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Picture This: A Profile Puzzle

PuzzleRecently, we had a new member point out that the Profile module didn't show a user's avatar unless the gravatar option was enabled. While this was quite simple to fix, once it was brought to our attention, it is an example of how tightly coupled some of our code really is.

Users are a core functionality and Gravatars are enabled as part of the core preferences - modules should be able to assume that calling a core function will return an appropriate response based on the core settings. Modules should not have to check for any dependencies of those core functions. Any module, the Profile module included, should be able to send a request to the core to retrieve a user's profile image and not care where it comes from - a default image, a gravatar, or a user-uploaded image (maybe even a Google+ profile image or Facebook profile image in the future).

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Real-time support and discussions on IRC

KiwiIRCWe are trying out an IRC channel for those discussions and questions that are best done in real-time. There is currently a Skype chat in use, but that's more suited to an internal discussion forum, as you need to request to join the group.

Have a look at our channel via the web-based KiwiIRCat ... ImpressCMS and tell us what you think we can improve. keep reading ...

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Facebook Mailing List signup

We're working on extra ways to keep you updated on what's happening in the ImpressCMS world, and a refreshed offer of mailing lists is definitely on the horizon. keep reading ...

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An Example of Decoupling - Email Protection

Coupling - handcuffsInitial problem: Updating Smarty required adding ImpressCMS-specific code back in

In ImpressCMS v1.1, email protection was introduced - a way to convert email addresses to images instead of text to prevent spambots from harvesting emails. The method for doing this was insserted into the Smarty library - and every update to Smarty since then has required us to reinsert this code. While this approach worked, it wasn't the best situation - and we have a few other instances where this is happening in the core. We need to decouple these things to make them easier to maintain.

This appeared to be a rather simple thing to do, it was isolated to a specific portion of code and could be released fairly quickly as a patch. So, I created a task branch in our repository for this and set to work on it. My initial approach was to make us of the Smarty plugin capabilities - take it out of the main Smarty class and put it in a plugin. We already have several plugins for Smarty - the image resizer is the most recent addition to them.

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Project Update, 14 Oct 2013: Patches, Releases, Decoupling

Chat logoOver the weekend, David (@fiammybe), Steffen (@qm-b) and I got together on Google+ Hangout and went over the tasks and activities we shared to keep the project going, and talked a little about the tools we currently use to manage those tasks. Going in to our next stage of development, we'll be making some adjustments because our development and release cycles are changing. We are looking forward to a lot of new activity focused on delivering a better community and content management system to you.

October Goals - PDO, Smarty, Versioning

There are already 2 different patches in the works - one for PDO support, one to update Smarty (again) and help decouple the email protection from it, plus one being added to help better track the versions of all the components in the core. We plan on having a new patch released later this week or early next week. Remember - these patches are meant to be independent of one another and you can apply as many as you'd like. But, there won't be full upgrades or completely seemless migrations. You'll need to do some work, but the patches will be ready to use on your sites.

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