It’s been 5 months since Publify 7.1, and considering the figures, Publify 8.0 is the biggest release we ever pushed in 9 years: 474 commits, 71 issues closed, 8 contributors, 567 files changed, 60,767 additions and 45,166 deletions.
But you probably don’t care about numbers that much, except if you’re wondering whether or not the project is till alive. TL; DR: it is.
The project itself has known one big change, moving from Fred’s personal Github account to a dedicated organization. We have been thinking about it for a while, and we believe it’s the best we could do for Publify.
Simpler, better, faster
Last summer, we started to rethink what we wanted Publify to be. At a time where online publishing is more or less split between Wordpress, hosted platforms and static engines, being “only” a blogging platform had no meaning anymore. We started to extend publishing capabilities, choosing Twitter pushed short notes as a first step before we add more content type. This led to Publify 7.0, and once again we knew it was the way to go.
Before adding these feature, we wanted Publify 8.0 to rebuild the whole user experience. It had to be simpler, clearer and better, far from the MS Word 97 style that prevails in Web publishing since more than 10 years.
This meant a simpler interface with a single, smaller menu, getting out of the old create / read / update / delete scheme when possible, merging some sections and finally removing lots of things. This also means using the most of large screens capabilities, using responsive layouts as much as we could, even though it made the job more difficult at some point.
The editor, it has been completely revamped, following the way opened by both Medium and Ghost. We’ve pushed aside everything that may distract you from writing. The editor goes fullscreen, and you can even pick up a white or dark background at your convenience. The post settings are 1 click away from the editor so you won’t feel lost anyway. We know how much work is left to get a really classy tool, but we’re working on it.
The notes have got improvement. When replying to a tweet, Publify now displays the original tweet so readers can keep the context this was done.
Users profiles have been improved to. Each user now has its own detailed page with avatar, contact links, short bio and indeed the published content.
Missing in action
The old categories VS tags separation is no more. We merged the first into the seconds as a strict categorization has no real meaning on most blogs. Don’t worry about your URLs, we took care of everything, eventually creating the redirects you needed.
The excerpt has been removed. Excerpt was meant to display a different content on the listing page and on the post itself. It was an interesting feature, but only a handful of people, if none was using it, and it made the editor more complicated than necessary.
The old Typographic theme is not part of the core anymore. It has moved to its own project and will still be maintained.
The old XMLRPC backend has been discontinued. This means Publify does not support desktop clients anymore. This choice has been motivated by the fact that the APIs it was relying had not been updated for 10 years, and that most desktop editors are not maintained anymore either. Web browsers capabilities have evolved, and you can now have a fairly decent editor with local saving without the need of a desktop application.
Under the hood
Publify has been around for 9 years now. Rails was not 1.0 yet, and some of our code was older than you can ever imagine.
Publify 8.0 got rid of most of that legacy code. The old Prototype based helpers that made Rails famous back then left the building. Prototype itself has finally been replaced by Jquery, and Rails i18n allowed the Globalize based translation system to enjoy a deserved retirement. Most helpers have been removed too, as most of them were only used in one place.
This should not affect you unless you’re running custom themes and plugins. If so, have a look at the Bootstrap theme to see how we’re now working.
That’s all folks, you can now download Publify, or give it a try on our demo platform.