So, somewhat belatedly we have launched Coaster CMS version 5.5, which is now based on Laravel v5.5 (LTS) and mostly includes a major “under the hood” update that will make Coaster more stable and also more tolerant to future changes (basically this means, tests!).
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…
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.
We’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).
We have been working to bring you the first default theme for Coaster CMS which includes all of the features, we believe make Coaster great. At the same time, we have been working hard to add and update the theme export/import features so that you can export your own creations. Eventually, we will have a “sister” site to coastercms.org on which you will be able to buy/upload themes for Coaster CMS for anyone to use so if you’re a designer/developer with some great ideas of how to use the features in Coaster CMS then jump in and start creating.
One of the main features of Coaster CMS is its ability to interact with The Physical Web. This was in part in anticipation of the latest release of Chrome (v49) which will now ask if you want to interact with The Physical Web when it detects the presence of beacons with associated Physical Web URLs. Through the Coaster CMS (and some beacons) you are able to create pages that are specific to locations within your store/restaurant/any physical space. When someone walks near these beacons, their Chrome browser on Android will show a notification asking if they want to be made aware of Physical Web objects around them, when they click “enable” then the notification bar in their phone will display summaries of URLs associated with the beacons. When they tap the notification, they will be taken to your page where you could have a newsletter signup form, an offer or anything else you can build with Coaster CMS.
To find out more, download Coaster CMS, go to the Google page about the physical web or grab your phone and be on the look out for the notifications.
I have been building websites for 10 years or so and for most of that time been doing so professionally and I’ve seen many different CMS systems and built a few myself. Very often they felt like they’d been built by developers for other developers to use (which was great in some ways) but the most systems tended to get a bit bloated and difficult to understand. This lead me to believe that there was a better solution that could be built.