OpenACS 5.5.0 Alpha 1 released

Lots of good stuff in the upcoming 5.5.0 release! Download the alpha release now!

PostgreSQL 8.3 is now fully supported, including the use of the built-in standard version of tsearch2.

Improved rich-text editor support: TinyMCE has been upgraded to 3.1.1 with language pack support. Xinha is well upgraded to the latest, IE 8 compliant and internationalized release.

Added new package dependency type, "extends". Implements a weak form of package inheritance (parameters and, optionally, templates). Multiple inheritance is supported. For instance, the non-core "layout-managed-subsite" extends the "acs-subsite" and "layout-manager" packages, resulting in a package that combines the semantics of both.

Added new package attribute "implements-subsite-p" (default "f"). If true, this package may be mounted as a subsite and is expected to implement subsite semantics. Typically used by packages which extend acs-subsite.

Added new package attribute "inherit-templates-p" (default "t"). If true, the package inherits templates defined in the packages it extends. This means that the package only needs to specify templates where the UI of an extended package is modified or extended. This greatly reduces the need to fork base packages when one needs to customize it. Rather than modify the package directly, use "extends" rather than "requires" then rewrite those templates you need to customize.

Added a simple mechanism for defining subsite themes, removing the hard-wired choices implemented in earlier versions of OpenACS. The default theme has been moved into a new package, "openacs-default-theme". Simplifies the customization of the look and feel of OpenACS sites and subsites.

The install xml facility has been enhanced to allow the calling of arbitrary Tcl procedures and includes various other enhancements written by Xarg. Packages can extend the facility, too. As an example of what can be done, the configuration of .LRN communities could be moved from a set of interacting parameters to a cleaner XML description of how to build classes and clubs, etc.

Notifications now calls lang::util::localize on the message subject and body before sending the message out, using the recipient locale if set, the site-wide one if not. This will cause message keys (entered as #....# strings) to be replaced with the language text for the chosen locale.

acs-mail-lite now correctly implements rollout support.

Many more bug fixes and performance improvements.

Contributed by Gustaf Neumann