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In the trenches

June 4, Montreal

Louis-Philippe Huberdeau Saturday 04 June, 2011

Tiki7 is yet to be released, but still there are some important changes are happening in trunk. Over the last few days, I rewrote most of the UI for comments. The objective was to use the same comments for trackers as for the rest of Tiki, but without having to handle those includes and global variables. The UI is now a full AJAX interface that merely requires linking from the template to be enabled. Old tracker comments were converted and now tracker comments benefit from threaded comments, locking, archiving, moderation and all of the other features that are expected from comments.

The new AJAX comment interface was also deployed everywhere object commenting was used. This transition allowed to clean up the old comments code that used to be shared between comments and forums (which still use the same database storage). From now on, comments.php and comments.tpl are only used for... forums. This should leave the code in a state that is much easier to understand and allow the forums to improve.

However, the big change comes with the comments. They are powered by a micro-MVC framework with the common controller/action paradigm. It handles content negociation, so it will return JSON or HTML depending on what is requested. When HTML is required, it will use a template matching the controller and action to render the data that would otherwise be sent to the client as JSON. If the call is made outside of an AJAX request, it will even render the request using the tiki.tpl frame. Essentially, there is a full MVC hidden inside tiki-ajax_services.php.

Even though the new AJAX interface appears to require JavaScript, it will work just fine without it as well. The user experience may be a step down from the previous one without JavaScript, but navigating without JavaScript is not really expected these days. As long as it works well enough for a crawler, it should be fine.

Of course, this is still very early stage. The javascript side of it is still in flux. Initially written for comments only, it is expected to evolve to cover more general cases. Much refinements are also required in the user interface for comments and some features might still be left to be converted.

What does this change?

Much of the controller code that was traditionally in the PHP file is moving to controller classes where helper methods can be created. Each action becomes an independent entity, reducing the amount of dependencies between code and the initialization mess typically found. Each action also now gets its own template as well, and those templates are separated into different directories by convention. Less files in the main folders might help keeping new developers. We also get a JSON API for free, although it's not the defined kind of API that will stay stable across releases.

The URLs are not pretty at this time. They would need rewrite rules if they get to be used significantly. The broker code can be called from other files at well. The set-up required is minor enough.

Check it out in trunk:

  • lib/core/Services/Broker.php
  • lib/core/Services/Comment/Controller.php
  • templates/comment/*.tpl

Keywords

The following is a list of keywords that should serve as hubs for navigation within the Tiki development and should correspond to documentation keywords.

Each feature in Tiki has a wiki page which regroups all the bugs, requests for enhancements, etc. It is somewhat a form of wiki-based project management. You can also express your interest in a feature by adding it to your profile. You can also try out the Dynamic filter.

Accessibility (WAI & 508)
Accounting
Administration
Ajax
Articles & Submissions
Backlinks
Banner
Batch
BigBlueButton audio/video/chat/screensharing
Blog
Bookmark
Browser Compatibility
Calendar
Category
Chat
Comment
Communication Center
Consistency
Contacts Address book
Contact us
Content template
Contribution
Cookie
Copyright
Credits
Custom Home (and Group Home Page)
Database MySQL - MyISAM
Database MySQL - InnoDB
Date and Time
Debugger Console
Directory (of hyperlinks)
Documentation link from Tiki to doc.tiki.org (Help System)
Docs
DogFood
Draw
Dynamic Content
Preferences
Dynamic Variable
External Authentication
FAQ
Featured links
Feeds (RSS)
File Gallery
Forum
Friendship Network (Community)
Gantt
Group
Groupmail
Help
History
Hotword
HTML Page
i18n (Multilingual, l10n, Babelfish)
Image Gallery
Import-Export
Install
Integrator
Interoperability
Inter-User Messages
InterTiki
jQuery
Kaltura video management
Karma
Live Support
Logs (system & action)
Lost edit protection
Mail-in
Map
Menu
Meta Tag
Missing features
Visual Mapping
Mobile
Mods
Modules
MultiTiki
MyTiki
Newsletter
Notepad
OS independence (Non-Linux, Windows/IIS, Mac, BSD)
Organic Groups (Self-managed Teams)
Packages
Payment
PDF
Performance Speed / Load / Compression / Cache
Permission
Poll
Profiles
Quiz
Rating
Realname
Report
Revision Approval
Scheduler
Score
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search
Security
Semantic links
Share
Shopping Cart
Shoutbox
Site Identity
Slideshow
Smarty Template
Social Networking
Spam protection (Anti-bot CATPCHA)
Spellcheck
Spreadsheet
Staging and Approval
Stats
Survey
Syntax Highlighter (Codemirror)
Tablesorter
Tags
Task
Tell a Friend, alert + Social Bookmarking
Terms and Conditions
Theme
TikiTests
Timesheet
Token Access
Toolbar (Quicktags)
Tours
Trackers
TRIM
User Administration
User Files
User Menu
Watch
Webmail and Groupmail
WebServices
Wiki History, page rename, etc
Wiki plugins extends basic syntax
Wiki syntax text area, parser, etc
Wiki structure (book and table of content)
Workspace and perspectives
WYSIWTSN
WYSIWYCA
WYSIWYG
XMLRPC
XMPP




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