concrete5 Version 5 is ALIVE (Almost)

On this week's Totally Random web show, we showed off what's coming later this year in version 5.5. Here's the video (this occupies the last half).

The changes are pretty sweeping. They include:

  • A complete UI and experience redesign. The first-run experience is vastly improved, installation is improved and the UI (both the front-end editing experience and the dashboard) have been given major facelifts. The improvements aren't skin-deep, though: editing and navigating your concrete5 administrative interface should require many fewer clicks. All search interfaces are dramatically redesigned to display more columns more effectively. We've taken a critical look at all aspects of the concrete5 experience.

  • "Starting Points" allow for much more flexible installation routines, for both core and add-on developers. Export and import content from your concrete5 site as easy-to-read XML.

  • The scrapbook is gone. In its place is the Clipboard" for personal cut-and-paste operations, and Stacks, for centralized content storage. Stacks are versioned and work much more nicely than the scrapbook ever did. No longer are you limited to pasting the same block in the same area only one time. Stacks let you reorder content centrally and have changes propagate out to all instances of the placed content. Additionally, the concept of Global Areas use Stacks to place certain centralized content in one place, and have it change and be available everywhere.

  • Backend performance improvements, including smarter caching and more efficiently written database queries. No more slow-loading stats graphs.

  • Frontend performance improvements: far fewer JavaScript and CSS files will be loaded; JavaScript will be extensively minified; JavaScript will be added in the footer where possible to minimize page blocking. Icons and UI components are included in fewer image files.

  • Lots of developer improvements, including dashboard blocks (instead of the weird dashboard modules).

  • We've upgraded a lot of the libraries that concrete5 uses. Our old dialog system is out. In its place we're using jQuery UI's dialog class (with some custom magic to enable backward compatibility.) TinyMCE has been upgraded, to allow for iPad editing on iOS 5.

We're pretty excited about this and we think you will be too. It's not public in github quite yet, but we're giving sneak peaks to developers who are able to help us take it over the finish line. If you think that's you, you should fill out the form found here:

concrete5 version 5 will be available before the end of the year.

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