In March this year when Magnolia (news, site) released v4.0 of its web content management system, the company’s CTO Boris Kraft said that while they were happy with the new product, there would be always room for improvement.
Three months later those improvements have come with the first official and complete release of v4.1. While there are a number of new features, particularly in the enterprise edition, most of the enhancements can be found in new modules with the Standard Templating Kit (STK).
Let's take a look at what else is new.
Building on v4.0
When v4.0 was released in March, open source CMS developer Magnolia said that they had developed it to make managing the layout of one or multiple websites as simple as managing content.
Designers and developers were given full control of the look and feel of the input and output interfaces through the browser-based admin interface.
The Magnolia v4.1 Admin Interface
“. . ., system integrators and web developers can focus on adding value through integration, design and information architecture instead of repeatedly reinventing the wheel,” Kraft said at the time.
Like its predecessor, Magnolia 4.1 comes in Community Edition under a free software license, as well as an enterprise edition.
While there are significant improvements all round, it's the enterprise edition where the most work has been done.
One of the new features that might recommend Magnolia 4.1 to larger enterprises is the scalability and clustering features. Unique to the enterprise edition, the integrated publish and subscribe mechanism allows users to mirror their websites to as many physically distributed servers as needed. This feature also allows users syndicate content to any other Magnolia application which understands HTTP.
Digital Asset Management
Running alongside this is the pluggable Digital Asset Management (DAM) system. This is a centrally managed file library that allows content developers to reference files from content pages. This in turn, enables the reuse of digital assets throughout the while a meta-data driven search interface makes finding these assets easy.
It also comes with a control feature that allows users to select digital assets from numerous sources using a single control. With this users can quickly and easily find multimedia content to create websites.
Amongst the other features are:
- Imaging Module: Automatically resizes images according to the location at which it will used. It also includes wide manual editing capabilities as well as a flexible API to generate and filter images. With the Enterprise edition users can also use third party libraries of images.
- Themes: Users can maintain and develop these independent of the principal theme of a site. This means that subsites, or sections of a larger website, can have different themes.
Easy to use and chose from various customizable types of content and design structures to layout a page.
Enhanced Templating Kit
With v4.1, the newly enhanced STK comes with sophisticated display logic to enable the production of many new templates that render not only complete web pages, but paragraph templates too.
v4.1 News Overview STK
New templates include:
- News Overview: Displays the latest information published on your site, gathered together and published, ignoring news whose publishing date has not been reached yet. This can be published on subsites within the principal site.
- Events Overview Template: All events are gathered together and displayed at user-defined locations. This can also be done individually for subsites.
- Category Overview: Categories can be assigned to articles. Categories are considered editorial and maintained in the data module.
- Glossary Overview/Letter/Term Template: Aggregates glossary terms and creates sub pages for each letter of the alphabet.
Version 4.1 also comes with a FAQ template as well templates that were made available with the earlier version released in March.
Magnolia v4.1 Category Overview STK.
However, while Magnolia appears to be pushing the STK upgrades as the principal enhancement with v4.1 there are others.
STK itself has been used as a ‘platform’ to integrate and develop some of the existing modules, including:
- RSS (aggregation and consumption)
- Public user registration
It should also be noted that the minimal required Java version for Magnolia 4.1 is Java 1.5 and that from here on Magnolia will not support Java 1.4.
This latest version of Magnolia -- both community and enterprise edition -- is available immediately and can be downloaded from the Magnolia site.