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Welcome Tour

Adding Extensions

Although BoltWire is amazingly robust right out of the box, there are times you may wish to give it new capabilities. Fortunately, this is easy to do.

It's always been easy to add custom plugins, skins, and language files to BoltWire. But in version 7, we've taken things to a whole new level. First, we've decided to add a large number of Free Extensions directly to the core distribution. And second, we added new methods for activating these extensions, to help make them instantly available right through your browser. We've also added a helpful new site admin section for each of these to help you manage them.

Listed below is a bit more information on the most common kinds of extensions in BoltWire.

Installing Plugins

Plugins fall into a number of different categories. Some are simple ready-to-use actions or forms that use BoltWire's core functions. Others require a small php, js, or css file to add some capability not in the core engine. Here's a couple examples.

Suppose for example you wanted to create a fancy rollover effect, where an image lights up when you move your mouse over it. It just takes a tiny bit of javascript, and you could certainly do this in the core. But rather than custom coding each instance, we could also create a new BoltWire function to make things easier, and put it in a php file. Then, starting with BoltWire 7, if I give the script the same name as the function, BoltWire can find and load that script automatically whenever it stumbles across that function in a page. That's what we did with this built-in extension.

And here's how it works: I just call the rollover function, tell it which graphics to use, and BoltWire handles all the rest:


[(rollover dsg.jpg ds.jpg)]


Pretty cool, don't you think?

Here's another example. One of our bonus scripts allows you to create tables with self sorting columns. While it is not part of our core code, the core engine knows to look for this when you tell it to, and it automatically installs the script on demand.

Here's the effect using normal BoltWire markup for tables. Be sure to click on a column header. Then click it again to reverse sort:

Name Phone Email
Bob Jones 423-432-3456 somewhere@yahoo.com
Mark Smith 468-879-9853 another@hotmail.com
Mary Alice 354-654-9512 still.another@mail.com
Jane Douglas 645-852-3214 myemail@mydomain.com
David Davis 174-582-6936 dd@gmail.com

To learn more about the plugins included in your core installation, go to the Site Admin area and look for the "plugins" link in the menu area. You'll find examples and documentation for each script.

To disable the dynamic loading of plugins, set "dynafunc: false" on your site config page. You can still use the old method of enabling plugins for specific pages. There's more information on using the site config page in our Handbook.

If you know a bit of PHP, BoltWire makes it super easy for developers to write their own custom plugins. Here's a brief tutorial on the subject you may find helpful. If you create a plugin you feel might be helpful to others in our community, feel free to share it via our Developers Network and we may be able to add it to a future release of our software.

Installing Skins

BoltWire also offers a number of ready made skins you can add to your installation. And switching between skins is a snap.

Let's say for example you wanted to view this page in a different layout. You can do that by simply modifying the URL for the page. Click this button, for example to see this page in any of the skins below. Then click the back button to come back! :)

CHOICE BUTTERFLY OUTDOOR

Between its core and bonus skins, BoltWire comes with more than 20 different skins. To preview the available skins, just go to the Site Admin area in your site and look for the "skins" link in the menu area. This new admin tool makes it easy to copy skins, rename skins, edit skins, and delete skins.

There's also a new site.auth.skins page which allows you to control which skin is displayed on any given page or section of your site, and you can update it at any time. Want to create a new skin? Create a copy of some existing skin, set it to run on a test directory, and then tinker away until you get it how you want. Once it's working perfectly, switch your site over to use the new skin. It's as easy as that!

Because BoltWire uses standard html, css, and js, it's pretty easy to import skins from other systems. There are plenty of sites available online with free and paid templates. Just copy them into BoltWire, make a few tweaks, and you can be good to go in minutes. For more information about developing your own skins, or about assigning skins dynamically using PHP, read this tutorial.

It's also super easy to share a skin you create. All skin files are stored in a special skin folder in your site installation. Just copy that folder into your boltwire/shared/skins directory, and it will be instantly available to any site running on that installation. If you create an exceptionally good skin you would like to share with the community, just zip it up and share it on our Developers Network and we may be able to add it to a future release of our software.

Installing Languages

BoltWire is designed for multiple languages. It supports page content in all languages (UTF-8) and can even translate some parts of your site automatically (buttons, headers, marked text, messages, and more) using a simple language file. In BoltWire 7, we've included a number of language packs you can turn on instantly, and a section of our Site Admin area just for managing your language files. Click there to see which language packs are available, and reset your site language in an instant.

It's also super easy to modify these language packs. Just edit the corresponding language file and add new entries or tweak existing entries. Your changes will be implemented instantly, on the fly.

Better still, we've included a language pack creator which makes it easy to use Google Translate to get a head start on your language pack. Just copy in the template, get it translated, and then paste over the translation--and we'll create your new language file in less than a second.

Once again, if you create a helpful language pack, or extend one of our existing language packs, and wish to share your work with our community, just forward your translation file to our Developers Network and we'll do our best to get it added to the next release.

All right, you've just about reached the end of our welcome tour. One last question to look at: what will you do next...

Final Steps

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