Last month when we launched PageLines Framework 2.0— a major iteration to the drag & drop framework — we didn’t provide a concise overview of what the specific differences and improvements were compared with PlatformPro..
We’ve had tons of questions about “what’s different,” so in this article we’re going to highlight some of the new features and discuss how they compare. Towards the end I’ll also talk about some of the considerations when upgrading your site from PlatformPro 1.X to 2.X.
A Better Experience for Your Users (Responsive/Mobile Design)
PlatformPro is based on a static website framework. Meaning the front end design won’t adapt to your users browser or device. While 99% of the web is still ‘static’, with v2 there is now a better solution!
PageLines is now the first major framework to be based on a responsive grid and this is one of the most far reaching changes in version 2.0.
Having this grid means you can now allow your website to ‘respond’ to user’s browser; even if they’re viewing your site on a mobile phone or tablet. this makes for a much richer, more professional viewing experience and your visitors are gonna love you for it.
More Placement Options
PlatformPro didn’t have the ability for many sections to be added to the content area. For example, the feature slider could only be added at the full width of your site.
This isn’t a problem anymore.
Because the framework is now ‘responsive’ it’s also possible to place sections like the Feature Slider, or the Carousel, in the content area of your website. These sections themselves are also responsive and adjust based on different browser resolutions.
Control New Page Types
In PlatformPro it wasn’t possible to edit pages that didn’t handle “meta data” or page-by-page options. This presented a challenge and some pages (for example “tag” or “search” pages) couldn’t be controlled very well. Essentially they all had to have the same setup as the blog page.
To solve this, we built a new system called ‘special page handling’ to deal with this. A new panel in the framework is designed just to create handling for all types of pages that weren’t not possible to control in PlatformPro. These include tag listings, categories, archives, search results, etc..
Better Page-by-Page Control
In PlatformPro, there were two major design issues that have been vastly improved…
Meta Options > Global Options
In PlatformPro, most options were created on a global scale which prevented you from controlling certain features on different pages. In effect, you needed to have the same settings “site-wide”.
To fix this, we vastly enhanced the meta option api (e.g. the page by page option handling) to handle things on a more granular basis. Now in the framework you’ll easily find dozens of options you can set either globally, or via the meta settings. This allows you way more control of how your individual pages look.
Way More Section FlexibilityPlatformPro was only designed to handle one instance of a section per page; and this caused some frustration among users. For example, if you wanted to use a ‘callout’ section on the top and bottom of a page, you couldn’t do it. This got very frustrating for people who were having to create custom sections just to solve the problem.
For this reason, we built something called cloning which allows you to simply duplicate most sections right on your page.
Another feature that was improved is Section Control, a feature that allows you to selectively hide and show sections that you’ve placed on a template. That system is now way more robust and intuitive.
Organically Build Your Website, Without Coding
The concept behind the new PageLines Store is that it will allow you to dynamically add new tools to your site over time. Meaning that if there are features that don’t exist yet in the framework, they will no doubt someday be added to the store.
We think that once the Store is running at full-speed this will be a massively useful tool for developers and professionals who continually tweak and improve their websites.
There are already 30 items available for you to purchase from developers with dozens more in development. Remember, when you purchase, you are also supporting independent development by the budding PageLines Developer community.
Better UI and Other Improvements/Fixes
Again there are way over 50 new features and enhancements in 2.0 compared to PlatformPro.. In the development, we thought through all types of user scenarios and issues and redesigned to improve usability and fix issues. In this article its really hard to keep going and cover every specific improvement, so there is a partial new feature list at the bottom of this article…
Upgrading and Issues
Aside from a couple communication problems on our part, so far there have been no ‘major’ issues for people upgrading their sites to 2.0 (fingers crossed!).
The average time to make the switch ranges from 5 minutes to a few hours depending on the level of customization that was previously applied to the website.
That said, there are still a few things you should be aware of when upgrading. They are…
The Good News → “Non-Destructive Upgrade” – Because we knew there would be some issues with upgrading the framework, we worked to make sure the upgrade was “non-destructive.” This means that if you try and upgrade and don’t like what you see, or don’t have time to fix a couple issues, you can always revert to PlatformPro. Easy.
CSS Changes – In developing the framework, it’s very difficult to prevent CSS changes from happening once and a while on upgrade. With 2.0 there were a few changes to markup (e.g. using ‘section’ as opposed to ‘div’ elements in some cases…) This has caused a couple issues.
Solution The minor CSS problems can be fixed easily by correcting your custom css rules to align with the new elements.
Section Control – To improve the functionality of Section Control, we had to change the way its data was stored in the DB. Therefore section control options get wiped on upgrade.
Solution Simply set these options again and you are good to go.
Global vs. Meta Options – To give you more control over your pages, we moved many section options to the MetaPanel. This means that the global options are no longer relevant.
Solution Simply setup meta options for customized sections across your site; a new default option handling system is coming with version 2.1.
Partial New Features Listing…
- Design – Responsive grid + all core sections made responsive
- Design – Improvements to all core sections: Banners, Features, Boxes, Branding, etc..
- Section Handling – Cloning (multiple duplicate sections per page)
- Section Handling – Improved section control and viewing options
- Localization – Made 100% translation ready, addressed plugin issues
- Background Image – Responsive Supersize Option
- Background Image – New fixed background image option
- Feature – Dynamic, simpler color control
- Feature – Navigation Enhancements
- Image Option – Login Page Image
- Image Option – New icons in branding
- Feature – Text shadow embossed effect
- Feature – Content drop shadow
- Typography – New Google fonts
- Feature – New excerpt options
- Feature – One click upgrades
- Sections – New Simple Nav
- Sections – Massive enhancements to Features, Boxes, Carousel, Banner, etc…
- SEO – HTML5 Tags
- Posts – New posts thumb handling
- Posts – New clip thumb handling
- Posts – Metabar shortcodes and finite control
- Layout – Percentage width site
- Layout – Fixed width responsive
- Enhancement – Improved Options Handling
- Enhancement – multisite handling
- Enhancement – Complete port to HTML5/CSS3 (Backwards compatible)
- New API – Special Pages
- New API – PageLines Options
- New API – PageLines Themes
- New API – PageLines Sections
- New API – PageLines Plugins
- New API – PageLines Launchpad
- New API – Integrations
- New API – LESS CSS
- New UI – Drag and Drop Templates
- New UI – MetaPanel
- New UI – Section Control
- New UI – Profiles
- Performance – Better CSS loading
- Performance – PHP Memory Control
- Performance – Refactoring and Load Speed
- Extension – 50 new filters
- Extension – New option types (graphical selector, fonts, etc..)
- Integration – MediaWiki
- Integration – Vanilla Forums
- Tool – Equalize columns
- Tool – Supersize Image
- WordPress – Better Custom Post Type Handling
- WordPress – Admin bar integration
- WordPress – Support new features
- WordPress – Inline help