Textpattern 4.0.7 is Awesome
The recently released Textpattern 4.0.7 is a monster, game-changing upgrade, introducing several core new features that exponentially expand the power of the system. Here are some of the best bits.
Let’s get right to the point. Textpattern 4.0.7 kicks ass — more ass than any version in the 4.0.x series. The improvements are lengthy and substantial. When version 4 was initially released, I wrote about how it was finally suitable for client projects, and I meant it — the interface and featureset had evolved to a point where I could comfortably transition a website into the hands of a client. But that was for basic websites; usually little more than a one- or two-level navigation, a few bells and whistles, and the occasional inline PHP to duct tape some code together.
This release changes the game. After a few iterative releases that gave us some additional tags and some noodling under the hood, 4.0.7 is the platform on which I can confidently build complex websites, because so much work has gone into improving the engines that run it. For a long time, I felt as if I were driving a Nissan Sentra on the autobahn — sure it can keep up, but only at painful RPMs and funny smells coming from the engine. Textpattern 4.0.7 feels like a brand new Jaguar with a V12. Let’s review some of the juicy bits that make my motor purr:
- The new tag parsing engine may be the crown jewel. Now there is unlimited capacity for nesting conditionals, and Textpattern tags can now use other tags as attribute values. This is huge. A game changer. It is easier than ever to use conditionals to display precisely the correct template based articles, sections and categories.
<txp:variable />tag is a good addition. This allows you to define small variables in a template, and then call their values later in a form or article. Lately I have been adding all of my variables to a single form called “variables”, and then calling that form in the beginning of the page template, with
<txp:output_form form="variables" />.
- There are a few new tags (such as
txp:if_keywords>) and a few new enhancements to existing tags. One of my favorite upgrades is the ability to define the output form for the
<txp:section_list />tag, which serves up all kinds of options in rendering navigation structures. I wrote about one tactic for creating a section and article navigation on TXP Tips using this new feature.
- Articles can now have an expiration date. This is especially valuable for event-based content that is only relevant for a short period of time.
- Although the actual native functionality of the search tag remains unchanged, there has been significant tinkering under the hood, and the new plugin wet_haystack allows for searching inside all content associated with an article — not just the body and title. This is a massive improvement that, to this point, has gone largely unsung.
Everyone who reads this website knows I am a
big fan doe-eyed fanboy of Textpattern, the ultimate light-weight CMS. Part of this comes from the fact that I’ve used it for years, but most of that comes from having tried comparable software (ExpressionEngine, Wordpress) as well as some monster systems (working on SDL Tridion right now), and everytime I come back to TXP, a dozen roses in one hand, an “I’m sorry” card in the other, apologizing for ever flirting with those other systems.