I’m switching up the way I’m going to develop and release updates a little. Currently, like many projects, I define milestones and prioritize the tasks within each milestone and once those tasks are finished, the update is released. I’m going to continue working like this but instead of adding several large tasks per milestone I will be only adding one per milestone. Ok, so what does this mean to you?
What this means to you is that Connections will have faster and more focused releases. Each release will have fewer new features per release but you’ll get those new features faster.
With that said…
Work is already well underway for 8.2. This release will not have a new feature that can be shown in screenshot because it is an “under the hood” change and it is a big change. Last April, adding support for custom fields and metadata for entries was a major milestone. Now metadata has been completely reworked and can now be saved to categories, too. I was able to accomplish this rewrite a bit faster than I expected, though it still did require many, many hours to complete. Initial testing shows adding, reading and updating the entry metadata still performs flawlessly, which is fantastic. Actually, it fixed several minor bugs and is more performant to boot.
Ok, so why focus on this for the 8.2 release?
Well, I was commissioned to work on this feature so I could create an extension for Connections that would allow the categories to be custom ordered; currently they are ordered simply by their name. I researched several different methods to accomplish this and I settled on saving the order as metadata to a category. I chose category metadata because it would be infinitely extensible, as one example, adding a featured images to categories.
This extension will add an “Order” field where you can enter a numerical value. The lower the number, the higher the priority of the category, except “0” which is no priority. The display order of the categories in all areas will respect the order set such as in the drop downs, the widget (which comes with the Widget Pack extension) and in entries on the frontend (in templates that show categories) … basically everywhere. Fairly simple, yet very powerful.
I’m excited to be working on this new feature and I’m look forward to releasing both the update and the new custom category order extension. I hope you are too.