Gossamer Forum
Home : Gossamer Threads Inc. : Announcements :

Gossamer Threads Development

Quote Reply
Gossamer Threads Development
Hello everyone,

As we move towards 2005, Gossamer Threads is making some changes and would like to share them with our User Community. We're also asking for feedback from you about the new features we're planning on implementing and we'd like to hear from you about the features you'd like to see in future versions.

We're currently working on Links SQL v3, Gossamer Mail v3, Gossamer Forum v2, Gossamer Autoresponder v2, Gossamer List v2 and Gossamer Community v2. We'll also be changing the name of Links SQL to Gossamer Links, and Links v2.0 will become Links FlatFile while DBMan will become DBMan FlatFile.

Some of the most important new features that we're building into the next version release of our products are:

  • Gossamer Update: an automatic update system that downloads updated files from our server, auto-detects current version and updates only the files that need to be updated. You'll never have to run install.cgi again for an update, and never have to upload files manually for posted Official Bug Fixes.

  • Template changes: Our new versions will have an entirely new look and feel to the templates that looks better, is more versatile, and more consistent across the multiple products. We're moving towards a XHTML+CSS layout - an attempt is made below to describe just what this means and our rationale for this change.

  • In addition to the above mentioned additions, each product will contain numerous new features and capabilities, addressing some of the most commonly asked-for features, and integrating others that we feel complement the existing feature set.

  • Licensing changes: All existing Links SQL license holders get free updates for life as has been our policy since the beginning of Gossamer Threads. However, starting with version 3, the licensing for Links SQL (soon to be renamed Gossamer Links) and most other products will change. Specifically for Gossamer Links, the license details are as follow:

    Purchasers of Gossamer Links v3.x will receive free upgrades within the same major version (i.e. 3.anything), but will have to purchase an upgrade license to for version 4.x.

    What this means is that if you have a Links SQL version 1 or 2 license, you will still be entitled to free upgrades for life. But if you purchase a copy of Gossamer Links v3, you will need to pay to upgrade to version 4.



XHTML+CSS

We are strongly leaning in the direction of using an XHTML/CSS design for the new versions. We believe that moving towards a clean XHTML+CSS design makes our products more configurable and easier to modify. It also allows the templates themselves to be laid out more cleanly, worrying more about the content of the pages rather than the layout of the page. As part of this initiative, we intend to create documentation and tutorials to assist in the customization of our programs' looks.

The new design also allows us to introduce template "themes" as a product feature - a single .css drop-in replacement could completely change the look of your installation. Different users could choose different site designs without requiring you to maintain multiple template sets. This new direction will also allow admins to trade CSS files among each other quickly and easily.

There is, however, a downside to the XHTML/CSS design: the look of the template would now be controlled almost entirely in the CSS file associated with the template set. Although this is the intention of the design, it means that modifying the look of the templates now requires some knowledge of CSS.

For example, in Links SQL the "new" text beside a link title is currently created with the HTML:

Code:
<font color=red><small><sup>new</sup></small></font>

Under the XHTML+CSS templates, this would change to:

Code:
<span class="new">new</span>

in the template, combined with the corresponding style in the CSS file:

Code:
.new {
color: red;
vertical-align: super;
font-size: x-small;
}

This allows for the text style to be changed without modifying the template. For example, if you wanted the "new" text to show up as non-superscript, blue text, currently you would have to change the HTML in the template to:

Code:
<font color=blue><small>new</small></font>

The major disadvantage with this older method is that now, due to the template having been modified, your templates will not be automatically updated by Gossamer Update, meaning you will have to update the templates manually when the next version of Links SQL is released. With the XHTML+CSS design, no changes are needed to the HTML to accomplish this change - it would only require changing the style in the CSS file, removing the "vertical-align:" line, and changing the "color:" line:

Code:
.new {
color: blue;
font-size: x-small;
}




To help us determine which way to go, we've put together a Survey of sorts which we have posted in the Discussions forum. We highly encourage everyone to read and respond to the Survey as it will decide the future direction of our products.

Proceed to the Survey Post

Gossamer Threads Development Team
Subject Author Views Date
Post Gossamer Threads Development GT Dev Team 18669 Nov 15, 2004, 1:29 AM