New features and changes in pear.php.net

I just did a new release of pear.php.net which has a bunch of new features and bug fixes, most of which you can see here.

The more noticeable new things are (in none specific order):

  • One column design instead of the 2 column design
  • New menu system
  • The main skeleton uses divs instead of tables, not so noticeable but it affects the whole layout
  • Usage of the YUI CSS reset + fonts which allowed us make the design look more the same, especially for people that modify their font size.
  • lead / developers can now report a bug / feature request on their own packages and don’t have to see that nagging verification screen
  • The package list on http://pear.php.net/packages.php doesn’t highlight deprecated packages anymore, you actually have to browse the category in question to see them.
  • 20k patches can be uploaded like the site always said, there was a hard coded limit on 10k
  • A cronjob got added so new PHP versions get automatically added when a new PHP release is out thanks to the new serialize interface Hannes added to the php.net/releases.php page
  • The developer map was made more visible and useful, excluded non developers from it so that it doesn’t look so cluttered, if there is any interest we might add a separate map for non developers :-)
  • Now developers can see bug reports by unconfirmed accounts
  • People with DES passwords got their account deleted, which means people that didn’t login since around 2001
  • the XMLRPC gateway got removed like was announced couple of months ago
  • pearweb was started to use the new www role PEAR 1.7.0 added which replaced the web role Role_Web used to fill
  • The RSS feeds now contain new line breaks! Which means most feed readers will now see changelogs and such properly
  • Package stats should now be calculated correctly since we excluded PECL in the queries
  • If a developer wants to make a new roadmap and fill it with all closed bug reports since the last release of the package then all the developer has to do is press a single button and fill out the roadmap info and voila done :)
  • Patch uploading during ticket creation now works

Now what people will notice right away is the new layout and I’ve been hearing things like “refreshing and better”, “looks like a wiki”, “doesn’t look like the other php.net pages” and everything between but in general people seem to like it and some of them have helped me improve it even more, we might have a new release shortly with CSS improvements and menu fixes :-)

The idea behind the new menu system was to give us the full width of the site, which is especially important when you’re viewing a bug report or a bug search result. Making the new menu involved some fun CSS love which I decided to extend to rest of the site and thus started a crusade, get rid of the main table skeleton, used div, added the YUI CSS reset and font thing (see above for links) which is a very useful thing to get a pretty decent and unified look across A grade browsers which meant I’d have to spend a lot less time doing some weird hacks to get IE6 and fellows to work, I mean just look at the stylesheets named IE7style.css and IE6style.css, it’s almost none existent what I had to alter for those browsers, they are identical at the moment but I’m keeping the possibility open that IE6 might do some fun fun things.

A very important thing I want people to notice, I removed the xml prolog, most browsers ignore it but IE6 gets all weird about it and throws the rendering engine into quirks mode, which in turns means tremendous amount of extra CSS to get things looking the same as IE7, FF, Safari and Opera … And speaking of all these browsers, I made a little decision which I’m not yet sure people will like but well I decided not to support anything below IE6 and also I only tested the newest stable Opera, so 9.5 people might be in for a surprise, as for Safari, I only managed to try it on Vista and I do hope they made the engine output exactly the same stuff there as they do on Mac OS X. I did not even try the new layout using links, lynx or such nor did I try konq or any of those weird browsers, so if you give the site a whirl on those then give me a shout so I know about any problems in relation to it.

And now for another slap in the face thing *Inhales* *Exhales*, since I do like CSS and playing around with it, especially fun selectors like inputtype=”text” and so on and the fact that IE6 doesn’t support them then I decided I’d use the IE7 JS lib by Dean E. to make CSS2 and 3 selectors available to use in the CSS, this is rather important IMHO, this way I don’t have to litter the HTML with a lot of class=”foo-input” and such, instead I can just do some simple selector magic and voila, works :) And the best thing is, it only loads for IE6 and lower, so rest of you that use a proper browser won’t have to load this extra set of JS.

Now the DES passwords, frankly I think we should have done this long time ago but well such is life but what we did was notify everyone that we’d be removing people with DES passwords, which roughly means that they haven’t logged in for the past 5 or 6 years so I’m sure most of those people didn’t even notice this but it were around 250 accounts but since initially it was a import of CVS users back in the day we can safely assume most of those people have moved on to other projects or just don’t use the pear or pecl site as developers :)

And another big thing, we removed the XMLRPC gateway, so effective from now on you can’t do installations with PEAR versions lower than 1.4.0 and the only way is to upgrade by doing this:

 pear upgrade --force http://pear.php.net/get/Archive_Tar http://pear.php.net/get/XML_Parser http://pear.php.net/get/Console_Getopt pear upgrade --force http://pear.php.net/get/PEAR-1.4.3.tar pear upgrade PEAR 

This was a rather important move in our eyes since we wouldn’t have to maintain 2 interfaces to the same channel anymore and the xmlrpc one was basically … well legacy :) Now we didn’t do this out of the blue since we did announce it on Feb 1 2007 that we’d do this 01.01.2008 on our frontpage but we had some people that were caught off guard so from the web team; Sorry Steph! Anyway the full announcement can be found here but now lets rock that REST interface!

I think that’s it for now but with out a doubt this release was a big step for PEAR, with PEAR2 on the horizon and a pimping new design, the web team isn’t done, next steps will be to fully move things to the new layout, packages.php would be one culprit and also the admin area as well as some forms and what not and then we’ll start to tackle the task of refactoring the internals of pearweb, bringing it into 2008 and making it ready for the debut of PEAR2 so there are very exciting times a head for the web team and the rest of PEAR!

I want to thank everyone for their help and contribution to this release, tho specially Mark, for taking a good amount of time getting things to look properly on the manual side and Travis for helping me tweak the layout even more.

So if you want to help us make a the site better than please drop us a line at pear-webmaster AT lists.php.net, we can always use a extra pair of hands :)

If there’s something people want to see changed or improved then leave a comment, file a feature request or talk to me directly, everything is a fair game and I’m all for getting some criticism, just be professional about it ;)

5 Comments to “New features and changes in pear.php.net”

  1. Good work. I like it. :)

  2. Is it any better than Cooliris http://wiwapia.com/en/Cooliris? That works with Google image search pages and other supporting sites, as well as Flickr.

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