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Jamie Balfour'sPersonal blog

The latest version of BalfBlog separates your content from your JavaScript. This update makes it a thousand times (no scientific proof here though!) easier to include some JavaScript in your posts - something that TinyMCE does not permit and causes problems across the world wide web with all users of this rich content editor.

However, this will bring some minor changes to way that JavaScript is included in your posts and will actually make it easier for you to do so. I personally like this feature. 

As well as this, the update contains a minor performance improvement, a flexibility improvement and some new settings. A lot of the focus now is on developing the setup program. 

Posted by jamiebalfour04 in BalfBlog

A minor update has come to BalfBlog. This post will explain it in more detail.

The main updates are as follows:

  • Deployment has been simplified.
  • Settings tool now fully works, allowing you to change settings straight from the blog admin
  • New directives in Settings tool
  • Improved the way in which Blog Mode, Introduction Mode and Journal mode are switched, now selected from a single dropdown in the Settings tool. 
  • More friendly URL rewriting on Apache
  • Simplified and lightweight user interface for the backend on mobile devices
  • Removed some of the older JBlogs features that were unusable due to major changes

As always, I am commited to ensuring that the latest version is fully compatible with all older versions with very little effort. I also suggest if you wish to try this version out that you run the Flush tool and update your settings (data.php) file using the built in Settings tool.

Very important note for all, since this version does rely on the new Settings tool, it is not recommended you edit the data.php file any more since BalfBlog handles this. 

Posted by jamiebalfour04 in BalfBlog

BalfBlog 2.1 is the next big iteration of BalfBlog and it will be released maybe by the end of the year. 

In the meantime, BalfBlog's updates are still being rolled out weekly and the next update will focus on consistency. I've had some suggestions put forward about the RSS and emails, and in general notifications, that BalfBlog is producing. Suggestions mainly attack the fact that entries in the RSS are currently including the whole content of the post and that emails are including a length-limited strip of the content. If there was one way I could unify it we could look back to June's update in which the Introduction Mode came to BalfBlog. 

This update enforces the use of introductions on all posts. As a result of the feedback that was received about emails particularly, I've decided that all future versions of BalfBlog will enforce this no matter what the mode.

Version 2.1 is going to focus on one BalfBlog dashboard for multiple BalfBlog powered blogs and sections - something that currently is needed for my website. It will also focus on management and administration of your blog, particularly with multiple users. If you have any further ideas and would like to see them integrated into version 2.1, please suggest them using the normal method of contact. 

Posted by jamiebalfour04 in BalfBlog

The latest update to BalfBlog brings quite a lot of useful features that make it easier for you to manage your pages. As well as this I have given you the option to customise the comments block. This allows you to change the text that would normally have been in the post in the section at the bottom when the user is not viewing an individual post.

If you download the update, you will also need to add an extra field to the posts table in the database since this new feature, although experimental at the moment, is now included in all versions of BalfBlog henceforth. 

The last update brought a few changes that were preplanned features that would make this transition easier, I hope you enjoy the latest updates too. Remember, get in touch to download.

PS, I did mention a public demonstration of BalfBlog in the next few days where I will release the first public version. Any thoughts or feedback before then are greatly appreciated!

Posted by jamiebalfour04 in BalfBlog

The next feature to come to BalfBlog is a page manager for the CMS. This will allow you to manage blog posts as if they were individual pages. For instance, I currently maintain my website through BlackCat 1.1 (my own CMS) for the articles and reviews section. I will soon be changing this over to my new BalfBlog CMS in an attempt to unify the blogs and page managers on my website. All of this is possible because of mod_rewrite and BalfBlog combined.

Posted by jamiebalfour04 in BalfBlog

Live posts/live blogs are a thing now and while BalfBlog has had them since late 2014, they are really not well enough implemented to be used. A friend on mine suggested a new way to bring these to BalfBlog and in the near future, they will come to BalfBlog. For now, checking the box to make a post live does nothing anymore. 

Hidden posts on the other hand are getting more emphasis. Now hidden posts can be changed from the dashboard (before now I only had these in for my own use). Posts can be hidden when you don't want to publish at the very second you leave the page, and then they can be revealed again by just changing a box.

These new features aren't exactly amazing, but they are pretty damn important. 

Posted by jamiebalfour04 in BalfBlog

Whilst it was never my intention to move back to the way JBlogs was and use a local copy of TinyMCE, unfortunately the way that TinyMCE works means that you cannot add plugins to a version in a CDN. As a result, a local copy has been created and you can choose to use this version or the lightweight version which uses the CDN. The local version is superior in all ways apart from for speed and space. 

With the local version there is an increase of about 400KB. I will not be including this by default but I will keep a configuration that is setup for this available too. I found that this is the best way to allow users to insert images since plugins like allows users to quickly insert images.

Posted by jamiebalfour04 in BalfBlog

The latest update is perhaps my favourite to date. I have added a feature to BalfBlog that allows it to be used as if it were a journal instead of a public blog. In this mode users will only be able to view their own posts and will need to be logged in. Of course users with more power such as admins can view anyones posts.

Posted by jamiebalfour04 in BalfBlog

I have been focusing on improving the search algorithm used by BalfBlog. What happens now is this:

  • A search is sent to the database to search for items containing any of the words searched for
  • The results are then traversed and any results that do not contain all of the search words are removed

Another important step was removing the double query design. This was a pathetic idea in the first place and I never meant for it to be in the release version but only in a test version. I apologise to anyone who has since downloaded but the latest update is marked as CRUCIAL. Please make sure to download it as soon as possible.

BalfBlog now has a more flexible refinement of queries function that will ensure that the information coming out is suitable.

More importantly, the HTAccess directive file is much better now and it works more efficiently.

Posted by jamiebalfour04 in BalfBlog

The new BalfBlog version 2.0.1 will be released next week. Currently the main features that have been added have been added for the ClickIt blog to improve it, since I am currently working on that at the moment as my main project.

The following have been added:

  • Security improvements
  • Better use of mod_rewrite to make URLs work better
  • Search improvements now mean that you can join words together using "" e.g. "windows 8" would search for the exact term windows 8 and not each word individually
  • Dashboard improvements
  • A new settings panel
  • Add your own items to the TinyMCE editor! You can now define your own items for the TinyMCE editor.
  • A new system to update your blog automatically (Linux and Mac based servers only)

This will be the last update of April so I'm trying to make it somewhat significant. April and the end of March have been the most significant months in the development of BalfBlog. I hope you enjoy the next update as much as I am!

Posted by jamiebalfour04 in BalfBlog
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