Forum OpenACS Q&A: Why 5.0: What's new and why you want it

Request notifications

Posted by Lars Pind on
Caroline asked for a quick "why 5.0" notice.

Here are the important things in 5.0 core that I can think of. Please feel free to add your items, and maybe we can get someone to put up a summary page under

A number of individual packages have improvements as well. Please post about them here.


A message catalog to store translated text, localization of dates, number formatting, timezone conversion, etc. Allows you to serve your users in their language.


HTML quoting now happens in the templating system, greatly minimizing the chance that users can sneak malicious HTML into the pages of other users.


Integrate with outside user databases through e.g. LDAP, RADIUS, Kerberos, MS Active Directory. Imports user information through IMS Enterprise 1.1 format. Easily extended to support other authentication, password management, account creation, and account import mechanisms.

This includes improvements to the basic cookie handling, so logins can be expired without the user's identity being completely lost. You can set login to expire after a certain period (e.g. 8 hours, then password must be refreshed), or you can have all issues login cookies expired at once, e.g. if you have left a permanent login cookie on a public machine somewhere.


All pages, including site-wide and subsite admin pages, will be templated, so they can be styled using master template and site-wide stylesheets.

We have a new default-master template, which includes links to administration, your workspace, and login/logout, and is rendered using CSS.

And there's a new community template (/packages/acs-subsite/www/group-master), which provides useful navigation to the applications and administrative UI in a subsite.

In addition, there's new, simpler UI for managing members of a subsite, instantiating and mounting applications, setting permissions, parameters, etc.

Site-wide admin as also seen the addition of a new simpler software install UI to replace the APM for non-developer users, and improved access to parameters, internationalization, automated testing, service contracts, etc.

The list builder has been added for easily generating templated tables and lists, with features such as filtering, sorting, actions on multiple rows with checkboxes, etc. Most of all, it's fast to use, and results in consistently-looking, consistently-behaving, templated tables.


We'll now support both Oracle 8i and Oracle 9i.


The automated testing framework has been improved significantly, and there are automated tests for a number of packages. During the test and release phase, we will try to add as many relevant automated test cases as possible.

We have setup test servers, which are automatically rebuilt every night, and all test cases are run. This helps find out when things have broken due to a bug fix or feature enhancement, and get things fixed immediately.

Automated testing really improves quality and confidence in the code.

Personally, I feel like this release marks a major step forward for OpenACS, and I'm quite excited about seeing it through the door.

Please post about things I've forgotten to include.