Since its inception, b2evolution has evolved a long way from a blog tool to a multi-blog engine to a CMS to a Content Management System with Social features allowing to manage a small or even a large community: user profiles, directory, messaging, forums, newsletters...
One big question today is: what should we call it:
- a CMS ? (Content Management System)
- a CCMS ? (Content + Community Management System)
- a Social CMS ? (CMS with social features)
- a Swiss Army Knife for your Website ?
- ... ;)
If you have any ideas on this topic, I'd love to hear them while the site redesign is still underway ;)
Many people don't believe me when I tell them there are so many new features in b2evolution v5 that it takes a whole day to list them all...
Well, guess what? I just spent the day trying to list them all!
The result is the attached mind map! (click to zoom, rigtht click to download).
I did not list bug fixes. I also listed several features under a single umbrella entry. Yet there is a ton of features there. Probably a few missing and a few duplicates. But this gives you an idea of the size of the beast! ;)
The next step will be to boil this down to a list that can be read in less than an hour! ;DD
In the meantime you might spot your favorite feature request finally implemented ;)
Today I just felt like posting a quick sneak peek on b2evolution version 5.
There are quite a few interesting details in this screenshot. Many new feedback options of course. But you can also see the premisce of a style change for the backoffice as well as a menu structure change... And last but not least... Forums support! ;)
The b2evolution User Manual has been following a rocky path all these years.
Our latest attempt was to sort of crowdsource the Manual by using a Wiki platform to run it. This resulted in many tips & tricks pages, a lot of spam pages... and not a lot of core documentation.
Well, we are going to put the manual back in the hands of the developers. And out goes the Wiki, which is really not that convenient to use for editing anyways. This doesn't mean, though, that there is no space for user input. As a matter of fact, the new manual will be based on a b2evolution blog (which gives us 100% control on how we want to deal with spam) and each page will have a comments section.
We plan to run this a little bit like the PHP Manual... which has user comments... but they are heavily moderated and edited for clarity... so that the signal to noise ratio can stay as high as possible. (Unmoderated speach is available in the Forums).
One aspect where the PHP Manual falls a little short still... is the structured chapter navigation. Well it's not as bad as the Wiki which has no chapters and no structure at all, but still, it's a bit difficult to know exactly where you are in the PHP manual... you know approximatelty but you're never sure if you're at the last level or not.
So we are developing a "manual skin" inspired by the PHP manual but with a little bit more visual cues as to were we are.
There are 2 mockups attached to this post. One shows what happens when you are browsing through chapters & sub-chapters. The other shows what happens when you reached a manual page.
If you have thoughts about this, please send us your feedback below so we can adjust our target if need be.
I feel like life’s been keeping me far too far away from b2evolution for the last 6 or 12 or maybe 18 months!
Actually, I can’t even recall the last time I was as precisely focused on the development of b2evolution as I have been for the last month. (Though, I can recall quite a few depressing “life’s a bitch” situations in the last 18 months… but that’s not the point!)
Looking back, I’m still pretty happy with b2evolution v4 so far. It has once again proven rock solid and dependable, just as I like it. (My ex Boss actually keeps telling me how amazed he is about his b2evolution powered sites still running smoothly after years with no supervision at all.)
As a matter of fact, b2evolution 4 gave me just the industrial strengh reliability I needed during those times where I had other things to deal with than breaking down servers…
Now, I am even more happy with version 4.1 which actually makes using b2evolution quite fun in previously boring situations, like killing spam for example. It’s so easy now ;) Sometimes, I log in and I almost wish there was more spam so I could play shooting it a little more. (Okay, *almost* !)
The next act – b2evolution 4.2 – is going to be even more exciting though. This one will really bring to life the community oriented features we’ve been aiming at!
Well, this may not be for everyone, but if you are running a blog website for a community like maybe a class, a whole school, a church, a user group, a club or maybe even a small town (and we have some of these using b2evolution already) you actually have a community of users comming to your site.
Now picture this: with b2evolution, these users will be able to create accounts for themselves and upload profile pictures very conveniently, without leaving your blog, without needing to understand the backoffice or the file manager for that matter. They’ll very easily update their profile and all their comments will be personalized, thus bringing your blog and your online community to life!
Furthermore, they’ll be able to send private messages to each other, still in a friendly end user interface, integrated with your site design, and still no need to go to the backoffice. Your users will even be able to have group discussions involving multiple members at a time.
And this is only the beginning… Can you think of what’s next?
Though we don’t have a roadmap set in stone, we’ve now arrived at a sweet spot where our patiently built infrastructure allows us to add really exciting user-oriented features on a regular basis…
This, to me, gives a whole new life to the project! ;)