The next beta release of BlogSphere is
nearly ready and it has some exciting new features that I’d like to share
Star Ratings :
The old version of BlogSphere had a
feature where visitors to your site could rate a photo using a radio button
style interface so when coding this for V3 I decided to make it a little
more Web 2.0ish and I went for the very popular star ratings system where
you use hover the mouse over the rating you want and click the button.
The ratings are saved via AJAX and the stars on screen are updated without
refreshing the entire page. I have also expanded the rating function
so that it can be used for blog entries, download and static pages. This
feature is easy to implement by adding the BS_Ratings tag to your page
template document where you want the stars to appear.
Drop Down Menu :
I’ve always wanted to implement a nice
dropdown menu so i could create a menu poiinting to different areas of
my weblog and so that’s exactly what i did. The Notes UI for this
still needs a little work however you can now create simple and easy menu
for your blog just by adding the BS_Menu tag to the banner area of your
Move Up / Move Down :
Positioning data has been added to a
number of items like photos in an album or links in the Web Logs sideblock.
The Notes UI has an UP/Down button to help you position these items
Different features in BlogSphere require
and if you disable all the Web 2.0 features then the base jQuery library
will not be loaded either.
Agent Logging & Debug :
OpenLog from OpenNTF has been implemented
in about 90% of the LotusScript used in BlogSphere ( the last 10% wil be
done by beta 9 ). Using OpenLog has opened up a new method for Agent Debuging
which will be handy for anybody who is using a hosted blog and does not
have access to the server console. The blog configuration document now
has a ‘Debugging Level’ option and when it’s set to anything but off then
as agents and the render engine run it will add debug output to a special
view in the database. Just don’t set it to ‘Insane’ unless you want to
create about 100 documents every time someone looks at your blog. Agent
errors are always recorded using OpenLog even if debugging is disabled.
Photo Albums :
A lot of work has been put into the
Photo Album features in Beta 8. Draft albums and Photos now work as expected
and photo import is now slightly faster.
BlogSphere CSS :
Just implemented a new CSS converted
from MovableType? Well if you have then your probably missing the special
CSS used by BlogSphere for it’s own specific features. To save time there
is now a button in the CSS document called ‘Set Defaults’ which will fill
in the BlogSphere specific CSS for you.
Quick Set Blog Skin :
From the page Skins view you can now
highlight a skin and click the ‘Set As Active Skin’ button to quickly apply
the skin to all areas of your site.
Side Blocks :
The HotBlogs sideblock is back and the
Top 5 Rated Pictures sideblock is now available. These were the last few
sideblocks from V2 that had yet to be implemented in V3.
HouseKeeping Agent :
The houseKeeping agent has been completed
and expanded. It will now purge old Log files from both the internal log
or external log if your blog is configured for one. It can automatcially
lock old blog entries from new comments after a specified number of days
and it even reduced the rating of older documents to give newly rated documents
a chance to bubble to the top of the list.
I’ve also taken a lot of the suggestions
and bug reports on OpenNTF and tried to implement/fix as many as I could.
You will also see some general performance increases within the template.
You will be able to download the beta 8 release from OpenNTF by the
end of the week.
The last and final beta before Gold
Status will be next and this will finally see the introduction of the web
based management interface along with integration with ‘BlogSphere Manager’,
the enterprise blogging portal.