Below are details of the forthcoming release for those who are interested.
Until next version is launched shortly, we are not offering any more beta versions or accounts @ flamepix. The reason for this, is because in next release, both global- and page settings will change substantially. Therefore, it would be counter-productive for anyone to start setting up an X3 gallery, just to have to re-apply everything after the update. PS! We also recommend current beta users from spending time setting up their X3 further until they have upgraded to the forthcoming release.
Settings Refresh [Under dev]
Although we wanted to keep settings simple, we have decided that we can't have it like now with open editable YAML configurations both for global settings and page settings. It is not intuitive, hard to expand, and is too much prone to errors and typos. Also, we want to consolidate settings across site and panel, and make it much easier to "update" X3 without having to mess around with config files in various locations. I'm sure some of you who have gone through a few upgrades know what I am talking about ...
- No more "layout: topbar-float topbar-fixed-up" or "gallery: crop:3,2 grid:3,2,1 frame" in editable fields. We are biting the bullet, and creating dedicated settings with inputs, checkboxes and dropdowns from the X3 panel. It is a tedious task, but must be done for the benefit of all future updates, and ultimately all users.
- No more content/_shared.yml or panel/config.php, which made it difficult to update X3. Instead, settings will be based on defaults, while branch of custom settings will be stored in a /user-config/ folder that is safe when doing updates.
The main reason pages can be slow to load after you make an edit (before the page gets cached), is because the entire menu needs to be recreated before page output. This means the page has to loop through all folders in the menu, load the data file for each folder, and check for files. Thereafter, the menu is injected into the page with a html structure, which can be quite substantial.
- Although the menu object still needs to be created after panel edit, it is now shared across all pages, instead of having to be created once for each page. (PS! When navigating links in X3 as a human, pages load by ajax without the menu, so you would not generally notice the page-build time for all pages).
- Since the page-build process is now independent from the menu-build process, the page should now build much faster (before getting cached). This means that a page will display faster, before the menu gets recreated, although you might see a "spinner preloader" where the menu is until the menu object is created.
- This will slim down the size of the initial html page, as the entire menu structure is excluded.
- In addition to caching the menu data on server and share across pages, the menu gets cached in visitors browser (html5-localstorage). This means it is instantly available to any consecutive visitors, and does not require any loading.
As a requested feature, we have now added a super-cool, highly-configurable sharing toolbar to X3. For a while, we were looking into including 3rd party AddThis service, but considering the massive files it loads and actually how unattractive it looks, we decided to make our own. Additionally, the toolbar can be used for much more than just sharing ... For example external links, promo video in popup ++. The new toolbar is very sleek to use, comes with a bunch of defaults, and can easily be extended. You can customize the toolbar with custom actions, buttons of any color and icons (from font-awesome), although popular sharing services are already preset. Additionally, the toolbar has been extended to work with the new "popup module", and works alongside new "image landing pages". For those who require AddThis support, there is built-in option for this.
New Popup module
Image "Landing" Page
Proud to introduce new image landing pages, which effectively creates a page for each image in your gallery. Image landing pages won't normally be browsed by "humans" (if that makes any sense), but they exist mainly for two purposes: 1) Sharing and 2) SEO.
- When you share from the new popup window, the URL for the image landing page will be shared. This makes sure the preview image on the sharing service shows the correct image, and points to the dedicated image page. You can't share a popup link with #hashtag, because that essentially is not a separate page, and will show the same title, description and preview-image from the parent gallery page. Sharing an image in social services essentially requires a page (unless you are sharing the image-url directly, in which case the link will not go to your website, which you normally don't want). When a visitor clicks a link shared on a social service, they will arrive on the dedicated image landing page where they can obviously view the image, comment (if using disqus), and navigate elsewhere from within your website.
- With new image landing pages, you have the best SEO fundament for each and every image in your X3 gallery. Google will not generally index an image.jpg file, but it may very well index image pages, which from Googles perspective is just a plain "page". The image landing page contains all the image meta data consolidated with titles, descriptions and EXIF, available for Search engines to pick up.
We have now entirely replaced native icons in X3 with icons from the extensive Font-Awesome library. This icon set is used internally in X3 UI, but can also be used in your custom content if you like. Additionally, the new font-awesome icons are core to the new footer and new toolbar modules available, making it easy to add any icon to social services, account or custom links. The new font-awesome icons are now lazy-loaded from a CDN, freeing your server, and speeding up delivery towards visitors. In the link below, you can view all Font-awesome icons available to be used in custom content, toolbar and footer:
New Customizable Footer
In coordination with new icons (font-awesome), we have entirely re-done the footer and made it flexible and easy to configure. Gone are the global settings "social: link1, link2, link3" and instead, you configure your footer from panel -> custom/footer/. Here you can now add any amount of rounded buttons, with any color, any icon (from font awesome), custom titles (on mouse hover), and you can trigger external links, internal links or even the new popup window.
Justified Gallery Fix
As a long-standing bug with the popular "justified" gallery layout, we have now fixed the issue which sometimes left a tiny orphan image on a new line at the bottom of the layout. PS! Although the orphan-bug has been fixed, the nature of the justified layout still offers a chance that there could be an orphan-image on a new line at the bottom. However, now the orphan image will always size correctly based on your settings. Also, the justified layout should now render much faster (up to 5x), something which could be experienced in galleries with many images, especially on mobile devices.
X3 CSS Skins on CDN!
In previous releases, we were not able to offer the X3 CSS skins from CDN, because we are not able to manipulate the stylesheets with JS if they are loaded from a remote server. We have worked around this issue, so now we proudly present X3 CSS skins available on the high-performance CDN (currently Amazon Cloudfront). The X3 CSS skins weigh in at 30-40kb (compressed), but are the single most important asset that must load before the X3 application can start doing anything. It is therefore vital that the visitor gets this file loaded as fast as possible, wherever they are visiting from. The CDN option can be disabled from settings, but there are very few cases where this would be recommended. I admit being a huge fan of CDN version, because of the following reasons:
- Serving static assets from the CDN, makes sure files get delivered as fast as possible, from a location close to the visitor. Geographical vicinity is imperative when serving small but critical files.
- CDN's are optimized for outputting static files as fast as possible, and it is highly unlikely that your own hosting will be able to challenge the speed of a CDN.
- Since X3-based websites would share the same resource url's on CDN, the resource will get cached in the visitors browser. If a visitor has visited another X3 website before they visit yours, it means the CSS is already cached, making your website load even faster.
- The less requests to your own server/hosting, means your server has more resources to deal with other things.
- CDN guarantees compressed output (gzip), which some hosting services do not include.
Being close to public release, we have now added authorization to X3. This means your X3 website domain needs to get authorized for it to be licensed. At this point, the result of not being authorized will only force a small imagevue link in page footer, but this could change. More info to follow ...
- Conditional CDN loader - Loads local version of JS and CSS if CDN version fails to load. Fixes firewall block issues for some locations and companies with firewalls.
- Removed "service" pages from within the /content/ folder: "sitemap", "json", "feed", "services/mail", "services/site", "services/diagnostics". Since these items contain no custom data, they have been moved into internal X3 routing instead. Removing these items from the X3 /content/ folder makes updating X3 easier, and you don't need to worry about breaking anything.
- Improved click functionality for links(ajax) and image popups, so that standard keys can be used to open links in new window or tabs for the benefit of best practice.
- Improved gallery schema markup (SEO), including imageGallery and imageObject.
- Upgraded- and fixed codeMirror (code highlighting) colorization which failed to work sometimes on page loads
- Removed Modernizr for slimmer JS better performance
- Removed touchSwipe and removed mobile menu swipe feature ... conflicts with too many items and was messy.
- Fixed issues with mobile menu. More robust.
- Added built-in support for free chat https://firehosechat.com/
- Asterisk style-icon (after logo and titles) is now removed from default release. It is still available to be used, and can be re-applied with a single line of custom CSS where you can use the asterisk-symbol, or any other symbol from Font-Awesome icons.
- improvements to mega menu preview item and controls.
- Fixed Bug: email messages don't work with special language characters. Changed to UTF-8.
- PHP page load performance improvements and optimized PHP.
- Added hardened panel protection in panel/disabled.htaccess (disabled by default)
- Fixed weak tooltip colors. Now uses primary color to emphasize the tooltip that appears on hover. https://d.pr/i/1ei2m https://d.pr/i/10Szw
- Fixed shuffle for block grid layout (images- and folders)