Coaster CMS v5.4 is here

So, Coaster CMS v5.4 has arrived and I’m just going to give you an overview of the new features. We think this update will really help people grasp the concepts around Coaster and give you ideas on how you can use the blocks in Coaster to extend functionality.

Blocks

As of Coaster CMS v5.4, all blocks can now have multiple views in the themes/[theme_name]/blocks/[block_type]/ folder – this adds consistency to the block behaviour and greatly enhances the flexibility the block system. Basic string blocks won’t need a view to display them but you can now pass a ‘view’ key through in the $options array that will look in the appropriate folder for the view. So, say you wanted to wrap a string in certain tags or content each time you could add a view that you pass through when you need the string block in that format.

Where is Data Stored in Coaster CMS

Where data is stored in Coaster CMS

We’ve had a couple of discussions recently with people trying to understand the data structure of Coaster and more specifically, where data is stored in Coaster CMS and I thought I’d summarise some of the points we’ve replied with here.

It’s worth remembering this about Coaster’s structure…

“Blocks can be either global (with the potential to appear on any template) or template specific”

So, you’ve uploaded an image to Coaster on a repeater or onto a page and as a developer you want to know… “where has that data actually gone?”

Installing Coaster CMS on Windows

Happy New Year! Recently, we’ve noticed quite a few issues crop up on Github citing installation problems when trying to configure Coaster CMS on Windows. This mostly affects cURL when running various Composer commands. Here are a few steps you can take which will help prevent any potential issues:

  • Temporarily disable the Windows Firewall whilst running Composer commands.
  • Install a .pem certificate (more on this below).
  • Use a virtualised solution such as Docker or Laravel Homestead.

For some reason or another the Windows Firewall can sometimes interfere with outgoing connections made by cURL. Momentarily disabling the firewall can often help when running Composer commands – just remember to re-enable it once you’re done.

New Coaster CMS Features to expect in 2017…

2016 was a pretty big year. We started with a CMS built and used internally for our client websites and by the end of the year, we had hoodies with the Coaster CMS logo on, over 100 stars on github, an honourable mention on Laravel News and well over 1,000 installs of Coaster through composer and packagist not to mention the 100 + followers on twitter and positive reviews beginning to pop up on the web. It’s been pretty exciting and we’re really encouraged by the feedback we’re getting on Coaster and its features, but we’re not done yet! I wanted to write this post to give you an idea of new Coaster CMS features that we will be adding in 2017 and beyond, so, here goes…

Fixing Cloudflare SSL Issues with Coaster/Laravel

Cloudflare offers a great flexible SSL service allowing anyone to secure their site for free. Unfortunately, you can run into some issues straight out of the box as we ourselves found out when implementing Cloudflare’s SSL on this very site. For more established content management systems, Cloudflare does supply plugins that fix these problems without the need of additional code. However, in this case we will be guiding you through the process of setting up SSL with Coaster CMS – and yes, that does include writing some code.

Create a form-builder with Coaster CMS repeater blocks

One of the things that a lot of websites need is the ability to build their own forms. Now, Coaster doesn’t come with this installed as default (or as a plugin) but in the back of my mind, I’ve wondered if it was a possibility using the repeater block functionality. And. It is (if you are not a developer, you may want to get hold of one for this bit).

It’s actually pretty easy. Working on the Coaster2016 theme on a fresh install (change the theme folder below as fits your current build), I created the following form.

Coaster CMS Version 5.3 released..

Theme editorWe’ve been working in the background on getting Coaster CMS version 5.3 ready for release in line with the release of Laravel 5.3 – announced here. We have made a number of very exciting additions to the features that now come with Coaster because that’s always a good thing! These include the ability to create forms for repeater block content (this gives rise to an easy way to create a comments section for a blog for example), and also a simple theme editor that allows you to edit your themes (not add files / blocks yet) from the admin (if you so wish).

WordPress vs Coaster CMS

Banners with Coaster CMS

Prerequisites: this tutorial assumes your theme uses the Bootstrap framework.

We recently built a site using WordPress for a client, since they weren’t sure about trying Coaster as it isn’t as well known. However, popularity doesn’t necessarily make something good or bad. The client in question required a CMS site where they could edit, add and remove pages when needed – all of which can be done with Coaster. Features such as a banner and a carousel on the homepage were part of the original design.