Improvement of Static Page plugin

(Deutsche Übersetzung gibt es auf meinem privaten Blog)

A huge issue of Serendipity's Static Page-Plugin has always been its visual presentation of the editing screen:

Voices have been raised in the past to dust up this interface, which is why I worked on it at the beginning of this week, and committed my changes already to the official plugin repository (staticpage.zip).

Technically, the changes are quite minimalistic und quick to implement (2 hours of my life time). But the impact is huge:

Starting as of now, static pages can be created and edited using a customized smarty template, plus a static page can now have custom properties, similar to blog entries.

By default, a template file saved as backend_templates/default_staticpage_backend.tpl is shipped with the plugin, in which the distribution of the input fields is contained. There is a new smarty helper function ({staticpage_input}) that takes care of accessing the usual introspection methods for emitting the default list of data fields.

Own templates can override this template file by putting it in their template subdirectory, so that you can now have your own editing masks depending on the currently used template. This should be a blessing for magazine-like templates such as Mimbo or Hemmingway.

You can also store multiple template files inside this backend_templates directory, so that they all will be available from within the selection dropdown of the interface. For our veterans, the old list-style view is still available, of course.

An example for saving custom fields for static pages is also contained within the default template, but is commented out so that you must manually enable it. All custom fields need to be implemented through usual HTML form elements, and need to save their values inside a serendipity[plugin][custom][XXX][ fieldname. Once entered, the data will be automatically saved inside the serendipity_staticpage_custom database table, and will be available through {$staticpage_custom.XXX} when later being displayed in the frontend.

This way, you can easily add new custom fields for a staticpage which could decide, which CSS-Body-ID to use for rendering the page. Or you could specify, which sidebars you want to see when a certain staticpage is rendered. Or specify a custom header image for each staticpage. Sky's the limit!

This all vastly improves Serendipity's CMS-abilities and even more pushes it into a custom CMS-Framework, where you can manage any kind of customized content.

I hope you like it. :-)

The Future of Serendipity

When I started working on Serendipity about 5 years ago, this happened mainly because of a personal itch to scratch: I wanted to see my personal blogging and CMS-needs fulfilled on my own page.

Since then, development of Serendipity was mostly caused by my personal thoughts of usable features, and of course the wishes of this community. In my oppinion, this has worked out quite well, the features of the past years have been received well by you.

Despite of that, this also means that Serendipity does not have an outlined Feature-Agenda.

The differentiation of Serendipity against other blog engines is quite important to me. Serendipity cannot and willnot be a WordPress-Clone, but fills its own user base: A lean base system with strong expandibility, secure and bugfree code basis and workflows/usage methods close to the user. A 'bottom-up' development process is my favouriteed variant, as a Developer I would never want to push features into the product, that have not been mentioned by users (=non-developers).

For the next Serendipity 1.4 version I am still missing a few new useful functions, which is why I would like to ask the community, which things you currently miss most, or in which places see strong indicators to put work into. Because this is, where I would like to improve things.

Please write down your wishes and ideas for the future of Serendipity. This entry has also been posted on the Serendipity Forums, where it can be easily commented.