CPG 1.5.3 Released – The future is bright.

Introducing the Coppermine 1.5.3 Release Candidate

It is with great joy that we present Coppermine 1.5.3 [RC]. After over 2 years of work and thousands of lines of code we now have a superb and feature packed product. It has been a long and challenging journey but with the help of you, the community, and our team of dedicated supporters and developers we are almost there.

What does this mean and why a release candidate?

With so many changes the Coppermine team decided that going straight to a stable release might be a step too far. We want to have a wider user base to test both the code and usability. Along with that we would also like to have more language options available for the stable release. However, we do feel the code is now in a very stable and secure state. While we don’t recommend you use it on a live site the good news is that we can now provide support to you all. In return we request that you help us to help you by providing all the information you can when requesting support.

How can I be part of the stable release?

Testing

The most important thing you can do is help us test the software. Download a copy of Coppermine 1.5.3 and install it somewhere to test it. Explore every facet of the software looking for anything that does not work as it should. If you find something that needs fixing then file a bug report but please review the documentation first.

Documentation

Almost as important as testing the software is to make sure people understand how to use it. While ease of usability has been high on the priority list it is always important to have good documentation. The new documentation for Coppermine 1.5.x has had a major overhaul and we feel is the best yet. Having said that there is always room for improvement. Over the years we often get people with little or no technical knowledge wanting to help and the docs are one area that everyone can be involved in. So have a read through and if you feel something is lacking or incorrect then tell us. Better still, work on that section and contribute it to the community. Only with your help can we continue to improve.

Translation

As previously mentioned we would like to see the stable release include support for as many different languages as possible. Again, the community has stepped up to the mark providing a number of language files but we would love to see many more. This not only goes for the language files but the docs too. If you are good at translation then the core language files can be done in just a couple of hours. The new docs are very extensive and do require a lot more work. Don’t be put off by this. Instead just do as much as you can contributing your work to the community via the forum as you go. Hopefully others can then build on your work and we can advance towards our goals as a team.

There is a new translation guide that ships with cpg1.5.x that is mandatory to read for potential translators as well as the translation announcement thread “[Help wanted]: Translations for CPG1.5.x“.

What’s new in CPG 1.5.x

New core theme

Providing many years of faithful service the old classic theme was beginning to show its age so the Coppermine team decided to lay it to rest. After many hours of work we are proud to introduce the new Curve theme. One of the things that made the old classic theme so great was that it was easy to modify to your needs and the new Curve theme is no exception. With a stunning new look based on the theme of the same name from SMF along with a new CSS based drop down menu system you will find this the most usable yet.

Along with the classic theme a number of older themes have been removed from the core download but continue to be available separately. Full details can be found here along with other users contributed themes

All new upload interface

To improve the user experience it is now even easier than ever to upload images to Coppermine thanks to a new upload interface. Utilizing the excellent and popular open source tool, SWF Upload no longer is the user limited to just uploading a few images at a time. With a great drag and drop interface and progress bar the process has been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

The only drawback is that the user requires flash and java-script to be enabled on his browser. For those very rare few that do not meet these minimum specs all is not lost as the single file upload interface remains.

Improved usability

By far the largest request from the community was to improve usability and thanks to the community we feel we have done just that. Below are a list of just a few things that are making CPG1.5 such a pleasure to use.

  • Built in Captcha engine
  • Built in Watermark engine
  • New Upload Interface
  • Improved Groups control
  • Improved Category Management tool
  • Drag and drop sorting of albums
  • Improved Search engineNew core ‘Curve’ theme
  • Improved image tagging
  • Enhanced plugin engine

The list goes on. Download and have a play, you will not be disappointed.

Better security

As every web administrator knows, we are always at risk of being hacked by those intent on destroying our work. Constant maintenance and regular updates are the key but the Coppermine team have gone one step further.

As well as good programming we have included Inspekt in every bit of code. Inspekt acts as a firewall between the user and your server increasing its fortification leaving the potential hacker no choice but to look elsewhere.

Download

https://sourceforge.net/projects/coppermine/files/Coppermine/1.5.3%20%28rc%29/cpg1.5.3_release-candidate.zip/download]https://sourceforge.net/projects/coppermine/files/Coppermine/1.5.3 (rc)/cpg1.5.3_release-candidate.zip/download

We are convinced that this is by far the best release of Coppermine yet. We await with baited breath your thoughts and contributions to further improve this wonderful project.

The Coppermine Team

Coppermine 1.5.1 alpha released for testers

After months (I must say years) of hard work and adding numerous new features Coppermine Dev Team is pleased to announce the release of an alpha version of our next major series 1.5.x. The alpha release is only meant for testers. This release is in no way meant for production use and should only be used on your testbeds.

If you want to help us by testing cpg 1.5.1 then please read our forum thread, cpg1.5.1 alpha: how to become a tester, to figure out if you can apply for tester group membership.

There is absolutely no support for cpg1.5.x at this stage and no support requests will be entertained in the forums. However testers are encouraged to report bugs in the forums (1.5.x bugs board is restricted to testers and developers only).

Non-testers i.e. normal users of coppermine – stay tuned and look forward for a wonderful package coming up in the next few months.

Batch resize using ImageMagick

One of the most common task I perform before uploading photos in my coppermine gallery is resizing all pictures to a more internet friendly size.

Over the period of time I have found ImageMagick to be very useful when it comes to manipulating images. Below are the commands commonly used for resizing images.

To resize all images in current directory to 800 width (Height will be reduced proportionately) :

mogrify -resize 800 *.jpg

Resize all images to a maximum dimension of 800×800. This means that max of width and height will be considered while resizing :

mogrify -resize 800×800 *.jpg

Reduce the size of images to the percent of original :

mogrify -resize 75% *.jpg

CPG and Me

Many moons ago I decided to set up a website. I had never ventured into the wonderful world that is web design before and was very wet behind the ears. I am a network support guy (read geek) and have some programming experience but that doesn’t help in the slightest when it comes to web design.

One of the first things I wanted to do was to build up a big collection of windsurfing pictures so spent ages trying various softwares to do this. Some were offline packages that create the album for you to upload, these were quickly ruled out as I wanted my users to be able to upload. Then there were the packages my web host at the time offered, all next to useless. Finally and by a bit of luck I came across Coppermine. It really floated my boat and had all the features I wanted then some. Continue reading ‘CPG and Me’

Moved to Bytemark Hosting

Its a great pleasure to inform you all that we have moved our site and all subdomains to a dedicated server sponsored and hosted by Bytemark. The transfer was smooth without any outages and our ever busy forum was up all the time.

You will find the forum pages loading faster than earlier as the new server has more resources which we couldn’t manage on our old shared hosting environment. However, we are highly obliged for the services provided by our old host Power-Netz for the past numerous years.

We would like to thank Matthew Bloch and his team from Bytemark for their generous offer and services. We look forward to a wonder webhosting experience.

Never argue

I came across with this quote today and instantly thought of coppermine forums.

Never argue with an idiot. They pull you down to their level, then beat you with experience.

There is no dearth of such morons on coppermine forums.

Recently I have seen many users criticizing support team of being rude and un-friendly. They claim that we should answer their each and every question (which we do unless the question has already been asked many times) as they are using our product. What they don’t understand is that coppermine is not a commercial product but a FREE open source application which comes with no warranty for support. Despite of this we try to help as much as possible and reply to more than 95% of threads.

Threads started by such morons lead to flames and arguments and they generally beat us with their experience.

All new upload interface

Continuing the series to highlight the new exciting features of cpg15x, today lets take a look at all new upload interface. The new interface uses the popular open source tool SwfUpload which uses flash to upload files. The great thing about this tool is that it shows file upload progress bar. Whats better than a demo itself, so here you go…

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

As you can see multiple files can be selected and uploaded in one single go. After uploading the user is taken to editpics page where s/he can enter the file details like title, description and keywords. The only gotcha with this new interface is that it requires flash and javascript but in todays time if your browser don’t have those two things then you are still living in 20th century ;).

Happy New Year 2009

Well i am late on this but nevertheless – Coppermine Dev Team wishes all users of cpg a very Happy New Year 2009. We look forward to having a rocking time in 2009.

This new year will also bring the new coppermine release i.e. cpg1.5.x (lets keep our fingers crossed). We are working hard to make this possible. However no release date has been set so please don’t ask about the date in comments. You all have kept enough patience and as the saying goes “Patience is the virtue of wise men” fits quite well here.

Fasten your seat belts and get ready for a rocking year ahead.

Creating plugins was never this easy

While I have been working on CPG 1.5, I recently started recoding some plugins and writing new ones. One of the major things that have been coded is the addition of quite a lot of plugin hooks. While sometimes it is easier to create a mod (modifying the core code) then a plugin (no changes needed in the core), it does pay to create the plugin. It is easier to maintain and certainly easier to support. Plugins are portable when doing an upgrade, while modifications have to be applied everytime.

It is possible to convert every mod to a plugin in the 1.4 series, but it certainly was not always efficient. You could/can use the ‘page_html’ filter to change every aspect of Coppermine if you want to, but it would be quite resource intensive. Now with the additional hooks I was able to create a plugin to add an alternate CAPTCHA then the default one built in. I was also able to convert my lightbox mod to a plugin with the addition of an administration menu, no need to edit the files anymore!

It would be nice to see people convert their mods to plugins as it is more likely they will work on future versions of the 1.5 branch and possibly even after that.
I think over 90% of the mods currently available are convertable without to much hassle. It does take some time to get used to the plugin API, but there are enough plugins available to peek at their code and see how it works. The 1.5 plugin documentation is currently being improved, and I will add all my plugins in there with detailed info on how I wrote them.

GSoC Mentor Summit 2008

This year Coppermine participated in Google Summer of Code (GSoC) for the second time. Since our students and mentors did a great job, 2 devs were invited to attend the Mentor Summit at Google HQ in Mountain View on October 25th and 26st. Thu and myself were the lucky chosen ones to represent Coppermine over there.

The GSoC Mentor Summit is a unique opportunity for project members to meet people from other projects. It is a place where we can collaborate on the thing we like most: Open Source Software.

Before the summit started, Thu invited me for lunch at Google (where she works). This was really great; to meet someone I had known for over a year on the Coppermine team & forums but never seen before.

Saturday, 25th of October, the summit started with writing down what we wanted to talk about and put those notes on a schedule. After some fiddling around with the schedule, we could finally start sharing ideas. There were quite some rooms available where each hour we could hold/attend a session. There were sessions about GSoC and how it could be improved, teaching open source development in university settings, open source security, CMS & LMS eLearning and a lot more.

My favorite was a session about how CMS’s and other software can learn from each other. We talked about how working closer together and trying to come up with a standard naming convention. Possibility for CMS’s to import/export a standards compliant file so it would be possible to switch to another CMS whenever you want.

Of course one hour most of the time is too short to finish a session, but you get the ball rolling and continue to talk and take action after the summit is over.

When sessions were over I talked (and especially listened) to people from other projects. It is really great to hear we all encounter the same difficulties in managing our projects & communities :-)