Yesterday, after a little more than a year in development, we released Version 5 of Simple:Press!
At it’s heart, Simple:Press 5 is a from the ground up rewrite. For the previous 5 or so years we have developed the plugin, the codebase had remained largely the same. We were definitely getting limited in what we could do and taking performance hits because of it. We re-architected the codebase with an eye on performance and extendability. And our pre-release testers tell us the performance gains are huge.
Gone are the limiting skins of previous versions – replaced by a theme system akin to the WordPress theme system. No longer are you limited to the layout dictated by the skins and fixed layout – only being able to, for the most part, change the colors or fonts. With Simple:Press themes you are in complete control of the look and feel of your forum. Almost all elements can be moved or placed where you want them to be. As part of the release, we have provided 4 core themes to get you started. 3 of those themes come with multiple color overlay options. We have already seen some wonderful looking themes developed by our pre-release community. We soon hope to have the ability for the community to contribute and share themes. We will be looking to update our showcase page too with some of these great new 5.0 themes.
Simple:Press 5 also features a full fledged API. We have extended the WordPress hooks, actions and filters into Simple:Press. Many, many things can be done now with these hooks much like themes and plugins do for WordPress.
The most obvious use of this API is the new plugins for Simple:Press – another key feature of Version 5. The last release of Version 4 was approaching 3MB in size. The codebase had gotten bloated with a ton of features and functionally. A lot of these features were not even used by many of our users. So we developed SP plugins and moved a lot of non-core functionality into plugins. So now, you only need to grab those plugins if you want those features. Just like WordPress, you pick and choose which ones to use on your site. This has dropped the core archive size to about 900k – a huge difference. Plugins will allow us to add new features and functionality without necessarily having to make changes in core that affect everyone. We also soon hope to have the ability for the community to contribute and share plugins.
Another great feature built in to Simple:Press 5 is upgrading from within the WordPress admin itself. Once you get going with Version 5, no more ftp’ing new versions. Simple:Press 5 fully supports the WordPress updates functionality. And yes, you will also be able to update the SP themes and plugins from within the WP updater too!
For translating Simple:Press into your native language, we now use GlotPress, the same community driven translation tool that powers WordPress localizations. So visit our 5.0 translation site and help get it in your own language.
Starting with Version 5, we are also moving away from our old wiki method of information delivery and moving to a codex style set of documentation. Again, this will be similar to how the WordPress codex works. And best of all, the community itself is able to edit and update codex pages with information. We will be launching that shortly. Today, the codex is not fully populated – in fact, most information is missing. We are just starting to populate it with information as we have been more focused on the pre-release process of fixing bugs and getting folks going with the new API. You can check out the available information by visiting our Simple:Press Codex site.
So what are you waiting for? Head over to the downloads page and grab your copy of Simple:Press 5! Please be sure to fully read the download page for Simple:Press 5 requirements.
Did you find this article useful? Or do you use Simple:Press today? If so, please support Simple:Press with a review on WordPress.org. Every review goes a long way towards bringing other users on board!
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