ProcessWire weekly #12

Issue #12 of ProcessWire weekly brings in latest news from the ProcessWire community. Modules, sites and discussions. Read on!

This time we'll be diving into core updates, introduce new commercial module and featured site of the week and list a couple of hot forum topics you might want to check out in detail. Text for core updates section was kindly provided by Ryan Cramer, the lead developer of ProcessWire.

It might be summer season, but judging from all the buzz going on, that sure hasn't slowed ProcessWire down at all – still got a ton of stuff going on and we're once again more than happy to bring you all the latest highlights.

Now, let's get started!

Summary of the latest updates to ProcessWires development branch

Several additions have been made to the core this week. If you are interested in trying any of these out, updates mentioned below are now available on the dev branch. Thanks in advance for testing!

Now, without further ado, here's a description of what's been added, brought to you by Ryan Cramer, the lead developer of ProcessWire.

Field export/import capability

This feature is to answer the question of how to migrate field changes more easily. With this new feature, migrating field changes or additions is as easy as copying and pasting some text (literally!) – here's how it works:

  1. In your admin, if you browse to Setup > Fields, you'll see two new buttons in the bottom right corner: Export and Import. Click the Export button and you'll get a screen that lets you select one or more (or all) fields in your site for export to another ProcessWire installation. This exports all the settings of selected fields to JSON format and puts it in your copy/paste queue.
  2. Go to another ProcessWire installation and click to Setup > Fields > Import. Paste in the data you just exported, click Preview, and it'll show you what's different from your current configuration. Following that, it'll give you the option of committing any of the changes/additions that you choose.

For screenshots, please see this post in the forum: https://processwire.com/talk/topic/2117-continuous-integration-of-field-and-template-changes/?p=68899.

Behind the scenes, when creating an export, ProcessWire converts internal references for resources like pages and templates to external references to make them cross-site portable. To put that another way, the IDs of resources don't have to match up between the two sites. This opens up the ability to migrate fields between completely different sites.

Importing doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing operation. When performing a field export/import, there is always a chance that some expected resource or module isn't available on the importing site. But this is not a fatal error to the import tool. Instead, it will let you continue to import the fields (and properties of those fields) that you decide. This gives you the ability to complete any remaining configuration on your own.

Like everything in ProcessWire, it's also API accessible. If you are interested in that side of it, see the new Exportable interface, which lets you assume any classes implementing it to have getExportData() and setImportData(array $data) methods:

  • $item->getExportData() takes no arguments and returns an array of portable data ready for import somewhere else.
  • $item->setImportData($data) accepts $data array as it's only argument and populates the $item with that data. It returns an array indexed by property name of everything that changed, along with the old value, new value and any error messages or warnings that accompanied it.

If you want to commit the changes, all you need to do is $item->save().

The field export/import is actually just the first in a series of upcoming updates enabling more simple migration of configuration data in ProcessWire. Coming next will be the same exact tool, but for migrating templates (including related field assignments/fieldgroups).

There has been interest among some in keeping field and template changes under version control, so we will also be providing a module that mirrors every change to a field/template to JSON files (which will also be supported by the import tools).

$session namespaces

When you use $session->set('foo', 'bar') you are setting the property named "foo" within the same namespace as anything else that might be using $session to remember values. If another process happens to set its own value for "foo", you've got a name collision.

Admittedly, name collisions aren't likely just because most people setting session variables are making them a whole lot more specific than "foo". But the truth is you really shouldn't have to think about stuff like that.

This week we've added session namespace support so that you can optionally specify a namespace that your value should live within. This ensures that you won't have the potential for name collisions in session variables. Here's how you use it:

$session->set($this, 'foo', 'bar');
$bar = $session->get($this, 'foo');

When given an object instance (like $this) or your own namespace (string), the values you set are only accessible within that namespace. If you later call $session->get('foo'), you won't get the value you set before, because your namespace wasn't specified. Of course, the non-namespace syntax works as it always has, so this is all backwards compatible.

Likes Fieldtype is a new commercial module by Ryan Cramer

Likes Fieldtype is a new commercial module by Ryan Cramer. New in the sense that it's now available for general public, but it's already used in the CMS directory at cmscritic.com and both sites and modules directories at processwire.com.

This module allows you to insert a "like" button to pages. "Like" data can be used to create lists of most popular content, sort content by number of likes in site search and so on. Another cool use case is bookmarks page; the module allows you to display list of likes for current user with $session->getLikedPages() without a need to authenticate, making real-time bookmarking feature surprisingly easy to implement.

The "like" feature is available for general public (not tied to user accounts) but protected from misuse by allowing only one like per IP each week. 30 day cookie is also used to throttle likes from specific user – and enable the getLikedPages() feature mentioned earlier.

If you're looking for a solution on gathering likes, votes, endorsements and whatnot – or quick and effortless bookmarking tool – check out Likes Fieldtype at ProcessWire store!

Tutorials section of processwire.com is gaining traction!

ProcessWire tutorials section has been available for little over a week, yet there are already quite a few tutorials available – I'm counting six tutorials in total ranging from beginner to intermediate levels and with at least one of them split to multiple chapters.

Joss particularly has been amazingly active and pushed out tutorial after tutorial – such as a new image handling chapter for the "but what if I don't know how to code" collection for new users. Troubleshooting guide by Nico Knoll has also been added to the tutorials section.

If you've got something specific you'd like to learn, post a request to the Tutorials forum and we'll see what we can do. Your feedback is always appreciated!

Featured forum topics and posts

These are our featured forum topics and posts from past week – meaning that, for one reason or another, we've found them interesting and/or useful and would like to recommend them:

Featured site of the week: hejtuje.com, a social website with a fresh twist

Featured site of the week is hejtuje.com, a social website with simple – yet refreshing – concept: instead of posting what you're doing right now and liking content from others, you can share things you don't like. Note: the site is in Polish, with English version on it's way.

This concept may not be for everyone, but it's undeniably a new twist for the generally accepted "no dislike button" theme of more popular social websites. The site itself is really well put together too – responsive, looks cool and performs great. In brief, it has all the qualities of a great, modern website.

Congratulations to vxda for a job well done. That's some fantastic work you're doing!

Stay tuned for our next issue

That's it for ProcessWire weekly #12. Our next weekly issue will be out 9th of August and sent a few days later to ProcessWire newsletter subscribers. In the meantime we'd be happy to hear from you – there's a brand new feedback form for ProcessWire weekly right here.

Until next time: happy hacking with ProcessWire!

This post has 1 comment:

WillyC on Sunday 3rd of August 2014 3:36 am

to be.coder is to face.the truths
and choose.give off qualitey
or shite.young reader
be a.candle or
the.night

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