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News & Updates

News & Updates

3.6.1 Distros released

posted on Feb 8, 2009
The 3.6.1 (stable) kernel and plug-in distros are now available for download in the downloads area.  These are suitable for production website work.

The 3.6.1 plug-in distro includes a few new plug-ins, including:
  • Cron - scheduled task management
  • Fileserver - manage folder trees of downloadable files
  • LocationFinder - searchable directory of store locations
  • Login - dynamic generation of Login/Logout links and forms
  • PluginBuilder - developer tool to generate plugin code stubs
  • StoreAdm - manage persistent data
  • SysMsg - manage system messages in translation
  • Tags - keyword tagging for content
  • ToDo - display webmaster to-do list for CMS tasks that need attention

New Webtop Theme

posted on Jul 21, 2008
ExSite 3.6 has a number of design refreshes, including a new webtop theme.  We are discarding our old blue theme for one that allows more colour.  (Okay, the theme itself is actually grey, but the icons are more colourful.)  That also means that many of the icons for the standard plug-ins have been updated as well.

Plug-ins are now displayed on the webtop, sorted by category.  There are four categories that are defined by default:
  • Content Management
  • Applications
  • System
  • Database
Plug-ins can optionally declare their category, but if they do not, they will be placed into "Applications".  For most non-standard plug-ins that is a reasonable choice, so in most cases no changes are needed to use this feature.

You can create your own categories and place your plug-ins into them, simply by having your plug-ins declare a category other than those above.

Control panels and stylesheets have been adjusted for this new look.  On your first visit to the new control panels, you may cache previous versions of these stylesheets, which will produce bad formatting.  A simple refresh of your browser should update everything.

Safari Compatibility

posted on Jun 16, 2008
As of ExSite version 3.6 (entering beta at this time), ExSite will be adding Safari to its list of browsers that are supported for WYSIWYG HTML editing.  This brings the list of supported Browsers to:
  • Firefox (all versions)
  • IE version 6 and up
  • Mozilla version 1.4 and up, and related Gecko browsers like Seamonkey and Camino
  • Netscape version 7 and up
  • Safari version 3 and up
Safari version 3 is required, which is standard on OS X 10.5 and Windows Safari releases.

Plug-in Index

posted on May 28, 2008
We added a plug-in index, which contains documentation on usage and setup for various plug-in modules.

We have 40 or 50 plug-ins that should probably be entered into this index when we have the time, so it will grow as we get the time to do this.  In the mean time, we've added some of the basic plug-ins to get things started.

Design Refresh

posted on Apr 21, 2008
We recently took some time out to refresh our graphic design.  The old design was getting a little stale, and we thought it might also make a useful tutorial about graphic design with ExSite if we wrote it up.  So we did.

Despite appearances, the site content has not changed much.  A few things may appear to have moved around due to the new layout, but it's actually pretty much the same.  Try the search link at top if you're truly lost.

Deprecated Zine modules

posted on Feb 15, 2008
The News and PhotoForum plug-in modules have been deprecated, and are not likely to have any further development.  The functionality of these modules has been superceded by the Zine plug-in.

If you are still using either News or PhotoForum plug-ins on your pages, simply change these to Zine plug-ins, using the same parameters.

Former News collections will appaer as "e-Zines" in the Zine control panel.  PhotoForums will appear as "Photo Forums".  Otherwise, they are managed much as before, except they now will benefit from all of the latest benefits and feature additions to the Zine framework.

3.5.3 Updates

posted on Jan 17, 2008
Version 3.5.3 was taken live today, and will be available soon in our downloads section.  Included are many minor bug fixes and improvements, along with the following significant changes:
  • improved image dialog in the HTML editor
  • various security/login improvements for system administrators
  • database security and performance improvements
  • MySite updates:
    • sitemap new includes hidden and translation pages
    • persistent options selection
    • configurable width for sites with narrow templates
  • Questionnaire updates:
    • many fixes and UI enhancements
    • QTranslator plug-in to manage question translations only
  • e-Zine updates:
    • Version 2.1 of ZineMachine has many improvements and bug fixes
    • full-colour icons option
    • improved moderation features
    • new archive mode
    • improved wikis
    • plug-in indexing engines allow for many new index types.  Added grid and exploding indexes.
    • new rules-based system for determining e-zine security and behaviour
    • absorbed old PhotoForum plug-in
    • new multi-zine indexes and forum directories
    • article cross-linking

3.5.2 Updates

posted on Oct 11, 2007
A minor update went live today; changes include:
  • improved shrinking of images for web display
  • fixes for automatic publishing
  • character set handling utilities
  • improvements to table creation in editor
  • integrated searching in Catalogs
  • simplified selection of Galleries
  • added moderation to e-Zines

v3.5.1 available

posted on Aug 30, 2007
Minor upgrade to ExSite went live today, with miscellaneous bug fixes and some new features:
  • updated link dialog with new features
  • MySite fixes and improvements
  • work around character set bug in RSS feeds on IE
  • improve reporting on Surveys and SimpleRegistration forms
  • Zine fixes and improvements

e-Zine updates

posted on Jul 30, 2007
The ZineMachine plug-in recently received numerous updates. The core functions (data handling, form processing, indexing, and article display) were moved into a framework, and the plug-in was reduced to a simple command and control layer. The expectation is that the framework can now differentiate into different modules to handle subsets of the Zine feature set, such as indexes, forms, etc., which can be utilized selectively by plug-ins. Also, the catch-all Zine plug-in can now differentiate into different plug-ins for specific applications, such as blogs, forums, news systems, etc., and provide more specialized interfaces for each.

ZineMachine output now has a more versatile CSS structure that should allow for quite flexible styling and templating. One particular objective was to allow for table cell-like formatting of comments, to emulate the appearance of some popular bulletin-board systems. This format is in fact being used in our own forums and comments.

Much of the default presentation logic has been moved out of the code and into the configuration file (cgi/conf/Zine.conf). This should make it easier to customize display behaviours, but the system no longer works acceptably without a configuration file.

Other features added to the ZineMachine in the course of this upgrade:
  • captchas for anonymous postings
  • automatic RSS feed generation on indexes
  • emoticons in comments
  • attachments (documents or images)
  • deeper integration with Search system, to allow full article and comment archives to be searched
  • gallery index type, for zines that have lots of photos
  • semi-threaded index type, to emulate some bulletin-board styles of forum index
  • numbered index type
  • indexlayout attribute determines how indexes of articles are presented
  • indexformat determines how each article in an index is presented
  • most zine-specific behaviours moved out of the code and into the conf file
  • option to switch between rich-text and plain-text editing
  • supports writing about ExSite; ie. you can write ExSite tags and they will not be processed by the CMS


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