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b2evolution version 2

Development releases of b2evolution version 2 have been coming out since September. I've watched the new features and waited for things to stabilize a bit before upgrading the brendoman.com install. Version 2.3.0 should be out in a day or two and it's being labeled a release candidate. I've upgraded most of my plugins to work with the 2.x series, so the main obstacle now is upgrading all of the brendoman.com skins. What's new in version 2?

In addition to all the bugfixes and subtle improvements that come with new versions of most software, this update has some notable features.

New admin interface

Francois was working on the new admin skin during his US trip this summer, so I got a sneak peak at it. I think it's really beautiful. One of the things that drew me to b2evolution originally was the very attractive admin interface, and the new version continues that tradition. Don't take my word for it, check out the demo.

Toolbar

While you're there, take a look at the new toolbar at the top of the page. There are links to the pages that you'll use the most, and this toolbar also displays when you're viewing the blog, too, provided you're logged in.

Widgets

This may be the best feature of the new version and it will be totally unnoticeable to readers. In old versions, when a blog admin installed a new plugin, they would have to edit the php files that make up their skin in order to have the plugin display something. With widgets, you install the plugin, click a link to add the widget and it's on your site. No php knowledge required. This is great for any admin, but especially for multi-user sites like ours. Now when a user wants to change up their sidebar, they can do it themselves. And if they switch skins, their sidebar goes with them. It's also nice for plugin developers because we can trim a few steps off of our install instructions.

jQuery

Here's one that may only matter to developers. b2evolution now ships with the jQuery javascript library (actually it has since 1.10). This will help us add features that make b2evolution faster and easier to use. The very small number of changes that I've made to the core were centered around this feature.

Improved urls

b2evolution has always had clean urls for posts, but this release adds them for categories, too. Instead of yoursite.com/?cat=123 you can have yoursite.com/category_name. There are more choices for post urls, including /post_title, /category_name/post_title and /2007/12/27/post_title (the old default).

SEO

This doesn't matter much to me, but if search engine placement is very important to you, you'll be happy to see that you can choose from among 5 SEO expert recommended settings or you can tweak the SEO settings yourself.

Photoblog

For several months now, Francois has been adding features to make it easier to post photographs. That now includes image resizing and skin dedicated to displaying photos.

I'm really looking forward to getting brendoman.com on this new version. Once I finish upgrading all the plugins, I'll have to deal with skins. The skinning api changed more than anything, so upgrading old skins will be time-consuming. If any of the hostees want to volunteer to switch to a skin that already works for version 2, that would speed up the process.

Congratulations to the developers on this new release. If you run your own b2evolution install, be sure to give it a look. You can find 2.x-ready plugins here and here.

6 comments

Looks good man. Dig that admin interface.


brendoman [Member]  http://brendoman.com12/28/07 @ 09:31

Switch me.


smiles [Member]  http://brendoman.com/smiles12/28/07 @ 12:05

In you opinion, should I go ahead and install the RC, or wait for the final version?


Henry Imler [Visitor]  http://hundiejo.com01/02/08 @ 22:14
dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/01/03/08 @ 03:52

hey… really like the new skin!


dave [Visitor]  http://www.mindfulmission.com01/04/08 @ 14:10
dan [Member] • http://www.brendoman.com/01/04/08 @ 14:57

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