Matrix Newsletter - December 2016
23 Dec 2016 By Bartek Banda
Year in Review
Well, yet another year has passed. As we say goodbye to 2016 we take a look back at what the year has given us and at some highlights that hit our beloved Matrix CMS.
Year of the Content Template
This year we saw the Content Template feature (released in 126.96.36.199) really shine. Almost any new site or project that was built in a 5.3+ Matrix system was using them and lots of creative and useful templates have been created to solve a huge range of content editing and implementation challenges.
We also added a section to our Templates area of the site where we've started uploading some Content Templates for you to download and import to your own system. This list will grow in 2017 with more examples and template samples. If you have a great idea for a template or you would like to see or even one you'd like to share, let us know on the forums.
If you are on 5.3 and haven't checked this feature out yet, I strongly encourage you to do so.
New Community Site
This year we finally said goodbye to the old Manuals Library site that served us well for many years.
We launched the brand new matrix.squiz.net site back in September with a new design and layout of the Manuals documentation as well as brand new areas for things like News, Tutorials, Resources and more.
Since launch, we've had an amazing response and increased stats in visitors and engagement. In the last 30 days alone we've had almost 40,000 page views from roughly 4,500 unique visitors.
The Search tool also got a workout by being the most viewed page with Manuals coming in at a close 2nd place.
We've got plenty more planned for the Community site in 2017 including a much improved search tool and more templates and tutorials already planned and in the pipeline.
New Discussion Forums
As part of the new Community push for Matrix and engaging more with our users and customers, we also launched a brand new Discussion Forum platform.
The new Forums are powered by the all-mighty Discourse system and the migration from IPB ended up being smoother than expected.
If you haven't already, make sure you create yourself a new account on forums.squiz.net and join in on the discussion.
Matrix at Squiz Summits & Seminars
Squiz's annual Summits were a big success this year with events held in Australia, UK and Edinburgh.
Matrix presentations on several topics were held with focus on Content Templates and of course sneak peaks of the new 5.4 version that got released this year.
We also had the product manager of Matrix, Bart Banda, fly down to NZ for a series of presentations on the new 5.4 version in various cities.
Videos of the Matrix presentations will also be published on the Community site next month.
And of course, last but certainly the opposite of least, we saw the next big version of Matrix be released in November this year.
Matrix 5.4 features some amazing new features (that we've already started implementing and using on the Community site) that takes the product to a whole new level.
The highlights include the new Variation and Personas features, improved Bulk File Uploading and Contexts, Image Editing, and a boosted UI with a set of refreshed and new asset icons.
We've also got a new landing page on Squiz.net which highlights and promotes all the new features including a feature index of all that Matrix has to offer.
Outlook and Direction for 2017
With all the great stuff happening this year, we've also started planning for the next and what's next for Squiz Matrix.
We will have some exciting news to announce in the early months of 2017 which we're still not quite ready to share it with you yet, but we can't wait until we do!
What I can say is that the focus and theme for Matrix going forwards will be on improvement on what we already have. In other words, we'll be spending a lot of time on improving and enhancing the features that we've already got in the product to make them as good as possible.
Performance optimisation and improved user experience will also be a huge driving factor. We've recently improved our test suites quite significantly and there is more on the way.
A stronger Community focus is also on the cards with more documentation, tutorials, templates and more planned for the Community website.
In summary, watch this space Matrix users. 2017 is shaping up to be huge! :)
Upcoming New Features & Enhancements
Lets have a sneak peak at some of the new features and enhancements planned for the next version in the 5.4 branch of Matrix, due in January 2017.
Search Indexing of Metadata on Content Containers
Ever since Metadata support was added to Content Containers using the Content Templates feature, it hasn't been possible to index this Metadata content within the Search Manager.
An enhancement has now been added that lets you index this data like the way content within the Containers already gets indexed.
Content Container Reporting in Performance Mode
Tracking of the time taken to render individual Content Containers has now been added to Performance Mode.
Now you will be able to see how long individual Containers take to load to better identify what parts of your page are under-performing.
New Preview tools have been added for viewing different Variations on a Standard Page. With the new Content Variation feature added in 5.4, this tool now allows you to preview the page with any of the Variations in effect.
The Variation Preview functionality has of course also been added to Edit+.
Additional Cache Controls Per Type Code and Root Node
Three new Cache configuration options have been added to the Type Code and Root Node Cache customisation screens.
You will now be able to configure the following three options per Asset Type or Asset Map Root Node:
- HTTP Cache Control Level
- HTTPs Cache Control Level
Online Poll Added on the Community Site
In case you missed it, we've added a new Online Poll widget on the community site.
This is of course using the Online Poll asset and we'll use it to gather some interesting insights on various questions regarding Matrix and the Community.
You can find it on the left column of all inside pages and soon on the Home and landing pages as well.
Thanks & Seasons Greetings
Lastly, we just wanted to say thanks again for an incredible year. Thanks to all of our users and supporters.
Thanks to all of you who have put feature requests in and reported bugs in order to help us improve Matrix.
On behalf of everyone in the Matrix development team, we wish you a Merry Christmas and an awesome New Year.
See ya in 2017!