"If you ever fall off the Sears Tower, just go real limp, because maybe you'll look like a dummy and people will try to catch you because, hey, free dummy."

- Jack Handy, Deep Thoughts
Version 1.00 nearly ready!

Forgive the silence recently. Much work has been in progress. The production release of Bloo 1.00 is nearly ready and will hopefully be released in the next two weeks or so.

Huzzah!


Patch available for release candidate 2

There is a new patch available for release candidate 2. It's a relatively straightforward one - it fixes a security vulnerability in the comments SnapOn and also fixes a bug in category selection while posting: any category with an apostrophe in it was getting cleared when a post was edited.

You can get download the patch here.

Bloo version 1.00 Release Candidate 2 Released

The second production release candidate of Bloo, version 1.00, has been released. You can download it here.

Below are the features and bug fixes included in this release:

Features

  • Multiple Category Tags. Now a post can be filed under multiple categories. This one was long overdue . . .
  • Modified the post changes protector extension to handle changes to the post category.
  • Redesigned the layout of the post admin and post display. In particular, made changes to accommodate multiple categories
  • IP Blacklist - yet another Spam fighting SnapOn for Bloo. This one allows you to blacklist certain IPs so they can't leave comments or send trackbacks
  • Multiple comment protection. In the past, people who were too quick on the Submit button might see their comment hit twice. This has been fixed.
  • Reworked the ThemeSelector so that the admin can select which themes he/she wants to be in the rotation. This is important because in the past, all themes showed up, even "Bloo Base", which isn't a very presentable theme.
  • Added capturing of the create and modify user id to the comments and post tables. Now we can see who did what.
  • Made some general improvements to the phoo base foundation classes
  • Date formats are now configurable by the admin. Now the admin can set the date format for the post date, post time, and comment time display. In addition, moved Post, Comment date formats and display settings to the Look and Feel section. Just seemed more natural.
Bugs Fixed
  • An ampersand in a post title screws up the RSS feed. This has been fixed.
  • When comments are sent to moderation, the user is not notified. Instead, they are just told “Thank you for your comment”. This has been resolved
  • Those with “Everyone” status don’t have any real access to the admin panel. Fixed. Now they see a minimal administration panel, which basically just gives them the ability to edit their profile
  • Error messages on login are very plain. Made 'em look nicer
  • Simple Human Check display doesn’t start on its own line. Now it does.
  • CommentFloodQuery was not working. This has been fixed.
  • Upon upgrade or install, SnapOn and Theme lists were not shown in alpha order. They are now.
  • First quote in Bloo Quote was not being selected as current upon entry of that quote into the system. Fixed.
You can view the detailed release notes here.

Watch me for the changes . . .


BlooQuote patch uploaded to SourceForge

The BlooQuote patch is now deployed to Sourceforge. You can down load it by clicking here and selecting the bloo.v.1.00rc1.patches.zip or tgz file.

This fixes a pesky problem in Bloo release candidate 1 in which the Bloo quote of the day no longer advanced. In addition, administration of the BlooQuote snapon is improved so that you can now select the quote you want to make the current quote.

Work is continuing on release candidate 2.

Watch me for the changes . . .

Bloo version 1.00 Release Candidate 1 Released

The first production release candidate of Bloo, version 1.00, has been released. You can download it here.

While it certainly doesn't represent as large a leap forward as the Beta 2 release, this first production release candidate contains some nice features, with more coming (and hopefully quickly) on release candidate 2.

New features in this release:

  • TimeZone Processing - Awww yeah! I've never been a fan of the "enter the number of hours between you and GMT" form of blog timestamping. First of all, that doesn't work well with daylight savings time, and plus it just seems kind of stick-and-rock. Now, when installing or upgrading a Bloo blog, you can actually pick your timezone, and let Bloo handle the rest - it will adjust time displays for daylight savings time, etc., and you don't have to pay attention to whatever your current offset to Greenwich is. There are new date formats also that will display the timezone for you in the post timestamp. Also, all internal times are now stored in GMT. I like platonic ideals - rather than storing internal times in database tables using the server time or other such fickle measure, Bloo stores everything in GMT. If you change your timestamp on your blog, all timestamps on all posts, comments, etc, will adjust.
  • Got rid of one of the SnapOn packages in Bloo - the Lists package. This was used on a lot of behind the scenes stuff but was basically superfluous. Removing it also allowed us to remove the list_types table.
  • Performed other cleanups on the settings table.
  • Added new Settings menus, split up the General settings into more manageable pieces, such as Blog Profile, Discussion Settings, Time Zone settings, and Post and Comment Display Settings. You can now also adjust the number of posts to display on the main page, the number of comments to show in recent commentary, and the formats to use for date and timestamps.
Most of these changes, other than the addition of timezone processing, were just nice and necessary improvements. Much more is coming in release candidate 2.

Watch me for the changes . . .



Bloo Beta 2 Patches Deployed

Patches for the Bloo Beta 2 release have been deployed. Here's some detail on what's been fixed:

Patch
ct_code_001 - This fixes a problem with the ct_code spam filter that caused it to think all comments made to posts with long names were spam

rss_001 - This fixes some formatting problems with the Bloo RSS feed

style_001 - This fixes a problem with the styling of links in the sidebar.

These are all minor fixes, but still good to have. No more patches are expected for the Beta 2 version. Download the patches from the link above (they all come in one file) and view the readme.txt files for install instructions.

Now, to get to work in earnest on version 1.0!

Watch me for the changes . . .

Bloo Beta 2 Released (Version 1.00.b.002)

Bloo Beta 2 has been released! You can download it here.

Here are the highlights:

  • Refactored the loading of SnapOns, and unified their format. Now everything in Bloo follows a common SnapOn format, whether for core SnapOns, extension SnapOns, or theme SnapOns.
  • Optimized the loading of SnapOns so that the system only loads the resources it needs, rather than loading everything
  • Implemented the CTCode extension SnapOn. This is a spam checker that is quite effective against both trackback and comment spam, and that doesn't require the commenter to answer questions, type kaptchas, etc.
  • Improved the administrative interface
  • Created the Bloo Wiki SnapOn, which gives a blog certain Wiki-ish features (such as allowing the author to enclose post titles in [[ ]] brackets, which converts the entry into a link to that post title. Note: this SnapOn is not part of the core release. It will be deployed eventually on the main bloo documentation site (http://outofthebloo.com) soon.
  • Created the ThemeDownload SnapOn, which allows the administrator to place Theme Download links on the blog which will contain the zipped code for the current theme. Note: this SnapOn is not part of the core release. It will be deployed eventually on the main bloo documentation site (http://outofthebloo.com) soon.
  • Created "pend" type overlays, which will autmatically append or prepend themselves to specified overlays. Very handy for extending the Bloo interface.
  • Improved the Comments interface
  • Added Theme Screenshots to the administrative interface for Themes
  • Improved the Theme administration panel
  • Implemented Session messages, to provide a common facility for displaying information and warnings.
  • Cleaned up and upgraded the Quicktags buttons, and added Quicktags to the comments form (optional)
  • Added extension SnapOns that protect the user from losing unsaved changes to posts or comments if an errant back or close button is pressed.
  • Added better security checks to prevent the unauthorized loading of a SnapOn.
  • Added new themes: Lush, Jill, Quentin, Monochrome.
  • Now administrators can associate a blog logo image to their blog.
  • Theme Credits now can appear at the bottom of the main page
  • Fixed general problems with the RSS interface
  • Fixed the problem with Smilies not displaying properly in edited posts and comments.
  • Fixed the problem with the PopularPosts extension SnapOn that had it counting removed spam comments in the total comments count.
  • And performed a lot more behind the scenes enhancements and fixes.

Bloo Beta Released! (Version 1.00.b.001)

Bloo Beta has been released! You can download the new version at the SourceForge project page, here.

I highly recommend upgrading, as there is a lot of needed spam-fighting functionality in this release. After upgrading, depending on how much customization you've done on your overlays, you might get some red errors on the blog after the upgrade. Don't panic - it's probably that you're referencing a snapon or overlay that has been revised in name or done away with. Deactivate your customized overlays one by one and you'll find the problem.

Now, the new features:

  • Tired of coding your own HTML? This release has two SnapOns (RichTextPostEditor and RichTextCommentEditor) that convert your post or comment composition window into a Rich Text control. Kinda nifty, although some browsers have problems with these controls. For the majority, it works great. You can enable these SnapOns in the Writing section of the SnapOn administration page.
  • You can now disable Comments and Trackbacks globally for your blog, or turn them on and off on an individual post basis.
  • There is now a Comments/Trackbacks Moderation page, for quickly blasting spam and troll comments to oblivion
  • You can also mark individual comments and trackbacks as spam (or trolls) in the comments and trackbacks section of posts.
  • There is now a RemoteBlackList spam control SnapOn - look in the Spamicide section of the Spam Administration page. This SnapOn will check each incoming comment or trackback against external lists of known spammers.
  • Also, the LagTimeSpamChecker SnapOn has been created. It is useful for marking comments and trackbacks on old, dormant posts as suspected Spam.
  • For long posts, you can now break them up into the intro and a longer section behind a "Read the rest of this entry" link. The QuickTags "More" button will do this for you.
  • On Quicktags, they are now optional and are a SnapOn in the Writing section of the SnapOn administration page. Just activate to see the Quicktags buttons on post compose
  • General Blog Settings are now available for modification in a single administration page, rather than the list you had before. Look in the General Blog Settings tab under Lists and Settings
Also fixed two bugs:
  • I discovered that when editing an overlay for the first time, the editor was expanding all other overlays and SnapOns within the code of the overlay on edit. I realize that might not make sense, but - trust me - it's bad. Fixed now.
  • The My Profile page was not displaying any data, making it pretty hard to edit your profile. This has been fixed.

Well, those were the biggies. There was also some tweaking done to the way the administrative sections look.

Watch me for the changes . . .

Bloo Beta - Finished!

Finally . . .

I'm too tired to write much about it now - will update more tomorrow.

Watch me for the . . . .zzzzzzzzzzzz

Bloo version 1.00.a.009.1 released

This is a quick interim release that fixes a bug found in the Overlay editing section. It's fixed.

Bloo version 1.00.a.009 released

Alpha Build Nine has been released into the wild. This is the last alpha build - the next build of Bloo will be a beta release candidate. Woot!

You can download the new release here at the Bloo Sourceforge Project Page. Here's what build 9 brings ya:

  • Created the BloogrollPosts SnapOn. This is a nifty little addition that allows you to view posts written by people in your bloogroll from within your blog. It's somewhat similar to the LJ "friends posts" feature, except this works for any blog, not just other Bloo blogs. And you don't really have to be friends with the people :-) - it gets its content off of their published RSS feeds
  • Fixed the BlooPostSpellChecker SnapOn. It quit working when Google switched it to use https
  • Created a comments spell checker SnapOn
  • Refactored the tabbed menu items, provided better inheritance
  • Made the overlay editing window bigger
  • Created the Scripturizer SnapOn, which converts any Bible reference in your posts to a link to the ESV Bible
  • Created, against my better judgement, a Smilies SnapOn, useful for inserting cute little smilies in posts and comments.
  • SnapOns are now categorized and are organized in the SnapOn maintenance section in different tabs, one per category
  • Set overflow styles in the base CSS so that sidebars and content will stay put if some content gets too wide
  • Cleaned up the RSS feed coming from Bloo and added more fields to it
  • Did some cleanup and code refactoring to allow for running simple queries without having to call the SnapOnFactory
  • Did some small overlay work on the BlooQuote overlay so that it now uses the additive feature
  • Created an additive overlay for JavaScript additions
  • Rearranged the Themes and Overlay tabs in the Look and Feel section
  • Added "Save and Continue Editing" in the overlay editing section (because it's a pain to have to keep switching back and forth)
  • Refactored and simplified (a bit) Overlay editing
  • Reworked the XML2Array parser so that it reads RSS feeds correctly


Currently I'm in design on the thousand and one ideas I have for Bloo. In particular, hopefully the next release will include the BlooSnapOnServer, which will serve out SnapOns thus eliminating the need to make them part of official releases. This will be a SnapOn itself, so any Bloo blog can become a SnapOn server.

We may also see some of the faint beginnings of BlooM (Bloo Messaging), BlooAlliance, and BlooCommunity. But if I get to any of those in release candidate one it will be a miracle.

Watch me for the changes . . .


Bloo version 1.00.a.008 released

Well, finally. . . To be honest, it's been done for a week (and deployed to all the alpha blogs I control) but I basically took a week off from developing and am just now getting around to upload it.

The release notes are at the bottom of this post. This release included a ton of work on the overlay and themes administration. Overlay admin was cleaned up and made sturdier, if not more understandable. You can now preview a theme where it will remain your theme for an hour, but no one else will be able to see it (useful when creating a theme).

Um, the theme docs are still coming . . . I'm so bad.

I also added some rudimentary spam control and a spellchecker, based on googiespell. Cool.

Release Notes:

version 1.00.a.008


In this release the focus is, again, on themes. Virtual themes can now be created by the blog administrator, cascaded from, etc.

Below is a list of the bugs fixed and features added:


Features Added
--------------
1493965 Create additive overlays
1493963 Add Spam Fighting fields
1493962 Enable Extension Initialization SnapOns
1493961 Create the SimpleHumanCheck SnapON
1493960 Rework Theme administration
1493958 Create a spell-checker SnapOn
1493956 Re-work table-based overlay editing
1493953 Cannot edit overlays with textareas in them
1495309 Add a color-coded legend to the Themes list
1500086 Create the CSS.link.extension

Bug Fixes
---------
1493955 Problem with theme dropdown
1495318 Fix a bug in the CSS.extension overlay
1495319 Color coding of overlays is incorrect

If you have problems, email support@outofthebloo.com, and we'll see what we can do for you. Any feedback is very welcome.

You also might find it helpful to visit the Bloo development blog at devblog.outofthebloo.com.


Bloo version 1.00.a.007 released

This one took me awhile - lots of refactoring of the admin panels, now users can create their own themes, etc.

Of course, still a lot more work to do to get this to beta.

Here are the official release notes:

In this release the focus is, again, on themes. Virtual themes can now be created by the blog
administrator, cascaded from, etc.

Below is a list of the bugs fixed and features added:

Features Added
--------------
Feature: 1479055 - Converted the settings admin section to a tabbed-menu page
Feature: 1479057 - Changed the Extension nomenclature from "Extension" to "SnapOn"
Feature: 1470374 - Created the Page.banner overlay
Feature: 1479061 - Refactored the SnapOnForm to make it much more functional
Feature: 1479063 - Split the Page.main up into Page.banner, Page.content, Page.sidebar
Feature: 1479064 - Created Overlay "Favorites" to group the overlays most commonly edited
Feature: 1458744 - Created Virtual (user-created) themes
Feature: 1479065 - Broke the Post overlay up into Post.header, Post.content, Post.footer
Feature: 1479068 - Created two new themes: Jen's Flowers and Atari Retro
Feature: 1458748 - Created the ESV Daily Passage extension

Bug Fixes
---------
Bug: 1457516 - Trackback shows the wrong title
Bug: 1479053 - Fix the CSS for the tabbed menus
Bug: 1479059 - Limit width of dropdowns in the sidebar
Bug: 1479066 - Wrong theme descriptor vars
Bug: 1479062 - For XML read in, remove a blank line at the beginning


Watch me for the changes . . .

Bloo version 1.00.a.006 released

The sixth alpha build of Bloo has been released. There was nothing earthshattering in this release, but it was a lot of work (um, does that make sense? I'm punchy).

I knew I would have to redo all the base CSS before too many canned themes and cascaded themes were created, and before I opened up the ability for blog admins to create themes on the fly.

The themes in Bloo generally cascade off of one another (and most will cascade ultimately from the bloo_base theme, which is not a public theme. Guess it would help if I'd document that :-) - but, basically, this means that the base theme has to be very clean to avoid later chaos. I have cleaned it up a lot.

I also have introduced tabbed menus in the look and feel section, and have made the menus smarter (so they know and visually show when they have been selected, etc.)

In addition, the RSS feed, which was hosed, is now fixed.

Most of tha alpha blogs have been updated. There is a new issue with the Lintefiniel theme that I just discovered - heh, I guess I know one of the bugs to be fixed in release 7!

I'm punchy. Thank you all you alpha testers. Good night!

Oh, and watch me for the changes . . .

Bloo version 1.00.a.005 released

This is a quick upgrade - some of the alpha testers were requesting Quicktags for help in HTML formatting when creating posts, so they were obliged. Other than that there was just an obscure bug fix that prevents the system from going to Narnia in a frisbee if a careless developer has a syntax error in a descriptor file.

More coming! Watch me for the changes . . .

Bloo version 1.00.a.004 released

Last night I released the fourth alpha build of Bloo. It's had four downloads already (which always kinda amazes me - who's downloading this thing? Spambots?).

This was mainly a fix in response to problems discovered in Alpha testing - and I'm really grateful to my friend Jen for giving me webspace on her site and becoming an alpha tester because her version of PHP is newer and I found a deprecation problem there, and also found a problem related to how cookies were being handled on subdomained sites. Both of these problems are fixed.

In addition, a new extension called "PreviousPosts" was created - nifty sidebar snapon that shows the ten posts previous to your latest one. And, finally, I turned on email services for comments, so that when a Bloo blog gets a comment the author of the post gets an email. Basic stuff.

There are now four alpha testers (more on these awesome people later). I will be walking them through the look and feel section in a bit, as I'll need feedback on the very important (and darn risky!) philosophical bent that this software has toward how to modify the look of a blog.

In release five I hope to have a kaptcha (at the least) to combat spam. Spam demolishing and file uploading are two basic features still missing from Bloo.

Watch me for the changes . . .

Bloo version 1.00.a.003 released

The third alpha build of Bloo has just been released! There are a number of features and bugfixes in this release (checkout the release notes for more information) but the biggest feature in this release is the addition of dynamic overlays. An overlay is anything controlling the look of the blog (for instance, the format of the post you're looking at right now is built from the Post overlays). A dynamic overlay is an overlay that the blog administrator can change on the fly. So a Bloo administrative user can now very easily change the look and feel of their blog. And the changes are non-destructive, meaning that the original, released version of the overlay does not get destroyed if it is overlayed by the blog administrator.

For instance, one change I just made on the fly is the appearance of the permalinks. in the release the time (i.e., "@ 9:18 pm" in this post) is the permalink. But I just created a custom overlay and switched the permalink to be on the post title.

Another big change: overlays are no longer stored in the proprietary format cooked up in the .OVL files. They now live in standard XML files. Much better . . .

Also, three extensions were added to the growing stable of Bloo extensions. They are the ThemeSelector (which is activated on this blog as the Select Theme dropdown in the right sidebar), the ReadingList extension, which will allow a blogger to show a list of books they are currently reading, and the PopularPosts extension, which will show the top ten most commented posts. I might actually think about using this one if I ever get anyone commenting here :-). These joined the original extension released with the first version of bloe, the Bloo Quote overlay, from whence comes the Jack Handy rotating quote above.

One other change of note: there is a new Theme called "Lintefiniel". It's lifted from the theme utilized by our friend Jen in her blog Lintefiniel Musing. I liked the color scheme and so created a Bloo version of it. You can see it by selecting "Lintefiniel" from the list of themes in the ThemeSelector dropdown in the right navbar.

In the next release some more important functionality will be added, such as (finally!) some decent spam control (probably just a kaptcha for starters) and the ability to upload pics to a blog post.

I also plan on contacting the author of SpamKarma and getting his permission to try and port SpamKarma to Bloo. That would rock.

Watch me for the changes . . .

Bloo version 1.00.a.002 released

The second alpha release is now out there on the SourceForge Project Page. This is just a quick maintenance release that fixes the following bugs (note: the number is the SourceForge bug id):
- 1443807 Cookie vars should not be in scope precedence
- 1443782 Comment flood query should only happen on insert
- 1443766 Not saving comment information in a cookie
- 1443765 IP address not shown for comments
- 1442454 Comments don't display the author or url
- 1442433 Get an error when pinging pingomatic
- 1442427 Permalinks don't work.

These were more bugs than I had hoped to have in the alpha release (not to say there aren't still some lurking - it's alpha, after all ;-) - but this wasn't unexpected due to the large amount of refactoring I've been doing. Hopefully this will make things more stable.

Note: I put this in the release notes but it also should be mentioned here - to get the cookie processing working above a couple of event handlers have to be added:

Instructs:

1. Login to administer the blog
2. Click on "Lists"
3. Select "Event Handlers"
4. Select "Add New"

Enter the following information (two entries):
Event SnapOn: CommentCookieEater
Target SnapOn: CommentForm
Event Type: Pre-Render

Event SnapOn: CommentCookieBaker
Target SnapOn: CommentForm
Event Type: Post_Save

Sourceforge CVS repository created

Just another little milestone - I created the SourceForge CVS repository for Bloo tonight.

Bloo version 1.0 alpha released!

Well, I said I'd get it done by today. And I did, but just barely. The Blog you're looking at is a Bloo 1.0.a.001 alpha release. And the software is now available on the Bloo SourceForge Project Page.

The installation instructions can be found on the Bloo Wiki.

I'm extremely interested in getting some alpha testers. I'm also extremely interested in going to sleep :-) so I'll roll out more information on this over the weekend.

It was a dicey release - I've been refactoring so much over the last week or so that I had to test out every aspect of the blog. In addition, many of the extensions released with version 0.18, such as the reading list, theme switcher, etc, aren't ready yet, since the extensions part of Bloo was revamped.

But we'll get there. The important thing is that it's working, and it's now public-domain.

Good night all.

Update: Talk about barely making it! I published this release post right at the stroke of midnight! Just noticed that. . .

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