Concrete5 version 7 has so much that's new – lets take a tour of it, starting with A.
5.6 And Earlier
If we wanted to use the jQuery UI library built into Concrete5 for something like a date picker, we'd have to request its inclusion into the page like this:
This is brittle – it's dependent on filenames, and on developers knowing which files are required and in which order.
Now, these definitions get made behind the scenes through registration, and a developer simply asks for
Even better, the assets system handles
- Asset Incompatibilities
- Asset Versioning
- Handling of the same assets provided by different packages
- Much more
Honorable Mention: Authentication
In Concrete5.7, a completely new abstraction layer makes it easy to build new authentication types and add them to the login page. For example, this site alone uses the standard authentication type, and also lets you login with a concrete5.org username, or a Facebook account.
Concrete 5.7 includes a slew of new block types, including
- Horizontal Rule
- Image Slider
- Page Attribute Display
- Page Title
- Share This Page
- Social Links
- Switch Language
- Topic List
And that's not all. Existing block types like Page List have received a complete overhaul, with lots of new options and functionality. The video player blocks is now compliant with HTML5 video. Topics, tags and Date Navigation blocks now are much more useful when paired with blogs. All blocks have had their markup reevaluated, with emphasis placed on view layers containing usable CSS classes and themeable output. The HTML block even embeds a complete code editor inside it. Everything is much nicer, with greater standards compliance and utility.
Concrete5's had CSS customization for many years, but in 5.7 it moves to the front-end and becomes much, much cooler. CSS customization is now built on LESS, features presets, XML-based configuration, multiple types of configuration, and more:
Honorable Mention: Composer
Page Types and the Composer interface are completely overhauled in 5.7. You can completely customize the composer interface for a particular page type, including the order of the fields, how blocks populate different areas on the page, and more.
The Dashboard has been completely redesigned, with an emphasis on speed of loading and navigation, mobile utility and more. Even the oldest interfaces in 5.7 like user search have been given an overhaul.
Gone are Greek Yogurt, Plain Yogurt, Green Salad and Dark Chocolate. The classic Concrete5 themes have been replaced by a single theme – Elemental. We wanted Elemental to be a compelling, attractive starting point for any website, with an emphasis on customizability and smart out-of-the-box choices. Elemental integrates attractive layouts on content-rich pages with functionality like blogs, testimonials and more to really show what Concrete5 can do.
The biggest change, by far – Concrete5 overhauls its front-end interface. While we still have dialog windows for certain things, slide-in panels provide access to blocks, properties, and quick access to the Dashboard. Drag and drop makes organizing and adding to your page easier than ever.
This ends the first part of this series. If you'd like to play more with 5.7, you can grab yourself a free 15-day SimpleSite demo on concrete5.org, or download the source and install it on your favorite web host.
If you've got some exposure to Concrete5 but haven't taken a look at 5.7, I hope this gets you excited to do so. It's been a long time coming, but it's worth it.