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SimpleLists 1.6 is out

About a month ago, we released SimpleLists as a beta-version, and since then, we have released various intermediate versions to fix the latest bugs: By now it's time to state that SimpleLists 1.6 as stable, and give some hints on what is new with this new version.

SimpleLists - the main concept

To all who don't know yet what SimpleLists is about: It is a neat tool to build content-listings for usage in FAQ, simple galleries, teaser-pages, peoplebooks and even download-pages. The main concept is that the layout of the page (where does the title show, how should the image be setup) is configured in a SimpleLists category, and that all items that are assigned to that category are automatically setup correctly. It fixes the problem of adding images to blog-items for instance, because it uses separate fields for the image as for the content.

Another field is the link: This can be the full text of the content-item itself, but it can also be different things: A larger image (so that Lightbox-galleries can be created), a Joomla! article (so that the SimpleLists content-item serves as a teaser for the actual full Joomla! article), custom URLs (linking to external sites), files (for creating download-pages) and many more options.

Last but not least, SimpleLists ships with various layouts with fancy effects. For instance, there is a toggle-layout (using on a jQuery accordian-effect), a select-layout (where selecting a different value in a dropdown shows a different content) or just basic table-layouts or div-layouts. Using SimpleLists means setting up the Menu-Item properly, setting up the SimpleLists category properly, and then only focussing on the content-management of the SimpleLists items.

So what is new with SimpleLists 1.6?

First of all, SimpleLists 1.6 is compatible with Joomla! 1.6, Joomla! 1.7 and Joomla! 2.5. To accomplish this, we integrated some libraries we used in other Yireo extensions (Dynamic404, TweetScheduler) into SimpleLists, allowing us to throw away huge chunks of code (Nooku-inspired as we were). Put another way: To make SimpleLists compatible with the newest Joomla! versions, we were able to do a major rewrite of the old code as well, and refactor some things.

Another dramatic improvement was to transfer the link-types from the core-architecture to plugins. When a SimpleLists item is edited, you can choose from various link-types to point that item to (article, file, image, external link, etcetera), but all of these link-types are now not part of the core anymore, but extensible through plugins of type simplelistslink. This makes it possible for us to quickly hook SimpleLists to third party extensions like FLEXIcontent, K2 and ZOO (for which we already have plugins) - and we hope to come up with third party plugins as well, once they are requested with us.

Other changes and what's next?

Some smaller changes were implemented as well, like an unpublish-date setting for SimpleLists items, as well as a SimpleLists Content Plugins which allows you to add a SimpleLists listing to an existing Joomla! article (or other content-type). Also added was a file-upload option within the Lightbox-popup when editing an item. This bypasses the need of the Media Manager to upload images first. Because of laziness, that upload-option is only available for Joomla! 1.6, 1.7 or 2.5 - see it as a first attempt to call upon users to migrate from Joomla! 1.5 to current versions. 

We still have a pending roadmap with lots of small features, which we hope to implement soon. The roadmap itself needs a cleanup as well, so that's probably where we start.

Posted on 29 January 2012

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