Serendipity 1.0-beta1 released!

The Serendipity Team is proud to issue the first beta release of the upcoming Serendipity 1.0 version.

Serendipity's development has started nearly 3 years ago, and has undergone many fundamental changes in the past. Many feature enhancements and bug fixes have lead to a quite stable product that we feel very well with putting the "1.0" version tag on it. Don't let that version number fool you - other products may not have reached our stableness in their 2.x versions! ;-)

As for the new features since Serendipity 0.9.1, we have focussed on straighting out bugs and improving usability and more flexible templating and plugin handling:

  • Fixed Safari Browser issue with formatting and inserting media items
  • Fix templatechooser plugin to be nicer to browser caching
  • RFE #1387997 - Show amount of entries per archive period (archive sidebar plugin).
  • More abstraction for the serendipity_fetchEntries() call
  • Full PHPDOC function documentation
  • Plugin API: New "multiselect" plugin item type
  • Spamblock plugin improvements: Filter comment body, Check foreign Trackback URLs
  • Templating: New preview_iframe.tpl template for entry previews, new Smarty functions for fetching and printing entries within a template, RSS feeds can be templated
  • Fix not being able to create users of the same userlevel despite being admin
  • Fix bug #1371893: Category write permissions are not properly evaluated when writing into a category.
  • Fix bug #1371630: Write permissions to category are stored with input data of the 'Read permissions' author listing.
  • Plus many more things listed in our docs/NEWS file!

Upgrading from any version (also beta/alphas from previous versions) to Serendipity 0.9 is easy and can be done as before: Just unpack the release files to your existing directory, go to your admin panel and confirm the upgrade process. Serendipity automatically upgrades your database and tells you of important changes. Be sure to read our FAQ on if you face any problems.

We are eagerly waiting for positive feedback or any problems you face with this new release on either this blog or via our Forums. The final 1.0 version is scheduled for February 15th.

Now what are you waiting for? Download latest release!

New Template: Ladybug

Ladybug is a Search Engine Optimized, content-first template. It is built around a ladybug theme, as the name implies, so expect lots of pink, with red and black splashes.

Besides putting the content before the sidebars (so search engines give your content greater value), Ladybug includes some nice finishing touches: drop shadows, themed archive bars, and rounded corners for Mozilla FireFox users. I like it, but of course, I made it.

Ladybug is available through SPARTACUS.

Survey Results of "Wie ich blogge?"

We received this mail from the makers of a survey called "Wie ich blogge" (german), which I'd like to post here:

In late 2005 a friend of mine did a survey on how people in the German speaking area are using Blogs. Over 5000 people participated in this survey. Some questions were also on the used blogging software. There are some facts that are interesting for the serendipity team. Concerning Stand-alone software serendipity is the second most used software and gets the best results in user satisfaction. I think those are quite motivating results for everyone spending his time on serendipity.

Unluckily the research paper is only available in German, but I encourage all German-speakers to have a closer look at it. The results about blogging software are on pages 18ff of the paper.

You might also want to have a look on Dr. Jan Schmidts Blog and the related article on the research paper.

So, how does "best results in user satisfaction" sound to you? Spread the word! :-)

Theme Contest!

Hello fellow Serendipity Users!

The time for releasing Serendipity 1.0 is coming close. What we are now in desperate need of, is a pretty and nice looking new default theme to make Serendipity more distinct and pretty, to visually underline the flexibility and large featureset of the Serendipity Blog. This theme shall replace the current "Serendipity v2.3" Theme that is shipped with Serendipity.

Because of this, we want to have a Serendipity Theme Contest. Designers can submit their designs to us, and we will display them to the public for voting on them. Since Serendipity is an Open Source project without any funding, we cannot offer commercial benefits. But we will of course fully credit your work for display within the Theme, and publically announce the winning theme properly.

We want to schedule the release of Serendipity 1.0 for February 15th. Designers will have time until February 7th, and then the voting starts until February 14th. Once the theme is chosen without dispute, we will include it for the release. If there are any technical problems with the winning design, the release date might get rescheduled, though. Our primary goal is to have a stable and nice Serendipity, so we will bend any scheduling to adjust to that.

Having said this, these are the the "rules":

  1. The new theme must be unique. It may not be a 1:1 port of existing themes. It must be BSD licensed.
  2. The new theme should create a visual distinction of Serendipity, but preserve the template association with Serendipity. People who see that theme should not confuse it with themes that are distinct for other blog applications.
  3. You are free to choose whatever colors are fit. Beware though, that the somewhat etablished colors of Serendipity are blue-greyish.
  4. The new theme should consist of a Frontend and Backend visual style (or play well with the current default Backend style). Frontend customizations can be done using any technique you like (Smarty, JavaScript, CSS). Backend customizations can only be done via CSS styling (themes/default/admin/style.css).
  5. Creating a new logo for Serendipity is not yet part of the deal. We are looking for a default theme to be distributed with Serendipity, so it should be a style that people can use on their own blog without giving the impression that it is the official Serendipity Blog.
  6. The new theme shall pay attention to be accessible and not require JavaScript for important operations. It shall be cross-browser compatible (MSIE, Firefox, Opera, Safari) and validate as XHTML (Transitional at least). The main CSS should also validate; any additional and browser specific CSS codes are not required to be validatable.
  7. Many Themes depend on the default theme, so it needs to be considered that important HTML selectors (.serendipity_entry, .serendipity_entry_date) etc. are only changed in a way that is backwards compatible. You are allowed to change the Smarty .tpl files any way you see fit.
  8. Plugins that output HTML (like: Categories, Syndication, Calendar, Static Pages...) should still work fine in the new default theme.
  9. Standard HTML styles such as code, acronym, bold etc should be supported in the stylesheet if the browser default isn't acceptable (in particular the code tag is often reduced in size to become unreadable)
  10. All images including media manager images, emoticons, xml buttons and just plain images inserted into posts or the sidebar should work as expected - the danger is in assuming the browser will adequately deal with images but often margins and paddings change and if this isn't tested weird results can show up after the theme is released.

We know this are certainly many rules listed, but when reading through them you will find most of them very clear. The Serendipity Project has always well cared about backwards compatibility, integration and valid markup - and so it shall continue in the future.

The future goal of the new default template is to create a unique variation that will be used for the official Serendipity Blog, and to apply a similar theme to the Serendipity Wiki.

But for now: Let the fun begin! Questions will be answered here. Send your final designs in ZIP or TGZ format to Garvin: serendipity{@}supergarv{.}de. It would be nice that if you intend to submit a theme, that you tell me via mail about that, so that we can see how many people are working on it and if the deadline is sufficiently set.

Technical help about theming can be found on our Forums or in the Technical Documentation.

Update #1 - Rule #7 has been bent a little. It was formerly suggested to only make minor modifications to the Smarty files.

Versioning/Revisions of entries

Today I've committed a little plugin to the repository that is called Versioning of entries (serendipity_event_versioning).

It about does what its name suggests: Once installed, it will store each change to your entry in a seperate table. From there you can restore previous versions of your entry.

You can also configure the plugin whether to show revisions of your entries to the public. The plugin has a lot of room for improvements in the future, like offering a "diff" view of your entry revisions or other pretty things.