OpenPublish Alpha 3: Responsive and App-Ready

We're excited to announce the Alpha 3 release of OpenPublish, which builds upon many of the concepts we introduced in the initial Alpha release for Drupal 7.

What's in it?

Here's a breakdown of the latest improvements and additions for site builders.

We're excited to announce the Alpha 3 release of OpenPublish, which builds upon many of the concepts we introduced in the initial Alpha release for Drupal 7.

What's in it?

Here's a breakdown of the latest improvements and additions for site builders.

Frame: A Responsive Default Theme

As my colleague Shawn recently pointed out when announcing OpenPublic Beta 4, content producers are increasingly embracing responsive design techniques to deliver their content to devices of all shapes and sizes. For many publishers, this is a much more palatable alternative to building one-off sites or themes. We recognize how important it is for site builders to have a clean, flexible foundation to build upon, which is why we've been working with Jake Strawn to incorporate his Omega base theme into our distributions -- first for OpenPublic, and now for OpenPublish. Frame, our new default theme for OpenPublish, is a very light "wireframe style" theme that serves to expose the functionality we've built into OpenPublish in a streamlined fashion. More importantly, it provides an excellent example of how to build your own Omega sub-theme as it was created by Jake himself.

We hope that the working example Frame will help lower barriers for others in the community to create and contribute their own sub-themes for OpenPublish!

App Support

One of our biggest goals moving forward with OpenPublish is to avoid baking too many assumptions and business rules into the core architecture. Keeping OpenPublish lean allows site builders to more efficiently tailor their individual implementations to align with their stakeholder needs. At the same time, we are continuing to cultivate a set of tools and best practices to help publishers of all shapes and sizes remain viable in a digital age. Now that OpenPublish has app support, we now have a distribution model that facilitates efficient packaging, delivery, and turnkey activation of add-ons for OpenPublish! Our first OpenPublish app, Disqus, illustrates an excellent use case for apps. If a particular publisher decides that they want to use Disqus commenting on their OpenPublish site, it's easier than ever to download the app, provide your Disqus credentials, decide which types of content allow commenting and off you go. If you'd like to learn more about how you can contribute apps for OpenPublish, contact us.

Section Fronts

A ubiquitous need for publishers is the ability to quickly stand up landing pages for site sections/topics that incorporate an ad-hoc blend of automated and curated content lists. We've demonstrated this concept using the Section Front content type in OpenPublish. You'll notice that the Section Front content type includes the ability to "configure layout", which allows you to manipulate page layouts by assigning blocks to regions using an drag and drop UI. The "view box" capability facilitates much of the ad-hoc content list building I alluded to earlier - check out our Documentation for more on this concept.

Views Starter Pack

We've bundled in several example views that you can leverage when building a Section Front, allowing editors to define and curate lists of galleries associated with a particular section, etc. These will continue to evolve and improve as we move towards Beta.

Documentation

We have a solid start on documentation for OpenPublish, including an Installation Guide and a Developer Guide. This documentation is written in a wiki format which allows for more efficient incorporation of contributions and feedback from folks in the community.

Where Do I Get It?

You can download OpenPublish Alpha 3 from Drupal.org.

 

Community Contributions

We would like to thank Jake Strawn for helping us incorporate Omega into OpenPublish and would like to thank Jean Yves Gastaud and Amit Verma for their help with testing.

What's Next?

As the structure of OpenPublish solidifies and we move closer to a Beta release, we'll be placing a bigger and bigger focus on expanding capabilities and improving the user experience for publishers. Some of these initiatives include:

  • continuing to release apps we build for OpenPublish (we're making great progress on Calais for example),
  • additional improvements to Frame,
  • a Demo Theme replete with sample content to help make it shine,
  • incorporation of apps contributed to OpenPublish by the Drupal community at-large,
  • usability improvements to the layout editor for Section Fronts, and
  • additional documentation for end users.

We're excited about the progress that's been made to this point, and would like to thank those of you from the community who have been testing and giving us feedback along the way. As we move into 2012, we look forward to more feedback and contributions from everyone using OpenPublish!

Dave Leonard