phpLD 5 Released


By David | November 27, 2012 | Home | Blog Categories | News

directory of directoriesWhen we started developing phpLD 5 in April 2012, we wanted to make something that would not be just “another release”, but something more groundbreaking and worthwhile, yet building on the successful ingredients have been a part of phpLD since its public release in 2006. The phpLD 4 branch has been our most successful release ever, but there were still some long standing issues that needed to be addressed. There was also a need to update the code. While phpLD 3 and 4 were modern in their time, times change, and so much more is available now that we needed to bring into phpLD 5. After extensive testing, we feel we are ready to present our work as stable and ready, and begin supporting our users who want to make the switch to phpLD 5. So let’s talk about what makes phpLD 5 so special!

Easier Upgrading!

Probably the biggest issue we addressed in phpLD 5 is the ability to upgrade. In the past, every single template had to be upgraded whenever we came out with a new version, and modified phpLD instances presented an even bigger problem. Now, the design and the code are further separated! When we release a new update in the phpLD 5 branch, you just upload some files, click a button or two, and you are done! And of course, you don’t need to do anything to your template. You can change the design all you want and this is not a big conflict. Beautiful!

Also very important is should there be any bugs or fixes needed, we can have a very rapid response, and it is easy for you to update.

More Regular Updates

Now that upgrading is so much easier, and we don’t have to keep changing the templates every time, we can keep making the code better, and providing our users with more. We can release improved versions of templates as well new and improved instances of our code on a more regular schedule because of the easier upgrading process and separation of code from design.

Modern Code Libraries and Standards

phpLD 5 now requires PHP 5.3 or higher. All major hosts offer this now, and as a result, we can write better code that uses the latest improvements to PHP. Also worth noting is we use the Model View Controller standard for coding in PHP. We now use Smarty version 3 which in a similar way offers greater flexibility and speed. And we will continue to keep up with the latest versions of Jquery. For a long time, there were many other competing libraries like Mootools and Scriptaculous. An issue was that we were trying to load too much javascript. We have slimmed phpLD down to just Jquery now for greater speed and focus. Finally, with CSS libraries we have introduced the YAML library into the very first templates. This is more of an optional item for template designers, but there are some nice benefits of using a CSS library that is continuously improved and updated.

Major Improvements to Widgets

Probably the most noticeable feature with widgets is the ability to repurpose the same widget. For example, if you are using multiple link types you could show the latest Videos with a widget, and then recreate a second instance and show the latest Links. With the greater flexibility of MVC and PHP 5.3, we have rewritten much of the widget code to make widgets more powerful, yet with room to keep improving going forward. When organizing them, you’ll be glad to know you can drag and drop in the admin (video of drag and drop) The also behave much better with the design, and there are more options like being able to edit the heading in the admin.

Also note, that items like Categories and Main Content are now widgets so your homepage is extremely versatile. You don’t even have to show categories if you don’t want to do that. Finally, make sure you see below about template configuration.

New Super Cool Widgets

Have you ever wanted to display multiple listings on a google map? Well, now you can! (video demonstration). What about a built in clickable map where you can click on a state or country and go to a page or category? Well, now you can with the VectorMap widget! There are some other “gems” in the widget section, and more to come. Please note that phpLD 4 widgets are not compatible with phpLD 5, but we are open to requests if you need something.

Link Import Feature

If you are wanting add many links quickly, sometimes importing from a spreadsheet is going to be faster for you. Also, for those of you that like to put up niche sites quickly, you can hire someone to do data entry and quickly get something up and running, In the admin panel under Links, there is a new option called Import Links (get started video tutorial).

More Link Types

This will surely be an area of continuing development because of the limitless possibilities, but we offer several Link Types that come pre-loaded with phpLD 5 including Link, Business Listing, Picture, Article, Video and Coupon. This makes for many more ways you can create a successful business model for yourself, and here are a few ideas to consider.

Link Types and Templates

Let’s face it. Showing a link or showing a video require a different display. What we have done, and this is more geared toward template designers, is make is possible to create unique link.tpl and detail.tpl files that can be assigned to Link Types. We’ve already done this for the default link types that come pre-loaded with phpLD 5, but this is an area with plenty of room for creativity to site owners and designers.

More Powerful Template Control

For many of the basic features of the template, you can edit so much more yourself now. Every template will allow for varying widget configurations to allow for presentation of your content in the best way possible (video demonstration). For the logo, you can either show text or upload an image (video tutorial). Some templates like the Transformer template allow you to have multiple color varieties of the same template (video demonstration). For the menu, take a look in the admin panel under Settings >> Menu. There you can decide exactly what you want to appear on your menu and even edit the text of those items.

Finally, you are no longer restricted to showing link listings in just a single column. You can edit the display and show up to four columns of listings. This can be great if you are trying to show thumbnails of videos or images of products more in a grid format. As you change the size, sometimes you have to edit the image settings, and here is a video for how to do that.

Improved Search

While we consider search something that could always be improving, we’ve done a couple of things to make it easier for users. When the user starts typing, automatically possible options will start appearing below the search box that lead to to Link Detail pages. This maximizes the chance people will stay on your site rather than coming up empty. Additionally under Settings >> Site you will notice a new option called Search Location. If you are using the Business Listing link type, locations will drop down in the “City, State/Province” format to allow them to see listings from a location. This is actually a second search box that is added when this feature is turned on. There is so much more we can do in search and look forward to getting your feedback and improving this!

Other Improvements

When loading javascript, you now have the option to load from the Google CDN (Settings >> Directory). In the same section, you can also track user clicks with cookies as an option which reduces database load. In the admin under User Management there is now a link to show all Admin users.

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