Massive Upgrade

Posted 08/09/22, by Dan Vis

More massive changes are coming to our software platform, and you'll get to see them live first, right here at BoltWire. In fact, some of them have gone live already. Here's the story of what's happening...

The last few weeks, I spend a lot of time wrestling with a few structural questions about how to set up the core download, to make room for our first pro modules and features. My vision was to have a robust core engine, but then to include a number of additional advanced modules for those participating in our accelerator hosting program. And when push finally came to shove, it turned out the easiest way to make that room, was to move everything out of the shared folder in our core BoltWire distribution, and put it all in the system folder.

It was kind of an artificial distinction anyway. Initially, the system folder was the "core engine" up through the 6.xx series. And the shared folder was a boatload of extra pages, skins, scripts, plugins, language packs, images and more--all added in our 7.xx series. It was a major expansion--from barely a 100k download to one more in the ballpark of 700k.

But it lost the advantage of having an empty shared folder that could be used for a set of custom installations. Let's say you had a certain way of doing things--with your own custom skins, pages, or scripts. Maybe you even wanted to overwrite some of the core files in the system folder with your own--and then use those changes on multiple sites? With an empty shared folder, that was easy. You simply put all your customizations there, and they get instantly rolled out to every site you set up using that shared folder. But when there was existing core content in the shared folder, you couldn't easily overwrite the files there, and you risked your files being overwritten with each new download. Not good.

So essentially, by rolling all that content into the system folder, and emptying out the shared folder, its original purpose was restored.

Actually, I took things a little further. I decided to make the local site folder parallel to the system and shared folders in terms of subdirectories. Namely all three now use a pages, files, plugins, and skins folder. That did cause some initial issues, as the skins all had to be moved and in some cases get certain paths updated. And on a site with a lot of custom plugins, I had to double check to make sure nothing broke. But it proved a smooth enough process.

And it created an additional crazy, unintended benefit: it made it now possible to set one existing site as a shared folder for other sites--meaning everything in that site now becomes instantly available to all the other sites linked to it. So if you created the perfect cookbook site for example, you could now create multiple other cookbook sites and they would instantly have access to all the pages, plugins, skins, etc in that original site. They could still be customized further at the individual site level--but it gave you an immense head start to your cookbook creation process.

It also means, by simply logging into the site you are using as your shared folder--you could make changes that would roll out instantly to all your other linked sites. The possibilities here are actually pretty staggering...

But ultimately, it just made it possible for me to create a custom shared folder for all our accelerator hosting partners, and start dumping pro content into it. And actually, since the BoltWire site itself is running off that shared folder, every feature I add to the hosting platform instantly gets rolled out here.

Well today, I just uploaded the first real batch of accelerator code and it worked beautifully. Here are some of the new features you may notice around the BoltWire site:

Site Email Setup. I also added a whole new email setup feature in the site admin area. And this one's in the core!
Mailer Plugin. The core uses php's default mail function, but accelerators get access to the pro mailer plugin with many advanced features.
Verify Email. With email working, I've now enabled the verify email plugin by default for accelerator sites.
Password Reminders. Similarly, the password reminder script is now turned on and running for accelerators.
Help Hotline. There's a new Help Hotline, with an Instant Answers feature on the admin side which allows you to save any answers you want for easy reuse.
Messaging. I've imported a basic messaging system which allows members to send messages to one another.
Account Area. Now there's a new block.account page which give access to the above sections, plus a whole account area with all sorts of member services.
Profile Pics. I've got a thumbnail plugin enabled for you to upload your profile picture, and embedded those in the comments area.
Comments Plus. Not only did we get the gui buttons turned on (and the scripts for these are now in the core) we've also added tiny pictures of each poster to the comments.
Tagging. The script is also in place for tagging, which allows you to tap someones picture in a comment when you respond to them and send a notification that you mentioned them.
Blogging. And last but not least, I've added an advanced Site Admin control panel for accelerator blogging, which allows you to create blog post drafts, and schedule for posting when desired--plus other advanced features. I'm actually using it to write this post!

There's probably more--but it's definitely a good start on our pro package. It also involved a fair bit of under the hood work to get everything working right--including a fair number of tweaks and bug fixes. So even though most of these features are only available on our Boltwire site, or through our accelerator program, pushing the core engine to support all these features, just makes it run that much better for everyone!

Yes, BoltWire 7.07, coming soon, and it's going to be a pretty massive upgrade. It probably took more time to figure out exactly how I wanted to set things up structurally than it did to make the changes. But now that that's behind me, things are definitely going to start moving fast now!

So what do you think of all the changes to our site? Have you had a chance to check any of them out? If you are an accelerator partner, how do you like all these new features being on your site? Any questions about the upgrade coming out any day now?


Posted by Dan Vis on 08/05/20
And yes Ransom, I think the tagging thing is working now too, since you were wondering...
Posted by Dan Vis on 08/05/20
Here's how the new comments work...

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