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Serendipity 1.2 is out

I almost forgot: Today, according to schedule, Garvin released version 1.2 of the world's best blog software, Serendipity. This release features many improvements concerning templating, features, usability, and security. One major step forward is the new bulletproof template that enables us to use Smarty for the backend as well. As you can see, we're on the right track. The upgrade went flawlessly, so I want to say a big thank you to all developers who contributed to this release.

jQuery, mootools, Prototype in Serendipity

I've fallen deeply in love with JavaScript libraries like jQuery in the past months. There's so much cool stuff you can do by simply including one ore more .js files to your web site. Be it form validation, GUI-like elements, or just toggling the visibility of block elements. Image overlay effects like Lightbox or Thickbox are based on these libraries, too.

So I decided it was about time we had those libs in Serendipity. We need them to create a more intuitive user experience both in the frontend and the backend. Especially in the backend, where other blog tools like Movable Type 4 look much slicker to me. Anyway, I sat down and hacked together a new plugin for S9y that lets you include jQuery and some of its plugins, mootools (including many extensions in one file), and Prototype in your web site. You can choose between frontend and backend display and select single plugins for jQuery (my favorite lib right now). I would really appreciate it if some S9y users/developers would download and install the plugin and give me feedback on it (forum seems to be down, but there's already a thread on this).

To give you an idea of what could be done with it, I edited the default admin templates, got rid of all the tables and exchanged them for divs. Then I added some tabs to the "edit entry" area with the help of the tabs plugin for jQuery. You can see the result if you open the s9y_tabs.ogg of the desktop session I recorded with Istanbul (in Ogg Theora format, no sound).

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NoseRub is a project started by Dirk Olbertz of Blogscout fame. The idea of NoseRub is that it works as a protocol to aggregate data of decentralized social networks. If you want to check it out, the code of a sample application in its early stages is hosted at Google Code. The goal of NoseRub is that everyone can manage and/or host his/her own social network. By separating the profile, the network, and the data, everything will become portable to a great extent. You stay in control of your data, and if any of your friends update their data, these changes will automagically be incorporated into your app.

NoseRub was shown in public for the first time at BarCamp Cologne 2 (one of the most eagerly awaited sessions), where we could see the sample app on two local webservers. It was built around the CakePHP framework, so the structure of the code is very clearly laid out. Of course, because of its early status, many questions arose at the BarCamp session which need to be clarified and resolved (security concerns, technical specifiations). But all in all, the presentation left most of the participants in awe and/or enthusiasm. And so, like many others might already have done or will do within the next few days, I downloaded and installed NoseRub on my local server. What can I say, it works great even in its raw state. My guess is, that developers will improve it very quickly, add new services along the way, so that by the end of the year we should have a great application that helps us take over control over our social networks. Dirk published a quick tour of the sample app, check it out. I will certainly post more about NoseRub, so stay tuned.

Movable Type 4 session live blogging

My reason for attending this sessions: What can we, Serendipity users, learn from Movable Type 4? Any cool new features inthe backend and so on. Ok, here weg go:

  • MT4 is open source (MT3 wasn't)
  • Navigation menu at the top
  • Media upload via a Lightbox like overlay
  • Images can be tagged, too
  • Extended entry via tabs, reduces space
  • Rich text editor with the options to display HTML, Textile etc. (this might be useful for some)
  • You can restrict HTML tags for comments
  • Stats on the admin area frontpage: daily/monthly posts, comments, tags, visits (via plugin)
  • Categorize audio and video media files ("assets")
  • The multiblog functionality looks great; spam comments can be weeded out for all installed blogs with one click

Conclusion: There doesn't seem to be anything in MT4 that S9y can't do or can do even better ;O) But the backend is slicker than S9y's admin area, I must admit. Anway, I really should do a S9y session on my next BarCamp because almost noone knows about its great features. The plugin system (Spartacus) seems to be the stand-out feature and is connected to S9y by others. So we (S9y users and devs) should see to it that it remains this way, and we should try to improve the backend. But a lot of work in this field is undertaken right now, e.g. plugin administration.

Thanks to Jan Theofel for his presentation.

Police @ BarCamp Cologne

Guido Karl delivers his talk about the police and web 2.0 now. He wants to prove that the police invented web 2.0 ;-) Promises to become an interesting session.

The police are: pioneers of digital photo archives, live streaming since 1989 (even from helicopters), twittering and blogging for years (press portal), finger print scanning, Internetwache.