Hicks

Textpattern Notes 5 - Release Candidate 3

When RC3 came out a few months ago, I decided to hold off before I implemented it here. I knew it wouldn’t be straightforward to upgrade this time, as I have so many little hacks here and there, and several older plugins might cause problems. The final version v1 was supposedly only a week or so away, but of course that week has turned into months.

So spurred on by how easy it was to update Pimp My Safari to RC3, I finally decided to bite the bullet and upgrade sooner. RC1 to RC3 was a bit of a leap, but I imagine it’ll be a little smoother from here on.

These were the things that attracted me to upgrading:

  • File uploads – I can upload and categorise downloadables through the interface (in the same way as images), which wlll also keep track of the number of times its been grabbed. Superb.
  • No more placeholder files for sections – My root directory is now super clean and thats how I like it. (Its one of the things that irks me about Wordpress – having so many damn files in the root). This also means that adding new sections is even easier – all done via the interface. This makes it ideal for clients too. No more fiddling with .htaccess files.
  • Even less crufty URLS – No more ids in the URL, you can have dates, or just section/title as I have plumped for.
  • There is now an admin preference for whether comments are displayed in an ordered list or not. This was something I previously hacked to achieve, but now that it can be turned off easily, all the <div> styling goes into the comments form instead. Much easier! You can also put the php code into your page template and comment form to enable comment numbers and alternate row styling. Add the setup variables section to the page template (anywhere in the template above the <txp:article> tag)...
    <?
    // set up div class and numbering
    $class=odd;
    $cno=1;
    ?>
    ... and the code where the variables are changed to the bottom of the comment form…
    <?
    // change the values
    $cno=$cno+1;
    if("odd" == $class) {
    $class="even";
                }
    else {
    $class="odd";
                }
    ?>
    ...that way the initial values are set up, but will increment everytime TXP loops the comment form to display another comment.
  • admin plugins! This lets people like Rob Sable create wonderful admin enhancing plugins like QuikPik and Textarea Resizing.
  • Plenty of bug fixes, such as the one that really annoyed me, textile not working properly in excerpts.

There are also some features I haven’t delved into yet, such as sticky articles and the diagnostics panel, but lets hear it for these two new-for-RC3 stellar plugins:

glx_gravatar – Finally, no more hacking, a simple plugin to display Gravatars and show a default icon if the commenter doesn’t have a gravatar yet.

sgb_url_handler – This expands the new clean URL options by including elements such as catgegories! Now I can have /about/colophon/ rather than /about/?c=colophon! It also redirects other urls. So if you’ve used /blog/345/how-to-eat-cheese in the past, and you’ve changed your clean urls to be just /blog/how-to-eat-cheese, it still lets older URLS work! Superb!

Its not without a few problems of course. The low_nav plugin no longer works (this created back/next links within a category, as used in the portfolio), and I haven’t got around to re-hacking the commenting system to avoid the preview-before-submitting scenario. As such, I haven’t re-introduced live previews yet.

To summarise – RC3 is worth it, especially if you don’t rely on a lot of plugins or hacks. Textpattern is growing up, and becoming a fast and powerful CMS suitable to offer to clients, as well as blog use. There is another on the horizon that I’m keeping a keen eye on (I’m looking at you Symphony), but for me, there’s still nothing that beats Textpattern.

(Final wee note – I’ve also taken the opportunity to re-organise a little. Browser news is now found on the Browser Resources page, although the feed URL stays the same.)