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.
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…
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.
The next major release of coppermine i.e. cpg1.5 will have number of new features which all of you will most definitely adore however In this post I have highlighted only a few of them.
1. User album in admin allowed categories
This was one long standing feature awaiting to get its way into coppermine. From 15x onwards registered users will be able to create albums in the categories for which the admin has given permission. From the category manager page admin will be able to specify which group of users can create albums in that category.
The best thing about this feature is that coppermine will now be more social networking friendly. Previously users were only allowed to create albums in their personal gallery and those albums were not visible on home page. So a category has only albums from one single user. Now any category can be public which means the albums in those categories will come from different users.
2. Permanent URLs for search engine friendliness
When coppermine first started SEO term was not even coined. In today’s world a site cannot survive without SEO. Till now the URLs in coppermine were based on position of the pic in an album. The biggest drawback of this approach was that a position of pic keeps changing in the album as new pics are added to that album. This used to hamper the search engine crawlings and also a lot of times people coming from the search engines used to land on a different pic than they anticipated.
This issue was solved by replacing pos with pid (permanent id of pic) in the URLs. Since the pid will never change for a given pic – the URLs remain absolute.
3. Comments approval and captcha
Well, comment spam needs no introduction. The captcha plugin and mod were one of the most used plugins/mods in our forums. Looking at this we decided to put captcha in the core code. The only gotcha in captcha is that it will work only on those servers which have GD 2.x with freetype support. We are working hard to find alternative but for now this is the only option.
A second layer of security will be comments approval. If turned on – each comment will require admin approval before they start appearing to the world.
This was only the tip of iceburg. Stay tuned for more cool features.