The Basic Meeting List Toolbox

Alpha 0 Release

The following is an email that was sent out to NA Webservants on the evening of January 21, 2013:

This is what I call an “alpha” release -not “beta.”

I think that it is beta quality, but I need to do a lot more testing before I can call it that with a straight face. I also need y’all’s help for that.

Also, I expect to encounter usability issues that may well affect the user experience, and “beta” precludes any changes to UX, barring bug fixes. I want to be able to change UX if a serious usability issue is encountered.

The main (probably “only”) change to the satellite client is that the default “[[BMLT]]” shortcode has been replaced by a fully dynamic JavaScript Web app.

This gives it a lot more interactivity than the version 2.X clients, and also allows you to apply a great deal more customization.

I am currently beginning the process of testing it with 6 different CMS setups: WordPress 3.5, Joomla 1.5, Joomla 2.5, Joomla 3.0, Drupal 6 and Drupal 7.

It currently installs on everything except Joomla 3. True to form, the Joomla folks broke the (already awesomely complex) installation process when they versioned up, so I’ll probably have to upgrade the damn XML file again. My goal is to have the usual single zip file for all versions.

I have only done extensive operational testing on WordPress. You can see that in action here:

http://newyorkna.org/sandbox/meetings/meeting-search/

That’s a test site for the GNYR site. It uses the “GNYR” theme, designed to integrate into the (dated, I know) look of the GNYR site.

You can compare it to the current, server-generated version here:

http://newyorkna.org/meetings/meeting-search/

If you want to set up a test site (For God’s sake, please don’t install this on your live site -it isn’t ready for that), then here’s the info you will need.

WordPress (It should work with any version back to 2.0, but I test on 3.5):

http://plugins.svn.wordpress.org/bmlt-wordpress-satellite-plugin/trunk/

That is the trunk SVN login. I can also send you the files, if you don’t want to use SVN to fetch it. The trunk is the active development version. The stable version will download 2.1.9.

Joomla 1.5 and 2.5:

https://bitbucket.org/bmlt/bmlt-joomla-deprecated/

Again, use the master branch. The release branches will give you the current stable release.

The zip file is here (standard zip install):

https://github.com/MAGSHARE/bmlt-joomla/blob/master/bmlt.zip?raw=true

I will update the plugin to install on Joomla 3, but it’s not there, yet.

Drupal 6 and Drupal 7:

http://github.com/bmlt-enabled/bmlt-drupal

Again, master branch. You know the drill. Drupal uses an info file to differentiate Drupal 6 and Drupal 7 installs. You will see these info files here:

https://github.com/bmlt-enabled/bmlt-drupal/blob/master/drupal6info/bmlt.info

For Drupal 6, and here:

https://github.com/bmlt-enabled/bmlt-drupal/blob/master/drupal7info/bmlt.info

for Drupal 7.

The way that you install, is drag the entire directory that you download from the first link, into the /sites/all/modules/ directory (create it, if it doesn’t already exist). Rename the module directory to just ‘bmlt.’

Then, you drag the appropriate info file out of its directory, and out to the main directory (the same one as the bmlt.module file).

Once I have the project to beta, I’ll integrate into D7 and D6 branches, but I’m not quite ready for that yet.

For all of the above, you need to have Root Server version 1.10.3 installed as the root. You can use the GNYR server as a test target, if you want (http://bmlt.newyorkna.org/main_server/), or you can simply upgrade your own root. There’s no risk, as the only change is that there is a new semantic key that returns some data for the satellite to use to build a list of Service bodies.

You will see that the CSS map of the Web app is strikingly different from the current version. That’s good, because I have designed it to allow you hooks to every damn part of the app. However, if you have done a bunch of customization, you may be slagging my name. Sorry. Also, this will lend itself well to responsive Web design. I don’t have the time to generate a bunch of fancy CSS3 stuff, but I suspect that some of you guys may be able to do great things, there. If you develop a really good new theme, I could roll it into the main project.

The idea of this, is to prepare everyone for the demise of Google Maps API version 2, and to also allow me to put the root server up on cinder blocks and start rooting around under the hood. This new Web app implements the UX at the browser level, using a dynamic DOM construction, as opposed to the rather clunky original method, in which the XHTML was composed on the server, and sent over wholesale (There was a very good reason for that, but the need for it has passed).

Once we have this version ready to go, I will create a new standalone satellite that uses the same Presentation Manager design pattern (the “BMLT Satellite Base Class”), and make it much more powerful. It won’t be able to run the admin interface, but it will be able to define settings in a text file, and then exercise those settings in implementation.

As for PDFs; Currently, we need to keep using the standalone PDF client, but developing a templated PDF generator is something that I want to do in the near future. The first and most important thing, is to ensure that everyone has a viable cutover when Google takes down their GMap API V2. As you folks know well, I take quality and stability very, very seriously, so I want there to be a completely production-ready solution in place as soon as possible.

I have removed the PDF output from the satellite (for now), because it is delicate, and isn’t being used much. Instead, I have defined very powerful “pretty printing” CSS for the satellite.

Oh, yeah. Since this is GMaps V3, there’s no longer a need for Google Maps API keys. Kiss them goodbye.

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