about time for b2evolution to be on GitHub too. We're happy to announce the new b2evolution git repository on GitHub:

https://github.com/b2evolution/b2evolution

This repository is already ahead of the latest 5.1.1-beta.

We are updating it weekly for now and we plan to use it as the primary development repository in the (near) future. Which means you will have extremely easy access to bug-fixes and new features in real-time as we work on them.

If you're unfamiliar with git and github, it is still very easy to download and keep up to date with this repository if you use the Git Client tool that can be downloaded from the GitHub home page.

Site Redesign

We changed our intro last month and changed it again today! There's so many possible angles to look at b2evolution that it's a bit tricky to choose one that really catches the gist of it...

We also streamlined the design some more. It's starting to look much more modern.

Anyways, as always, feedback on the homepage design is very welcome.

As a side note, let us give a plug to Font Awesome which we're now starting to use across the whole site.

Update: We also updated the design of the news blog ;)

Development Focus

The last month of development was very focused on performance. More specifically on reducing the number of files being loaded with each page b2evolution serves and also the size of the files.

This was achieve with several techniques:

  • Concatenating multiples CSS and JS files into one;
  • Minifying the CSS and JS files;
  • Doing the above two automatically using Grunt (Note: You'll find our Gruntfile.js in the GitHub repository mentioned above));
  • Loading non essential JS files asynchronously;
  • Using an icon font instead of image sprites;
  • Loading some resources from public CDNs...

You may already have noticed page load time improvements on this site. You will benefit from the same in b2evolution 5.1.2.

5.1.2

We expect to release version 5.1.2 before the end of July. We may call it "stable" instead of "beta" if it passes the tests.

Stay tuned!

b2evo 5.1.1 (beta) released

Posted on June 14, 2014 by fplanque in New releases

b2evolution 5.1.1-beta has been released.

Check out the Changelog + Download page »

This release is only available for download on b2evolution.net. We are no longer uploading download packages to Sourceforge. (We actually found their download process annoying because it frequently presented ads with a confusing download button which made you download an unwanted product instead of b2evolution!)

We are also planing to migrate the source code to GitHub in the near future. In the meantime we will keep updating the CVS repository on SourceForge (but only the CVS repository, not the downloads section).

Note: this release is probably completely fit for production. We just call it "beta" because we want to clean up and test some more before calling it "finished". We're just a little perfectionists like that... ;)

State of the Evolution - June 2014

Posted on June 1, 2014 by fplanque in b2evolution.net

You might have noticed a slight redesign of the b2evolution.net site header.

This was long overdue but was only made possible recently after we finally converted 100% of the pages of this site to be served dynamically by b2evolution.

So, now, of course, such a change is trivial as we only have the site_header file to modify in order to achieve this. But imagine that before that, the site had grown progressively since 2003 with many pages beeing static Dreamweaver files, others being handled by other software like phpBB (now integrated into b2evolution) and many sub-domains (likes skins, plugins, etc.) being handled by spearate installs of b2evolution, spearately installed and customized by contributors on separate servers. They all had the best intentions at the time but it had turned into a maintenance nightmare.

Now everything is back on one single b2evolution v 5.1.1 install. Maintenance will be easier and evolving the global site design/architecture will be easier too.

5.1.1

Speaking of 5.1.1, it is already available to test in the demo section. (Note: for security reasons, the demo runs on a separate server — sorry if it’s a bit slower soemtimes — but the demo homepage is on the main server).

A new downloadable release of 5.1.1 will be made available before June 15th.

A little bit of CSS

Regarding the recent design changes, you may have noticed the little triangle under the currently active main “tab” (which don’t look, like tabs anymore ;):

State of the Evolution - June 2014

In case you’re wondering this is achieved with a little white square that is rotated by 45 degrees in CSS. The square itself is added dynamically by CSS using a :after selector.

Full story »

b2evo 5.0.9 (stable) released

Posted on May 16, 2014 by fplanque in New releases

b2evolution version 5.0.9-stable has been released!

Download & Upgrade instructions here »

This is a maintenance release containing fixes for all bugs discovered since version 5.0.8.

We are committed to fully address issues with v 5.0 until v 5.1 is considered completely stable.

b2evo 5.1.0-beta released

Posted on March 27, 2014 by fplanque in New releases

b2evolution version 5.1.0-beta has been released!

Download & Upgrade instructions here »

The general focus of this 5.1 release is to add the features we felt were missing in 5.0 that did not require deep changes to the 5.0 code and DB structure. We have been working heavily on version 6.0 in parallel.

Among quite a few new features, here are some highlights:

  • Site-wide header & footer support allowing you to even quicklier build complex multi-collection sites than before. We are using this on b2evolution.net.
  • Photo Albums Skin
  • Goal Categories for your server side analytics
  • Redesigned login screens based on twitter bootstrap (more bootstrap use to come in the next release)
  • Additions and improvements to existing antispam tools
  • Many small user requests

There will still be some more additions in the stable 5.1 release. If the one feature you've been desperately waiting for isn't in this beta, now is a good time to remind us! ;)

About the home page redesign... (and b2evo 5.1)

Posted on March 17, 2014 by fplanque in b2evolution.net

So far b2evolution has been like organic food applied to CMS software: it is the Best Quality Ever but it had no flashy packaging to advertise for it. Well it turns out people like flashy packagings. And flashy packagings don't make what's inside any less organic and high-quality.

So let's try to pimp our packaging a bit, shall we?

If you have looked at b2evolution's home page today, you can't have missed our efforts on that! ;)

Following a first cleanup, we have radically changed it this week-end. We hope you'll agree we actually "radically improved" it ;) There have been both "tactical" and "strategic" changes. Both planned changes and changes suggested by you, our users. There's been more than a hundred hours of work on this redesign already and we have a remaining list of changes for at least another hundred hours. But we'd like to take a moment to ask for your feedback.

Do you like where this is going? ...or did we go too far?

What do you think the next priorities should be?

What info is missing?

What's too much?

Have you seen interesting things on other sites we should draw inspiration from? (URLs welcome)

How much farther should we go?

5.1

Also, under the hood, this new page (and the majority of the site) now run on b2evolution 5.1. A giant live beta test if you will. We're fixing bugs by the dozen. If you see something strange, please kindly report it ;)

What this also means is that a public beta of 5.1 is really close now. It's hard to estimate a date because the real date is "as soon as we don't find new bugs any more" but I would guesstimate about 10 days from now.

Note: we're also working on all the feedback we received. Please continue to tell us what you'd like. We're all ears! :)

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