Welcome to our Blog! I post various ramblings here about the web, programming, the future of BoltWire. On occasion, I'll even post an important announcement! Browse our archives to find more posts, or use the search bar to search for specific topics. You are also welcome to subscribe.
|Posted May 26, 2016|
Just released a new version of BoltWire--that marks a pretty important milestone. Namely, I've upgraded code throughout the entire script to bring BoltWire into line with PHP 5.5 and above. Unfortunately, this release will probably break sites relying on PHP versons below 5.3, but there just wasn't any other way around it. For geeks out there, I've replaced all the preg_replace functions using the deprecated /e parameter with preg_replace_callback functions which are more secure. I also created a custom BOLTpreg_replace function for the markup table.
Because this upgrade affected so many systems in such a foundational way, I can't guarantee there will not be glitches here and there. I've tried it on several of my sites, and everything looks good--but there is just no way to test every affected function. To be honest, I'm not going to upgrade my live sites for a bit, just to see if anyone report a bug. I'm reasonably confident about this upgrade, but I'm still flagging it as quasi-experimental. On mission critical sites, you might want to hold off till 5.12, just in case--esp if you have a lot of custom code.
Other than the big system upgrade, this release mostly adds a good number of advanced hooks for developers and some special features. I've been working on all kinds of complex development projects, and experimenting with alternate authentications systems, permissions systems, installation structures, and more. BoltWire has held up really well to all the challenges--just needed a few small hooks to expand its capabilities in various really fun ways.
I'm also deciding to change course on XPack program--and turn it into a shared library you can add on to BoltWire, rather than a parallel installation. It's easier for me to maintain a single code base. And I'm personally running at least 3 separate libraries for different kinds of projects. I suspect there are others out there running complex installations with libraries too. Releasing the XPack this way will keep it easier for you to manage those as well. Hope to have the revised XPack (possibly a couple versions) ready in the coming weeks. Just need to sort out and zip up!
Enjoy my annual birthday release!
|Posted April 28, 2016|
Some big changes coming to BoltWire soon. I don't want to say too much just now--but it will involve both a rebranding and a repackaging of our software. Actually, I think it is going to go a couple different directions.
1) First, a new blog package. I'm really having a blast with blogging lately and have made lot's of neat fixes and tweaks. This will allow me to simplify and integrate several sites. I think you will like it.
2) I think the XPack is not going to go much further. More likely, I'll put together either a few small modules, or perhaps even a couple packages in addition to blogging: ecommerce, forum, online school, etc. It's just too easy to do some really neat stuff!
3) This Alexa thing is really coming along. My first skill just got certified and I'm now in the process of building a complete Alexa - BoltWire interface. This will definitely put BoltWire on the cutting-edge of this exciting new voice platform.
BoltWire has run a good race, and matured into a very fine content management system. It's about ready to graduate into something even better very soon!
|Posted April 6, 2016|
Just wanted to post a quick update on what has been happening at BoltWire.
For the most part, not much! Version 5.10 came out mid-February. After that I took an extended vacation to Washington state, where my daughter was finishing up her BA. Thrilled to have her back home again!
Since coming back, I've been busy catching up with life here in Illinois, and getting ready for an upcoming trip to Asia. Don't anticipate being able to do much more with Boltwire till May at the earliest!
Happy to say, however, I haven't heard a single bug report or feature request during all this time. Seems BoltWire is working great. I know all my sites are purring along just fine!
I did accomplish two things however. First I decided to do some tinkering with Amazon's new developer tools for Alexa, its voice assistant. It was surprizingly easy to use, and my first skill (app) was running in hours. In fact it is being processed for certification as I type these words. Hope to hear back from them soon.
My next skill will be a bit more complex, allowing me to login to a BoltWire site and retrieve custom user information upon authentication. I have a specific use case in mind, but if all goes well, I envision generalizing the code just a bit more to make an easy to use Alexa-BoltWire plugin and make it available to others.
To document my adventures with this new platform, I created a brand new blog called Alexa Echoes. It was a bit of an experiment to see how much social media I could incorporate and it quickly exceeded my expectations. In fact, I liked the design so much--I decided to update the BoltWire site to use that skin and style. If you frequent our site, you've probably noted some changes already.
Among other things, there's a completely revamped blog archives module, simpler blog pagenames, facebook comments, and updated icons. You also notice significantly minimalized navigation. Once I get the blog running how I want, I plan to zip it all up and make it available to others as well.
So much for the latest news. Feel free to leave comments below about the new changes to our site!
|Posted February 22, 2016|
For many months, our googlegroup mailing list has been the best place to go for support in using BoltWire. It's also where you go to report bugs and/or suggest ideas for improving our software. And new releases are always announced there first. It's a great little community!
Just recently I discovered how easy it was to embed a google group into a website and decided to do that on our BoltWire site. Now you can search our archives, review recent posts, add new posts, leave a comment or reply to an existing post, and more--all from right within our site. Kudo's to Google for making this so convenient!
Not even sure we still need to maintain a separate forum. But will keep it around for awhile--partly to demonstrate the forum that comes built into the XPack. But check out the side menu link that says "Mail List".
|Posted February 18, 2016|
Haven't posted a blog entry in awhile, but wanted to give an update on how happy I am with the XPack.
My goal was to make many of my best plugins and modules available in a pro version of BoltWire and make it easy for users to get a full featured site without having to tinker. And maybe make a bit of pocket change in the process. But it turned out to be much more.
In order to keep the BoltWire core the engine driving the XPack, and yet make it easy to run multiple sites off the XPack I essentially had to work out all the kinks for having a fully customizable shared library distinct from the core library. And as much as I love the XPack features, the changes this required in the core are even more valuable.
For example, suppose I wanted to have a cookbook site, where an individual could pay a small monthly fee and create their own shared cookbook site. I simply create the code for one cookbook, store it in the various shared locations and presto, BoltWire becomes a massive cookbook maker. I can run as many as I want!
If I find a way to improve the cookbook code--make one change and all the cookbooks are fixed instantly. Cookbook owners who want to customize and make whatever changes I allow them to make. Instead of multiple BoltWire sites, I am running all the cookbook sites I want--all turnkey, and running off a single code base.
The XPack is actually just one version of this. I'm developing another version for churches with powerful admin features. It would be easy enough to develop one for online classes, or for artists, or whatever.
The BoltWire framework makes it easy to create customized and interactive content. Now it allows you to easily create customized frameworks!
It's really amazing how far BoltWire has come!!!Leave a comment
|Posted November 28, 2015|
One of our core principles at BoltWire is keeping things simple. And that include plugin installation.
To be honest things are pretty simple right now, but I wanted to make the XPack "knock you off your feet simple", and I think I may have just figured out how to do it. The XPack is going to come with plugins that self install.
What will it look like?
The content of each install page will not only give detailed instructions for any required settings you need to change (enable the plugin here, set that permission there)--but since these are all just simple info vars, I just inserted a quick button to automate even that part. In fact, it even shows you your current settings and tells you if they are ok. Cool.
Even better, I use the page archive feature I was tinkering with awhile back to store all the included files in a data field on the info page, and then generate a simple search query to display all the available pages, and automatically extract and install any pages you want or need (uncheck the checkbox to skip a page). It works like a charm. And it even tells you if you already have those pages installed in your site!
The Dashboard already has a plugins module, so I just tweaked it to show you all your available plugins. You click one link to install (or verify installment). Click a different link to manage the admin configuration for the plugin. It will even tell you when it is time to update the plugin!
Other than a few trivial extensions, this is all possible with core code from BoltWire. Download one zip file and every plugin we include will be seconds away from self installation.
Never ceases to amaze me how flexible BoltWire really is.Leave a comment
|Posted November 23, 2015|
Getting emails to work right is a huge hassle. The BoltWire XPack can make it easier...
If you haven't worked much with emails, and email newsletters in particular, it's a headache. The prevalence of spam has forced email providers to start clamping down on incoming mail--and unless you are careful, your mail may never get through.
Our soon-coming XPack will help. It is going to come with drop in modules for both PHPMailer and SwiftMailer--your choice. These packages allow you to use SMTP authentication on outgoing emails to improve deliverability, and help protect your ip reputation.
Also included will be an EZ-news script you can use to generate all kinds of custom mail lists, and queue up hundreds or even thousands of messages for outgoing mail. Then cron sends each email out, one at a time, fully merged with user data and unsubscribe links. You have full control over how many emails you send out and how fast to stay under throttling controls set by your isp or your recipient's isp. And you can even schedule them to go out at the time you specify--months in advance.
To make things even better, we also will have an inbox script which checks your reply-to email address, imports messages into your site for you to review, and even sorts them into delivery failures, delivery delays, messages bounced as spam, and other categories. Delete and/or unsubscribe emails individually or as a group--in one click. A great tool to keep your email list clean.
Send beautiful, html emails with pictures, attachments, and more--all using simple BoltWire markup. A complete mailing list system. Awesome...
|Nov 22, 2015||Holiday XPack?|
|Nov 19, 2015||Persistent Logins|
|Nov 16, 2015||A Great Release...|
|Oct 15, 2015||CleanURL's|
|Oct 13, 2015||One small step...|
|Oct 09, 2015||Moved to a VPS|
|Aug 14, 2015||BoltWire 5.04 released|
|Aug 14, 2015||Enrollment Form Fixed|
|Jul 17, 2015||Buffer and Social Media|
|Jun 15, 2015||Changing Titles|
|Jun 10, 2015||Almost There!|
|Jun 08, 2015||Expansion Pack Features|
|Jun 03, 2015||Development Philosophy|