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Release of netXtra CMS v2.4 - New admin, Privacy module, Link checker...

We are delighted to announce the latest version of the netXtra Content Management System v2.4, a host of new core functionality has been added alongside a wide selection of refinements and fixes. netXtra CMS v2.4 only serves to make it even easier for you to manage your website.

If you would like to hear more about how you can obtain all latest benefits of this release and future ones then just submit a ticket with your questions or call Client Services on 08444 176 095 and we'll be happy to help.

The most significant changes are listed below and then subsequently a host of less exciting but equally important changes after that. Version 2.5 comes later this year and has some significant and exciting new features planned, if you have any ideas for the core product why not share them in our Suggestions forum.

Admin toolbar

The admin interface has been radically changed to include a new toolbar that displays on both the front-end and back-end of a site. This tool bar takes over the job of primary navigation within the admin system as well as providing access to admin tasks from the front-end of a site (assuming you are logged in as an administrator). This is a very noticeable change as it fundamentally changes how you use the admin system. The new tool bar should make it easier to jump between the front-end of a site and the relevant page within the back-end admin that allows you to edit it subsequently saving a lot of time and potential confusion.

  • Direct access from the front of your site to the back, immediate access to different admin areas.

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  • The ability to edit the pages inline or add child pages without having to even navigate away.

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Privacy module

A built in Privacy module is now included with optional functionality to provide compliance with the EU Cookie law that came into effect in the UK on 24th May 2012. This will allow you to display a message within the browser window pointing visitors to your cookie policy, this therefore constitutes as informed consent.

  • Message appears at the top of your site providing a standard message about cookie usage.
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  • Visitors have the option of clicking continue to remove the message and accept cookies or being taken directly to your cookie policy to learn more about what cookies your site will store on their computer.
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Link Checker module

This allows you to quickly and easily identify and correct erroneous links on your website that are causing frustration for your visitors and hurting your site traffic. All too often pages and content are moved around without consideration or human error plays a part in links to other pages failing.

  • Click on the links to see exactly what your visitors experience
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Available to site admins only, every link on the site that generates any kind of error such as "page not found" is displayed and the location on your site where the traffic is coming from is directly accessible. This makes it incredibly simple for you to identify and maintain all broken or incomplete links on your site.

  • Click on the Via links to find out exactly where the offending link is stored and edit it inline
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Improved handling for Flash & YouTube videos.

Keeping up to date with all the latest media file types, we've improved our support for a variety of video types; just by adding the link to the WYSIWYG editor, media from YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion and many more can all be added easily and will configure themselves for optimal display on supported devices.

  • Optional "lightbox" displaying video presented pre-configured directly from Vimeo

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  • Easily cater for different video types

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  • Advanced configuration or just enter an ID of a video from a suitable source and let the plugin do the rest.

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Key TinyMCE changes (the WYSIWYG editor in use on your site)

  • TinyMCE has been updated to the latest version to cater for improved media features (v3.4.8 at time of writing). Additionally, this means that future patch releases of TinyMCE will be rolled out to you in conjunction with monthly CMS patch releases and you will no longer have to pay for that upgrade specifically.
  • Added support for regular block quotes in WYSIWYG editor. Front-end themes will need to take this into account.
  • Images can now be uploaded directly within WYSIWYG editor.
  • WYSIWYG editor templates now available out of the box.
  • Nested lists now supported within WYSIWYG editor.
  • The default set of WYSIWYG editor widgets has been reviewed and updated.

Key back-end CMS changes 

  • Support for Campaign Monitor API added.
  • Enhanced video capabilities built in allowing for future video transcoding to be handled by the website, this means every video will be intelligently converted for every device that accesses your site. Subject to further development, no longer will the visitor experience on an Apple device differ from an Android phone or a Windows PC.
  • Website Maintenance mode now improved so that when a site is put into maintenance mode it is now still accessible for administrators and a holding page is put up. Ideal when you are making bulk changes to your live site.
  • Per-site permissions now supported for administrators; you can now give individual administrators different permissions on different sites (when using a multi-site install). You can even block administrators from individual sites if you wish.
  • Made redirects site specific (so more useful in a multi-site install).
  • Made approval options consistent so you can no longer approve a draft from admin list pages. This is now consistent with the options you get when viewing draft items. To approve an item it must be beyond draft in the workflow (i.e. pending approval). Draft items are not yet ready to be considered for approval.
  • Don’t apply double click prevention logic to submit buttons that don’t cause a page reload (because otherwise they get stuck displaying “please wait…”).
  • Added new ‘wysiwyg-clear’ class for Ps and TABLEs so you can deliberately clear floated items within the editor.
  • Added ability to restore Sites section from install page (and tidied up page in general with more help, etc.).
  • Added ability to state how many results should show on admin paged lists.
  • The Advanced tab in the administration system has always listed the modules installed but now it provides much better information – including whether the module has been customised or written completely from scratch.
  • Admin now remembers what page you are on for paged lists in admin when navigating away from the list (e.g. to edit an item). Makes it less annoying when doing lots of edits.
  • Improved virtual page handling so that it allows multiple per page tree branch (in a database agnostic manner) and always attempts to load standard pages before virtual ones.
  • Added automatic inclusion of admin filter options for sections that have associations (of type ‘select’ or ‘checkbox’).
  • Refactored section access permissions code (used in admin) into an include file to remove duplication.
  • Enforcing admin permissions in more places to avoid some security holes.
  • The ‘caption’ field within the system provided Images module is now hidden by default to avoid confusion in its use. As the WYSIWYG editor doesn’t support the field it was effectively redundant.
  • Updated to latest version of Google Analytics tracking code.
  • Redirects (via Redirects Module) now use full path and query string when identifying current URL to look for a registered redirect. Previously they only looked at the path part of the URL.
  • No longer showing information about section (as configured in XML) on admin lists pages as it was getting shunted lower and lower down below filters – to the point it was never going to get read. In addition it normally stated pretty useless stuff anyway. If we can find a better way of displaying this information then this can be revisited in future – probably via separate help/information pages/pop-up/somethings.
  • Resolved Chrome/Basic Auth problems, you should no longer get stuck in an authorisation loop when accessing the admin system on sites protected by basic authentication (e.g. stage sites) using the Chrome browser.
  • Admin URLs no longer expose whether a section is workflowed or not (no more references to draft in them).
  • Locked records in admin now protect key fields within them (e.g. pages URL slug) to prevent user breaking them inadvertently.
  • Per record permissions can now be applied via groups, similar to UNIX file permissions. This allows administrators to be blocked from parts of the page tree – for example – but can work on any section.
  • Relative paths now used for includes within the admin system, making overriding easier.
  • Admin filters now work on columns that are not joined to another section.
  • Port number and domain name are now correct when behind a proxy.
  • New theme field in Sites section means the existing name field can go back to being used to identify a site (e.g. in multi-site set ups).
  • Database indexes added to associations section to improve query speed when dealing with lots of data.
  • Admin window titles now contain more information making them more useful when shown in tabs or used for bookmarking and so on.
  • Page content can now be explicitly placed before or after custom module content. It can also be ignored altogether.
  • Registered charity number can now be entered into Sites section.
  • No longer need to the _draft bit when specifying sections are children of work-flowed sections in configuration files.
  • Can now easily configure custom taglib references that will be globally available across your site.
  • Hidden or special fields can now be marked up via CSS when displayed in admin to more clearly show their special purpose.
  • Code used for admin fields has been split into more files to aid re-use.
  • Read-only sections are now supported better in the admin system. This allows you to indicate that certain sections can’t be inserted into and so on.
  • Robots.txt file content can now be modified via a new field in the Sites section. This only applies when the site is set to be ‘live’.
  • The admin system will now attempt to pre-filter in the site_ref column where it can (aids multi-site support).
  • Permission enforcement on whether child pages can be added or not has been improved.
  • The admin system will now remember your preferred ‘destination’ after editing or creating an item and preset it for next time.
  • Added ID attributes to admin module lists so the icons displayed can be customised via a theme.
  • Admin debug page extended to show more information.
  • Re-ordered page fields to push more important fields to top of forms.
  • Tool-tips added in key parts of admin to explain what is going on (e.g. why you can’t click on some option if not allowed).
  • Made it easier to add/edit form field hints by auto-filling drop down field based on selected section.
  • Automatic bypass of reCAPTCHA in admin.
  • Using permanent redirects for URL field within pages table because these make more sense for the common use case. When a URL has been entered it is the real address for the page.
  • Added ability to delete items directly from view page (admin).
  • Moved filter forms into secondary area to allow them more space (admin).
  • Store when item first goes into approved table as it’s useful to know when listing draft items (is effectively publication date).
  • Improvements to list display to simplify what is shown and make it more accurate/useful. Also improved how JavaScript interacts with it for handling the bulk action buttons, so less brittle (admin).
  • Display more status information about a page on its view page (admin).
  • Menu buttons to attach content now collapsed into one button with a hover fly-out (admin).
  • Exposing more information about page tree and the ancestors of the current page (pagetitle and menutitle) via request attributes.
  • Pages module now includes a back reference into custom folder so you can more easily add in associations without need to override whole file.
  • Admin now states it is the admin system.
  • New request attribute exposed to make it easier to append query string parameters to.
  • Clarified label on is_dev field within Site Domains section to better explain the effect this has on canonical domain enforcement.
  • Added dev warning banner to admin.
  • Made error pages have better page titles (that shows in window bar) by default.
  • Improved URL slug creation method and made sure it only fires on ‘new’ pages.
  • Added support for custom URLs on sections when section shown as child of another section in admin.
  • Now displaying fields in more human friendly manner (on admin view page) when using bits (role actions and administrator area permissions). Also using ‘label’ when displaying a field that represents a foreign key (ends ’_ref’). This necessitated changing data lookup back to using looked-up meta value for joinlabels rather than hard coding it to false.
  • Improved paging - allow defaults to be changed via callback.
  • Advanced admin page now indicates whether sendfile support is available or not.
  • Clarified name field in Sites section to make it clear it is for themes.
  • Can now select all/deselect all checkboxes on table based lists (by clicking the "Select" column heading itself).
  • Made meta robot options slightly clearer for human understanding.
  • Admin layout HTML updated to include more hooks for CSS. This now allows for multi-column layouts and so on.
  • Extra explanatory text in various places across the admin system.
  • Dashboard improved.
  • Many more styles applied to standard admin list TR tags to aid styling.
  • Preview windows in admin now block clicks so can’t navigate around inside it (was confusing people as they thought the admin buttons applied to the page they had navigated to).
  • Themes can now supply information to credit image sources, etc.
  • Images admin module vastly improved. Better display of images as thumbnails. Module also split out from Pages module.
  • Modules can now be nested inside each other within the page tree.
  • CMS pages directly supported inside modules without the need to do any extra work.
  • Username field now auto-focuses on login form.
  • Associations renamed to attachments as this is the more specific name when doing task like ‘attaching’ documents to pages. Underlying system is still called ‘associations’ – ‘attach’ is just the specific type of association.
  • Pages can now be searched (from top level list page).
  • Pages can also be filtered to only show approved pages (link from dashboard does just this).
  • Default 404 error page given better default text.
  • Section list shows warning messages more clearly now (filters out sections that are OK).
  • You can now specify a ‘layout’ on a per page basis – this sets a CSS class on body element of front end page.
  • Can now specify that a page should appear in footer menu (as per CMS v1).
  • Added in address fields, etc. to Sites section (as per CMS v1).

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