5.2 Status Update #2

Posted on Nov 22, 2012

To all of our American friends and users we would like to wish you a happy thanksgiving.

So – we seem to have settled on our version number now and the next release will be 5.2 and, if all goes to plan, will be released around the same time as WordPress release their version 3.5. So far we have seen no real dependency issues around WordPress 3.5 but changes to their admin CSS have played games with the Simple:Press admin panels which 5.2 will address.

Version 5.2 is still largely full of minor enhancements and numerous bug fixes but there is one big ticket item we want to get out there which we hope will benefit all of our users. Technically savvy users will have noticed that with the activation of more Simple:Press plugins their site starts to load extra stylesheets and JavaScript files. In fact – if you had all of the Simple:Press plugins active then there is a strong chance that old war horse and still non-standard-compliant browser Internet Explorer, would fail to load them all. It is the only major browser to place a limitation on how many you can use at one time! This clearly needed to be addressed.

The next version will now offer the feature option to aggregate all of the Simple:Press stylesheets and JavaScript code into single, compressed files – automatically built and served. And the really good news on that, of course, is faster loading speed. This alone probably warrants the 5.2 version tag!

There is some exciting news on the Simple:Press plugin front. We recently released a much-requested ‘Ban User‘ plugin that allows you to ban users from your forum by IP address, an IP address range, host name or user agent. You can also ban a member of your site by user-name and set a time limit on the ban.

The ‘Post By Email‘ plugin is still available as a beta release for anyone who wants to try it out but all being well should be finally released immediately after Simple:Press 5.2. This is a complex plugin and the gestation period has been slow and difficult but it is good to know it is almost ready.

There has been some concentrated work this week on utilising the WordPress ‘TinyMCE Editor‘ as a drop-in replacement for our supplied version. This has great advantages for us in particular as we will no longer have to keep updating the core scripts and checking for compatibility but more importantly means that our users can leverage all of the enhancements that the WordPress developers have spent so much time and effort on. No release target is available for this yet but we seem to be getting very close.

On the theme side of things, the other big development still going on – but gathering pace – is the creation of our first more responsive mobile Simple:Press theme. No – this will not be ready for our main 5.2 release and we still are unable to put an ETA on it as there is much, much more work to be done but we getting the hang of things now in this new area and solving the more difficult questions we have faced. Hopefully we will be able to release some screenshots in the not too distant future so you can all see the direction we hope to go with this.

Which just leaves me to tell those that do not know that the image above is Norman Rockwell’s ‘Freedom from Want‘ which appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post on March 6, 1943. Without doubt, Rockwell was one of the greatest illustrators of his generation and on a personal note, I spent a fantastic day at the Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts back in October and strongly recommend it to anyone passing that way. Oh – and while in Stockbrdge I also had lunch at ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ which may mean something to any ageing, ex-hippie like me who may be reading this!