January 18th, 2011

Apostrophe 1.5 Released!

Tom Boutell
Chief Software Architect
At long last, Apostrophe 1.5 has been released! And it was worth the wait.

Apostrophe, for the newcomers, is a content management system built on Symfony. It has been through several stable releases and is in use on many production sites, including all of our recent client work. You can learn more at apostrophenow.com and trac.apostrophenow.org.

Here's a partial list of new features. We've tried hard to edit this down and remove technical things you'll discover simply by enjoying a better experience, but it is still a long list!

Core Apostrophe Improvements

  • Manual cropping in the media repository. You can now select images that would not have met the constraints for a particular slot previously, as long as you crop them
  • Big improvements in performance: CSS and JavaScript are minified and compressed to reduce the number of requests and the amount of traffic, speeding page load and helping the server run more smoothly. A new JavaScript integration strategy improves overall performance as well
  • Page permissions completely reworked: you can now set “view” permissions on a per-page, per-individual-or-group basis. Edit permissions can now be set on a per-group-or-individual basis. Inheritance of permissions from parent pages has been discarded in favor of explicit one-time “cascade to child pages” features
  • Pages you cannot visit due to a lack of privileges are no longer shown in navigation
  • “Audio” media type added, allowing you to directly host MP3 files with a nice MP3 player and an audio slot that embeds it
  • Built-in support for the LESS CSS compiler make stylesheets much easier to maintain
  • Media types are much more open. For instance there is now an “Office” type for MS Office documents, plus text files and a few other related things. You can override these types via app.yml
  • We added a “File” slot and deprecated the old PDF slot. The “File” slot can be used for any downloadable file format you have chosen to allow on the site, such as a Word document
  • Vimeo, Viddler and SlideShare now gets the same “special treatment” as YouTube when adding video (integrated search, support for pasting just the URL), and there is a simple way to add support for more such embedded services via plugins. We've also improved our support for "unknown" embed codes
  • You can set up Vimeo, Viddler, SlideShare and YouTube accounts to be automatically synced to your media repository via a cron job and our new “Linked Accounts” feature. This too can be extended
  • Videos can be replaced with new videos, even videos from another service, without editing each slot that uses them
  • A new “Smart Slideshow” slot brings in images automatically via categories or tags
  • Categories have been unified throughout the site; there is a single category admin page. This makes Apostrophe more consistent and extensible
  • A single “Upload Media” form now accepts all permitted file types, no more separate UIs for images vs. PDFs etc. Uploaded filenames are automatically “humanized” to become a suggested title, saves a great deal of time if your media is already well-labeled
  • iPhone and other cameras that save orientation hints in JPEGs are now fully compatible— Apostrophe auto-rotates these images
  • Pages now have meta tag and description fields; Google doesn’t care about tags, but our internal search feature can leverage them to produce more relevant results
  • Eliminated confusing distinction between “template-based” and “engine” pages (engines still exist "under the hood" for developers). There is one page type menu and configuration has been simplified as well
  • New import-site task accepts XML files and loads a full-fledged Apostrophe site, including conversion of HTML blocks with embedded images into a series of rich text and image slots in an area
  • Batch import of all filetypes supported by the upgraded media repository (Word, Excel, etc. in addition to images, PDFs…)
  • Button slots can now feature an optional rich text description for more flexibility
  • Search has been enhanced. You can now search on specific fields (title, slug, tags, categories, body) and appropriate fields are given extra weight in ordinary search results. Example: title:”monkey mittens”
  • The culture can be part of the page URL for better SEO of internationalized sites
  • Apostrophe sites can be a subdirectory of an existing site (although we strongly recommend a holistic rethink of your site if you're considering this in most cases)
  • Better pagination
  • “This Page” button eliminated in favor of separate “Page Settings” and “Add Page” buttons. You can now set all of the properties of a new page at creation time. Managing pages is just plain pleasant
  • Many other usability improvements
  • Full names and email addresses are now part of the user management system, not just usernames

Blog and Events Plugin Improvements

This list is shorter but does not fully convey the degree to which the blog and events plugin experience has been improved. Trust us, it is enormously better than the 1.4 blog and events plugin.

  • Apostrophe’s events feature is integrated with Google Calendar, Outlook and iCal among others thanks to the vCalendar standard. Fully tested for Outlook compatibility back to 2003
  • Completely revamped the "blog posts" and "events" slots with excellent typeahead search for picking individual posts, easy selection of tags and categories for automatic selection of relevant content
  • Extensive usability and reliability improvements to the blog and event editing and browsing experience
  • Separate public blog pages can be separately designed, in addition to selecting specific categories for inclusion as before
  • Category, tag, search and date filters can be combined naturally when browsing events and blog posts
  • Blog posts can be searched from within the blog, events can be searched from within the events calendar
  • Better outgoing RSS feeds from the blog plugin

The team has worked long and hard on Apostrophe 1.5 and we look forward to building many beautiful sites with it. We know you will too.

We'd also like to acknowledge numerous thoughtful tickets and helpful patches from the Apostrophe open source community. Your contributions make Apostrophe a better and more stable content management system for everyone.
Tom Boutell
Chief Software Architect

Check out another article
January 16th, 2011
Surfing the Retrowebs
December 3rd, 2010
Team Lunch at Le Viet