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Advance notice on next release: speed and extendability


Alejandro

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We've been working very hard the last couple of months towards the next release with a focus on improved performance and extendability. It is important to prepare before the next release to ensure that your JReviews installation doesn't break.

 

  • The next release will have a minimum PHP version requirement of 5.3. Any sites currently hosted on PHP 5.2 should upgrade to 5.3 before the next release.
  • The performance improvement required re-writing the majority of queries in JReviews. More specifically category, listing and review queries. For this reason, the main Models and Controllers in JReviews had to be modified. If you have overrides for any controller or model files you should disable overrides in the JReviews configuration before upgrading to the next release and only re-enable them after you've updated all of your overridden files to the new version.

 

Some of the most important changes in the next update are under the hood improvements. Here are the most important highlights.

 

  • Speed improvements. We re-wrote the most important queries (Listings and Reviews) so they are fully indexed. This should be most noticeable on sites with lots of listings and reviews and high traffic. Some queries just cannot be further improved without changing the database structure, but the the improvements in this release should last for a while!
  • Add-on manager. We developed a new add-on manager. You can use the manager to easily enable and disable add-ons and it also comes with an add-on installer so you can install add-ons from zipped packages. This opens the door for 3rd parties to develop simple or complex add-ons that can be shared with the rest of the community. It also allows for more elegant overrides that can have configurable settings. Time permitting we'll put together one or a couple of simple add-ons together with some add-on development documentation to get you all started.
  • Add-on framework improvements. We separated the add-on locale and add-on menus from the rest of JReviews. This creates more independence of add-ons from JReviews so each add-on can define its own menu types via a new JReviews Menu System plugin.
    It will also be possible to create incremental language overrides. Now if you want to modify the language file you have to copy the whole file to overrides and every time we release a new update it is necessary to revise the language strings in your override file. With the next release you only add the strings you want to modify in the locale file and JReviews takes care of the rest.
  • Fields Module. We've brought back the ability for this module to display the number of listings available for each option, without sacrificing performance, and it also works with auto-detect so the 'listing count' changes depending on whether the module is in a directory, category or detail page. We also have a new 'Tag Cloud' mode to the module to display field options in varying sizes based on the number of results for each option.
  • Fixes. Fixes. Fixes. In addition to these changes, we've fixed many reported bugs and some admin side checks and validations to alert about potential issues and prevent configuration errors that could cause front-end issues.

 

We don't have a release date yet. We are still finalizing some details and we also need to do a lot of internal testing beforehand to make sure that the new release has as few bugs as possible.

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