The next release of Bonfire is under heavy development at the moment, and we've got some pretty large changes coming up, so I wanted to take a few minutes to share some of the exciting features that working on.
A New Look
The old look that you have been using in the Admin area is being retired. In it's place, we're bringing out a new theme built on top of Twitter's Bootstrap CSS framework. This is a very flexible framework with sensible base styles that make developing fairly complex screens simple. This framework is fairly new to the scene (about 1 year old) but has made a huge impact already. By building on something of this quality, supported by a company that's here to stay, we feel we're building to the future.
The new look gets rid of the side panel that the original theme used in favor of more traditional, flat pages throughout.
Having built-in User management and RBAC is one of the big draws of Bonfire, and we've reworked things to make it even more powerful while, hopefully, keeping the simplicity.
Custom User Meta
Your application can now store custom meta data for users. The name and address fields have been moved out of the core user table to allow that table to focus on what only what is essential, while reducing database size for all of those users that don't need address information.
Global User Object
After every page is loaded that requires a user to be logged in, a new $this->current_user object is available to all of you code that is based off of one of the custom controllers that Bonfire ships with. This is also available within your views as $current_user. This makes working with the currently logged in user a breeze.
Timezones and Language
Every user can now set their own individual timezone and have dates automatically show based on their settings. They can also set a language that they prefer to see the website in. Well, for the Admin area anyway. The rest is up to you. :)
Activation and Password Strength
We're in the process of adding activation methods so you can choose to require them to verify their account via email, etc. We're also adding in an optional password strength meter to help protect your users from themselves by setting a password that is strong enough. This includes new settings for passwords that can require numbers, symbols, or mixed case.
As the Bonfire community has grown, so has the locations around the world that they live. Providing us with a good set of translation files has proven tricky at times. To help with that, we've built in a new Translation utility that lets you create and edit language files from any language file in the system, whether from a core module or one of your own. Before launch, we plan on adding the ability to import and export those language files to make is super simple to share your translations.
Bonfire has always been about making things simpler for you, the developer. Always will be. When I first started the project I was using NaturalDocs. I chose this because I felt the made reading the docs of the classes easier and were less 'developer-geek-speak' than the competition. My thoughts were that pleasant, easy to read comments would help you understand what was going on. And I think it fulfilled that aim.
However, as more and more developers have taken up Bonfire, they've been asking for something more - code completion in their IDE of choice. To help your daily coding chores a little simpler, we're moving all docblocks over to the phpDoc syntax. Most IDE should be able to parse this and provide good code completion. We know that PHPStorm works well for it.
This article, long as it is, just hits some of the major highlights of what we've been working on for 0.6. There's lots of bug-fixes and small improvements everywhere.
We know that it's a big change, so we're trying to refactor and rethink everything so that we only have this one big release and can build off of that solid foundation from here on out. Because we know that upgrading releases can be a challenge in the best of situations and we want to minimize the drastic changes after this release so you can stay up to date with the latest versions without running into many problems.
Try it Out!
You can try out all of these features in the develop branch over at GitHub and start building your new web application on the future, today.
Join us in the forums to let us know what you think about the new features and what you'd like to see added. Or just to say 'Hi!'. We love meeting new users.
As always, please let us know of any bugs by logging them in our issue tracker.