The Omeka team is very happy to announce that a beta release of Omeka 2.0 is ready to download and explore!
Omeka 2.0 beta includes many new features for users and developers alike. For users building collections, we hope that the completely redesigned admin interface will make building collections, creating sites, and using Omeka generally to be much easier. For theme and plugin developers, the substantial changes to the core Omeka code should help make your code faster and easier to write, more consistent, and easier to read.
Who should try Omeka 2.0 beta?
As beta software, it is not ready to be used for public sites, and we anticipate that bugs and quirks will appear as you try it. It is shipping with only one theme, and only the Simple Pages plugin. It is ready, however, for the curious (and adventurous) to try the new features, start preparing to migrate your sites from 1.x to 2.0, and most importantly to provide feedback to us before a stable version is released.
In particular, if any of the following describe you, you might want to try Omeka 2.0 beta:
- You are considering using Omeka for a new project, and want to decide if Omeka 2.0 is right for you;
- You currently have a site using Omeka, and want to start planning for how workflow on the admin side might change in the move to Omeka 2.0;
- You manage an Omeka site that you have customized with your own themes or plugins, and want to start assessing what will be required to upgrade them to work with Omeka 2.0;
- You develop plugins or themes for Omeka, and want to see what’s new and what will be required to upgrade them or start fresh work for Omeka 2.0;
- You have a test installation of Omeka (NOT a site in production!), and want test doing an upgrade to Omeka 2.0.
Remember, Omeka 2.0 beta is not entirely stable, and might still have bugs. Do not try to update any Omeka site to 2.0 if losing any data from it is not okay. If you have a testing site that you would like to try updating, follow these instructions.
Major changes and features of Omeka 2.0 beta
A new navigation settings screen lets you customize the site navigation in one place, across all themes:
- Pages can be added or removed, and their link text customized;
- Page order in navigation can be changed via drag-and-drop;
- The homepage can be selected from a drop-down list of available pages;
- Plugins can make pages they manage available to the navigation settings screen.
Metadata and Files
Many new features for managing metadata and files are available:
- Collections now have the full Dublin Core element settings;
- An explanatory comment can be added to all Dublin Core elements;
- Thumbnails are now produced for all file types;
- Plugins and themes have much greater ability to customize how metadata is displayed.
Search functionality has been greatly improved and expanded:
- Search includes boolean, keyword, and exact match options;
- Search encompasses all record types (item, collection, etc), and can be constrained to particular types;
- Plugins can make their content searchable.
Theme and Plugin Development
The tools available for theme and plugin developers have been greatly streamlined and simplified:
- The number of functions to be familiar with has been reduced by approximately 40%;
- Hooks are available to modify nearly all admin pages;
- Using hooks and filters has become much more consistent;
- Omeka’s core code is greatly simplified to make it easier to see and follow patterns;
Our documentation for developers has been radically updated and improved. Documentation for Omeka 2.x will no longer be available or maintained in our “codex” wiki. Instead, it has moved to Omeka’s pages in ReadTheDocs. The documentation source files are in ReST format and maintained in github. We hope this will let us be more responsive to problems and suggestions for improving our documentation.
For those testing Omeka 2.0 beta and wishing to provide feedback or submit bug reports, we have several channels available. To distinguish questions about the unstable Omeka 2.0 beta from those about the stable Omeka 1.5, we have a new distinct forum for feedback on Omeka 2.0 beta. This is probably most suitable for testers interested in exploring the new admin interface and exploring the visually apparent changes in Omeka 2.0 beta. For theme and plugin developers examining and working directly with the code, questions are always welcome on our dev list, and issue reports — not to mention pull requests — can be made on Omeka’s github pages.