One of the nice things about XMLi5 (and one that has stood us in good stead) is the fact that from day one it was designed as an n-Tiered application built to best practices using Object Oriented Programming (OOP) methodologies. This has meant that as the internet has evolved we have been able to easily adapt to new techniques and frameworks as they have become available, without needing to perform major surgery on the core product itself.
Lets Get Responsive
Firstly, we needed to make the front end Website, and the back end Content Management System (CMS) fully responsive. To achieve this we chose to use Bootstrap 3. The folks over at Bootstrap are highly commended by us for their sterling work in producing a fantastic mobile first framework.
Next we had to ensure that everything was HTML5 and CSS3 compatible. So we created a new set of Cascading Stylesheets (using CSS3) and reworked the standard ASPX pages containing the HTML mark-up to convert them to HTML5. All of this could be done quite easily without touching the component layer of the product.
The net result is that all future web applications provided by us will be fully mobile first responsive (including the admin system). We shall also be offering existing customers the ability to upgrade their older sites for a nominal fee.
Content is King
The term content is often misinterpreted when it comes to highly functional web applications. For starters, many people assume that web sites are quite simple things an that the content is merely some words in an HTML document.
The truth of the matter is that web applications are no different in their complexity to the large business systems we run on mainframes and the like. Content needs to be managed and it needs to be easily managed. In version 3.0 we turned our heads to improving the manner and way in which content is stored, input and edited.
Obviously the dynamic content such as product, customer and pricing data etc. remains in our database. However the management of textual content (blog articles etc.) and how this is categorised has now been centralised into three components.
First we have Sections. These are the top level categories of textual content, such as "About Us", "Blog", "Clients" etc. For example "Product" news is a section within this web site. Each section may then contain any number of Articles.
Articles ( and this article you are reading is an example of one ) are then created within the appropriate section.
Finally we have Items. These are not used that often but any article may contain any number of items ( these could be thought of as "sub articles".
Automatic Image Generation
On a large eCommerce site it can sometimes be difficult to ensure that all product categories, product records, news articles etc. contain a correctly named (and sized) image. Now XMLi5 version 3.0 supports the automatic generation of placeholder images throughout. If an image is not found then a placeholder image, of the correct name and size, is generated for you. All you have to do then is upload the new image (using the attributes of the placeholder image).
The XMLi5 Content Management System has been given a completely new look and feel ( yet still offers backwards compatibility with all existing projects ). Not only is it responsive but menu items have been reorganised into more useable groups and complex features have been moved so as to make the entire system more user friendly. Predictive lookup is now offered on all maintenance programs.
As we have always maintained XMLI5 has evolved and will continue to evolve. Version 3.0 presents a modern ( yet mature ) product. The enhancements introdcued are far too numerous to list. For more information, or a demo, please contact us.The XMLi5 Development Team