Bricolage 2.0 Changes


What's new in Bricolage 2?

Lots. The new Bricolage is faster, smarter, and easier to use than ever. Here's a guide to the most exciting new developments.

The Platform

Webserver: Bricolage 2 runs on Apache 2 (and mod_perl 2), taking full advantage of the cutting-edge performance and feature set of the world's most popular web server. If you're not ready to make the switch, Apache 1.3 is still fully supported.

Repository: Use the open source database of your choice: Bricolage 2 supports both PostgreSQL (8.1+) and MySQL (5.0.3+).

The Interface

The Bricolage 2 user interface is fast, sleek, and responsive. The new UI uses Prototype and (the JavaScript frameworks behind Apple, NASA, and Basecamp, among others) to offer these great new features:

Autocompletion: The category selector now uses speedy search-as-you-type matching.

On-the-fly editing: Bricolage has always allowed content editors to adjust the structure of documents, but Bricolage 2 makes it even faster and easier than before. Fields and groups of fields ("subelements") inside documents are now displayed in full, so a document's entire contents can be edited from a single screen, no matter how complex the document structure. The following items can now be edited without reloading:

  • Fields and subelements in story and media documents

  • Keywords in stories, media, and categories

  • Categories associated with stories, media, and templates

  • Output Channels in story and media documents

  • Contributor Roles

  • User and contributor contact information

  • Alert type rules

Toggling: Bricolage 2 makes it easy to keep document-edit screens tidy and organized. Any subelement can be toggled to show or hide its content, and all subelements remember their show/hide status as they move through workflow. Also, administrators can define a show/hide defaults for new elements added to documents.

Copying and pasting: Bricolage 2 lets content editors copy and paste entire subelements within a document, or from one document to another.

The menu: The Bricolage 2 navigation menu is now fully managed in the browser, which makes for big speed gains.

Fewer page loads: Bricolage 2 manages related media, related stories, and contributors with popup windows, which reduces the need for the interface in the main browser window to refresh itself.

Rich text editors: Bricolage 2 now supports three WYSIWYG editors: FCKeditor, Xinha and HTMLArea, plus JS-Quicktags, an intuitive editor for adding HTML markup.

Usability: Bricolage 2 puts more power in more places. From both the desk and workspace views, users can move documents, schedule them for publication, or publish them immediately. All these functions use JavaScript to execute actions without page refreshes. At the document-edit screen, the workflow functions have been adjusted to match those available in the desk view. So no matter what screen a user is on, the full power of Bricolage 2 workflow is available with a click.

Robust browser support: Bricolage 2 is tested to be fast and stable in all major browsers, including IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and many others.

Full search: Bricolage 2 now supports searching for content in both "short" fields (such as headers and decks), and "long" ones (such as paragraphs and full-copy blocks). This allows for a more comprehensive content search, so that editors can quickly find the documents relevant to them. The search configuration is customizable, so administrators can control where and how Bricolage searches.

New Features for Template Authors

Thumbnails: Bricolage now has native support for finding and creating alternate versions of images, as well as for creating new media documents for holding those images. Perfect for thumbnails and image-gallery applications.

Marking as published: The new "mark_as_published()" method tells Bricolage 2 to mark a document as published, without creating jobs or resources, and without executing templates. Great for making inexpensive changes to large numbers of documents.

Good News for Administrators

Precise element definitions: Bricolage allows content editors to add individual fields (and discrete groups of fields called "subelements") to their documents. Bricolage 2 now allows administrators to define the minimum and maximum number of occurrences for any field or subelement. Want every book review you publish to contain at least three but no more than 10 ISBN numbers? Want exactly four pull-quotes in every article? You can do that in Bricolage 2.

Smarter triggered publishing: It's common for Bricolage installations to "chain" publish processes together. For example, publishing one document (such as an article) often means another document (such as an archive page) needs to be published as well. In Bricolage 2, the "publish_another" API has been refined to be smarter about when it triggers a publish request. The practical result is that archive stories get published when they need to, without costly redundancy.

Simpler job tracking: The Bricolage 2 Job Manager now offers filtering options, so administrators can restrict the list of jobs according to their needs. For example, showing only today's jobs or only failed jobs is now as easy as using a pulldown menu.

Better event logs: Bricolage 2 now allows on-the-fly filtering of event logs, so it's easy to quickly find important information about a document's history.

Easier reporting: Bricolage 2 now comes with the "Bricolage events feed generator," a contributed module that generates RSS feeds based on system events.

Nicer error details: Bricolage 2 offers more information about errors when they happen. Full error notices, including oft-requested stack traces, are now viewable directly from error pages in the UI, which means fewer hunting trips through log files (and no more viewing the error page's source). To avoid scaring lay people, the details are only shown when the new "View Error Details" link is clicked.

Quiet installation: It is now possible to run the installer without prompts by setting appropriate environment variables and relying on platform-specific defaults for those variables.

Lightweight bulk operations on media: Media documents can now be exported from the Bricolage 2 SOAP interface without the media file itself included. This makes it easier to make changes to large numbers of media documents via SOAP with vastly reduced overhead.

Fast secure publishing: Bricolage 2 uses a new SSH engine (Net::SSH2) to make publishing over SFTP blazingly quick.

Expire on delete: At the administrator's discretion, Bricolage 2 will expire documents when they are deleted. Possibly the most-requested Bricolage feature is now available!

The Full List

This is just a quick introduction to what's new in Bricolage 2. For the full list of changes, updates, and bug fixes, see Bric::Changes. Enjoy!

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