The English part of my blog is mainly technical. If you can read Italian, check the Italian section for articles of other kind.

MeshCMS Supports PHP!

I was not aware of the existence of Quercus, a PHP implementation written in Java. It runs as a servlet and is not limited to Resin, so I dropped the JAR in MeshCMS 4 (which I run on Jetty at the moment), and added index.php to the welcome file list to mark .php as a page extension. This is how the Quercus test page looks without any change:

This is very important, since MeshCMS 4 allows to create modules and themes using any scripting language, like JSP, Freemarker and, from now on, PHP.

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First MeshCMS 4 Video

I just recorded a video while playing with the current MeshCMS 4 development code. It contains some random tests, showing some cool features:

  • creation of a new page
  • page editing
  • switching between draft and published version of the page
  • usage of modules
  • file manager with integrated control panel
  • drag&drop to order pages and modules

The application is run in GWT development mode, so it's slower than it will be when compiled to JavaScript.

There is A LOT of work to do yet before it can be released, but the big part has been done, as you can see. FYI words between asterisks *** like this *** are just markers for text that needs to be put in better form in resource bundles.

Please comment and share!

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Some Thoughts About Upgrading To MeshCMS 4

As usual, I'm spending part of my weekend developing MeshCMS 4. Before entering the real topic of this post, let me show you the very first page served by MeshCMS 4 with a real theme, although incomplete. I'm very satisfied with MeshCMS 4, which is approaching its first alpha at a very fast pace.

Screenshot of the first MeshCMS 4 page with a real theme applied

That said, I want to let you know about compatibility with MeshCMS 3. I'm not very concerned about that, since I'm not using MeshCMS for my business (I'm employed by a company that work on the .NET platform and has its own commercial CMS). I have few sites to convert to MeshCMS 4 when it will be ready, so it's not big deal for me. Things might be different for others though.

Since MeshCMS is file based, moving files to the new installation is enough to have pages recognized and added to the site map as usual. But MeshCMS pages not always are plain HTML: there are modules, and MeshCMS 4 modules have been completely redesigned, with no one-to-one matching with old ones. Furthermore,…

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An update about MeshCMS 4 development

Just an update on what's going on about MeshCMS 4: latest weekends have been more fruitful than others.

Tag Library: I've started writing the new one using JSP 2.0, many tags are still missing but the most important ones are there, furthermore there is an object in the page context that can be used through the JSTL and EL, as well as from Freemarker and other template languages (themes are no longer forced to be JSP files).

Forms: as I wrote before, page editors can create forms by assembling fields visually. At the moment, they can insert text fields, text areas, check boxes, CAPTCHAs (using reCAPTCHA). Forms can be sent via email to a provided address or to a custom page that is supposed to process the results. I've also rewritten the Comments module to be a composition of those other modules.

Menus: a module is provided to create them, and that module can be also used in themes to achieve list-based navigation menus. It is highly configurable, so…

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Module Zones in MeshCMS 4

MeshCMS 4 will support the currently so-called "module zones", i.e. parts of the page where an unlimited number of modules can be added. MeshCMS 3 supports an unlimited number of modules too, but it is defined in the theme. If the theme defines two module locations, you can only add two modules, one per each location. MeshCMS 4 will use a different approach: it will support four zones, with well defined names, which every theme must include, so when you change theme you won't loose your modules around. But each zone can host a list of modules, so you're free to enrich your page as much as you want. A theme can still include a module as "fixed" (i.e. non editable), as in version 3.x.

Module zones will also be inheritable: if you will mark a zone as inheritable in a page, that zone will be inserted in all child pages, excluding those that are adding something in that zone by themselves.

This is my plan, but I'm open to suggestions.

Here's a…

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